Issue #13: 10 Read, A Handcrafted Weekly Newsletter for Humans


Hello All,
Here are 10 reads I thought were worth sharing this week. The total time to read this newsletter is 130 minutes. This week newsletter has stories on Firebase, how to manage your engineering superheroes, service discover, habits to adopt in your life, how to do full text search with PostgreSQL, being a remote developer,  few more.
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong — H. L. Mencken

  1. How we spent 30k USD in Firebase in less than 72 hours : 10 mins read. This is a story of a team that burnt 30k USD in Google’s cloud Firebase service because they didn’t know how to use basic tools to monitor their services. They updated their entire frontend stack and didn’t care to monitor network traffic.I think the bigger lesson of this story is that most of the developers are too lazy to put cognitive stress. We assume there is magic behind piles of abstractions we use. We never question them or try to understand what’s happening behind the scenes. So, during development every thing looks fine but when you go to production most teams suffer in diagnosing root cause issue. I think this you learn with time. It is important to have a senior developer who has worked under such situation to tackle these situations. Luckily for this team, they were able to pay the bill using the Google Cloud Grant else their startup would have hard time surviving.
  2. How to Spot and Magnify the Powers of Your Engineering Superheroes: 20 mins read. This is not a 20 min read but I spent time thinking about my work environment while reading it. The most important point for me in this post was that a technical person can better manage and lead a group of software developers. An Engineering Manager/Leader need to understand that different individuals have different characteristics. People get excited about different things and you have to treat them accordingly. I have seen worst of the managers and best of the managers. I personally have grown more under technical leaders. If I can’t trust you and see that you don’t understand my point of view how can you manage/ lead me. For this reason, I think senior technical professional have to start considering engineering manager role seriously. The next generation of software engineers need better managers.
  3. Keep a Changelog: 10 mins read. This post covers an important practice that most open source and commercial projects should employ. The practice of writing good Changelog. As mentioned in the post, a changeling is a file which contains a curated, chronological ordered list of notable changes for each version of a project. This post clearly defines how a changelog document should be created and maintained over time. Most of us have tried using git logs to use as changelog but  they don’t work out well. There are few open source changelog generators but I agree with the author that some things should be done manually. A changelog file should be handwritten.
  4. Understanding JavaScript Objects: 10 mins read.  This is a basic post on JavaScript objects. If you are coming from OOPs languages like Java, then you have to understand how JavaScript uses prototypical inheritance. Prototypical inheritance is one of the most powerful features of JavaScript. In lot of ways, it is better than classical class based inheritance. This is a good post to refresh/or learn JavaScript basic concept.
  5. Tsundoku: The art of buying books and never reading them: 10 mins read. I am guilty of this as well. I buy more books than I can read. I like quote this quote by A. Edward Newton “Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity … we cherish books even if unread, their mere presence exudes comfort, their ready access reassurance.”
  6. Service Discovery for Modern Distributed Applications: 10 mins read. This is first post of my new blog series on building distributed systems. In this post, I covered about different approaches to service discovery — client side, server side, and service mesh.
  7. Habits You Should Adopt Immediately to Make Big Changes In Your Life: 15 mins read. In this post, author Thomas Oppong talks about habits that each of us should adopt. I am happy that I share some of the habits mentioned in the post. The habits mentioned are 1) Spend the first hour of your work day on high-value tasks 2) Single task with purpose 3) Commit to lifelong learning 4) Spending just 5 minutes a day being mindful changes how you react to everything 5) Read daily. I think before you can develop any new habit, you first have to understand that you need to change. There is a better way to live life. Blogs like these help you to see what good habits you can adopt to bring positive change in your life.
  8. Setting up a fast, comprehensive search routine with PostgreSQL: 10 mins read. This post shows how you can use PostgreSQL full text indexing capabilities to build a full text search for your application. It shows how to create materialised views and how to refresh them.
  9. Reflections on being a remote developer: 20 mins read. This is long post by engineer who works at Buffer. He writes “Working remotely is very different from working in the office. I don’t think you fully grasp the difference until you actually start being remote. For someone like me who never worked in a remote environment, the beginning wasn’t smooth and it came with challenges. Eventually, I got better at most of those things but it’s worth looking back now and reflecting on my early days.”
  10. Addressing the Troops: 15 mins read. This is text of the speech General Patton made to his troop.

2 thoughts on “Issue #13: 10 Read, A Handcrafted Weekly Newsletter for Humans

  1. Hello Sumit, I see your point. The point I was trying to make in my summary was that when you discover such issues you don’t update your frontend stack. You try to understand the root cause.

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