JS Party – Episode #207

New Year's Party! 🍾

welcoming Ali Spittel to the gang

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It’s our 3rd annual New Year’s party! We welcome a new panelist, review our (failed) resolutions from last year, discuss what’s trending in the web world, and even set some new (failed) resolutions for this year.

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Changelog

Click here to listen along while you enjoy the transcript. 🎧

Three… Two… One… HAPPY NEW YEAR! Chris on the kazoo! Yeah…! [laughter] A little back-story here; I went looking for a kazoo, couldn’t find one… Chris hopped on, I said “Do you own a kazoo?” He says “Of course!” I don’t know… I didn’t think that was an “of course” kind of a thing, but he was almost offended that I asked him. Of course he owns kazoos.

Hey, everybody! It is 2022. JS Party is here to ring in the new year. I am Jerod Santo, your internet friend, and I have a bunch of friends here with me today… Darn near all of them. Not quite, but darn near.

Amelia is here… What’s up, Amelia?

Happy to have you. And of course, I’ve already talked about Chris, because he’s here on the kazoo… Chris, what’s up, man?

Hey! Happy 2022!

And back at you! And we have Divya with us… What’s up, Divya? [laughter] I think you might have been muted, or just not excited… Please, try again. [laughter]

I said “Heeey! How’s it going?!” [laughter] I just realized, I was like “Ugh…!” I auto-muted myself.

Ah… Like an amateur. Come on, Divya, you’re a professional podcaster at this point. The sound of that boisterous laugh is Amal Hussein. What’s up, Amal?

Hello, everyone! Happy to be in 2022. It’s so awesome here.

It’s like, the air is better, world peace is a thing… It’s amazing.

Yes. We also have K-Ball with us. He is salsa-ing into the new year. What’s up, K-Ball?

Am I? I actually have not been out dancing in almost two years now, since March 2020. I’m gonna say “Hey, 2022, you can’t possibly get worse… Right?!”

Don’t challenge it. Do not challenge it. And… Surprise, we have a brand new panelist, a new year, new co-host… It’s Ali Spittel. Ali, say hi.

Hey! How’s it going? This is really exciting.

We’re super-excited to have you. I wanted you on the show ever since I met you, way back in the day, on the Changelog, and then we had you on Frontend Feud, and we had a lot of fun… And hey, the cards aligned, and you’re here now, and you’re here to stay, so that’s awesome. Welcome!

Yeah, definitely. It’ll be awesome.

Well, give everybody the TL;DR on Ali Spittel for those who have not met you previously. Who are you and what are you up to?

So I lead and manage developer advocacy for AWS Amplify, so I focus on making it so that AWS is out there for frontend web and mobile developers. And then outside of that, I do a lot of things on the internet. I have a blog, and I also used to co-host the LadyBug Podcast with Emma as well, who I know has been on here a bunch of times… And I live in Denver, so outside of work I like to do a lot of outdoorsy things. It’s very fun.

Hm, Denver… Now we’re all jealous. That’s a great place.

Yeah, it’s the best. It’s like vacation all the time.

I do vacation there sometimes. And you live in my vacation spot, so that’s kind of weird.

[laughs]

Do you ever vacation in Nebraska?

I have not. I have not.

Don’t.

If you did, then we would just be – go ahead, K-Ball…

I’m just playing with you, Jerod… I was gonna say “Don’t.” It’s not for everyone, I hear…

“Don’t…” [laughs]

In fact, I think it’s almost for no one… Except the zoo

Well, you know, K-Ball, it represents a large minority of the JS Party panelists, so it is for… It’s for JS Party people. Maybe you should check it out. [laughter]

It’s true. Actually, one of my co-workers is from Nebraska as well, and she knew you all from Nebraska JS, and things like that.

Well, that’s because everybody in Nebraska knows everybody. It’s like seven of us.

As previously stated, it’s really not for many.

It’s not. K-Ball, did you ever imagine that you would be a Nebraska troll? Like, would that be part of your life? You’re just like our biggest troll.

[laughs] The real thing there is I’m a Nick and Jerod troll… So y’all are bringing Nebraska to the forefront in your commentary, and so then I become a Nebraska troll, I guess…

Well…

I can’t troll TypeScript anymore because I’m using it.

It’s a living, I guess. It’s a living. I mean, I troll Nick, but I just pick on TypeScript, and I pick on Vim… I don’t pick on the Nebraska stuff, because I would be biting off my leg.

See, I use both of those tools now, so Nebraska is the only thing left.

Well, come check us out. It’s nice this time of year. Okay, let’s get in the show. So this is our annual new year’s show. If you listened to the last one, you will know that we finished it by making some resolutions. And it wouldn’t be a resolution if we didn’t fail at it wildly… And then hold each other’s hands to the fire - or is it feet to the fire? I don’t know. We’re getting hot next to a fire because I’m bringing them back out and asking how everybody did on last year’s resolutions.

K-Ball, your desire, your wish, your resolution for 2021 was to be able to do ten handstand push-ups by the end of the year. How did you do?

Failed miserably. Actually, I have no idea, because I haven’t tried… [laughter]

Did you forget about it?

Now. Try. [laughs]

I can go and stand against that door and try. Maybe I’ll be able to do one.

