I first got this vibe from Jason Freid of 37 Signals while listening to a podcast from Venture Voice (I'm not that into VV; it's a bit too "MBA" for my more technical tastes - I found msyelf there only because Joel Spolsky was interviewed).

This is by recollection but he spoke of simple tools designed to do a single thing well. Now, a few months out from that I see the following on Noise Between Stations:

Robust tools are seductive, but their complexity quickly results in diminishing returns. Adopt tools with as many features as you need, and no more. Usually a few essential features will enable you to do many things well.
Interesting and thought provoking. One thing I'd add is to have tools that let you do things fast and terse. What about a class designer for Visual Studio that let you design a class skeleton with as little as the following:

class Person:
p string FirstName
p string LastName
p int ID
m DoSomething(int paramA, string paramB)
m DoSomethingElse(string[] p, ArrayList p2)
language C#

would emit:

public class Person{
private string m_FirstName;
private string m_LastName;
private int m_ID;
public string FirstName{
return m_FirstName;
m_FirstName = value;
// and so on

The challenge of something like that would be leveraging plain text without becoming too esoteric. I would have assumed a lot of tools that would automate things like this but Visual Studio 2005's "class diagram" tool seems to disprove that.