The Changelog The Changelog #524  – Pinned

Mainframes are still a big thing

This week we’re talking about mainframes with Cameron Seay, Adjunct Professor at East Carolina University and a member of the Governing Board of the Open Mainframe Project. If you’ve been curious about mainframes, this show will be a great guide.

Cameron explains exactly what a mainframe is and how it’s different from the cloud. We talk COBOL and the state of education and opportunities around that language. We cover the state-of-the-art in mainframe land, System Z, Linux on mainframes, and more.

Tyler Deitz

StreetPass: Find your people on Mastodon

Creator Tyler Deitz says:

StreetPass is a browser extension that helps you find your people on Mastodon. It piggybacks off the way Mastodon handles decentralized identity verification and turns it into a simply discovery tool that recommends users based on the websites you visit! Available for Chrome and Firefox (soon Safari).

Discovery is one of the more challenging facets of federated social networking. It gets even more challenging now that Twitter’s API is getting paywall’d, so most of the free tools to port your Twitter social graph over to Mastodon will quit working. I expect more tools like StreetPass to pop up in the coming days as the Fediverse seems to be capturing that hacker spirit Twitter once embraced.


The future (and the past) of the web is server-side rendering

What’s old is new cool again. Here’s Andy Jiang, writing on Deno’s blog:

In the past 10 years, the median size for a desktop webpage has gone from 468 KB to 2284 KB, a 388.3% increase. For mobile, this jump is even more staggering — 145 KB to 2010 KB — a whopping 1288.1% increase.

That’s a lot of weight to ship over a network, especially for mobile. As a result, users experience terrible UX, slow loading times, and a lack of interactivity until everything is rendered. But all that code is necessary to make our sites work the way we want.

This is the problem with being a frontend dev today. What started out fun for frontend developers, building shit-hot sites with all the bells and whistles, has kinda turned into not fun. We’re now fighting different browsers to support, slow networks to ship code over, and intermittent, mobile connections. Supporting all these permutations is a giant headache.

How do we square this circle? By heading back to the server (Swiss basement not required).

He goes on to talk about isomorphic JavaScript frameworks and Deno’s offerings in this space. But hey, you don’t need all that fancy stuff to do SSR. All you need is a programming language that can render HTML (this is almost all languages) and a server…

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We’re big fans of Erik Kennedy and his work on Learn UI Design. By the way, have you subscribed to his Design Hacks newsletter? Our friend Shawn “swyx” Wang says it’s an “instant open, every time.”

Here’s a personal note from Erik about his newsletter. You can subscribe here.

Erik Kennedy here. I’m a big fan of the Changelog; had a legit blast talking about tactical design advice for developers on The Changelog a couple years back. As a developer-turned-designer, I’ve struggled with finding actually practical UI advice that could help me make my crappy-looking designs good. That’s why I made Design Hacks – an email newsletter of short, practical design tips. Hope you like it ✌️

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Filippo Valsorda

I’m now a full-time professional open source maintainer

Filippo Valsorda:

Last May I left my job on the Go team at Google to experiment with more sustainable paths for open-source maintainers. I held on to my various maintainer hats (Go cryptography, transparency tooling, age, mkcert, yubikey-agent…), iterated on the model since September, and I’m happy to report that I am now a full-time independent open-source maintainer.

People like Filippo are still (unfortunately) the exception, not the rule. BUT! I’ll celebrate every time an open source maintainer makes it to the promised land, hopefully paving the way for others to follow after.

I’m sharing details about my progress to hopefully popularize the model, and eventually help other maintainers adopt it, although I’m not quite ready to recommend anyone else drop everything to try this just yet.


A roadmap to learn Kubernetes from scratch

Learning Kubernetes can seem overwhelming. It’s a complex container orchestration system, that has a steep learning curve. But with the right roadmap and understanding of the foundational concepts, it’s something that any developer or ops person can learn.

In this Kubernetes learning roadmap, I have added prerequisites and complete Kubernetes learning path covering basic to advanced Kubernetes concepts.

Postman Icon Postman – Sponsored

What does it mean to be API-first?

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APIs have evolved beyond the role of mere interface. In the past decade, APIs have become the building blocks of modern software and businesses. Whether at tech pioneers like Amazon and Netflix or century-old grocery chains and federal agencies, organizations are using APIs to offer new services externally and deliver efficiencies internally.

But, what does it mean for teams and orgs to adopt an API-first development model? This guide from Postman will answer this question and give you the tools and API platform to build on.