Okay, okay…

Oh, man…

Okay, here we go. Here we go.

I think that’s ample punishment.

Oh, my gosh…

Wait, is the camera in the right angle?

Is he actually gonna try to –

Oh, wow, okay…

I don’t even know…

Is he really doing – oh, wait, wow… Okay… We have attempt of one…

Oh, that was half…

Not even one.

0.5? Oh, my God… Divya, you’re so mean…!

I got down, but I couldn’t get back up.

[laughs]

I’m not mean, I’m being realistic. That’s like half. That counts.

Oh, I forget that Divya is the fitness queen, yeah…

[07:56] No, I’m not.

Yeah, I forget that.

No, no, no.

Yes, this makes sense now. [laughs]

So… Additional context - at the time we made those resolutions I could do two, so I have backslid.

You’re very fit.

You’ve actually backslid.

Ah… That sucks.

Oh, no…

Can you do it just like a standing handstand though? Is that –

No, Divya is very fit, for what it’s worth.

Thanks.

Yes, but not a standing handstand push-up.

Yes, that one is harder.

I mean, I do New Year’s wrap-up and look-back, and this whole year was about recovery… Because we made those resolutions, and then within a week or two my mom died, and other s***t happened… And the first half of this year just sucked. So I’m coming out again looking forward, and I’m optimistic next year it can’t be worse. It’s gotta be better.

It can’t be worse. Well, definitely no big deal, in the scheme of things, whether or not you can do ten handstand push-ups; it’s not gonna change you one way or the other. Amal, you had a bunch of goals…

Oh, of course…

This is kind of an Amal thing. It’s the flying hot, have a bunch of stuff, big ambitions…

That’s my MO. [laughs]

Let me list off a few of these, and you can tell me how you did. So you and your husband were gonna build an automated watering system for your plants using Raspberry Pi’s.

Mm-hm…

Did you do that?

We’re like halfway done.

So we basically wanted to set up our garden, we wanted to set up like an indoor/outdoor garden, but then the lumber crisis hit. So this is kind of another monkey wrench, with setting up an irrigation system… And so I would say I’m hoping we’ll get to it this year. I’m happy that I think some of the goals that I remember from last year I think I did complete, which was like nature time… Because we now live in the country and we’re really enjoying that pretty regularly.

Yes. And the other thing you said is “I need more friends that are not technologists.” How did you do on that front?

I think pretty good. Yeah, I have like a bunch of new friends that are not technologists. I have a friend that’s like a lawyer, and another friend that’s like an accountant…

Are you seeing a trend maybe…?

You’re just like diversifying…

Yeah, yeah. I have a really good friend that I’ve made that’s a massage therapist…

Yeah, I’ve been really working on that. Actually, a lot of my local friends are, obviously, not in tech, and – not obviously, but they are not in tech… And so I think I’ve actually made progress there for sure.

Now you just need to find a plumber friend, an electrician…

Wait, where do you live again?

I live in the Berkshires, so we’re like in this little slice of heaven in Western Massachusetts, where there’s still culture… Not still, there’s tons of culture… And we have tons of nature. So it’s like a very unique place, and you get the best of both worlds. So art, music, theater, and then nature. So it’s a big juxtaposition.

Very cool. You also wanted to build a little LED screen for yourself, because you’re always one minute late to meetings. How about that? Did that come to fruition?

I’ve started that project… But I started that project like three weeks ago, because I quit my job at the end of October, and I started that project three weeks ago, and I’m hooking it up to GCal, and I’m really excited… So stay tuned on that.

Yeah. But I started that project a year later than I planned, so for what it’s worth…

Well, you’re working on it, so that counts. So you’re gonna blog it, are you gonna video it, are you gonna put it out there so we can see what you’re up to?

Definitely, yeah. I’m right now just playing around with how I want the LEDs to show up; like, if I come up with my own symboling system, or if I want to try to do words… I’m using Johnny 5…

I’ll probably make a little YouTube video about it. It’s too much for a blog, I think.

Very cool. Well, Ali, you weren’t on the show last year, but you did have a resolution to leave Chicago, and you just told us you live in Denver, so it sounds like you’re a winner-winner.

Well, yeah. Last year at this time we were deciding where to move, and it was not going to be Chicago… So we had a list of cities that we were thinking about moving to… So it’s all kind of wrapped up this year. I think that was the biggest resolution that I had last year, was to get out of Chicago.

So we already sang Denver’s praises, but why did you pick there, and what were your other choices?

[11:58] Okay, so funny enough, me and my partner Andrew, we both made lists of all the cities that we would possibly want to move to, and then blind-rated them… And then Denver was number one for both of us. So that’s really how we ended up here. It’s a little bit random…

Analytical.

That’s so cool.

Yeah. We didn’t have necessarily a city that we were tied to, because - remote work… So we could have moved anywhere. And Denver was a little bit more affordable than a lot of the big cities, and lots more outdoorsy things to do… So it was kind of the best of all worlds.

So we’ve talked about Denver being good, but you’re coming in with a high bar. That was number one of all possible places. Has it met your bar so far?

