Ugh, slow again this week. I started my new role at Mercury this week and have been super fired up on my work, but I couldn’t find the time or energy to put my newsletter together. I’ll try and be back on my game next week! Anyway, this week I mostly had some great reads from some friends of mine in the Techwriters.dev group and some technical observations about Haskell and functional languages in general. And there were a few cultural gems this week, too.
My Favorite Link
Trying a new segment on my newsletter this week called “My Favorite Link”. Should be pretty self-explanatory as to what it represents :)
Anyway, this week, my favorite link was Write five, then synthesize: good engineering strategy is boring. by Will Larson (@lethain). This piece is full of engineering strategy that is both actionably insightful (“Prefer minimal design document templates that allow authors to select the most useful sections and only insist on exhaustive details for the riskiest projects.”) and introspective (“Most folks are better writers than they are editors.”, I initially disagree with this take and then I slept on it and realized that he’s exactly right).
Lorde: The Blackbird Spyplane Interview - Blackbird Spyplane. Jonah Weiner writes this hilarious newsletter on fashion, culture, and general media-elite navel-gazing, and I loved this week’s interview with Lorde. I’m a big Lorde stan and it’s not surprising that this newsletter’s interview with her was so cool.
Inside the New York Public Library’s Last, Secret Apartments - Atlas Obscura. My favorite paragraph: “When these libraries were built, about a century ago, they needed people to take care of them. Andrew Carnegie had given New York $5.2 million, worth well over $100 million today, to create a city-wide system of library branches, and these buildings, the Carnegie libraries, were heated by coal. Each had a custodian, who was tasked with keeping those fires burning and who lived in the library, often with his family. “The family mantra was: Don’t let that furnace go out,” one woman who grew up in a library told the New York Times.” New York has so much cool history and this piece does a great job of conjuring up the historical context around a cool New York attribute.
2020 Haskell survey analysis. Some findings from the 2020 State of Haskell survey that extracts some additional insight from the data by clustering the respondents into various categories based on their Haskell usage and experience and analyzing the responses of those clusters.
thought leaders and chicken sexers. Well-researched and thorough essay taking aim at some of Paul Graham’s rhetoric and his history not following through on language design concepts. Spawned some [Twitter])(https://twitter.com/ztellman/status/1336046099207864320) and HackerNews drama, as expected.
In defense of blub studies. My favorite line: “In short, if you’re in search of generalizable knowledge that compounds exponentially over time, then blub studies looks like the crap you have to wade through to get to the good stuff. So it’s easy to see why people give up on understanding all the blub they’re surrounded by, except what they need to get the job done. But for me, the opposite attitude has been more productive. Computers can be understood—even if it’s hard and takes a while. Blub studies is more generalizable than it seems, and has its own way of compounding over time, too. That makes it a lot more useful than you’d expect.”
Language Servers are the New Frameworks. Cool read on the value of language servers in improving overall developer experience. My favorite line: “Linting, typing, always-running-compilation and other forms of write-time checks and optimizations are not new. In fact, when dev teams write unit tests and lint rules, they are essentially creating their own bespoke language server for their own app. What’s new is that giving realtime feedback is now a responsibility shared by frameworks. This standardization increases productivity both when starting a new project and moving between projects.”