Why Sixth and Red River Software?
Sixth and Red River Software was formed to create high-quality,
language-aware software development tools at a reasonable
price. We leverage the amazing power of IntelliJ IDEA to make
this vision possible. We have have three key principles that
we follow to bring you the best tools possible: No
Shelfware, No Sticker Shock,
and Software As Good As IntelliJ IDEA
Here's a dirty little secret that the software development
tools industry doesn't want you to know: The vast majority
of software development tools are useless and worthless.
Most software development tools are "useless":
they never get used; and "worthless": they provide
no value to the purchaser. The usual fate of development
tools is that they are bought, installed, and ignored. Many
don't even get installed, and end up gathering dust on a
shelf somewhere. There are a lot of reasons for this, but
they all boil down to tool vendors not understanding just
how software development actually works, and how they might
add value to the process.
- The tool was designed to solve
a problem the tool vendor knew how to solve, instead of
being designed to solve a problem that software developers
Examples: Graphical design tools, test-case
- The effort necessary
to learn and use the tool is greater than the effort to
fix the problem without using to tool.
profilers, most IDEs before IntelliJ IDEA
- The tool requires
you to completely alter your usual methods of producing
software in order to reap its benefits, and those benefits
aren't nearly enough to justify such changes.
Pretty much any tool that dares to use the phrases "end-to-end",
"round-trip", or "life-cycle" in it's
At Sixth and Red River Software, we refuse
to build shelfware. A Sixth and Red River product must
If it doesn't meet those requirements, we wouldn't buy it,
so we won't produce it.
- be immediately usable without training
- solve problems that software developers actually have
- fit seamlessly into existing work patterns of real-life developers
- be able to justify it's price tag within two weeks of purchase,
either in terms of developer effort saved or defects prevented
At Sixth and Red River Software, we understand just how
difficult it can be to get management sign-off on development
tool purchases. Development tools can be very expensive.
Since so many of them are useless and worthless, it can
be a challenge getting approval for those few development
tools whose costs are justified. To alleviate this, all
Sixth and Red River products will be modestly priced. No
Sixth and Red River product will be priced at more than
$100US for a single developer license. Most will be less
than $50US, and some Sixth and Red River products will have
prices as low as $25US. While we believe that such prices
will make it easier to get management approval for license
purchases, we are frankly hoping that prices that low will
convince developers to pay for licenses out of their own
How do we do it? Through the power of the iterated
80/20 rule. Every engineer knows the 80/20 rule: Solving
the first 80% of a problem takes 20% of the time, with the
last 20% taking the remaining 80% of the time. Another way
of stating this is that you could deliver 80% of the value
of a product with only 20% of the implementation effort,
if you know just which 80% is the most valuable, and skip
the effort necessary to implement the less valuable portions.
You would have to be clever, and very focused on value,
but you could do it. Iterating on the 80/20 rule, the most
valuable 64% of a problem can be delivered with 4% or the
effort, if one is very clever and extremely focused on value.
At Sixth and Red River Software, we are obsessively focused
on producing value, and are very, very clever. That means
we can produce software that solves the most valuable 51.2%
of the problem, and that take .8% of the effort to implement.
That way we can provide high-quality language-aware development
tools for less than the cost of a good dinner out.
As Good As IntelliJ IDEA
At Sixth and Red River Software, we exclusively target
users of IntelliJ IDEA. That means are customers know exactly
how powerful and intuitive software development tools can
be. Our users expect products which fit cleanly into their
workflow and anticipate their needs. Products that 'work
the way they do', and that are intrinsically pleasurable
to use. If a Sixth and Red River plugin doesn't meet the
quality and usability standards of IntelliJ IDEA, we won't
release it. This is an incredibly high standard to meet,
but we believe the results are worth it.