Yes, for sure. It’s definitely the best place that I’ve lived. We live close enough to things where it’s very walkable, we can live in a real house, but then we can also drive out of the city whenever we want to go hiking or skiing, because the ski season is starting already, which is exciting, too.

Love it. Love it. Well, Chris, you had what I thought was the best of all resolutions… Because you wanted to “claw your way out of the abyss of disillusionment and alienation.” And also, you wanted to learn how to draw.

Well, I did one of those things, and the other one I failed it.

[laughs] Reveal to us. Can you draw? You can’t draw, can you?

Nah, I can’t draw.

[laughs]

Chris, I’m gonna show you one of my vacation books. We’ll put it in the show links, but I think for people on YouTube, you can see this… It says “You will be able to draw after finishing this book”, or something like that.

That’s not gonna happen.

Yeah. [laughs]

That’s not gonna happen.

So yeah, that abyss, about the yawning void… Yeah, I got a new job, essentially, and I’m doing different things, and I’m much better now…

Awesome.

…relatively speaking. So yeah… Woo-hoo!

I think in the scheme of things, being able to draw vs. being out of the trough of disillusionment - I think that’s the one I would pick. So I’m happy that you’ve solved that one.

I mean, I still wanna be able to draw, but… I don’t know.

Buy this book, I’m telling you.

I don’t wanna try.

It makes a big promise you know?

I don’t wanna put any effort into it, which is really the problem…

You just wanna know how to draw. [laughs]

I wanna wake up like the Matrix and now I know how to draw…

Right.

So I’m just gonna wait for that to happen.

My kids have been doing this thing on YouTube, the Art For Kids Hub… And they tell you exactly what to do, and you will draw something and it looks good. He’s very clever, because he’s giving you these vocabulary of things that you can then draw… And I’ve noticed, at least with my kids - they just follow the instructions, but now when they’re free-drawing, it looks a lot better, because they’re using these little techniques… So it’s almost like they picked it up without doing anything, because they’re just following instructions.

That sounds cool. Maybe send one to Chris for his birthday.

Yeah.

Art For Kids Hub on YouTube. Go for it.

My birthday is in July.

Well, you can wait. You didn’t draw all last year, I mean… Are you in a big rush?

Is there a right answer to this?

[laughs] The right answer is “No. No, I’m not in a rush”, and you’re exactly correct. [laughter]

Oh, my…

So let’s talk trends in 2022. What’s going on, what we think will be going on as the year progresses. Divya, what are you thinking?

It’s interesting to see the JavaScript space sort of heating up specifically around, like, people vying for this JAMstack, or King of JAMstack role… Specifically seeing Netlify raise series D, Vercel raised series D around the same time… And then Vercel is also hiring a lot of people. And it sort of feels like the trend is moving away from just focusing on React and Next.js, because with Rich Harrison joining, and he owns Svelte, and Markbåge - is that how you say his name? I don’t know how to say his name - he joined as well… So there’s a lot of heavy-hitters that they’re hiring. It’s interesting to see that, and I’m curious to see the progression and what that means for the space, and what they’re cooking up at Vercel.

Do we think the hires are just gonna continue apace? Do you think they’ve gotten who they’re looking for? Is it all open source people, or what’s going on? You named two, but does anybody know anybody else, or…?

Yeah, it just seems like they’re hiring a lot of people who own significant open source projects… And it’s interesting to see, because it’s just a matter of like – the trend tends to be “Hire open source people and–” It’s like an acquihire thing. So you take on people who own these giant projects, and by doing so, take on the community that they bring… So yeah, I think they’re making a huge play, definitely.

And I think the other cool thing is - we talked to Rich about this, and it seems like they hired Rich, not the creator of Svelte… So he’s kind of welcome to work on whatever he wants to work on, which - it’s really just they’re hiring the people, not even the communities or the technology.

They also have gotten some really good talent from Microsoft and other companies to lead the engineering effort internally, or the dev rel effort… So they have hired some pretty big people in the community. Maybe not people who are known on Twitter by everyone, but definitely some key people that are instrumental within organizations… So yeah, it’ll be really interesting to see how they take over.

My guess is that I think Vercel, and Guillermo essentially, and I think Elon Musk are gonna have a collaboration; they’re gonna collaborate on something, and it’s gonna be called like Rocker.js, and we’re gonna find out that like Vercel is gonna power dashboards that are gonna run inside of a rocket, and… They’re basically gonna run the tech that’s gonna serve UIs for SpaceX engineers… So that’s my prediction. And I’m sticking with it, everyone.

Hm… Do they have a POP on Mars yet? Do they have a CDN there?

No, but when you think about that constraint though - I mean, like, how many… They had like less than one gig of RAM that took us to the Moon… So think about all those constraints around writing for native applications, right? So I expect JavaScript and web development to be a lot faster after having that constraint of like “You have less than one gig of RAM. Now make it work.” [laughs]

Yeah. I think we have seen some JavaScript-based dashboards on SpaceX. Maybe not on the rockets; maybe in the control booth, or wherever. But I know JavaScript people have been singing praises because their stuff is powering dashboards inside of SpaceX at some point.

But yeah, okay… So Vercel plus – I’m writing this down for next year’s New Year’s party, to say “Did Vercel and SpaceX have a colab in 2022?” That’s Amal’s big call.

