If you’re going to work with electronics, you may have accepted the fact that you’ll need to solder components together. On the other hand, I can’t be the only one that finds this to be more of an annoyance than anything. Not only do you have to wait for your iron to heat up and make sure to unplug it afterwards so as not to cause a fire, you also need to get and keep wires in the proper position so they can be bonded together.
The good news is that there are alternatives. If you have the wherewithal, much of the work can be done using robots, and there are “helping hands” products that make the job easier. In certain situations, I’m a big fan of screw terminals, or even spring terminals, where you simply have to open them up, insert a wire, and release it so that its firmly held. Admittedly, it helps if you’ve applied ferrules or tinned the wires, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
These connections are common in industrial applications, but we’re seeing this method filter into maker applications more and more. I wrote about an Arduino screw terminal shield previously, and now there is one that can add these connections to the ESP8266 WiFi module. Given my previous rant, perhaps there is some irony in the fact that it can be had fully assembled or as a kit/just a PCB, meaning in those cases that you’ll need to solder it together. On the other hand, something like that would allow it to be ready to go when needed, perhaps in an application where you don’t have power for an iron available.