Go Time – Episode #13

Francesc Campoy on GopherCon and Understanding nil

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In our first show after GopherCon, we are joined by Francesc Campoy to chat about some of our GopherCon experience, understanding nil, and a great variety of interesting topics of interest to the Go community.

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We are back with for another episode of Go Time. This is episode number 13. Before we kick off this show I wanna give a quick shout out to our sponsors for this episode. Linode, Changelog’s cloud server of choice, and Equinox.io, the best way to package and distribute your Go apps.

Today on the show we have myself, Erik St. Martin, Brian Ketelsen is also on the line…

A Brian Ketelsen without much sleep, apparently.

So half of Brian Ketelsen is on the line, and then we also have Carlisia Campos…

Alive and kicking after GopherCon.

And our special guest for today’s show is Francesc Campoy from the Go Team. Say hello, Francesc.

Hey, how are you doing?

Good, good. So let’s talk about GopherCon, being that I think all of us were there, at least partially. Brian-half-sleep at GopherCon…

Yeah, apparently. So this is our first show after GopherCon. GopherCon officially ended last Wednesday, it’s not Thursday… I still haven’t even read all my e-mail or done my laundry.

I just got to my inbox zero yesterday and I was so proud. I’m done for the rest of the week.

I spent airline time doing the inbox zero thing.

I haven’t been at inbox zero for a long, long time.

So I didn’t have to do laundry because I got so many shirts at GopherCon, I’m just wearing them one at the time. At some point I’ll run out… Then I’ll have to maybe do laundry this weekend. But it’s pretty nice getting a lot of shirts.

How do people even manage collecting all of that swag? You need to bring a second suitcase just to bring home swag.

Or you do it like me… Because I was there the year before, I went prepared. My suitcase was small and pretty much empty, because I knew, like I basically only need one T-shirt, because I’m gonna get T-shirts for the rest of the days.

I can’t keep mine, my wife likes to steal all of them. I think we need to have people make less comfortable shirts and then they won’t get stolen. [laughter] So Francesc, do you wanna talk to us a little bit about your talk at GopherCon? It was actually really interesting to put that much attention on Nil, which I think from most people’s perspective, when you talk about it, it’s for bad reasons and not for good uses, and why nil should be embraced.

Yeah, I agree. So the talk basically came up when I started talking with someone about how there was nil receivers that could work. If you define a function on a pointer receiver, if that pointer is nil, that doesn’t mean that the method will fail. And after talking about that, we started talking about all of the things where nil was useful, and I saw that there was kind of a theme where basically nil and Go is not something that should be avoided in general. I mean, you need to be careful, obviously, but it’s something that can be really useful, so I thought it could be an interesting talk. But when I proposed the talk I was in a bar in Belgium, right after FOSDEM and basically I just sent the abstract, and I was very excited about it, but when it got accepted, I was like “Oh wait, now I have to talk about nil for thirty minutes? That’s gonna be fun.”

[00:04:02.26] I think you tweeted a picture of that, didn’t you? I wanna say you tweeted a picture of you holding up a beer, saying you were working on your proposal.

Yeah, that was actually in FOSDEM, so in Brussels. I think it was in February probably, I don’t remember. But yeah, I was surrounded by other Gophers. We had finished the Go devroom at FOSDEM, so lots of people surrounding us. Basically we did a proposal party where we just sent all our talk proposals at the same time pretty much, right before it was too late. So yeah, we were part of the people - do you know that peak that you get at the end, the last hours before you get to the deadline?

The last 48 hours, where we get like 70%?

The procrastinators’ party.

Procrastinator - absolutely. Yes, that was me.

So how did you feel about going on first this year?

I was pretty nervous… My talk changed a lot since I was notified that I was the opening keynote speaker. I was like, “Oh wait, what?” So I made it more of trying to get a mission of embracing, rather than just giving a bunch of technical facts, and I think it made the talk much better.

To be honest, I was nervous also about being the first person on stage, but then I saw Kelsey Hightower was right before me and he did an amazing job, that it was actually… It was very easy to get on stage after him, and also incredibly hard to try to compete against what he did.

Yeah, the remix of that poem was awesome. We sent him home with a framed copy of it.

Yeah, when I got on stage I said that he almost made me cry, and people laughed about it like it was a joke. It was not. I was almost crying. I was like, it’s gonna be hard to say that nil is a good thing while crying, so let’s keep it calm. [laughter]

It was very moving.

You were telling yourself on the inside, “Put yourself together now.”

Yeah, basically.

So the nil talk was one of the ones I actually got to see a good portion of, and I really enjoyed it. Because there are a lot of use cases, and I was glad you pointed out one of my favorites, which is setting a channel to nil in a select, so that you can continue to select on the other channels.

Yeah, it’s something that is so simple… Once you understand it it’s so obvious, but many people when they write concurrent programs don’t take that into account, and it will very often happen that they either have a busy loop, or they will leak memory, leak goroutines, and things like that. So there are these little things that I’m trying to get people to keep in mind for whenever they actually need them.

Yeah, speaking of leaking goroutines, Ivan’s talk with visualizing the concurrency, I’ve never seen leaking goroutines look so awesome. [laughter]

That was amazing, yeah.

It’s like, “How can this be so terrible but yet so beautiful at the same time?”

That’s an interesting segue into one of the Go projects that I was keeping my eye on this week. He released that particular package GoTrace I wanna say yesterday or the day before. It’s at github.com/divan/gotrace. Really awesome tool.

