Conversations, stories, and insights from dev tool creators
How do you design software documentation and websites that both intrigue and educate? As a contributor to popular projects like React Native, Jest, Prettier, and TypeScript, Orta Therox has prioritized design for visual engagement, accessibility, and learning. In this episode, Orta talks about the importance of engaging docs, how experimentation fuels learning and engineering in TypeScript, and how developers can write better code examples with Shiki Twoslash, a project he developed and designed. Along the way, Orta also shares his own story of getting into code and the odd way he was hired on Microsoft's TypeScript compiler team.
Click the audio player below to listen, or click here to watch the video.
On the eve of the pandemic, Christopher Chedeau was procrastinating on performance reviews at Facebook and decided to hack together a simple drawing app. That weekend project became Excalidraw, an open source virtual whiteboard so popular that its users have basically demanded a startup form around it so that they can bring it to work. In this episode of the Sourcegraph Podcast, Christopher tells the backstory of Excalidraw's meteoric rise, as well as his story of joining Facebook and coming to America, and tales from the early days of React and how React Native was born.
Click the audio player below to listen, or click here to watch the video.
What's it like to deconstruct one of the largest Rails codebases (3 million lines of code, 500,000+ lifetime commits, 40,000 files) on the planet? And why didn't Shopify follow the standard path to microservices, but instead choose to modularize their monolith?
In this episode, Kirsten Westeinde, software development manager at Shopify, describes how her team led the charge in refactoring and re-architecting Shopify's massive codebase, sharing the winding path they took to make this massive change and the way they tackled both the technical and human sides of this challenge.
Devon Zuegel, the creator of GitHub Sponsors, tells the story of how an email rant to Nat Friedman on the eve of Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub turned into the most popular way to fund open source. She also shares her thoughts on different models of paying for software and where the future of the code economy is headed.
As an engineer at Puppet, CoreOS, and Google Cloud, Kelsey Hightower has been at
the forefront of new deployment technologies over the past decade. Along the way, he has built tools like
confd, created learning resources like Kubernetes The Hard
KubeCon, and taught multitudes of people
about containers, infrastructure as code, service meshes, and the operating system of the
In this conversation, Kelsey talks about how he learns new technologies, shares stories over the course of Kubernetes history, and explains how one might make sense of the varied ecosystem of infrastructure tools ("engineering organizations are like restaurants").
Peter Pezaris is the CEO and founder of Codestream, an editor plugin that's bringing code discussions and communication into your IDE. Codestream is starting by bringing GitHub PRs into your editor, but it has a novel vision for knowledge sharing that goes well beyond that. We talk about that vision, the shortcomings of existing communication tools for developers, and the challenges of building a uniform user experience on top of multiple editor APIs.
Jonathan Carter (a.k.a. LostInTangent) is the principal program manager at Microsoft for VS Code Liveshare, GitHub Codespaces, and IntelliCode. We talk about how Liveshare is opening up new possibilities in pair programming, how Codespaces aims to reduce a key source of developer friction, and how he and his team want to enable more developers to say "yes" to the question, "Why not now?" Jonathan also talks about building dev tools in his spare time, including his latest project, CodeTour, a VS Code extension that lets you create guided tours through your codebase.
Andrew Gallant (a.k.a. BurntSushi) is the creator of ripgrep, a popular command-line search tool that powers the search box in VS Code. Andrew tells me how ripgrep began, explains why it's faster than GNU grep and other grep alternatives, and gets into the nitty-gritty of regex optimization.
We also discuss another matter near and dear to both of us: Linux window management. Andrew talks about what he likes about Go and Haskell and why Rust is his current go-to programming language, and finally he shares a humorous anecdote involving algorithms, technical recruiting, and everyone's favorite New England sports team.
Syrus Akbary is the founder and CEO of Wasmer, the startup behind the open-source web assembly runtime that's doing for WebAssembly what Docker did for LXC. Syrus explains what WebAssembly is, why it matters outside your browser, and how it compares to other virtualization technologies. He shares the pains that motivated him to look into WebAssembly and eventually led him to create a new WebAssembly runtime and a new company around it. We dive deep into WebAssembly as a technology, its portability and performance characteristics, and talk about the importance of prioritizing community and developer experience when building new development platforms.
Michael Stapelberg shares with us a multitude of experiences and contributions across the Go and Linux open-source communities. Highlights include creating the popular window manager i3, building Debian Code Search, and researching fast package management for Linux with distri. Thorsten Ball, author of Writing a Compiler in Go and Writing an Interpreter in Go, joins. The three of us talk about the importance of developer experience to open-source communities, how code search changes how you work, and how to decide when to build something new.
Matt Holt is the author of many popular projects in the Go open-source world, among them the popular Caddy web server, which pioneered support for HTTP/2 and might still be the only major web server to support automatic TLS by default.
Matt talks about his motivations for creating Caddy, how the project grew and evolved over time, what it was like to do a complete rewrite from Caddy v1 to v2, and the challenges of maintaining a very popular open-source project. He also talks about his latest project, a TCP multiplexer called Project Conncept.
