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Content Creation

Ways developers share their thoughts, experiences, and knowledge.
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Tony Stubblebine Medium (via Scribe)

Medium embraces Mastodon

Medium CEO, Tony Stubblebine:

Today, Medium is launching a Mastodon instance at me.dm to help our authors, publications and readers find a home in the fediverse. Mastodon is an emerging force for good in social media and we are excited to join this community.

This strikes me as smart for Medium and a big vote of confidence for Mastodon and the entire concept of federated social networking. With Tumblr support (allegedly) coming as well, what’s next? Reddit?!

Aaron Francis github.com

Publishing your work increases your luck

Aaron Francis:

The goal is not to become famous, the goal is to increase the chances of luck finding us. For me, one of the most helpful ways to think about this has always been the concept of the “Luck Surface Area,” described in an old post by Jason Roberts. He wrote (and note, the emphasis is mine):

The amount of serendipity that will occur in your life, your Luck Surface Area, is directly proportional to the degree to which you do something you’re passionate about combined with the total number of people to whom this is effectively communicated.

Going further, he codifies it into a formula where:

Luck = [Doing Things] * [Telling People]

This reminds me a bit of John Gruber’s Obsession Times Voice. Not exactly the same, but there’s a healthy overlap that I find provocative.

Neovim bhupesh.me

Writing like a pro with Vale & Neovim

Bhupesh Varshney’s been using Vale (a syntax-aware prose linter) in his writing workflow and it has significantly impacted the words he chooses. Here’s how he describes the tool:

Just like when writing software we use static analysis tools to find common problems, vale aims to help writers configure what words/prose to choose while writing technical documentation.

Neovim is Bhupesh’s fav editor. In this post he walks through getting Vale all set up and running with it.

Chris Coyier CSS-Tricks

Have you ever had an inkling to write a tech book?

The linked post is about a new book by Jeremy Wagner, but I just wanted to highlight the excellent aside on book writing by Chris Coyier near the end:

Write a blog post first, or maybe a whole bunch of blog posts. That’ll prove you clearly have words to say about this. Plus it will get the energy of your idea into the world. You might get feedback and constructive insights on the idea as it is shared. Then, hopefully, you can turn that blog post into a talk. That’ll really get you thinking deeply about your idea while getting even more comfortable with the idea of sharing it clearly. And, if all goes well, turn all of that into a book!

Looks like Jeremy did just that.

Go Time Go Time #183

Using Go in unusual ways

This episode was recorded live from GopherCon Europe 2021!

Natalie & Mat host three amazing devs who gave talks that showcase using Go in unusual ways: Dr. Joakim Kennedy is tracking Go in malware, Mathilde Raynal is building quantum-resistant cryptography algorithms, and Preslav Rachev is creating digital art.

We hear from our speakers how they got into Go, how they made the choice to use Go for their unusual use case, and how it compares to other languages for their specific needs.

We also chat about conference talks, submissions and public speaking - how to start, good practices, and tips they collected along the way.

Gabe Kangas owncast.online

Take ownership of your live streams with Owncast

Gabe Kangas:

The new release of Owncast –the self-hosted, open source live streaming server– opened up its first set of 3rd party APIs. So not only can you run your own live streams and own your content, but you can build bots, integrate it in to 3rd party services and be super creative in encouraging chat engagement in new ways.

Looks pretty slick.

Stephanie Morillo stephaniemorillo.co

A Brief introduction to technical writing

Stephanie Morillo:

Developers encounter technical writing everywhere: product & API docs, manpages, tutorials & more. We know it matters but what is technical writing exactly? And how does it differ from other writing?

In this brief post, I define what technical writing is, provide examples of technical writing in software and beyond, and explore other skills technical writers must develop to create successful and effective documentation.

Practices reasonablypolymorphic.com

How to write technical posts (so people will read them)

Writing is hard. Technical writing can be even harder. This piece by Sandy Maguire has lots of help in it:

Here’s the biggest thing to keep in mind: your reader doesn’t really care what you have to say. You get maybe four sentences to convince them that your essay is worth their time. If you haven’t made your case by then, you’ve probably lost them to the next tab they binge-opened.

Culture danluu.com

How (some) good corporate engineering blogs are written

For those out there that lead or contribute to a corporate engineering blog, Dan Luu interviewed folks at Cloudflare, Heap, and Segment, as well as folks at three different companies with “lame corporate engineering blogs” to get a sense of what makes them interesting or lame.

I’ve been comparing notes with people who run corporate engineering blogs and one thing that I think is curious is that it’s pretty common for my personal blog to get more traffic than the entire corp eng blog for a company with a nine to ten figure valuation and it’s not uncommon for my blog to get an order of magnitude more traffic.

In order to have a boring blog, the corporation has to actively stop engineers from putting interesting content out there. Unfortunately, it appears that the natural state of large corporations tends towards risk aversion and blocking people from writing, just in case it causes a legal or PR or other problem.

The Changelog The Changelog #382

The developer's guide to content creation

Stephanie Morillo (content strategist and previously editor-in-chief of DigitalOcean and GitHub’s company blogs) wrote a book titled The Developer’s Guide to Content Creation — it’s a book for developers who want to consistently and confidently generate new ideas and publish high-quality technical content.

We talked with Stephanie about why developers should be writing and sharing their ideas, crafting a mission statement for your blog and thoughts on personal brand, her 4 step recipe for generating content ideas, as well as promotional and syndication strategies to consider for your developer blog.

JavaScript github.com

A Next.js site demonstrating SSG support with a Notion-backed blog

I’m not sure which is more interesting: the fact that Next.js is getting in to the static-site generation game or the fact that Notion is becoming popular enough amongst devs that people would use it as a back-end for their blog.

The Notion aspect, while interesting, comes with a big disclaimer:

since it is using a private API and experimental features, use at your own risk as these things could change at any moment.

Culture inessential.com

No algorithms

Brent Simmons:

I’ve been asked a few times about using algorithms in NetNewsWire to bring articles you wouldn’t otherwise have seen — from outside your feeds list — to your attention.

I’ve also been asked a similar question about using algorithms to bring articles — from inside your feeds list — to the top based on the likelihood that they’ll interest you.

I’m not going to do either.

Good for him.

This is what Twitter and Facebook are about — but it’s not right for NetNewsWire. The app puts you in control.

This is what I love about the spirit of RSS readers. More like this, please!

Mark Christian writing.markchristian.org

You should have a personal web site

Mark Christian, being 💯% accurate:

Hello! This is my personal web site. It’s not much, but it’s mine. After nearly a decade of just barely existing, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in 2019 trying to breathe new life into it. At this point, I think just about everyone–but especially folks in the software engineering universe–should have a personal web site of their own. Let me tell you why.

Victor Zhou victorzhou.com

Why I replaced Disqus and you should too

Victor Zhou:

Switching away from Disqus reduced my page weight by over 10x and my network requests by over 6x. Disqus is bloated and sells your data - there are much better alternatives out there.

Disqus has been the de facto comment engine used for dev blogging (especially for SSGs) for years. I’m happy to learn there are less bloated and privacy-focused alternatives out there.

Lauren Tan no.lol

Migrating from Medium to Gatsby

Lauren Tan:

I recently moved my blog from Medium to a self-managed blog built with Gatsby in the open, then deployed on Netlify. After a few weeks of fiddling around, I feel like I’ve landed on something I’m mostly happy with.

This is a transition we are 💯 behind. Medium is becoming more reader-hostile all the time. Plus, wouldn’t you rather own your own content on a domain you have control over? Of course you would!

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