Improving the 'Hand Feel' of Software Engineering

Similar to Neil Gaiman’s remarks about a fountain pen and writing there are ways that enhance the feeling of a craft.


  • A mechanical keyboard improves the typing experience with satisfying tactile feedback
  • Fast feedback loop of making a code change and observing the result
  • Tools for refactoring
  • A REPL that let’s you grow your program
  • Debug tools that let you better understand what’s going on

The sum of the tools (hardware and software) used while writing code is the hand feel. We don’t spend enough time thinking about the hand feel and often view it through the utilitarian lens.

What’s the fountain pen for enterprise software? Green field projects?

See also:

In frontend development, a component-driven workflow is a way of building websites and applications by breaking down the UI into smaller components and iterating on them independently and composing them together. This has been popularized by Storybook.js where you write stories around components to make a faster feedback loop compared to loading the whole application (and data) every time.