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Practices

Development and business practices, methodologies, workflows, etc.
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Gergely Orosz blog.pragmaticengineer.com

Developers mentoring other developers

What, exactly, is mentoring? How does it work? Better yet, how does it work well? In this post Gergely Orosz, Engineering Manager at Uber, shares his perspective and the practices he’s seen work well. Mentorship has been the best things that’s sped up my growth and others engineers around me. This post discusses mentorship practices that work well engineer-to-engineer. The practices come from my own experience, observations I’ve made people mentoring each other and from conversations I’ve had with half a dozen mentors in my network and on Coding Coach.

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Joel Marcey Medium

Hello, I am a Developer Advocate

Joel Marcey shares his story and some background on what a developer advocate is and how to be success as a developer advocate. I am a believer in the pop-culture version of Occam’s razor, or the law of simplicity, where the simplest explanation is usually the right one. A developer advocate is exactly what its title implies — an advocate for developers. A successful developer advocate can go both deep and broad. They can own a technology stack but also run programs that span an entire open source program office… A successful developer advocate is able to quickly ramp up on new technologies, sometimes with no background in the space previously, and be able to understand how those technologies may fit into the overall open source ecosystem.

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freeCodeCamp Icon freeCodeCamp

Focus and deep work — secret weapons to becoming a 10x developer

Focus was the topic of this and this episode of Founders Talk, but from a different angle than presented in this post from Bar Franek on freeCodeCamp. It doesn’t matter if you’re working on a side hustle or if you’re a junior developer wanting to get noticed and promoted. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lead developer looking for a change of pace, from a corporate gig to a start-up or the other way around. It doesn’t matter if you’re jobless out of college. As long as you’re a programmer, no skill is more important to your success than focused, deep work.

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Marcy Sutton marcysutton.com

Links or buttons?

To button or not to button…the button element is “actually really cool”… Something that comes up again and again in front-end accessibility is the issue of links versus buttons. You know, the HTML elements that open links in new windows or submit forms? In JavaScript web applications, it seems we’re still confused about which element to choose for user interaction. To try and clarify the haziness, I’ll define use cases for links and buttons in client-rendered applications and help you make better UI decisions, from design to development.

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Julia Evans jvns.ca

Not getting your work recognized? Brag about it.

Most people are modest about their contributions in the workplace. We also forget how important our contributions are. Then, when it comes time for recognition, you’ve forgotten, others didn’t notice because they don’t understand all the details and moving parts, and work just moves on. What do you do if/when your work goes unnoticed? Here’s what Julia Evans suggests… Instead of trying to remember everything you did with your brain, maintain a “brag document” that lists everything so you can refer to it when you get to performance review season! This is a pretty common tactic – when I started doing this I mentioned it to more experienced people and they were like “oh yeah, I’ve been doing that for a long time, it really helps”. Where I work we call this a “brag document” but I’ve heard other names for the same concept like “hype document” or “list of stuff I did” :). BONUS — Julia included a basic template for a brag document at the end of the post.

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Erik Kennedy learnui.design

4 rules for intuitive UX

Erik Kennedy is back to give developers (and other folks who aren’t steeped in UX) some actionable advice on how to make interfaces more usable. This is my advice on improving the UX of your designs WITHOUT hours of user research sessions, paper prototyping playtime, or any other trendy UX buzzwords. When I started as a professional UX designer, I was shocked how many times my clients would hand me the initial wireframes (or the living, breathing, in-browser MVP) and there’d be completely obvious UX mistakes all over them. I’m not talking about things you need hours of research and A/B testing to discover. I’m talking, like, dead simple mistakes.

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The Changelog The Changelog #357

Shaping, betting, and building

Ryan Singer, head of Product Strategy at Basecamp, joined the show to talk about their newest book — Shape Up: Stop running in circles and ship work that matters. It’s written by Ryan himself and you can read it right now for free online at Basecamp.com/shapeup. We talked about the back story of the book, how the methodology for Shape Up developed from within at Basecamp, the principles and methodologies of Shape Up, how teams of varying sizes can implement Shape Up. Ryan even shared a special invitation to our listeners near the end of the show to his live and in-person Shape Up workshop on August 28th in Detroit, Michigan.

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Marianne Bellotti Medium

All the best engineering advice I stole from non-technical people

Marianne Bellotti shares five pieces of advice she’s taken from folks in other walks of life (NSA agents, therapists, etc) and how she’s applied that in the software world. My favorite one is “Thinking is also work”. On this topic, Marianne notes: On a personal level it gave me permission to take time when I needed time. Why should I feel guilty about leaving the office to go on a walk? Thinking is also work. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for us to get away from our computers a few times a day. Many of my best decisions and moments of inspiration have come while on a walk, a bike ride, or yes, while taking a shower! 🚿

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The Changelog The Changelog #356

Observability is for your unknown unknowns

Christine Yen (co-founder and CEO of Honeycomb) joined the show to talk about her upcoming talk at Strange Loop titled “Observability: Superpowers for Developers.” We talk practically about observability and how it delivers on these superpowers. We also cover the biggest hurdles to observability, the cultural shifts needed in teams to implement observability, and even the gains the entire organization can enjoy when you deliver high-quality code and you’re able to respond to system failure with resilience.

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Liran Tal Snyk

Staying ahead of security vulnerabilities with security patches

Liran Tal: How do you cope with the issues of libraries having security vulnerabilities but there’s no fix yet? With open source packages this might even be more apparent than ever. Maintainers are rightfully not in any contract to provide you support, yet you rely on third-party software by volunteers. In this piece I want to show you how we’ve adopted surgical patches to help remove this burden and risk from users.

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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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