What’s interesting about a company like Vercel, and Netlify etc. hiring open source developers - it’s kind of like a shot in the arm; no pun intended… It’s not a pun. No contemporary topic intended… [laughter] It’s a shot in the arm to the amount of time and thought and effort that can go into the project, but then you’re also wondering, like - there’s a cynical me, or maybe more than just me, that’s kind of like with Facebook and React… It’s like, “Does Facebook’s needs drive React’s direction?” Does now Vercel’s corporate needs potentially sully the waters of a Svelte.js, or of these other projects that these people they hire work on? What do you guys think about that? Chris, you have an arm in open source; what do you think about that?

[20:23] Yeah, I think that’s a concern. I think it’s especially a concern with a company that’s just taking on more and more VC funding as well. So yeah, you start to worry about things like a right’s ratchet where you had this open source project that was permissively licensed… Whoops, now we’re going to change the license, and now we’re going to open core, and we’re gonna strip out features, and just… The same thing that’s happened time and time and time again.

I think what’s really frustrating to me is people don’t – they’ll still reach for these projects. It’s like, they think it’s not gonna happen. They don’t appreciate the risk of adopting an open source project like that… And yup, that’s how things go. There’s a lot of talk right now, obviously, about not being appreciative of the risk of adopting open source by companies, so…

I saw a thing recently that said “Open source is free like a puppy”, and I thought it was the most evocative metaphor.

Yeah.

Yeah, it’s free to bring it in the door, but you are signing yourself up for a lifetime of maintenance, and occasionally it’s gonna s***t on your rug.

Yeah. And a lot of people learn that the hard way.

Yeah, notice how the one person who worked at npm is staying quiet… Let my silence be noted by the audience…

[laughs]

And if it wasn’t noted, she’ll call it out…

Let that be interpreted however folks want to interpret my silence, yeah… But let’s just say I strongly agree with Chris. It is a little scary for me to see a VC enter community in open source, because if those boundaries are not clear, it gets really ugly, really fast. And we have a very recent story that we can all refer to about that.

So I just hope folks know what they’re doing… I do think what’s different about Vercel with npm is – the npm founders were very focused, I think, around the community experience more so than the product experience, if that makes sense… So the CLI API, the actual capabilities of the registry, versus like “How do we make this a product?” That was something that was an afterthought and something that was being pushed on by the board, or whoever… Like, “You guys need to come up with a way to make money y’all. We can’t just keep throwing cash at you.”

So what’s different is I think Vercel does have a clear strategy for how to make money. I think my personal question mark on this is second-tier cloud… Like, I think, what’s to stop AWS or Google from spending one or two quarters to actually close the gap on whatever Vercel is offering as a value prop, right? So I’m just saying, there’s risk there too, and best-case scenario is they’re acquired, and the JavaScript community doesn’t suffer as a result. And worst-case scenario is not great. So we’re hoping the best…

And one thing that I think is a little different in the Vercel case versus, say, an npm case, is like, they’re funding a wide range of open source projects and creators that all are projects that if people are using them, they’ll probably also be interested in what Vercel has to offer… Whereas npm was a single thing, and it was deeply integrated between the open source project they’re funding and the product they’re trying to sell. So I think they’re pretty different scenarios. If Vercel goes under or is acquired, Rich Harris can go someplace else. He’s not gonna have a problem, and Svelte isn’t gonna necessarily have a problem. And they’re kind of touching a lot of different things; they’ve been funding some of the key maintainers of Next.js for a while, now they’re bringing in Seb who’s been core on React, they’re talking about Rich… I wouldn’t be surprised if they bring in one of the core members from Nuxt, or something like that. They’re kind of doing a diversified portfolio of helping fund innovation in this space, where people who are using that innovation are in their target customer audience.

[24:16] So I don’t think they get quite the same conflict of interest and single-focused “How do I monetize hang-ups?”, though obviously if they went under, that would cause all sorts of problems, and the pressures of VC are very real.

Well, switching gears…

[laughs] Jerod’s like “I wanted something positive and happy, y’all…”

No. No, no, now.

Is this gonna be a Twitter controversy @ cluster so I apologize…

No, no, no. That’s not me. I’m over here thinking I could talk about this the entire show, but we need to keep the show rolling… Because this is very interesting to me, and I have more things to say about it, but I’m gonna hold them back.

Okay, we can keep it moving. Okay.

Because I would like to pass it over to Ali for your tech trends going on here in 2022. What are you thinking?

Well, my biggest thing, both on my wishlist and forecasting, is that developer tooling and developer experience will become even more important… And I think that even links in to this Vercel conversation that we’re having. That smooth developer experience that makes developers more productive is gonna be a huge place for investing in, because for most startups especially, the most expensive cost is the engineering cost… And so if you can make developers more productive, that saves a lot of money.

So I am very excited for our experience today… I cannot tell you how many times I’ve written a React form, for example. If I didn’t have to do that from scratch every single time, that would be such a boon for my productivity… And so I think the rise of those types of developer tools will be huge.

