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Beliefs, behavioral patterns, thoughts, and institutions of the developer community.
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Dan Abramov Medium

Why my new blog isn’t on Medium

This post from Dan Abramov about why he moved off Medium summarizes both why we’re no longer linking there and why we never put our blog/content there. Some of my Medium articles unexpectedly got behind a paywall. I’m not sure what happened and whether that’s still the case. But I didn’t do it myself, and that caused a blow to my confidence in Medium as a platform. I respect their need to monetize, but it felt wrong when done retroactively.

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The New York Times Icon The New York Times

Amazon pulls out of planned New York City headquarters

As of today, Amazon announced the cancelation of its plans to build one of their corporate campuses in New York City. This decision, “comes after facing an unexpectedly fierce backlash from some lawmakers and unions.” Their concerns stem from the idea that a tech giant does not deserve nearly $3 billion dollars in government incentives. This move from Amazon was expected to create more than 25,000 jobs in the city. To lure Amazon, [New York] city and state officials had offered the company one of the largest-ever incentive packages in exchange for a much larger return in jobs and tax revenue. “Like a petulant child, Amazon insists on getting its way or takes its ball and leaves,” said Mr. Gianaris, a Democrat, whose district includes Long Island City. “The only thing that happened here is that a community that was going to be profoundly affected by their presence started asking questions.” This coverage from J. David Goodman on The New York Times also includes a statement released by Amazon.

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Jeff McAffer mcaffer.com

Open source engagement in organizations

Jeff McAffer (the Director of Microsoft’s Open Source Programs Office) says you can plot their course in open source quite closely in the model he describes in this post. A few years ago they were in denial about the open source movement. Today it’s a different story with 20,000 Microsoft folks activity working on GitHub. Companies, governments, and other organizations big and small are working with open source to achieve their goals. Teams range from barely considering it to betting their whole business on open source. Putting some structure on this spectrum has helped me think about and evolve Microsoft’s open source program. I’d love to hear if you find it useful, how, or why not. If you run, participate in, lead, or you are curious about open source programs you should read this.

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Tom Barrasso hackernoon.com

Dear Javascript, "this" isn't working...

Are you frustrated with the growing complexity of Javascript and front-end tooling? Read this creative break-up letter from Thomas Barrasso. Here’s an excerpt: We stayed up late at night, holding requests for what felt like hours. You took it to 4 billion places I never thought it could go. In my mind, you had no equal. People thought we were crazy. I could hardly await to escape callback hell because with you, nothing was out of scope. We prototyped one great framework after the next, never stopping to wonder why. Thomas decided to write this break-up letter “as a means of exploring my frustration with both the language and ecosystem.”

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Filip Borkiewicz 0x46.net

Dotfile madness

Solid rant: My own home directory contains 25 ordinary files and 144 hidden files. The dotfiles contain data that doesn’t belong to me: it belongs to the programmers whose programs decided to hijack the primary location designed as a storage for my personal files. I can’t place those dotfiles anywhere else and they will appear again if I try to delete them. Let’s see here, in my $HOME directory: ls -l | wc -l # => 18 vs ls -la | wc -l # => 114 96 hidden files! I guess it’s never really bothered me, but that is definitely excessive. To those of you reading this: I beg you. Avoid creating files or directories of any kind in your user’s $HOME directory in order to store your configuration or data. This practice is bizarre at best and it is time to end it. What do you think, is this a real issue or just a pet peeve?

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Rachel Andrew rachelandrew.co.uk

HTML, CSS and our vanishing industry entry points

As chronicled in the latest JS Party we continue to track the conversations and insights being shared about the great divide on the front-end. Even DHH shared his thoughts. This post from HTML & CSS expert and advocate Rachel Andrew shares her perspective drawn from the 20 years she’s been working on the front and backend of the web. When we talk about HTML and CSS these discussions impact the entry point into this profession. Whether front or backend, many of us without a computer science background are here because of the ease of starting to write HTML and CSS. The magic of seeing our code do stuff on a real live webpage! We have already lost many of the entry points that we had. We don’t have the forums of parents teaching each other HTML and CSS, in order to make a family album. Those people now use Facebook, or perhaps run a blog on wordpress.com…

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David Heinemeier Hansson Signal v. Noise

Designing for the web ought to mean making HTML and CSS

DHH shared his thoughts on The Great Divide. After all, the web IS just…HTML, CSS, and JavaScript… …as The Great Divide points out, regression is lurking, because the industry is making it too hard to work directly with the web. The towering demands inherent in certain ways of working with JavaScript are rightfully scaring some designers off from implementing their ideas at all. That’s a travesty. At Basecamp, web designers all do HTML, CSS, and frequently the first-pass implementations of the necessary JavaScript and Rails code as well! It means they get to iterate on their design ideas with full independence. In the real app!