Ship It! Ship It! #88

Treat ideas like cattle, not pets

In our ops & infra world, we learn to optimise for redundancy, for mean time to recovery and for graceful degradation. We instinctively recognise single points of failure, and try to mitigate the risks associated with them.

For some years now, Daniel Vassallo has been doing the same, but in the context of life & work. Daniel talks about the role of randomness, about learning from small wins & about optimising for a lifestyle that matches your true preferences,. Apparently, ideas too should be treated like cattle, not pets.

The New Stack Icon The New Stack

Netlify acquires Gatsby

Richard MacManus from The New Stack spoke with Netlify CEO Matt Biilmann about the deal and their new catchphrase: “composable architectures”

Biilmann described it as a “change away from monolithic solutions,” citing a couple of examples: Adobe Experience Manager “as the DXP [digital experience platform] system for all your web productions” and Drupal “as the core engine that both powers the backend and the frontend of your site, the business logic and the UI layer, and so on.” He argues that these types of “monolithic” solutions can “start to feel very legacy and very dated.”

I’m not sure if “composable architectures” will stick, but they sure did a good job of making “jamstack” a thing, so time will tell on that.


Why we ship the most code on Friday

Greg Schier from Railway:

The theory goes that if you ship code on Friday you’ll inevitably be working Saturday to fix what you broke. This makes logical sense; software is messy and mistakes are unavoidable.

But no, shipping code on Friday isn’t bad. At least, it doesn’t have to be.

The key to their success is confidence, which comes from having a solid deployment pipeline and shipping through it often. Gerhard Lazu hit that nail on the head in this short clip as well.

Bryan Braun

The best part of pair programming is when things go wrong

Bryan Braun reflects on years of pairing:

I’ve pair-programmed in a lot of different situations. I’ve been the junior developer who needed to be unblocked. I’ve been the new team member, being onboarded to a new codebase. I’ve paired with peers for knowledge-sharing and productivity. And I’ve been the senior dev.

He goes on to say that it’s easy to put a pairing session on rails to avoid embarrassment, but:

When I think back, my favorite pair-programming sessions were the one where things went wrong. These were the moments that taught me what being a programmer is all about. What do you do when you don’t know what to do? How do you break down a new problem? What tools do you reach for? When do you abandon your current approach? These are things you can’t learn from a blog post.

Practical AI Practical AI #209

3D assets & simulation at NVIDIA

What’s the current reality and practical implications of using 3D environments for simulation and synthetic data creation? In this episode, we cut right through the hype of the Metaverse, Multiverse, Omniverse, and all the “verses” to understand how 3D assets and tooling are actually helping AI developers develop industrial robots, autonomous vehicles, and more. Beau Perschall is at the center of these innovations in his work with NVIDIA, and there is no one better to help us explore the topic!

Robin Linacre

SQL should be your default choice for data engineering pipelines

Robin Linacre:

SQL should be the first option considered for new data engineering work. It’s robust, fast, future-proof and testable. With a bit of care, it’s clear and readable. A new SQL engine - DuckDB - makes SQL competitive with other high performance dataframe libraries, making SQL a good candidate for data of all sizes.

You can make a similar argument for SQL that Gary Bernhardt made for Vim. Here’s Gary on Vim, run your own s/Vim/SQL/g filter on this as you read it:

…just for me, 15 years; at the beginning of that time, TextMate was just becoming popular. Then it was Sublime Text was cool. Then Atom was cool. Then VS Code was cool. A lot of people switched between two of those, three of those, maybe all four of those, and that whole time I was just getting better and better and better at Vim… And you multiply that out by the length of a career, you use Vim for 40 years - you’re gonna be so good at it by the end, and it’s still gonna be totally relevant, I think.

The Changelog Changelog News

Data tool belts, Build Your Own Redis, the giscus comments system, prompt engineering shouldn't exist & ALPACA

Jeremia Kimelman takes stock of his “data tool belt”, Build Your Own Redis with C/C++ is ready to read, giscus is a comments system powered by GitHub Discussions, Matt Rickard says prompt engineering shouldn’t be a thing and won’t be a thing in the future & Kolja Lubitz’s ALPACA is engine for building adventure games and interactive comics.

Ruud van Asseldonk

The yaml document from hell

An opinionated rant to accompany your Monday morning coffee:

When you work with a format as complex as yaml, it is difficult to be aware of all the features and subtle behaviors it has. There is an entire website dedicated to picking one of the 63 different multi-line string syntaxes. This means that it can be very difficult for a human to predict how a particular document will parse. Let’s look an example to highlight this…

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