Hm. Any specifics beyond React forms? Things where you think my life as a developer - this can be for anybody to answer, not just yourself, Ali - would be greatly improved if I had X tool? I know we talked recently on the show about tooling for accessibility, which is somewhere that we all come up short, and how that’s getting better, but we could definitely be holding developers’ hands with tooling for getting accessibility right, and doing it well, and making sure you’re doing it - we can be doing that better, but that’s just one that came to my head. Any other places where your current dev life is in pain and you would love someone to fix that pain for you?

Okay, I’ll go first and then I’ll pass it over to you. So in the Rails era of development - and I guess a lot of people still use Rails, so it’s not like that era is necessarily over… But there was so much code generation; you could type in a command in the command line and half your app would be generated for you… And I think that there are products like LetsJs and a couple others that are doing a really good job of bringing that to the frontend modern experience… So that’s what I’m most excited about personally.

Mm-hm. Amelia?

I have a lot of thoughts here, because my job is pretty much focused on the future of developer experience, but the two things I’m most excited about are making collaboration remotely easier between developers… So this isn’t like more multi-cursor, this is like “How do we –” Like, in between multi-cursor and the Metaverse, like how do we make it so that remote development teams can work together seamlessly, and share what they’re doing, and kind of like an automated way. So you’re not just like sending Slack updates or having video calls.

And the other thing I’m really excited about is it feels like we’re moving more towards - at least in my little frontend world, it’s like there’s the code, but there’s also like “What is the code produced?” So it feels like the focus for a long time has been on “What is the syntax? What does the code look like? Let’s share diffs.” But for me, at least what I’ve seen is it’s moving more towards like “What is this code building? What tools can we build on top of that?”

[28:02] So this is like no-code tools, and GUIs, more in that direction. It feels like we’ve solved a lot of these cases on the web, and like “How can we make it easier for new developers, or people who aren’t developers, to build things?”

Very cool. I’ll just point out that we’re 41 minutes in the recording and we’ve had our first drop of the term Metaverse, so… We made it quite a ways

My apologies…

…but it’s been the talk of the town as of late. Divya, what are you thinking over there?

About the Metaverse as a whole, or my thoughts around the Metaverse?

Or you can ignore that and go back to developer tools, if you think…

Oh, developer tools.

I left it open. You could talk about dev tools or the Metaverse.

I will hold my thoughts on the Metaverse…

You pick. Choose your own adventure, Divya. We’ll share them both. We’re here for it.

I agree with Amelia around developer tooling and a lot of the progress there, just regarding how collaboration works… Because with VS Code, collaboration – like, VS Code Live is great, and I’m looking forward to improvements there, and extra things that they’re probably gonna add in the future… I think one other thing that I’ve also seen that’s a trend - I think it’s sort of been bubbling under the surface - it’s how we’re building developer tooling in JavaScript. And you see this movement towards writing a lot of things in Rust… And I think I’ve talked about this before, but I think you’re starting to see a lot more of that in the developer tooling space, specifically with Deno; that came out last year… And you see more tools starting to use Rust compilation and a lot of the Rust ecosystem and tooling to build for JavaScript… Which is really interesting, and I think we’re probably gonna see more of that moving forward, as more people start to adopt and use Rust.

Yeah. So can I get grumpy about that? Am I allowed to do that? So I’m a little worried about this whole move to Rust thing, because I’m just like “Is this like more JavaScript community hype, where they’re gonna get excited about something and not really think through all the repercussions and the long-term strategy?”

I understand our tooling is getting complex, and builds take time, but the however many seconds or minutes that we’re saving – the complexity that we’re gaining is infinite… And you’re also creating a huge barrier for entry with people contributing to the tools that they use. I’m an expert in JavaScript; do I now have to go learn Rust in order for me to start contributing to this project, or for me to submit a bug patch to this open source project?

I mean, we’re just adding more fragmentation to our stack, and we’re also not thinking more strategically about this mess that we’ve created with our build tooling… So I think we need to think outside the box, not make the horses run faster…

I think maybe…

I don’t know.

I kind of understand.

I understand Rust is amazing, yeah-yeah, but I just… I don’t know if it belongs in the JavaScript ecosystem at that level. I just don’t. But you know, whatever; I’m grumpy and old, so…

The thing is, in developer tooling for JavaScript, it’s not always JavaScript. We have used other languages before. So we’ve used C++. And I would argue that C++ is more complex and more confusing than Rust is… And that’s going way in the weeds, at least, because we’re on JS Party and we’re very frontend-focused, but… If we’re already reaching for a lot of languages like that, I would say Rust is a bit more user-friendly, because their compiler at least gives you very clear indications for when things go wrong. And I’m speaking from personal experience, because I’m not a Rust developer. I have picked up Rust in the last year and a half, going from JavaScript to Rust, and I’ve done C++ before, and it’s been painful… But from a JavaScript perspective, when you do pick up Rust, there is a clear sense of – obviously, there’s syntax, there’s extra stuff you need to think about, because you don’t think about pointers and memory and JavaScript too much, but… Considering the fact that we are already pulling from compiler-heavy languages like C++ for tooling, I would say if we had to choose, Rust is actually not a bad choice.

