The Best Tool isn't Always the Right Tool

When Monica and I talked about doing a blog, we knew there would be no shortage of ideas for posts. But before we could start churning out amazing content, we had to decide on a platform. I had an idea. I'm by no means a Django expert but it's a great tool, and I have a tendency to reach for it when I need to do a web thing. Django, a postgres db, maybe sprinkle in a rest API... perfection.

The best tool; perhaps not the right tool

Monica did not share this wholesome, perfect vision. She reasoned that we are already, and will continue to be, plenty busy, and do we really need to spin up our own thing when there are perfectly viable drop-in options available on the web without us needing to worry about hosting a thing and dealing with the security risks, backup strategies, etc.? Wordpress or Blogger would do just fine.

Damn. Well, she'll come around.

I pursued Wagtail and was in the process of going through a tutorial and, I was loving the freedom and openness of the platform. This thing is cool. And I know it's great tech. But, it's gonna take a lot of work, for which... I... don't have time. Hmmmmm.

This isn't the first time I've come to the sobering realization that the best tech isn't necessarily the right tech.


For my farm and personal accounting systems, I have been using GNUCash since 2014 or so. Prior to committing to GNUCash, I used a specialty accounting program on the farm called PCMars, and on the personal finance side, I allowed Intuit to have my data via Ick. Let's not talk about that. GNUCash isn't the most visually appealing application, but it's a double-entry accounting system that just freaking works. And it's cross platform. And it has multiple options for database backends.

I'm a SQL nerd, and part of the appeal of GNUCash was the ability to build custom SQL reports. I started off with MySQL, and then moved to PostgreSQL. I love Postgres, but when I re-provisioned my laptop a few months ago, I found out that my postgres backups were corrupt since I had upgraded to PG12. Had I overwritten the fresh Linux install over my old SSD, I'd have been re-doing a lot of work. Luckily I was able to spin up my old hard drive and recover the data. It was becoming increasingly clear that, for all the benefits of Postgres, it was overkill for a simple accounting system. It occurred to me that I should just use SQLite. This makes it far more portable and easy to manage. Just copy the file. Want to work on it on a different system? Just copy the file. I am presently using Nextcloud to version control the thing, my reports still work, and life is good.


So, the blog. DO NOT TELL HER, but Monica was right. No need to re-invent the wheel. We're using Blogger, it works just fine for what we need, and life is good.