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Beliefs, behavioral patterns, thoughts, and institutions of the developer community.
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Monica Lent monicalent.com

7 absolute truths I unlearned as junior developer

This is a great set of insights about being a developer and the software industry. It’s so easy when you’re first getting into something to have unrealistic expectations or idealistic beliefs. Articles like this help pull back the curtain and show what it’s really like. Author Monica Lent describes what a junior developer can get from this post: Maybe you’ll find something here you currently believe, and get inspired to learn more about it and why the topic is so multi-faceted. Or maybe you’ll find this post encouraging because you’re already so far ahead of where I was at your stage.

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CockroachDB cockroachlabs.com

Why we're relicensing CockroachDB

The co-founders of CockroachDB — Peter Mattis (CTO), Ben Darnell (Chief Architect), and Spencer Kimball (CEO) — co-wrote a post explaining their move to MariaDB’s Business Source License (BSL) in order to thwart competitors, otherwise know as “highly-integrated providers,” from offering a version of CockroachDB “as-a-service” without purchasing a license to do so. We’re witnessing the rise of highly-integrated providers take advantage of their unique position to offer “as-a-service” versions of OSS products, and offer a superior user experience as a consequence of their integrations. Here’s the tl;dr of this license change: Today, we’re adopting an extremely permissive version of the Business Source License (BSL). CockroachDB users can scale CockroachDB to any number of nodes. They can use CockroachDB or embed it in their applications (whether they ship those applications to customers or run them as a service). They can even run it as a service internally. The one and only thing that you cannot do is offer a commercial version of CockroachDB as a service without buying a license.

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Gergely Orosz blog.pragmaticengineer.com

Undervalued software engineering skills? Writing well.

Being able to communicate and write well often plays out to being a huge asset in a career. But how does that works for software engineers? Gergely Orosz writes on his personal blog: For software engineers, writing becomes the tool to reach, converse with and influence engineers and teams outside their immediate peers. Writing becomes essential to make thoughts, tradeoffs and decisions durable. Writing things downs makes these thoughts available for a wide range of people to read.

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Jon Parise Medium

The Dead Code Society

Fun idea coming from Pinterest’s engineering team: engineer Chris Lloyd created the #dead-code-society Slack channel to be “a sombre place for remembering [—]-only diffs.” Messages are prefixed by a :tombstone: and include links to diffs that contain only file or line deletions. Dead code is worth celebrating, for sure. I love deleting it even more than I love writing it. Retired code remains in source control history to be remembered and consulted, but it no longer occupies a prominent place in our workspaces, build systems, or cognitive periphery.

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Yomi Kazeem qz.com

Microsoft is making a $100 million bet on African developers

Yomi Kazeem writing for Quartz Africa: Last year, when Microsoft executives were doing their due diligence ahead of paying $7.5 billion for GitHub, the software engineer marketplace, they might have been surprised by one unexpected data point: Nigeria had the fourth-fastest growing developer community on the platform the previous year. Microsoft has now fully turned its sights on software engineering talent in Africa and will spend over $100 million on a software development center initiative. Microsoft’s first development centers in Africa will open in Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya this year and will employ 100 full-time developers who will work across artificial intelligence, machine learning and mixed reality innovation. This Twitter thread from Floor Drees mentioned Christian Nwamba (@codebeast). Give Christian a follow.

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Chris Welch The Verge

How hard it is to compete with Apple's App Store?

Apple launched a new section to their website for the App Store. According to The Verge, this new page titled “Principles and Practices” is believed to be a defensive response to recent criticism of the App Store. Chris Welch writing for The Verge: Apple’s new site puts a big spotlight on the App Store’s unrivaled success and reach, but in some ways, it also brings more attention to how difficult it can be to compete against Apple.” Apple from “Principles and Practices”: Since the launch of the App Store, an entire industry has been built around app design and development, generating over 1,500,000 U.S. jobs and over 1,570,000 jobs across Europe. We’re proud that, to date, developers have earned more than $120 billion worldwide from selling digital goods and services in apps distributed by the App Store. 84% of apps are free, and developers pay nothing to Apple.

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Sophie Alpert Increment

The benefits (and costs) of corporate open source

Sophie Alpert writes on Increment: Releasing and maintaining an open-source project at a corporation takes a lot of work. I saw this firsthand working for four-plus years on React, a popular open-source JavaScript library developed by Facebook. Many companies hope that releasing an open-source project will pay dividends in the form of code contributions from people outside the organization—but I’ve never seen that work in practice. Responding to issues, answering usage questions, carefully planning release schedules: It all takes time. Even code contributions, despite their reputation as the big reward that’s supposed to make corporate open source worthwhile, are rarely the panacea they’re made out to be. If you’re looking to optimize your company’s open source development strategy, read this!

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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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