Chatbots aren't the future, HTMX is the future, the Craigslist test, the "rewrite everything in Rust" movement, the beginning of the end of the password, and much more

Changelog News

Developer news worth your attention

Hello there 👋

Thanks for replying last week with your LINK vs inline preference: inline it is (sorry Alex!)

I’m also trying something new (but also old) this week: headlines are links, except in quick lists. Reply again if you love (or hate) it! 😎

Ok, let’s get into this week’s top stories. (Audio Edition)

Mojo may be the biggest programming language advance in decades

The just-announced Mojo is a Python superset aimed at fixing Python’s performance and deployment problems. It has a great pedigree (Chris Lattner whom you may know from LLVM, Clang & Swift) and’s Jeremy Howard is very excited about it.

I remember the first time I used the v1.0 of Visual Basic. Back then, it was a program for DOS. Before it, writing programs was extremely complex and I’d never managed to make much progress beyond the most basic toy applications. But with VB, I drew a button on the screen, typed in a single line of code that I wanted to run when that button was clicked, and I had a complete application I could now run. It was such an amazing experience that I’ll never forget that feeling.

It felt like coding would never be the same again.

Writing code in Mojo, a new programming language from Modular1 is the second time in my life I’ve had that feeling.

Why Chatbots Are Not the Future

JS Party panelist Amelia Wattenberger caused quite a stir with this opinion piece. She doesn’t think chatbots are it:

Ever since ChatGPT exploded in popularity, my inner designer has been bursting at the seams.

To save future acquaintances, I come to you today: because you’ve volunteered to be here with me, can we please discuss a few reasons chatbots are not the future of interfaces.

Have you tried Sentry’s interactive sandbox?

Thanks to Sentry for sponsoring Changelog News 💰

This is the coolest/easiest way to see if Sentry’s app monitoring/error tracking service jives with the way you think.

Sentry Sandbox screencap

They do (unfortunately) require an email address before hopping in to the sandbox, but after that bit of friction, you have free reign to poke at a real-world(esque) dashboard and kick all the tires.

Leaked Google document: “We Have No Moat, And Neither Does OpenAI”

I’ve been hopeful about open source LLMs ever since our episode with Simon Willison last month. My hopes continue to wax strong after this (admittedly vaguely sourced) leaked memo from inside the GOOG:

While our models still hold a slight edge in terms of quality, the gap is closing astonishingly quickly. Open-source models are faster, more customizable, more private, and pound-for-pound more capable. They are doing things with $100 and 13B params that we struggle with at $10M and 540B. And they are doing so in weeks, not months.

Monoliths are not dinosaurs

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels pens what looks like a defense of monolithic architectures, but is in actuality a defense of there being no silver bullet:

There is no one-size-fits-all. We always urge our engineers to find the best solution, and no particular architectural style is mandated. If you hire the best engineers, you should trust them to make the best decisions.

He speaks to S3’s microservice architecture and how well it has served the org, but reiterates that there isn’t one architectural pattern to rule them all.

Give it the Craigslist test

Erica Heinz points us to Maybe, a “gorgeous financial services dashboard” that announced a big pivot because “six weeks after launch, we only had 50 paying customers, out of a waiting list of 10,000+ people.” Erica’s advice:

So. If you’re designing a new product or service, give it the Craigslist test — start with low-fidelity options that see if people would love it even if it looked like Craigslist.

sudo and su are getting rewrites in Rust

Josh Aas’ “rewrite everything critical in Rust” movement (which he first talked about on The Changelog a few years ago) continues apace as the Internet Security Research Group’s Prossimo project announces its next big targets.

The beginning of the end of the password

Google has begun rolling out passkeys for Google accounts. It is becoming increasingly clear that this will be the next big thing in auth, but Jeff Johnson warns us that passkeys may mean a loss of user control

⚡️ Lightning round

  • Awesome: a list of all LLMs that are licensed for free commercial use
  • Chill: advice on reducing stress and overcoming anxiety as a dev
  • Nostalgic: an annual journal of literature made to exist on the web
  • Convinced: Chris James declares HTMX the future of web development
  • Hardcore: a collection of apps that support Vim keybindings
  • Invisible: a CLI for removing backgrounds from images/videos
  • Fun: Learning isn’t boring with GPTs
  • Wise: a drag & drop UI to build customized LLM flows with LangchainJS

Flowise Demo GIF

😔 Remembering Carolyn Van Slyck

Carolyn Van Slyck –beloved member of the Go community– passed away recently. I only had the pleasure of meeting Carolyn once, when we hosted her on Go Time in 2021. She was so kind, so thoughtful, and so downright interesting (as both a technologist and as a person) that I later asked her to become a regular panelist on the show.

Unfortunately for us, Carolyn declined the offer because she was already overcommitted. I wish I’d had the opportunity to get to know her better. She was special. Many people who knew her well took time to share their thoughts, memories, and stories of Carolyn and what she meant to them.

That is the news for now. We’re in Vancouver this week for Open Source Summit NA (come say hi!) and our Changelog interview we’re shipping from the conference features three people who are dedicated to funding open source maintainers: Alyssa Wright, Chad Whitacre & Duane O’Brien.

Have a great week, forward this to a friend if you dig it & I’ll talk to you again real soon. 💚