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Away from Keyboard Away from Keyboard #12

Laura Gaetano doesn't want to be a manager

Laura Gaetano was born in Italy, and by my count has lived in at least four different countries. Her multicultural upbringing has had a huge impact on her life. In fact, she currently works at the Travis Foundation with a focus on diversity and inclusion. We talk about her upbringing, her troubles with art school, the work she’s doing now, and changes that may be on the horizon.

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Russ Cox research.swtch.com

Houston, we have a software dependency problem

Dig in as Russ Cox goes deep on our software dependency problem. For decades, discussion of software reuse was far more common than actual software reuse. Today, the situation is reversed: developers reuse software written by others every day, in the form of software dependencies, and the situation goes mostly unexamined. … Software dependencies carry with them serious risks that are too often overlooked. The shift to easy, fine-grained software reuse has happened so quickly that we do not yet understand the best practices for choosing and using dependencies effectively, or even for deciding when they are appropriate and when not. My purpose in writing this article is to raise awareness of the risks and encourage more investigation of solutions.

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Adam Stacoviak changelog.com/posts

The founders of Octobox are "walking a tightrope" as they move towards sustainability

Building an open source business is hard. Octobox co-founders Andrew Nesbitt and Benjamin Nickolls know this all too well. They’re walking a preverbal “tightrope” with the introduction of new pricing in order to move towards sustainability. By all accounts, Octobox is a success. It’s a thriving open source project that’s being adopted by the software community using GitHub. It has a growing community of maintainers and contributors. Organizations like Shopify run company-wide instances for their own use. Octobox is also run as a SaaS that hosts more than 11k users. But there’s one tiny little problem…Octobox is not sustainable (yet).

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Y Combinator Icon Y Combinator

What’s the second job of a startup CEO?

Most startup founders get stuck in their first job as a CEO. The key to getting past developing a good product and achieving product-market-fit is to develop a good company. As noted in this recent episode of Founders Talk with Isaac Schlueter, and this post from Ali Rowghani the CEO of Y Combinator Continuity, getting the company part is hard. Your first creation is a product, your second creation is a company. A Phase 1 startup CEO is the Doer-in-Chief. You must be deeply involved in both building the product and acquiring users/customers. A CEO’s first job is to build a great product and find a small group of people who love it and use it enthusiastically. As a Phase 2 CEO, you need to transition from “Doer-in-Chief” to “Company-Builder-in-Chief.” This is how you scale as a CEO, and CEO scaling is the first step in company-building. For most founders, this is very difficult. When you’ve been a successful Doer-in-Chief, it’s hard to stop.

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Swift forums.swift.org

Apple is indeed patenting Swift features

Is Apple trying to own paradigms of a computer language or are they trying to keep the patent trolls away? Here’s a link to the patent in question, and here’s the patent’s abstract: In one embodiment, an improved programming system and language for application development is provided that combines elements of the C and Objective-C languages without the constraints imposed by a requirement to maintain compatibility with the C language. The language provides the functionality of the C language compatibility in certain areas to improve the inherent safety of software written in the language. The new language includes default safety considerations such as bounds and overflow checking.

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Chris Coyier css-tricks.com

The Great Divide

Next week’s episode of JS Party digs into this subject, so make sure you subscribe or check it out! Two front-end developers are sitting at a bar. They have nothing to talk about. The divide between front-enders can be summarized by those whose “interests, responsibilities, and skill sets are heavily revolved around JavaScript,” and those whose “interests, responsibilities, and skill sets are focused on other areas of the front end, like HTML, CSS, design, interaction, patterns, accessibility, etc.”