[32:21] And it sometimes helps sort of give you a clearer sense of how you’re fixing a certain problem. You don’t have to think about certain things that you had to with C++… And so yeah, I would say there is a gain there. Obviously, I understand where you’re coming from, which is like, we shouldn’t be building everything and completely throwing away JavaScript and just writing everything in Rust. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make. I think the point I’m trying to make is that internals - ultimately, we’re using Rust to augment, and then the user experience and the wrapper layer is still JavaScript. So there’s just like, “Is there a way that those two can co-exist?”

Yeah, I think that’s a really good point.

Can I offer an opinion?

Please, yeah. I was actually gonna ask you for yours, even if you didn’t offer it, so…

I think yes, I was kind of alarmed by it at first, but… It’s just that JavaScript and Node - it’s just not well-suited to compilation, like CPU-heavy, number-crunching stuff. It’s just slow doing that. It’s good for other things, it’s good obviously for an async network server, or whatever… But for CPU-bound tasks it’s just slow as a dog.

So Rust makes sense. It makes sense to use a faster language to do those things. But I think it’s gonna be self-limiting. I don’t think we’re gonna get much further than those sorts of tools. If you’ve tried to write a web server in Rust - I’m sorry; there’s just lots of things that Rust is good for, and there’s lots of things it’s not good for. I’m not too terribly worried about it. I don’t see something like – a package manager does not need to be written in Rust, for JavaScript, for example. There’s not a whole lot of number crunching going on; it’s just not helpful.

Yeah. I guess for me, I just think like, okay, we’re using Node for our build tooling, and Node has – you can use things like Napi, you can use native module APIs to hook into C++ bindings if you need to… So why create more fragmentation? If we’re gonna leverage something, why not leverage the cow paths that are already there, being used by large enterprises that are using Node at scale, to do lots of stuff?

C++ is a language of footguns. It’s so easy to shoot yourself with C++.

You can write Napi modules with Rust, too.

Okay, yeah. If you can write Napi with Rust, at least that’s a little bit better, I think, in the sense that you’re able to leverage Napi to at least smooth out the bindings… So for people who are debugging and who wanna understand what the interface is, there’s a way to manage that a little easier. But anyways…

I just remembered, I think it’s pronounced Napi, not Nappy.

[laughs]

Oh, I’m thinking of Nappy because I was thinking that sometimes my hair can be nappy… And it’s not Nappy. What is it? It’s Napi… [laughter]

Yeah, it’s Napi.

Thank you.

But I read it and that’s what it says to me.

It says Nappy. [laughs]

I like Nappy. I’m gonna call it Nappy.

I’ve been working with folks from the U.K. recently, and I think to them nappy means diaper, which might actually be appropriate here, right?

Ohhh…!

Yeah, yeah, yeah… Anyways. Alright, so… Yeah, it’s okay. I’m just – I’m in that phase, I think, that’s very early. I’m where Chris was maybe six months ago, where he was alarmed… I’m still alarmed, but… It’s fine.

You’re saying it’s okay so long as you use the Nappy to keep the *bleep* parts away from you.

Pretty much, yeah. Let’s use Napi.

K-Ball! You’re making me pull up my bleep button way too often in this episode. [laughter]

Yeah, you’re swearing a blue streak over there, man…

You’re really getting edgy in 2022. Seriously.

Anyways…

[36:07] Alright, let’s do one more trend, because then we’re gonna change subjects… We’ve got Chris with a wishlist item. You want Chrome to lose market share. Tell us. I do, too.

Yeah. I don’t know, has anybody been keeping an eye on these –

Crazy security things?

Not the security stuff; the anti-trust lawsuits stuff, where all this dirt is coming out about Google, and Amp, and Chrome, and stuff… And now they’ve got this extension manifest coming out… It’s clear to a vast majority of technologists that Chrome is not where we want the web to go. Chrome - they don’t care about privacy, and we need privacy. Google is not being good. They have not been good. And it’s my hope that some other browsers are going to – you know, new browsers come, or maybe some will claw back some of that market share… But I’ll tell you, the weird payment, “Pay nothing now” in Edge is not the way to do it. I’m hoping we don’t continue down the path of “This website only works in Chrome”, because it’s not a good browser for a human.

So what is it - is it Firefox for the win, or what’s your personal strategy, Chris? What are you using? What do you suggest to people?

I don’t know. I use Vivaldi. It’s a lot of switches, and toggles, and things… It does a lot of stuff. But I’m happy to change if something else comes along that’s awesome, too. I’m not making any predictions about what browser is going to start to get really popular, or anything.

Well, I can tell you, my husband and I have been using Brave as our primary browser on mobile and desktop for more than two years now, three years, I don’t know how long… I used to use Firefox on my work machine; I currently am in between jobs, so I don’t have that work machine right now… But on my new work machine I’ll probably use Firefox and Brave.

My husband decided, just with all the stuff going on with Chrome – he was so upset about it… He’s like, “I’m not even going to start using Brave. I don’t trust any of these browsers.” He’s gonna start building Chromium on his machine, and he’s gonna just use vanilla Chromium and build it himself… Which I think is probably the safest thing, to be honest…

Not very scalable.

Not the most scalable solution.

It isn’t, no… But I mean, if you have one personal machine…

It’s good for us.