Yeah, I was checking it this morning and the animations are just so beautiful that I wanna run it with everything. Basically the problem right now is that the browsers are not able to catch up with all the goroutines that we start in Go. Maybe we should make goroutines heavier, or browsers faster. But there’s a problem here. [laughs]

Filing a bug for the browser, saying that it needs to increase performance so that we can show all of our goroutines.

[00:08:02.24] It’s a motivating factor.

They look really cool. My favorite graph from everything he showed was the Eratosthenes Prime Sieve. I’ve seen that program many times before, and it’s kind of hard to explain how it works. And after seeing that, I feel like anyone could just be like, “Oh, okay. I get it. I understand what all the goroutines are doing, the data, how it’s going through all the filters and everything.” It’s just beautifully simple.

Visualizations are hard, too. That’s something I’ve always struggled with, it’s like how do you take some complex thing going on behind the scenes and visualize it so that you can easily understand it, and I think he did a really good job at being able to see the data going between goroutines and things like that, the transfer of execution. It’s a really cool project, I’m waiting for the video to come out. I missed parts of it. That’s the sad part that Brian and I have to struggle through. We don’t always get to see all of the talks.

Actually, since you’ve mentioned videos, I’ve had this question many times - when are the videos coming out?

They take about a month, because there’s some post-production time. We have 25 videos that have to be produced, and then lightning talks. They’re so massive they have to mail a hard drive.

Oh, nice.

Yeah, so it takes a couple weeks, up to a month. I would say by time it’s hit one month out, the videos should be out. I think last year 18 days or something along those lines is what it took us to get them live.

Did they all come out at once?

Yeah, they send a hard drive of all of them, and then I set my computer loose on uploading to YouTube.

This year was a little different because we streamed live on YouTube…

On Twitch.

Twitch, sorry. Thank you. Did I mention I need some sleep? So we did the live streaming this year and I think we had a maximum of almost 2,000 people at any given time watching, which was amazing. And a total of almost 9,800, almost 10,000 people. Or was it 8,800, almost 9,000? One of those two.

I think it was 9,000.

Yeah, a lot of people around the world watched at various points during GopherCon, and that just made my day. It was really neat to be able to share the conference, that was a very local and specific thing, with the whole world.

Yeah, one of the people that were there on Twitch was my mom, watching my talk.

Oh, really? That’s awesome.

Yeah. Fun fact - she doesn’t speak English… She loved the talk; she doesn’t know what I said, but she loved the talk.

As Scott mentioned on GoTime FM gophers channel - the conference is local, but the content is pretty relevant to everybody, and it has a pretty wide range of talks, and of course people all over the world can benefit.

I wanna mention this because it was so awesome… Yesterday the Remote Meet streamed the GoSF meetup, and it was amazing. This business of streaming is awesome, we need to keep doing it.

Yeah, the only struggle with streaming is if it starts taking away from physical attendance. Because one’s free, and one pays for everything. But I think people get a lot more out of attending. There’s a lot that you can get out of just being there and being able to network. I guess videos would have taken away attendance if that was ever gonna be a thing.

But I share some concerns though… We had some discussions with Kelsey and somebody else, I think it might have been Dave Cheney, where this whole nature of streaming and recording and stuff like that also starts kind of burning out speakers, because they constantly have to have new content and they can’t continuously deliver and improve on a talk, because once they’ve given it and it’s been recorded, then it’s kind of done; nobody wants to pay to go to a conference and see a talk that they already saw on YouTube.

[00:12:18.28] On the other hand, conferences being slow at releasing the videos actually help us. [laughter]

Yeah, exactly, because more people get to see your content, and things like that. For us, the videos going out was really just trying to help the community grow. The more content, the more people can be exposed to the language and the more growth we see in the community, which was kind of our motivating factor for releasing the videos.

Yeah, and my general theory has always been that whether we’re releasing the videos or whether we’re doing a live stream, most people come to conferences and the talks are almost secondary to all of the rest - the networking, getting together with your friends, the community. A lot of people I talked to skipped out on talks at various times of the day and went off and did things with people that they don’t get to see often. So there are benefits to going to the conference that aren’t directly related to those talks, and you know that it’s gonna be on YouTube later, so there’s no need to attend all of them.

And Hack Day. Holy cow, people stayed for that. There was probably 800 people there.

That was a big surprise. I think we planned for half of that.

Yeah, it was pretty amazing to see so many people working on random things. We had the Go project room, and before going there I was working on something else… I was actually releasing my podcast, because it was Wednesday, and I had totally forgot about it. But it was really funny, because people would keep on coming to me… It was like, “Oh, so what are you hacking on? Can we work together?” It was this very collaborative spirit of everyone trying to help each other, I loved it.

You can help me release my podcast episode. [laughter]

So tell us a little more about what went on in the Go project room.

It was pretty funny, because we did not really have that much time to prepare it. So rather than trying to have a very strict schedule, what we decided was we had one of the meetings that we hold for every release meeting. This year was Go 1.7 release meeting, and we did that from 10 to 10:30, just half an hour, so people could see how a new version is released for Go. That was very powerful, because people sometimes think that it’s something dark and magic… But no, it’s just a bunch of people talking about what they - they wanna make sure that everything is out, and there’s no more bugs and things like that, so it was pretty good.

My favorite part was right after we had the dependency discussion. The dependency discussion is pretty interesting, because it’s talking about one of the hot topics in the Go community - vendoring. And not only vendoring; talking about “Is vendoring a good solution? How should we do it? What are the tools?”

