Choosing appropriate software tools can be challenging. Here are the principles I employ when making the decision:
Open formats: I will not choose software that uses proprietary or closed data formats. Closed formats cause two main difficulties:
I must pay the proprietor of a closed format for the privilege of accessing my data. Furthermore, switching to a new set of software may require translating my data or, even worse, losing access altogether. Open formats allow me to access my data at any time and with any appropriate tool.
My tools are limited to the range of innovations that the proprietor deems important. Open formats allow me to take advantage of any great new tools that come available.
Flexible: As my requirements ebb and flow, I shouldn’t be locked into the constraints of a particular tool. The best options are internet-based, subscription plans. If I need more storage space or more access for collaborators, I simply choose a new subscription plan. Then, if things slow down, I can move back down to a basic plan and save money. The online backup service Strongpace, for example, has a subscription plan tied to the amount of storage and number of users required.
These are some of my favourite adherents to the principles outlined above: