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Culture

Beliefs, behavioral patterns, thoughts, and institutions of the developer community.
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Chris Siebenmann utcc.utoronto.ca

Go is Google's language, not ours

Fellow Gophers and Go Time fans out there, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post from Chris Siebenmann. Go has community contributions but it is not a community project. It is Google’s project. This is an unarguable thing, whether you consider it to be good or bad, and it has effects that we need to accept. For example, if you want some significant thing to be accepted into Go, working to build consensus in the community is far less important than persuading the Go core team. In general, it’s extremely clear that the community’s voice doesn’t matter very much for Go’s development, and those of us working with Go outside Google’s walls just have to live with that.

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Stephen Wolfram blog.stephenwolfram.com

Free Wolfram Engine for developers

From Stephen Wolfram himself on his personal blog: Why aren’t you using our technology? It happens far too often. … Sometimes the answer is yes. But too often, there’s an awkward silence, and then they’ll say, “Well, no. Could I?” Here’s the kicker for open source developers… If you’re making a free, open-source system, you can apply for a Free Production License. In the license it says “Open-source projects approved by Wolfram,” which seems like they’re going to maintain a list of approved projects, but Stephan mentioned that they’re still working out the kinks in usage and licensing and they “are committed to providing predictable and straightforward licensing for the long term.”

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Alanna Irving medium.com

Babel’s rise to financial sustainability

Check out this interview from Alanna Irving (Open Source Collective Executive Director) with Henry Zhu sharing the backstory of what went well for Babel to reach financial sustainability. Our ultimate goal was to help the project thrive. My personal goal was to help fund Logan, given he was working on his own time, and I figured that if I ever quit my job I might get funded someday too (which has now happened). I knew we would need some momentum and time for that to be possible, so we decided to make a start. When we first started the Babel Collective, we weren’t even bringing in $1k/month. Slowly we built up to $4k/month, which is when I left my job to focus on Babel. Recently our budget looks a lot bigger thanks to a $100,000 grant from Handshake, which we split out as $10k/month. Once that’s over, the total will be around $20k/month. Also, check out Alanna’s book — Better Work Together

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Don Goodman-Wilson maintainerati.org

Reviving Maintainerati

I missed this good news announced back in March…“We’re putting the band back together.” I’m glad to hear that we can now look forward to more Maintainerati events. …one important thing we learned is that maintainers need to have access to others who are sharing the same experiences, struggles and successes they have while running an open source project. In response to this, GitHub has reached out to some passionate people in the broader maintainers community to help bring some structure and growth to Maintainerati, in the shape of a new core team to run Maintainerati events and organize the community.

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Dave Kerr github.com

Hacker Laws 💻📖

From Conway’s Law, to The Law of Leaky Abstractions — you’ll find links to laws, theories, principles, and patterns useful to developers — curated by Dave Kerr. Conway’s Law — This law suggests that the technical boundaries of a system will reflect the structure of the organization. It is commonly referred to when looking at organization improvements, Conway’s Law suggests that if an organization is structured into many small, disconnected units, the software it produces will be. If an organization is built more around ‘verticals’ which are orientated around features or services, the software systems will also reflect this.

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The Changelog The Changelog #345

Quirk and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

We’re talking with Evan Conrad — for most of Evan’s life he has suffered from severe panic attacks, often twice per week. Eventually he stumbled upon a therapy method called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT for short, and saw positive results. This led him to create Quirk, an open source iOS app which allows its users to practice one of the most common formats of CBT. On the show we mentioned a new podcast we’re launching called Brain Science — it’s hosted by Adam Stacoviak and Mireille Reece, a Doctor of Clinical Psychology. Brain Science is a podcast for the curious that explores the inner-workings of the human brain to understand behavior change, habit formation, mental health, and the human condition. It’s Brain Science applied — not just how does the brain work, but how do we apply what we know about the brain to better our lives. Stay tuned after the show for a special preview of Brain Science. If you haven’t yet, right now would be a great time to subscribe to Master at changelog.com/master. It’s one feed to rule them all, plus some extras that only hit the master feed.

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Patrick Woods developermode.com

Building TwilioQuest from the ground up

Twilio uses a custom-made, 8-bit RPG game to teach developers their APIs, both online and at events like Superclass and Twilio Signal. Created by Kevin Whinnery, TwilioQuest is a premier example of how to educate developers without putting them to sleep. “Younger generations of technologists […] have grown up collecting loot and gaining XP”

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Kay Singh singhkays.com

It's time to replace GIFs with AV1 video

It is 2019 and we need to make a decision about GIFs. GIFs take up a massive amount of space (often multiple megabytes!) and if you’re a web developer, then that’s completely against your ethos! If your goal is to improve your website your loading performance, then a GIF needs to be yanked! But then how do you have moving pictures? The answer is a video. And in most cases, you’ll get better quality as well as almost 50-90% size savings! AV1 videos give us smaller file sizes and better quality?! There must be a catch…maybe…read on to find out.

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Kevin Goslar Hackernoon

Go is on a trajectory to become the next enterprise programming language

Clearly we’re a fan of Go — listen to Go Time — but, what is it going to take to make it succeed Java as the dominating enterprise programming language? This post from Kevin Goslar lays out the strengths of Go that make this a real possibility. Go — a programming language designed for large-scale software development — provides a robust development experience and avoids many issues that existing programming languages have. … Companies and open-source initiatives looking for a safe and forward-looking technology choice for creating large-scale cloud infrastructures in the coming decades are well advised to consider Go as their primary programming language. A large portion of modern cloud, networking, and DevOps software is written in Go, for example Docker, Kubernetes, Terraform, etcd, or ist.io.Many companies are using it for general-purpose development as well. The capabilities that Go enables have allowed these projects to attract a large number of users, while Go’s ease of use has enabled many contributions.

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InfoQ Icon InfoQ

A tribute to Joe Armstrong

Following the sad news about Joe Armstrong passing away, some of his former colleagues from Ericsson wrote a good-bye note and asked if InfoQ would publish it. Joe has been on my shortlist of people to invite on The Changelog for a long time, but I never got around to contacting him. Regretful. This is a touching tribute. I especially enjoyed this bit: Nobody could avoid being affected by Joe’s good mood and boundless enthusiasm. He was highly appreciated as a speaker and panel member at many international conferences. Many programmers can testify to just how important Joe has been for them in developing their profession.

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Mark Christian writing.markchristian.org

You should have a personal web site

Mark Christian, being 💯% accurate: Hello! This is my personal web site. It’s not much, but it’s mine. After nearly a decade of just barely existing, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in 2019 trying to breathe new life into it. At this point, I think just about everyone–but especially folks in the software engineering universe–should have a personal web site of their own. Let me tell you why.

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David Singleton Stripe

Stripe’s next engineering hub is remote

Companies like GitLab and Zapier are 💯 remote. Stripe’s next engineering push, colocated in what they call “hubs,” will be a new style of hub — remote. Stripe has engineering hubs in San Francisco, Seattle, Dublin, and Singapore. We are establishing a fifth hub that is less traditional but no less important: Remote. We are doing this to situate product development closer to our customers, improve our ability to tap the 99.74% of talented engineers living outside the metro areas of our first four hubs, and further our mission of increasing the GDP of the internet. Stripe will hire over a hundred remote engineers this year. They will be deployed across every major engineering workstream at Stripe. This means if you’ve ever wanted to join the ranks of Stripe, but moving was a blocker for you, the window of opportunity is now open to you and there’s no limit to what you can work on. We have seen such promising results from our remote engineers that we are greatly increasing our investment in remote engineering.

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Kira Booth blog.plaid.com

Growing our team with retrospectives

From Kira Booth writing on the Plaid blog. …we take an agile-like approach to how we think about process. If our team’s process isn’t working, we talk about it in a retrospective (aka “retro”) and figure out how to change it. Many companies don’t begin retros until they are large and have many processes in place, but we feel that retros are especially valuable at our size and rate of growth. Plaid’s engineering organization is rapidly growing. In the Salt Lake City office where I work, we have plans to grow from 20 to 60 engineers this year. Processes that worked just a few months ago may not work now. A culture of continuous process improvement helps us to stay ahead of growing pains like inefficient collaboration, error-prone coding practices, and interpersonal conflict.

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Eduards Sizovs sizovs.net

Great developers are raised, not hired

This post by Eduards Sizvos is loaded with wisdom: You can escape this crazy hiring race by creating an environment, where experienced developers mentor less experienced developers. Hire for attitude, and teach technical skills. Be the company that says: we are hiring mentoring. This pairs nicely with our mentorship discussion with Emma Wedekind and next week’s Go Time on hiring and job interviews.

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The Changelog The Changelog #342

From zero to thought leader in 6 months

We’re talking with Emma Wedekind about going from zero to thought leader in 6 months. We talk about the nuances of UX including the differences between an UX Designer and a UX Engineer, we touch on “the great divide”, and we talk about Coding Coach — the open source project and community that Emma and others are building to connect software developers and mentors all over the world.

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Mike McQuaid mikemcquaid.com

Stop mentoring first-time contributors

According to Mike McQuaid, the focus of an open source maintainer should be learning to mentor efficiently — where should you be investing your time? If you’re an open source maintainer lucky enough to have a significant number of contributors you need to learn to mentor efficiently. First timer issues are not the right good way to get people involved in your project nor mentoring individual first-time contributors. Instead, do things that help all of them.

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Jeremy Wagner A List Apart

Responsible JavaScript (Part 1)

This pretty much sums up the point Jeremy is trying to get across with this post on A List Apart and the future parts to this story of “Responsible JavaScript.” I’m not here to kill JavaScript — Make no mistake, I have no ill will toward JavaScript. It’s given me a career and—if I’m being honest with myself—a source of enjoyment for over a decade. Like any long-term relationship, I learn more about it the more time I spend with it. It’s a mature, feature-rich language that only gets more capable and elegant with every passing year. Yet, there are times when I feel like JavaScript and I are at odds. I am critical of JavaScript. Or maybe more accurately, I’m critical of how we’ve developed a tendency to view it as a first resort to building for the web…

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Thorsten Ball thorstenball.com

Learn more programming languages, even if you won't use them

Thorsten Ball writes on his personal blog: Different programming languages are good at different things and bad at others. Each one makes certain things easier and in turn others harder. Depending on what we want to do we can save ourselves a lot of work by choosing the language that makes solving the type of problem we’re facing the easiest. That’s one of the tangible, no-nonsense benefits of learning more languages. You put another tool in your toolbox and when the time comes you’re able to choose the best one. But I would go even one step further. I think it’s valuable to learn new programming languages even if — here it comes — you never take them out of the box. But why? Languages shape the way we think, each in their own peculiar way. That’s true for programming languages as well…

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Catherine Clifford cnbc.com

Jack Dorsey's 11 biohacks

From walking five miles from his home to the office, no food all weekend, to using saunas and ice baths in the evening… Dorsey only eats dinner. Sometime between 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. he has a meal of fish, chicken, or steak with a salad, spinach, asparagus or Brussels sprouts. He has mixed berries or some dark chocolate for dessert and also sometimes drinks red wine. “I’ll go from Friday ‘til Sunday. I won’t have dinner on Friday. I won’t have dinner or any meal on Saturday. And the first time I’ll eat will be Sunday evening. I’ve done that three times now where I do [an] extended fast where I’m just drinking water,” Dorsey says.

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