I know that Chris Bradford was there and he took a bunch of notes, and I’m looking forward to the document that will explain basically about all the things that were discussed. But it was a very, very active discussion, that’s for sure.

That room was packed the entire time, and not riots. It was crazy.

That’s what I was gonna ask - nobody got stabbed, or anything? I mean, vendoring - this is a hot topic. This can be contentious.

Yeah. I know that some people were very passionate about it, but not to that point, unfortunately.

[00:15:52.00] I really liked how that room turned out though. It kind of grew organically, and I think that it’s something that we should continue to grow on its own; make more space and put some A/V in there and maybe live stream that, because there were a lot of valuable discussions that were going on, and it seemed a lot of people wanted to be involved in that, too. I think continuing to grow that each year will be nice as well.

Yeah, I’m looking forward to next year, trying to do something even bigger.

Speaking of bigger, we wanted to get… Because this year’s mascot was a parade balloon - you know, like Macy’s day parade… We wanted to get like a big one to float, and we never got around to that.

That would have been amazing.

We probably would have had to have some special dispensation from the damn fire marshal, though. Don’t get me started on that dire marshal.

We should have a Gopher parade to open GopherCon.

We need a Gopher fire marshal.

A balloon gopher, just as a plushy, I would love that. So if you’re thinking about presents to get me, now you know. [laughter]

For anybody listening…

For anybody listening… Yeah.

A parade balloon gopher.

The little toys were fun that we did for 2015, too. I thought about getting more of those done. We’ll have to keep toying with that idea. So did you have any favorite talks that you came out of that you liked, Francesc?

There were many talks that were very interesting. I really loved Ivan’s talk on the visualization of concurrency, because I think it’s something that I struggle with. I teach many people about Go, and it’s very hard to visualize what a program is doing, and I feel like with this it is so much easier. My favorite talk though probably was Katrina’s.

Without a doubt. I haven’t seen all the talks, but all the ones that I did see, that one… I think she put into really good terms something that we all struggle with. She just kicked it off really well, with all the ingredients of a Twinkie. It’s like, “I have a degree in molecular biology, I know what all of these things are, but I still can’t turn it into a delicious pastry.”

It was a great talk, very inspiring.

My favorite part of the talk was… I mean, the presentation was amazing and the slides were really fun. One of the slides was the metro in Barcelona, which I always appreciate… But my favorite part was the fact that she talked about how you can be fluent without being proficient. That is something I had never thought about, the fact that for instance if you’re learning how to speak English, you could be totally fluent at asking beer when you’re at a bar, but that doesn’t mean that you know how to read Shakespeare, and that’s totally fine. I think that applying that to teaching Go can be very interesting. Don’t try to learn all the concurrency patterns, don’t try to use generic - not generic, sorry. Whoops! [laughter] Unsafe. Don’t try to use reflection. Just really understand the basics, be fluent in those basics and then move on from there. I thought that was very powerful, and she explained it in such a beautiful way. I loved the talk, really.

Yeah, and the comparison to graphs I think really set some of that stuff home. For any of us that look at a language and are like “That makes total sense”, we forget that we have all of this nodes of information and we’re just drawing connections between them; it makes it easy for us to do stuff.

Even behavior… Like, I know in the Slack channel I’ve been quick to answer a question, and I’ll link to a section of the language spec, and it makes it look like that’s just knowledge I have in my head. Like, “Oh yeah, right here, in the language spec.” And it’s like no, often times I vaguely remember there being some rule about that, I look it up real quick and then link somebody to it. But the outside perspective is that there’s a bunch of us running around and we just memorize this stuff, and it’s just not true.

[00:20:11.06] And I think she also did a really great job, like you were saying Francesc, in articulating what we were thinking… I couldn’t even point towards what she said before I heard her say it, and now I can, which is there is no clear path for a person who is a newcomer to Go to being proficient, or a person who’s a beginner to programming and being proficient in Go; and we know Go is a very simple language to learn. So there should not be this barrier, and a lot of people were having this conversation at the conference and even after the conference.

For example Matt Aimonetti did a beautiful blog post about Go being for everyone, and I think it is going to be very healthy for us to identify what we need to do and why we need to do these things, because I think a lot of us want people to join the community, and not just because we want everybody to do Go, but if you do want to do Go or try it out, there should be an easy path for you. You should be not only welcome in the community as a person, which I think we’re doing a great job at that, and we can talk more about that too, but also as far as learning the language.

And similar to that talk was Michael Matloob’s talk on contributing to Go, and even open source. I think that was valuable, because a lot of people feel like they’re not at the skill level they need to be in order to contribute, and there are so many ways to contribute. One think that I’ve advocated to people is that sometimes a solution to a problem is better than no solution. It’s easy for somebody to come through and be like, “Oh, you could make this faster if you remove these couple allocations” or “It would look cleaner if you made these couple of abstractions”, but we’re looking at it after the fact, right? Seeing somebody’s solution and thinking about how to tweak it to make it better is much easier than solving the initial problem, so I think that there’s value in people contributing test cases or testing bugs to get steps to reproduce vague bugs people put and there’s so many ways that people can contribute, but I think a lot of people are like “Well, I’m not at that standard. There’s nothing I can do to help, and I shouldn’t have any business being in the repo trying to submit patches.”

Yeah, that actually takes very well with something else that we discussed in the Go project room during hack day, which is we have these… We had actually two different talks with two different sessions where we ended up discussing the same things, which is the user feedback and the diversity discussion. Surprisingly, we ended up talking about pretty much the same things, which were we need more people in the community; to do that, we need to teach more people, and to teach more people we need better ways to basically welcome people that have never programmed in any other language.

We have things like the Go Tour, which I think is a great tool for people that have already programmed in other languages, but if you come from no programming experience at all, when we say “Oh yeah, the for loop is like C++, just without the parenthesis”, it’s not incredibly helpful.

So we’re talking more about okay, so how do we get this started, what kind of resources we want them to get together? Katrina was talking a lot about what kind of resources are available in the Ruby community, and I think that that is something that hopefully during this year and coming up to next GopherCon we’ll have new things and new projects about how to basically get more Gophers involved.

[00:24:11.28] I think some of the tour too can be misleading. I was helping somebody who was walking through the tour and there was one particular exercise where I think all it wanted you to do was a loop through a multidimensional array - it was a slices section - and basically allocate the slices for this multidimensional slice. But the example really explained it as like outputting a grayscale image; and really what the value was wasn’t important. It gave some examples, but even just in the phrasing of the question, it made it sound like it was this advanced thing, like they wanted you do draw an image with a multidimensional array, and it kind of locked this person up and like, “Wait, wait… I’ve never drawn images, and stuff like that.” So I think having a feedback loop on some of those things where things might seem more advanced that they really are and just changing the wording of it can help a lot, too. And anybody who can submit advice or things that they run into that seem harder than they feel it should have been.

You know, we definitely welcome pull requests.

That’s right, the tour is part of the repo, for pull requests, isn’t it?

Yeah. I actually maintain it partly, so if you send pull requests, or even better, if you don’t know how to improve it but you know that it is not clear, just send bugs. From the tour there is a little bug button on the right corner on the top. From there you go to the GitHub repo, which is github.com/golang/store, and then you can just send your issues or your bugs in there, and hopefully I will take care of them.

I agree that in general the exercises tend to be a little bit too complex, and it’s not always related to Go. One of the examples is the first exercise ever. It is a four-loop to compute a square root of a number using Newton’s method. That by itself just sounds scary, and it turns out it’s just a four-loop. So it can be a little bit confusing at the beginning.

Yeah, and I think for anybody who has more of a formal background some of these things seem clearer than people who are more autodidact, they’ve taught themselves to program and maybe don’t have the formal…

While on subject, there was a lightning talk by this guy, and I keep forgetting his name… I’m looking on the GopherCon repo for the 2016 talks and I can’t identify him in there, maybe he hasn’t added it yet. In any case, he has this proposal about doing an open source collaborative effort in putting together a book, and he has some specific ideas I thought were brilliant. I’m hoping he was going to go forward with that. I’d love to get people connected to get that… Landon Jones, yes. He’s a firecracker. I hope this takes off.

What talk was this you said?

It was a lightning talk on the first day.

Yeah, he was talking about building a book for high-school students, or something along those lines. I didn’t see the talk, but I remember people referring to it.

He cornered me in the hallway. His idea for the book is called The Little Gopher. It sounds really interesting. He’s even trying to line up Renee to help with some illustrations.

Cool. I’ll take it out whenever the talks are out.

If Renee cannot help him, I know a designer who can take Renee’s graphics and really do something amazing.

[00:28:03.12] Now that you mentioned Renee, I gotta say that if Katrina’s was my favorite talk, Renee’s was probably the second one, or maybe the first one. It is hard to choose, because they’re very different, but Renee’s talk was amazing, and I’m just so happy you had such a non-technical talk at such a conference. It was great.

Yeah, I mean, the Gopher is a staple of our community, so when she submitted a proposal we were like, “Alright, we have to do this.

Yeah, this has to happen. And it was kind of interesting that she wanted to do the talk with all of the stage lights dimmed and only the screen; that caused the whole Convention Center staff to go into a full panic. “We can’t possibly do that. What if there’s a fire and people get up and trip over each other because the house lights are down?” So we had to ask Kelsey specifically to mention, “Stay in your seats, don’t move. We’re gonna dim the lights. Keep calm, don’t panic.”

Yeah, that talk was just phenomenal. I’m really happy she came out and got to give everybody a little insight into the Gopher. It was kind of fun, and I think it was a welcomed mind-break for a lot of people, too. Because you’re kind of overwhelmed with all this new content, so being able to sit back and relax and have some fun with the Go Gopher…

And I loved that she credited a lot of artists who have been doing our work surrounding the Gopher recently, too. It’s kind of fun to see her take on that.

I want to encourage people to watch it, if they didn’t watch it at the conference. It’s not just an amazing talk about the Gopher… She really went deep into the design process, her process, how she approached it, and you will never look at the Gophie the same again.

My favorite part was that she stayed after the talk and gave out those cute little Gopher sheets with custom-drawn Gophers on the back of them that she autographed. I don’t know how many people were able to take advantage of that, but I saw dozens and dozens of people walking around with them. I thought that was adorable.

It was pretty funny, because there was a really long line, and then a bunch of people from the Go team waiting for her to finish the GoGet lunch. And when the line was over, the people from the Go Team started lining up, because we also wanted them. They were amazing. My new desktop background is the Gopher she drew for me. It’s just amazing.

It’s like “I can eat, or I can have a custom-drawn Gopher.”

That’s not a choice. When she made one for me, the first thing she asked me was “What are your girl’s names again, Brian?” So I told her my daughters’ names, because last year after GopherCon both of my daughters painted pictures of a gopher and we mailed them to Renee. And she said, as she was drawing the picture for my girls, she said “I’ve got those hanging in my living room”, and I was just like “Oh my god, oh my heart…” [laughs] I was so impressed.

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[00:32:15.09] And to keep us on the air.

So are there any other talks anybody was able to see that were interesting? I know Donnie Berkholz’s talk was really well received as well, Mining the Go Developer Community. I didn’t get to see that one. Was that something you got to see, Francesc?

Yeah, I got to watch it and it was very interesting. Basically, he kind of did my job, because I tried to make the community better and “Yeah, that is actually very interesting data.” There were a lot of interesting things, like how people are using vendoring, what kind of tooling they’re using, if people are using debuggers or not… I think it’s a very good place to start to basically try to have a campaign on… If you want everybody to use gofmt - I mean, gofmt is the one that everybody uses… But things like error check - how many people are using that, that is a very interesting conversation. And try to get more people to use the tools that everybody agrees increases the quality of the code. So yeah, I loved the talk.

Here’s something that’s just blowing my mind. We’ve got one of our very remote people on Slack right now, saying that his favorite talk was the Inside The Map Implementation from Keith Randall. The reason this blows my mind is because I know he wasn’t at GopherCon and he watched it over the live stream. I’m just having a little bit of a joyous moment right here.

Yeah, I gotta say that Keith’s talk was so technical but so funny at the same time that I loved it. My favorite part was when basically in a very fine example of trolling he said, “Oh, Go doesn’t have generics, but you can fix it with unsafe.” I was like, “Oh my god! You didn’t go there.” [laughter]

Yeah, what was that… A map of function pointers?

Yeah, it was pretty amazing. I mean, the whole thing - how it was done and everything, it inspired me to try to implement Go Maps by myself too, but at the same time I feel like for some people it might be a little bit too… Like, I don’t want people to be so attracted to unsafe that they’re gonna just be using it everywhere. Maps are already there; have fun, enjoy them, don’t reinvent the wheel, and especially, don’t reinvent unsafe wheels, if possible.

The thing I love about the unsafe package is basically it makes you… It’s like you wanna delete a GitHub repo you have to type the repo’s name to be sure; so everytime you go to use unsafe you have to say ‘unsafe’. It just keeps beating it into you, “I should not be doing this.”

Yeah. I had an idea, I don’t know if you saw it… I tweeted about how you can give an alias when you’re doing imports. So you could do import [unintelligible 00:35:20.22] That fixes the problem.

Totally safe dot… [laughter]

Totally safe dot pointer. Yeah, and it works.

That sounds like a website we should have.

[unintelligible 00:35:37.11] I think we need to make a new top-level domain, .pointer.

.safe.io, yeah… [laughter]

Actually, that would be a good vanity package for any Go package. You could use the vanity URL [unintelligible 00:35:57.13]

[00:36:00.14] With the tagline “You can trust us.”

We promise.

Yeah, there were so many good talks. So back to the Go Project room, I wanna make sure we touch on that too, because I know it’s definitely something Carlisia was interested in speaking with you while you were on the show… The Diversity discussions. I wasn’t in on that, how did that go?

It went really well, it was full all the way. That was very interesting, seeing so many people interested in talking about Diversity, and not only people that are members of Diversity, minorities represented at GopherCon, black people and women, and LGBTQ etc., but there were also a lot of allies that were there to represent and basically to give support. That was very interesting.

We talked about many things. One of the things that I tried to propose and I hope is gonna happen - the same way there was this talk about mining the Go community, and that understands how Gophers do technical things, I was wondering if we could do something similar about who are those Gophers, where are they? Do they live somewhere in the States, in cities where they have meetups, or are they far apart? Do they have kids? Is it easy for them to attend conferences like GopherCon, or do they prefer things like the remote meetups organized by GoBridge? Is that useful for them? That was pretty interesting.

Then we moved into talking about how to make the Go community more approachable. There was a lot of discussion on basically improving the newcomers’ documents that we have right now. I could say they’re not bad, but we could definitely do much better. There were a lot of people talking about how to make those better, how to learn a little bit from the Ruby community. The Ruby community has a lot of funny examples; it is not only about technology, it is also about having fun while learning and things like that, and trying to apply that to the Go community. I think it’s very interesting.

There was also - I don’t wanna say his name wrong, Johnny Boursiquot. He pointed out that it is good to have those materials, but once we have them we need to go out to other communities and teach. He was talking how he’s going to schools that don’t have any technological plan, they don’t have a technical curriculum. And he goes there and volunteers to teach kids that otherwise cannot have access to programming classes, and he teaches that in Go. I think that is amazing, I’d like to see more of that.

I think that both things - having better materials for newcomers and then the Go community ourselves going out to reach into these communities that otherwise don’t have access to it could make our community much better, much more diverse and also much larger and welcoming.

I think Erik and I had a conversation not too long ago, sometime in the last year, about how Go needed the Go equivalent of Ruby’s Why The Lucky Stiff. Those absolutely crazy articles with cartoons that actually taught programming while you weren’t busy thinking about it, because you were having so much fun learning.

[00:39:53.00] Yeah. I don’t know if you’ve seen this thing - I love it, and I’m gonna try to copy it somehow. It is Swift Playgrounds.

Oh, the ones on iPad or iPhone?

Yes. So basically you learn to program by calling functions, and there’s these little… I’m not really sure how to describe, it’s like the weirdest animal ever. It just goes around collecting gems and jumping into places, and all of those are functions that you call. But then on top of that you can write four-loops and things like that. I think that something like that could be very useful for Go.