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Tanya Janca medium.com

Security bugs are fundamentally different than quality bugs

Tanya Janca compares and contrasts quality bugs and security bugs, arguing that they’re quite different and should be treated differently. This logic resonates with me and she has a lot of insights to share along the way. I particularly enjoyed this bit: You cannot have a high-quality product that is insecure; it is an oxymoron. If an application is fast, beautiful and does everything the client asked for, but someone breaks into the first day that it is released, I don’t think you will find anyone willing to call it a high-quality application. A good read all the way through to the end. 👍

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Away from Keyboard Away from Keyboard #11

Adam Clark wants to be independently wealthy

Adam Clark and I met back in 2013. We started a podcasting company together (which we both left), he shut down his consulting business to move to California and work for Apple, and now he’s back in Tennessee. Last year he launched a new business, Podcast Royale, a company he says will afford him more freedom to do whatever he wants to do. He talks to me about growing up in a cult, losing his father, marriage, and how being a parent gives him a purpose in life.

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Drew Devault drewdevault.com

I’m going to work full-time on free software

A year ago Drew Devault laid out his future plans and path to sustainably working on open source full-time. Today, those plans have been realized. I don’t want to make grandiose promises right away, but I’m confident that increasing my commitment to open source to this degree is going to have a major impact on my projects. For now, my primary focus is sr.ht: its paid users make up the majority of the funding. Drew goes on to say how he’s making this leap before the needed income is actually there, so if you dig what he’s up to, you can play a part in making his choice a success. I need to clarify that despite choosing to work full-time on these projects, my income is going to be negative for a while. I have enough savings and income now that I feel comfortable making the leap, and I plan on working my ass off before my runway ends to earn the additional subscriptions to sr.ht and donations to fosspay et al that will make this decision sustainable in the long term.

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Chloe Condon medium.com

What it’s like to be a woman on the internet

Chloe Condon: Being a woman on the internet can be terrible sometimes. Unfortunately, me writing this article isn’t going to fix things overnight. We have a very long way to go until this awful behavior towards women online stops (and let’s face it- it likely never will). But I’m writing this article to shed light on an issue I think most folks (especially men) don’t see a whole lot of since it’s often behind-the-scenes and often only seen by the women who receive them and their partners/close friends. The creepy DMs, the gross messages from dudes on LinkedIn, the blog comments, and the “well actually”s on our tweets add up. It needs to stop. Chloe details a horrible story of harassment that unfolded this past week. It’s stories like these that get all of us fired up and upset, but Chloe’s reality reveals that she deals with similar things every single day. As she says later in the article, it’s the responsibility of men (myself included) to be allies and “call out this behavior if you see it happening.” It may also call for some self-reflection. Have I mistreated someone (maybe even without knowing it)? It’s always a good time to make changes and grow to be better humans.

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Flavio Copes freeCodeCamp

Every developer should have a blog (here's why, and how to stick with it)

Flavio Copes is a great person to take this advice from. He’s been blogging for “more than 11 years,” more or less consistently. In this post he covers not only what you need to know to be successful, but also what you need to forget. One of ways I learn best is by doing. I literally decide on a topic I think I know something about, and I drill down in a spiral loop through things I didn’t know, or I didn’t even think about. They say you never fully understand a topic until you are able to explain it. Blogging is a low barrier to explaining things.

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Ben Thompson stratechery.com

The economic realities of open source

Ben Thompson, one of the voices behind Exponent and writer at Stratechery, covered the economic realities of open source from a lens of the music industry. More specifically, Ben talked about how the music industry’s revenue, medium, and distribution relates to that of open source in today’s world where AWS, Microsoft or Google are able to make money off of open source like MongoDB and Redis without having to share any of that money with the developers of the open source. He describes this conundrum for open source companies: MongoDB leveraged open source to gain mindshare. MongoDB Inc. built a successful company selling additional tools for enterprises to run MongoDB. More and more enterprises don’t want to run their own software: they want to hire AWS (or Microsoft or Google) to run it for them, because they value performance, scalability, and availability. This leaves MongoDB Inc. not unlike the record companies after the advent of downloads: what they sold was not software but rather the tools that made that software usable, but those tools are increasingly obsolete as computing moves to the cloud.

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