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Practices

Development and business practices, methodologies, workflows, etc.
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JS Party JS Party #87

Websites should work without JS. Yep? Nope?

We’re trying a brand new segment called YepNope, wherein your intrepid panelists engage in a lively debate around a premise. In this debate, Feross and KBall argue that websites should work without requiring JS and Divya and Chris say, “Nah!” Please let us know if you like this style episode! We had fun recording it, but that doesn’t matter much if y’all don’t enjoy listening to it.

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Shopify Engineering Icon Shopify Engineering

Deconstructing the monolith

Shopify’s engineering team has been doing some serious engineering on their codebase: Shopify is one of the largest Ruby on Rails codebases in existence. It has been worked on for over a decade by more than a thousand developers. It encapsulates a lot of diverse functionality from billing merchants, managing 3rd party developer apps, updating products, handling shipping and so on. It was initially built as a monolith, meaning that all of these distinct functionalities were built into the same codebase with no boundaries between them. For many years this architecture worked for us, but eventually, we reached a point where the downsides of the monolith were outweighing the benefits. We had a choice to make about how to proceed. Click through for a breakdown of the benefits/drawbacks of monoliths and what they build to address the drawbacks without losing the benefits.

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Brad Frost bradfrost.com

Choosing tools

You’re working on a home improvement project. You can choose max. 5 tools. Which ones do you pick? Sort of depends on what the home improvement project is, yeah? If the gig is repairing the toilet tank gasket, I’m likely not going to need my circular saw. But what if I really love my circular saw? I agree 110% with what author Brad Frost is saying here - we have a tendency in our world to get caught up in which tools we like and try to apply them to every situation and rarely ask what the right tools are for any particular job.

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Testing nngroup.com

Why you only need to test with 5 users

Some people think that usability is very costly and complex and that user tests should be reserved for the rare web design project with a huge budget and a lavish time schedule. Not true. Elaborate usability tests are a waste of resources. The best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford. This article is from the year 2000 (queue Conan O’Brien’s side kick), but it’s filled with timeless goodies. Its conclusions are a straight forward example of diminishing returns, but worth reading how they arrived at them from empirical evidence.

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The Changelog The Changelog #352

The Pragmatic Programmers

Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt, best known as the authors of The Pragmatic Programmer and founders of The Pragmatic Bookshelf, joined the show today to talk about the 20th anniversary edition of The Pragmatic Programmer. This is a beloved book to software developers all over the world, so we wanted to catch up with Andy and Dave to talk about how this book came to be, some of the wisdom shared in its contents, as well as the impact it’s had on the world of software. Also, the beta book is now “fully content complete” and is going to production. If you decide to pick up the ebook, you’ll get a coupon for 50% off the hardcover when it comes out this fall.

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James Long jlongster.com

The secret of good Electron apps

James Long is using Electron to build Actual, a personal finance manager — and of course James is sharing the “secrets” he has learned to minimize the common issues with Electron apps. Some of Electron’s problems (large file size, slower boot up time) are inherent in the architecture and need to be solved at a lower-level. The bigger problems (memory hungry and sluggish) can be managed in user-land, but it takes a lot of care to do so. What if I told you there’s a secret that automatically minimizes these problems? The “secret” is to do the bulk of your work locally in a background process. The less you rely on the cloud, and the more powerful you make your background process, the more you can reap these benefits… Dig into jlongster/electron-with-server-example to learn more.

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Julio Biason blog.juliobiason.net

Things I learnt the hard way (in 30 years of software development)

I just started reading this (estimated read time: 34 minutes) and I have to say there are some really great tips inside. This one on code comments is pure gold: If you have no idea how to start, describe the flow of the application in high level, pure English/your language first. Then fill the spaces between comments with the code. Better yet: think of every comment as a function, then write the function that does exactly that. Julio warns that many of his learnings are cynical, but it’s gotta be hard to not be cynical after 30 years in this industry…

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Bradley Taunt bradleytaunt.com

Making tables responsive with minimal CSS

There’s still a use case for tables!! No seriously, there is. If you’d like to learn how to optimize table elements for mobile using minimal CSS, read on… My recent article, Write HTML Like It’s 1999, received far more attention than I ever expected on HackerNews. With this attention came a few comments mentioning how table elements don’t play nice with mobile devices or that it’s not possible to have a useable layout on smaller screens. This simply isn’t true.

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Kubernetes github.com

Ensure your Kubernetes clusters are using best practices ✅

Polaris helps keep your cluster healthy. It runs a variety of checks to ensure that Kubernetes deployments are configured using best practices that will avoid potential problems in the future. Provides a dashboard with an overview of how your clusters are doing as well as an experimental “validating webhook” that can stop future deployments that don’t live up to the standards.

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Dave Kerr github.com

Hacker Laws 💻📖

From Conway’s Law, to The Law of Leaky Abstractions — you’ll find links to laws, theories, principles, and patterns useful to developers — curated by Dave Kerr. Conway’s Law — This law suggests that the technical boundaries of a system will reflect the structure of the organization. It is commonly referred to when looking at organization improvements, Conway’s Law suggests that if an organization is structured into many small, disconnected units, the software it produces will be. If an organization is built more around ‘verticals’ which are orientated around features or services, the software systems will also reflect this.

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Yegor Bugayenko yegor256.com

How to write an elegant README for your GitHub repo

Some time ago I wrote a blog post An Open Code Base Is Not Yet an Open Source Project where I suggested a few important qualities of a good open source repository/project. One of them was the well-written README file. Here I will try to give a few hints on how to create a good README file and what mistakes to avoid. A solid README is a must-have for all open source projects. Thankfully, many folks have been taking their READMEs more seriously as of late. If you’re one of ‘em, check out this post and see if there’s anything you can improve.

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Daniel Stenberg daniel.haxx.se

Why people use curl

You know we’re curl fanpeople around these parts, and we’re obviously not the only ones (it’s used by millions of people around the world!). In this brief post, Daniel Stenberg lays out seven common reasons people tell him why they use curl. This particular bit resonated with me: No other tool or library for internet transfers have even close to the same amount of documentation, examples available on the net, existing user base that can help out and friendly users to support you when you run into issues.

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Kira Booth blog.plaid.com

Growing our team with retrospectives

From Kira Booth writing on the Plaid blog. …we take an agile-like approach to how we think about process. If our team’s process isn’t working, we talk about it in a retrospective (aka “retro”) and figure out how to change it. Many companies don’t begin retros until they are large and have many processes in place, but we feel that retros are especially valuable at our size and rate of growth. Plaid’s engineering organization is rapidly growing. In the Salt Lake City office where I work, we have plans to grow from 20 to 60 engineers this year. Processes that worked just a few months ago may not work now. A culture of continuous process improvement helps us to stay ahead of growing pains like inefficient collaboration, error-prone coding practices, and interpersonal conflict.

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John D. Cook johndcook.com

The hard part in becoming a command line wizard

John D. Cook: I’ve long been impressed by shell one-liners. They seem like magical incantations. Pipe a few terse commands together, et voilà! Out pops the solution to a problem that would seem to require pages of code. Are these one-liners real or mythology? To some extent, they’re both. Below I’ll give a famous real example. Then I’ll argue that even though such examples do occur, they may create unrealistic expectations. I agree with his overall argument, but the good news about the command line is you don’t have to become a wizard to get value out of it. Start small and go from there.

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