I’ve been working on something similar to that; I’m still in a very, very early stage, but that is one of the projects that basically came out from that discussion in the Go Project room.

Were there other discussions about specific projects or specific things that could be done to increase the diversity of the community in general?

We discussed the impact of what Women Who Go has had and what GoBrige has been doing, and I think that it is very powerful. All the impact that they’ve had so far is very positive, so that is something that we should keep on doing.

There is also another idea that I think came from Katrina. Katrina works at Github, and they sponsored this thing called First Robotics. We were wondering, could robotics be a good place for Go to be taught? So if we’re able to make Gobot work easily on the robots, then it could be a fun thing for kids to learn how to program those bots and go around just by writing Go.

Were you at the San Francisco meetup yesterday, Francesc?

Yes, I was there, but I had to leave, so I missed Burva’s [Jaana Burcu Dogan] talk. I know it was recorded, so I’m looking forward to watching it, too.

Yeah, that’s exactly what I was gonna mention. She is gonna put out a proposal to have an abstraction of a lot of the interface that will be required for Go to work with the hardware, including robotics and Gobots. Whenever that comes out, people should try to contribute. To make that happen, we will need to have a better interface.

And Ron Evans from the Hybrid Group, who does our Gobot room every year for Hack Day, he loves kids. I don’t think there’s anything he loves more than teaching kids about robotics and programming.

Yeah, we had a call with him a couple months before GopherCon, and it’s probably important that everybody knows that he donates all of his time and he gets sponsors for all of that equipment. He does this because he loves it. He told us in an off-hand sort of way that the whole programming thing is kind of a sideline that he does to fund playing with kids and robots. The guy really loves what he’s doing, and we sure appreciate how much time he spends with us at the GopherCon.

Did you get to hack on any robots, anybody?

I actually had to leave early, which was a huge mistake. That was actually a totally different day, it was totally relaxed, everybody had done their talks, everybody had watched their talks, and I felt such a relaxed atmosphere. The next year I’m not gonna make this mistake again, because I did the same mistake last year. So next year I’m going to stay for the whole day.

[00:43:48.09] Yeah, so Hack Day was really like a happy accident. The first year we were talking about everybody was probably gonna be flying home, flying for different states, different countries, so they would fly out at random parts of the day… Like, let’s just reserve this space for longer - we get a better rate anyway - and then people can just kind of hang out and collaborate until they have to leave for their flight. Then it turned out half the people stayed; they wanted to stay, so we kind of turned it into this thing.

I think we had - Brian, Dave Cheney and I had a discussion about it, and I think the Hack Day thing is misleading. The name was kind of borrowed from elsewhere and it doesn’t have the same meaning for us, so I think next year we’re gonna name it Community Day, to focus more on what the day is about, just kind of hanging out with community members and having those discussions with the Go Team or collaborating with people on open source projects. And we’ll probably do a better job at outlining all the things that will take place on the day, so it doesn’t feel so much when you’re booking your flight, like “Do I need to stay for this?”

It’s hard, because we want it to be not organized, but you have to provide at least the shell of organization so people have an idea of how they can use that time and why it would be worthwhile for them to do it. Then there’s the concept of how do people find each other. We put out little tablets at the end of the tables and put numbers on all the tables so people could meet each other at table 32 if they wanted to work on a particular project. That worked out really well, but that’s really as deep as I wanna go into organization on Hack Day. I want it to be a day where you can just hang out with your buddies and work on stuff.

I saw a lot of really remote teams that were doing team meetings, face-to-face meetings for the first time all year, team that had worked together. That was kind of fun, to see companies having face-to-face meetings at GopherCon on Hack Day. That was cool.

Francesc, were you about to say something?

Yeah, I was gonna say, something that I really appreciated from the Gobot Room was there were actually a bunch of people just playing around with drones, flying around. It looked really fun, and it made me think about, you know, there’s conferences that I’ve been to, like Devoxx, that have these side conferences called Devoxx For Kids, where they have introductory courses for kids that want to learn to program, and I think that that could be an amazing thing to try. I know that you had this Family Track, which by the way, that was an amazing idea, and thank you for doing that… Having a little bit more of a technical side of the family track, where kids can just go and play with robots, that’d be pretty fun.

Yeah, so that was actually something that we tried to do. I think we were too late in the planning of it, because it started to turn into… We were planning a second conference, and it was like “Now we gotta market this, we have to find sponsors for this…” But I think it’s something we definitely wanna continue to pursue; we just gotta figure out how to slide that into the planning, and if anybody who’s listening works for a company who wants to sponsor something like that, that takes a huge load off of us. That’s something that we would ideally like to give to kids for free, and not charge for children to attend that.

Yeah, that would be pretty amazing.

So now’s a good time for us to talk about our other sponsor of the show, Equinox. Equinox does packaging and distribution and updating for Go applications. They have amazing command line tooling that allows you to package up your Go application and it cross-compiles it for all of the different environments that Go supports, and then uploads it to Equinox’s servers, and your customers or your end users can download Debian packages, RPMs, Microsoft Windows installers, Mac packages or use Homebrew to install your applications.

[00:48:09.11] So they’ve got hosted downloads and a download page, and it’s kind of the neatest thing that I’ve used in terms of the distribution of an app. You can use their library, their Go package to create your command line tools to autoupdate it. You can make a flag, say “Update” and it will go off to the Equinox servers, download just the diff of the next binary and update your package. Or if your users like Homebrew or the Linux package managers, they can just run an update that way. So it’s a great way to keep your applications up to date, and it significantly reduces the support burden that you have as an open source maintainer or even as a company that has applications that are distributed out across lots of desktops.