Yeah. So it really sucks, but… Yeah.

I do have another wish… I kind of don’t wanna mention it, but it involves the something-chain… And I don’t wanna mention the third version of the thing, but that I would like to go away

[laughs] Just like Beetlejuice, if you say it too many times it shows up, or what?

I really hope that crap gets out of the headlines and out of my Twitter feed.

That’s actually my prediction for this year. I think we’re gonna see our next bubble burst, specifically around NFTs. I do think there’s interesting technology there, and I do think that out of the ashes are gonna come cool, new things, but I think it’s obviously frothy, there’s a lot of scamming going on, people are losing a lot of money… And it’s just been bubbly for a long enough time that I think sometime this year I think we’re gonna see our next crypto bubble pop, and I think a lot of people are gonna end up losing a lot of money, unfortunately… But you’ll get it out of the headlines; there’ll be a bunch of headlines, and then there’ll be none for like a few years, until it bubbles up again. That’s my prediction.

I will put money on that by not putting money on that.

This is not financial advice. [laughter] Do whatever you like, but…

Yes. Thanks for the qualifier.

…I think it’s about due time.

I’m sure there’s a market somewhere where you can short it, and then when you lose your key, your short will go away…

There you go. [laughs]

Oh, gosh…

Let’s just all collectively lose all of our keys, and then everything goes away. Just start fresh. Alright, any last trends before we call it a segment and switch gears?

[40:02] I think people are gonna start to use Temporal. Temporal, Temporal, Temporal, Temporal, Temporal. That’s my last trend. And that’s it, we’ll leave it at that. You know, no more –

No more JavaScript dates?

…JavaScript date library that’s like a bagillion kilobytes… It’s gonna be in the browsers, kids, so…

Is it in Safari?

I’m hoping it will be… Jesus. I might have to make that patch myself in JS if it’s not… [laughs] It’s gonna be a problem.

I don’t think that’s how it works necessarily…

Yeah. Well, I mean, it is open source, for what it’s worth… But yes, you have to be a core committer in WebKit, and…

I know, but – well, mobile Safari… Safari is not open source. The core is, but they decide what goes into the browser, right?

Correct, yes.

Apple has the final say. They could patch it out before they compile, or something. If they wanted to.

Right, right, right.

Alright, there you have it. Temporal is coming to a browser near you. Maybe even Safari. We’ll be right back.

Let’s talk personal goals, resolutions, call them whatever you like… Let’s talk about where we are investing our time this year; what do we wanna learn, what do we wanna try, what do we wanna do? K-Ball, you’re up first.

Alright, so I sort of alluded to last year being a shot year, it was about recovery for me, and challenges. The year before that was also a mess for everyone… So this year, my goal is to get back to growing again, get back to positive, get back to moving forward. And a couple particular places I’m working on that or thinking about that - I wanna get back to writing much more regularly than I’ve been doing… So writing, focusing on that.

The other is investing in learning. Reading some new books in different areas. I’m taking a workshop – I ran here from a workshop this morning, I’m super-excited, learning about how to better develop other developers. That’s fun. But really, just investing in myself and actually looking forward again, rather than just “How do I survive today? How do I recover from the hell that’s been the last couple of years?”

[44:02] Sounds good to me. Let’s kick it over to Divya next. What are you thinking, Divya?

So I’m looking forward to be excited about tech again, because I haven’t been this year at all. I’ve been focusing a lot on my personal life and just getting myself together, and sort of similar to K-Ball, just surviving… And thriving.

So I think next year I really wanna thrive, and just – I started a new job, I’m excited about that, I’m excited to learn again, and grow, and develop, and do something that’s completely outside of my comfort zone… Because when you’re dealing with stuff, you tend to just kind of stick to what is the status quo, so I think that’s what I did for the last year.

Moving forward, I’m excited to just challenge myself again, learn again… I’m hoping to write more about my process, and as I’m learning, try to document everything… Because I think this is the year of growth. That’s my goal.

There you go. Year of growth. Ali, how about you?

Two big things… The first life thing would be I wanna hike a fourteener, and I wanna spend a lot of time outside. And then on the more career front - last year for me was building out a team and building out team processes, and things like that… I think next year will be a lot of implementing. I’m really excited to actually follow through with these workflows that I’ve built out, and these mechanisms, and see how they run in a more scaled up manner. So that’s what I’m doing this year.

Awesome. Amelia.

So there’s gonna be a bit of a common theme here… I’ll start with my resolution this year, which was informal, just looking back. My husband and I moved to DC in March 2020, and if you’ve checked the news since then, we didn’t get to explore DC very much… So at the beginning of 2021 we were really excited to explore DC, and get to know the city. That didn’t happen very much, so come this year, we’re moving to the Bay Area in a few weeks, and I’m going to have the same fake resolution of getting to know the Bay Area, and hopefully it actually happens this time. Then I’ll have an official low-bar resolution of being able to do one sit-up at the end of the year.

So you’ll do one more than K-Ball can do.

Sit-ups?

Just kidding, K-Ball.

Just a normal sit-up.

Just a normal sit-up…

Oh, I can do sit-ups. [laughter]

Don’t challenge him, he’ll do it right here on the show.

