By Nathan L. Walls

  • Sunset, Jan. 2, 2021/Williams Township
  • On Bougher Hill/Williams Township
  • Sunrise, Dec. 19, 2020/Williams Township
  • Sunset, Dec. 27, 2020

Tool Sharpening: Nov. 9, 2014

For some background on what’s going on here, see the first tool sharpening post

This week, there’s not a lot with regard to more than podcasts or articles read. On one hand, I’m not happy in hindsight with not having written much code. But, I have to balance that against the fact that I did more reading and, honestly, that’s what the week felt like.

Environment + Process tweaks

  • Added a few GMail filters for mailing lists to help improve inbox sanity

Project work

Somehow, the week was busier than expected and somehow, not code-focused, so the pieces I wanted to get to, I didn’t. I don’t like that outcome.

Skill improvements

Nothing particularly of note here, this week.

Articles read

Alright, here’s where most of my post-work tool-sharpening time went. There were several interesting pieces.

  • “The Road to Ember 2.0” by Tom Dale
    • A polite, but audible, shot across the bow of Angular JS and the notion of having to rewrite apps to keep up with framework changes as being an acceptable course of action
  • “AngularJS: The Bad Parts”, by Lars Eidnes, who throws down early against AngularJS

    • Quote:

    Popularity wise, Angular is beating the shit out of the other frameworks. I spent most of last year working on a large project built on AngularJS, and I’ve gotten to know the framework in some depth. Through this work I have learned that Angular is built around some really bad ideas that make it a pain to work with, and that we need to come up with something better. Whatever the reason is for Angulars popularity, it isn’t that it’s a great framework. - The polemic against Angular is good. Stick around for the conclusion, too.

  • “Rebuilding the Shopify Admin: Improving Developer Productivity by Deleting 28,000 lines of JavaScript”

    • A possible outrider indicating a move away from thick front-end web applications back to server-side focused applications

Altogether, these first three pieces point to a trend I won’t pretend is anyway new – this is where the women and men programming in the 70s and 80s shake their heads and mutter, “kids” – but one that I’ve noticed over the last couple of years is that as an industry, we are so eager to think of something new and shiny as a self-evidently worth replacement for whatever came before it. We pick frameworks or languages because of where everyone else is going, but not stopping to look at what’s there before ditching something we know.

There’s a lot more nuance and complexity to this than I can think through and write right now, but I liked these three pieces because each of them, to a degree calls out practices I’ve seen recently that have left a bad taste in my mouth.

Screencasts, podcasts and presentations

  • Listened to Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots Ep. 119: “Create Value or Create Technology? (Pete Hunt)”
  • Listened to Back to Work Ep. 192: “Party City Trophies”
    • Dan and Merlin have a great episode about finding how to motivate their kids without backstopping their parenting with fear. Powerful and personal
  • Listened to Is TDD Dead?: Ep. 2: “Test-induced design damage”
    • David Heinemeier Hansson expands on why he thinks TDD leads to damaged repository. I thought Kent Beck did quite well in pointing out that TDD doesn’t make you do anything. My opinion is closer to Beck’s so far and I am very much enjoying hear him express a depth to his point of view that is worth listening to, whether or not you agree with him