Equinox is free for community and personal projects, and they have very affordable plans for businesses. You should go to equinox.io/gotime to learn more about it. I strongly endorse it.

And Alan Shreve, ngrok.

And everything Alan does, exactly. I use ngrok almost every day, and they don’t even sponsor the show. [laughter] We love ngrok.

Is Equinox also funded by Alan Shreve?

I didn’t know that. He’s cool.

Yeah, we all love Alan. He was walking around GopherCon, too. It was awesome that we got to see him again.

Yes, he was one of our first speakers at GopherCon 2014. Awesome stuff.

I think Adam pointed out that he was featured in our recap video, which was awesome. Did you get to see the recap video that we played on day two?

Yeah, I got to see it, that was really cool.

The Changelog guys, they turned that thing around in a hotel room overnight.

Yeah, talk about some rapid production… It’s funny, because I saw Peter Hellberg walking into the auditorium before the show, and I said “Hey Peter, you need to get your cell phone out and record the show when it starts.” He’s like, “Why?” I said, “Just trust me, Peter.” [laughter] So he got to see himself on the big screen. That was cool.

Yeah, I’m glad I wasn’t in there.

Why is that, Erik? Let’s talk about that.

Let’s not talk about that.

I have to get recorded and go on the big video thing, why is Erik St. Martin not on the big video thing?

Because - and I almost refer to myself in the third person there… Because I don’t know, I don’t really like cameras. [laughter] I was gonna say “Because Erik doesn’t like cameras.”

You should try to get your brother on the video. Nobody will know.

Yeah, he probably would have done it, too. He probably could have got up there and just spoke for me.

Yeah, we talked about that.

My stand-in.

You’re gonna be at the Kubernetes conference, right Erik?

I’m gonna submit a proposal.

Excellent. Then you have to get on camera.

Yeah, that’s true.

Maybe he didn’t know that, Brian.

Right, now you’re ruining it. You’re supposed to tell me after I submit the proposal.

They told me that it was not gonna be recorded or streamed, so you’re fine, Erik. It will be okay.

Then I end up in Francesc’s place, where it’s like “Wait… What? They accepted it?” [laughter]

Now what?

So I think we’re almost out of time. Do we wanna move on to any projects that we found in the community or any other news? I know most of us have been hiding away at GopherCon for the past week, so…

[00:51:43.19] I do have one good GopherCon story that I have to share before we move on. Ivan Daniluk from the Visualizing Concurrency talk - the day GopherCon ended, we ended up in an elevator at the same time, and he came me kind of a stern look and he said, “We’re going to have the next GopherCon in Barcelona, correct?” [laughter]

And I kind of didn’t know what to say. I said, “You know, Barcelona would be a beautiful place to have a GopherCon. I’ve never thought of having one there, but I’ve been to Barcelona and it’s beautiful. That’s a great idea.” And he continues to stare and “Look, I think it’s a great idea.” It was very Russian-mafia looking, I felt a little threatened.

I’d be very glad to see that. Also, that reminds me, GopherCon Brasil is happening. It’s going to be in November 11 and 12, with possibly a workshop in the 13th, but we’ll see about that one. The date is set, so start booking the tickets. The hotel is already settled as well. The website should be up maybe tonight.

Yeah, it’s happening.

You move fast.

Oh, and speaking of Renee, too… The logo that she turned around, that was awesome.

Yeah. To clarify, Renee did a sketch for our logo and it was so cute. It’s a little gopher with a belly and sitting on the beach, drinking something.

I really wanna see that logo now.

I’ll paste it on the channel for you right now.

You can’t upload it on a podcast. [laughter]

But we have a Gophers channel. So the CFP - people are asking - is going to be up next week. The registration should be up tomorrow, the website should be up tomorrow, the CFP should be up next week, and we’re also going to have the prospectus to send to potential sponsors next week as well. So talk to me… There are six organizers, I’m one of them. Talk to me if you’re interested in sponsoring. I’m sorry, that’s it. I’ll stop now.

No, it’s a good thing. Back to hackling… Somebody totally registered github.com/totesafe.

That must have been Scott.

I think it was Florin who did it.

[laughs] That is so wrong.

I’m interested to see what shows up there. Is that like the staging area for the unsafe package?

[laughs] We need totesafe.io now.

I think he got it, too.

He registered that, too. [laughter]

That is the problem when you give bad ideas in public - people will do them.

That’s true.

I don’t know how much time we have to talk about community stuff, but one project I did see was Buntdb. They took a lot of concepts from Boltdb, and added geospatial indexing to it, which I thought was really cool.

Yeah, I looked at Buntdb this morning when you posted it into the show notes section and it looks pretty interesting. The more interesting part for me was that they built it specifically to be a storage backend for Raft, so it meets the Raft storage interface or Hashicorp’s Raft implementation. So you can use Buntdb as a Raft store, which is kind of slick.

I hadn’t even caught that part of it.

Well, you gotta read it, Erik. Gotta open it up.

I read the cool part, geospatial indexing.

Well, that wasn’t the cool part for me. My cool part was the Raft part.

Well, now Raft can store its stuff geospatially. [laughter]

That kind of makes sense, since Raft is so distributed.

Something tells me that geospatial indexes aren’t exposed to that interface.

Yeah, I’m guessing they’re not. You’re probably right there.