You know it.

Okay. Amal. I’m sure you have a long list… Let’s hear it.

Oh my God, y’all ready? Everyone comfortable? Anybody need a bathroom break? A sip of water? A stretch?

You should get your own segment.

Yeah, exactly. Amal’s goals. Her running lists are to run for president… No, I’m not running for president. I don’t know, so I think I’m having a coming out party this year. Last year there was a couple projects that I wanted to launch, and just kind of put that on the back-burner due to things that were going on life-wise, with myself and other folks that I was collaborating with… Everything just kind of took a very interesting turn last year.

I’ve never really done full-time developer advocacy or anything like that, but I still really care about the work that I do with the community, so I think just being this kind of hyper tech lead that’s very inward-focused at work, a lot of the things I do externally to the community are not that intentional. I just get invited to do something, and I’ll just say yes. Or I land on a podcast and I’ll say yes. So this year I think it’s being a little more intentional about the community work that I do, and in order to support that, I’m launching a blog, so you’ll hear lots of rants from me…

The blog is called Unrelated Thread, and right now I’m deciding between UnrelatedThread.blog, UnrelatedThread.com, .dev… I don’t know, there’s so many options; I think I own all of them, so I don’t know. If you have thoughts, let me know.

[48:06] Wait, you’re a developer launching a blog. What did you build it with?

Yeah, when’s your new blog engine going to launch?

Yeah, it’s a Netlify CMS, and just my own frontend… Very simple, nothing crazy, and I’m sure it’ll get more and more refined. I’m trying to not have great get in the way of good, I guess. Does that make sense? But there’s some really interesting things that I’m doing with this blog. I think it’s cool; it’s called Unrelated Thread for a reason, and you’ll see it when it launches.

So there’s that, and then the other thing is, again, just being more intentional about my community work, and being more – kind of making more space for this. I know this is gonna sound crazy, but I’ve decided I’m writing a book. And it’s not the type of book that you think… And in order to keep me accountable for writing this book, I’m hosting a series of monthly salons for the year of 2022. The salons are not actually for y’all, because the book that I’m writing is not for y’all, in the sense that – I mean, you can read it, by all means, but it’s a book about technology for non-technologists. I’m working to help bridge that gap, and there’s some really interesting things that I’m hoping to do.

So writing and being more intentional about my community work, and just continuing on the themes that I think I’ve built in my personal life, over like being healthy, and trying to be more inward, and make more time for myself, and take care of my physical and mental health. I feel like I’ve gotten good at that, but I think getting better boundaries and managing that alongside work… You know, I’m absolutely a workaholic; it’s not draining always, because I love my job, but I think it’s important for me to have better boundaries, so I’m excited to try that as well.

So this book is for all your new friends - your lawyer friend, your accountant friend, your masseuse…

It’s a big deal. We’re probably gonna have to do a whole interview about it on Changelog. It’s a big deal. It’s actually gonna be hopefully a big book.

I want it to be a big book. Real publisher, foreword by a famous person that you might know, type of book…

Elon Musk.

Not Musk, no.

Nick Nisi.

I’m hoping to get Sal Khan, if I can get him…

Guillermo Rauch… [laughs]

Yeah, I think Sal Khan is my first choice, if I can get him; I have a few connections with him, so if I can convince him… But yeah, it’s really just trying to bridge the gap; we have too big of a gap, and technology is just becoming too critical of a thing in everyone’s lives for people to just handwave around it. And it’s a sign of our success that so many people are able to use technology without understanding it… But still, people need to understand it. So this is just kind of like a hurrah to try to at least marginally improve that. Shorten the gap, so to say…

Very cool. Well, you did not disappoint in your ambitious goals for the year. I hope you accomplish all of them.

I don’t know, we’ll see… Hopefully. I’ve set up some stuff to keep me accountable, so that’s…

There you go.

External pressure is the best way.

What’s a monthly salon?

Oh, so I’m part of a forum called InterIntellect. It’s just a bunch of nerds talking about intellectually-type topics… So hosting a monthly salon – it’s like a three-hour session where we just talk about stuff… And I’ll be hosting that as I write the book. As each chapter comes along…

Okay. I thought a salon is just where you go to get your hair done.

No, no, no.

I’m apparently not intellectual enough to know there’s multiple uses of the word.

Right. It’s like a concentrated forum of really smart people, who are very passionate about their respective fields… So you get this wide array of people that are doing interesting things. I made new friends with someone that’s doing a bunch of tech policy work for Tony Blair Institute in London, for example. It’s that type of person. And a lot of engineers as well, myself included.

Okay. Well, after that, I refuse to share any resolutions that I might have… Because it’s like - you know, I want to do three sit-ups, or something; I’m ambitious like that. And I’ll kick it right over to Chris, who is the most ambitious amongst us. Chris, do you have any resolutions for 2022.

Yeah. I’d like to [loud kazoo 00:52:16.29]

[laughs]

Amazing.

Masterfully delivered. That will end the show, because it doesn’t get any better than that. Happy new year to everyone. We hope to have an awesome year of JS Party podcasts for y’all to enjoy. I’ve been Jerod, this has been JS Party, and we will talk to you guys next week!

Changelog

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

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