Thorsten Klein is the creator of k3d, a tool that lets you run a lightweight Kubernetes cluster (k3s) inside a single Docker container. This makes it much easier to spin up a Kubernetes cluster in places like your dev environment, your CI pipeline, or a low-resource environment like a Raspberry Pi.
Thorsten is a DevOps engineer at Trivago, where he works on developer experience for a team that maintains a set of bare-metal Kubernetes clusters. Dax McDonald, former engineer at Rancher Labs, joins. We chat about the ways in which developers are using k3d, the motivations and inspirations for writing it, and other tools we find useful in the Kubernetes ecosystem.
Rijnard van Tonder is the creator of Comby, a pattern-matching syntax and command-line tool that offers a more expressive and more user-friendly alternative to regular expressions for many common patterns in code.
Rijnard earned his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in 2019. In this podcast, we chat about the state of the art in static analysis and automated bug-fixing, new tools made in industry like Pyre and SapFix, and what place machine learning has in the world of developer tools.
Dan Bentley is the CEO and co-founder of Tilt, a company that's bringing order back to the dev environment in the age of microservices and Kubernetes. It features smart rebuilds, live updates, an easy-to-use CLI, and a beautiful GUI dashboard for staying on top of what's happening in your multi-service dev environment.
Prior to founding Tilt, Dan was the first full-time dev tools engineer at Google, where he worked on a variety of developer tools and infrastructure over his 11-year stint. We talk about what Google was like just before the IPO, the features he misses from Google Code, and several projects he worked on, among them a precursor to Google's famed Blaze (open-sourced now as Bazel) build system.
Yves Junqeira and John Ewart are co-founders of YourBase, a build and test runner service that accelerates testing and CI by understanding the implicit dependency graph of your builds. YourBase integrates with most major build tools and employs system call analysis and static language analysis to infer the build dependency structure without the need for manual configuration. It then uses this information to parallelize and cache builds, yielding significant performance improvements.
Yves and John reflect on their experiences working as SRE inside Google and SWE inside Amazon and how writing code is different inside these organizations, both compared to one another and to the rest of the world. They share lessons learned and advice for potential developer tool founders.
If you write code on the modern web, it's almost certain that your life has been shaped significantly by Luke Hoban's work. Luke has worked on developer tools his entire career. He started out on Visual Studio, C#, and .NET in the early 2000s, later joined the ECMAScript standards body as a representative of Microsoft, and then became one of the co-founders of the TypeScript programming language. Today, he is the CTO of Pulumi, an infrastructure-as-code company that lets you write your deployment config as code in your favorite language.
Luke shares stories from the early days of TypeScript and talks about how it evolved from a two-man team to one of the most successful programming languages and open-source projects. We discuss important inflection points and design decisions that played a key role in TypeScript's runaway success. We also dive into the symbiotic relationship that TypeScript had with another early project just getting off the ground at the time: VS Code. Luke also shares his learnings from his stint at AWS, how his role at Pulumi combines his two passions for programming languages and cloud infrastructure, and how Pulumi brings the niceties of the IDE experience to an area that sorely needs it—infrastructure configuration management.
Evan's career has spanned many years up and down the software stack, from frontend UI development to infrastructure and ops. For the past five years, his focus has been developer tooling and infrastructure, having worked on these during his tenure at Uber during its hypergrowth years and now on the dev tools team at Segment, where his charter is to "empower the engineers of Segment with the tools to automate, optimize, and streamline their workflows." In this episode, he explains to Beyang what exactly that means, discussing Segment's use of technologies from the AWS ecosystem, the popular open-source secret management tool they created, ChatOps, and various Docker- and Kubernetes-based tools that are useful for managing the deployment of many microservices.
Charity Majors is the founder and CTO of Honeycomb, provider of observability tooling for modern engineering teams to build resilient production software that delights customers and reduces toil. Charity tells Beyang about how Honeycomb derives its definition of observability for software systems from its original definition in control theory, and how observability differs from monitoring and logging. She shares war stories from her time keeping systems online at Facebook and Parse, gives her predictions about how the landscape of observability and monitoring tools will evolve, and discusses how developer tools can make programming more accessible to everyone.
Ryan Djurovich is a DevOps manager at Xero and former manager of the DevTools team at Cloudflare. He shares with Quinn how he has seen the landscape of Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD) tools change over the years, the three waves of CI/CD, and where he thinks testing and build tools are headed in the future.
David Cramer talks about creating Sentry as an open-source side project, maintaining it while working full-time at Dropbox, and ultimately growing it into today's leading application monitoring tool. We chat about the emergence of new computing platforms, his thoughts on what's truly new and what's just marketing-speak for old ideas, and how he sees the landscape of monitoring evolving in the future.
Welcome to the Sourcegraph Podcast, a new show about developer tools and their creators. Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be publishing conversations with people we think are some of the best and brightest minds working on tools and infrastructure for developers. Here's a partial lineup:
If you have ideas or suggestions for guests, hit us up on Twitter. We're speaking to an audience of developers who love leveling up their productivity and, perhaps, who also aspire to create great dev tools themselves. If that's you, then subscribe! We look forward to sharing some insightful conversations with you over the next few weeks.