I think we are we about out of time. Do we wanna move into #FreeSoftwareFriday?

Yes, let’s.

Can I mention one quick thing?

You sure can.

Because it’s very much in the spirit of GoperCon. I wanna mention that there is now a CleverGopher channel on Gopher Slack for you to post and see pictures of our gophies in clever places and poses.

[00:56:10.24] There’s been a lot of interesting photos that have come through there. And I also find it interesting that every episode there’s a new channel that’s announced, or discovered, or created on the show. [laughter] Every single episode.

It’s true. I think the best one was Florin’s picture of the gopher in the cockpit of an airplane. It looked like a 737 to me, I’m not sure. It might be an Airbus, but there’s a gopher in the cockpit of an airplane.

I didn’t think that was allowed, and I was thinking “How did he manage that? Did he arm-wrestle the pilots? Did he get arrested afterwards?”

I’m hoping TSA wasn’t involved. Although what was this swag… Was it year one that there was some piece of swag that was triggering something in TSA and everybody was getting their bags checked?

Oh, what was that?

I can’t remember what it was now, but there was some piece of swag that had some sort of powder or something on it, that was triggering…

…a lot of trouble on the way home. I remember that now.

Oops… No pocket knives, right? Oh, and Scott Mansfield said the same thing in the Slack - “No pocket knives is GopherCon swag.” Good call.

Well, you could put it in your checked luggage.

You could.

I also liked Dave Cheney’s top tip: traveling with circuit boards and loose wires, they go in your checked baggage. A lot of us were traveling with hardware for Hack Day.

Yeah, what could go wrong with that? [laughter]

I was really worried none of it was gonna show up. Like, I’d get the bag and it’d be mostly empty. Because almost the entire bag that I had checked had tons of logic analyzers and bus pirates and raspberry pies and loose wires and sensors and stuff. I was like, “This is not gonna end well.”

Yeah, you got the big flag for extra screening.

Yeah, that’s why I put Brian’s name on that luggage.

[luggage] Checked bag for Brian Ketelsen, right here. Alright, let’s do #FreeSoftwareFriday, we’re running out of time.

Cool. You wanna go first, Brian?

You bet. So I’ll briefly explain again, #FreeSoftwareFriday is just our place to give a shout out to open source projects and/or maintainers for things that we use frequently and that we love. Today I’d like to give a shout out to - this is kind of a cheat, but I used it a lot this week… So Docker is one of my favorite free software tools, and sure makes life easier sometimes. Thank you, Docker.

How about you, Carlisia?

On the topic of Brasil, there’s this open source project called Tsuru. It’s a Platform as a Service, open source of course. It was put out by Global.com. Global is this huge media company in Brasil. It’s a project that came out of Brasil, and most of the maintainers if not all are Brazilian developers. I’m not an infra person, I usually don’t deal with infra, only the minimum, but it’s been described to me as like an alternative to Heroku. It’s a huge project, I was surprized when I saw it. It’s been used by big companies, so check it out. It could be useful to you.

And apparently all written in Go.

It is, yeah.

Yeah, of course.

It’s been around for two years, too. It’s been out for a long time. It’s very stable now.

I actually met Andrews Medina and other developers at GopherCon.

That’s awesome.

Francesc, do you have a project that you wanna give a shout out to? Feel free to say no, we’re blindsiding you here.

Does it need to be written in Go?

It does not need to be written in Go.

[01:00:00.27] Then I think I’m gonna go with something that is actually for real but we use regularly for the Google Cloud Platform Podcast, Audacity.

Yeah, that is a good one.

Open source digital audio editor, and it is great. It works so well. It makes our podcast sound way better, without knowing really what we’re doing.

Good call.

I don’t know whether Adam and the Changelog crew is still using that behind the scenes, but I know they used to use Audacity a lot, so we don’t even have to give them a link to put on Twitter; I’m pretty sure he knows that one.

Do we have the best deal or what? We just get to talk and somebody else does all of the post production work, and the website… I love this plan.

Right? So mine - actually, I recently started using it again, and I used to be a big proponent of it - is Direnv, direnv.net. It’s written in Go, and it’s a cool little program you run in your shell so that basically when you cd into a directory it looks for a .envrc file and then you can basically load up environment variables or execute shell commands and all kinds of stuff. That’s ridiculously nice for when you have to mangle your path or environment variables based on the project that you’re working on. It’s just seamless, you just kind of create that .envrc file and done, you don’t have to think about it again.

Yeah, Direnv is especially nice if you want to have a custom Go path per project; you just drop that .envrc file in there that changes your Go path. It’s kind of custom-built for that, purpose-built. Very nice.

And I think that is it. I wanna thank everybody for coming on the show, I wanna thank all the listeners who are listening live right now and hackling us from the Slack channel, everybody who will be listening… Definitely refer any Go programmers or people who are interested in the Go language to the podcast. Thanks everybody on the panel, especially thank you to Francesc for coming on the show.

Thank you, Francesc!

Thank you for having me!

Thank you!

If you’re not subscribed, we are on iTunes and Play Store. You can subscribe at GoTime.fm. Big shout out to our sponsors for the show today, Linode and Equinox.io.

If you have something you would like to discuss or suggestions for guests to come on the show, GitHub.com/GoTimFM/ping. I think that’s it. It’s a lot to cover, but I think I got it all.

You did well, Erik. Good job!

This was great, thanks! Bye!

Bye-bye. Thank you.

Changelog

Our transcripts are open source on GitHub. Improvements are welcome. 💚

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