Young Reacts #97 – npm v7

Waymo started its public self-driving service in Pheonix, Arizona on October 8th. I was curious about how the service worked and found this video. The video captures four trips from start to finish, showing the streets, the in-car screen, and the app screen simultaneously.

Around the one-hour mark, the car enters the busy Costco parking lot. Humans find it hard to drive there, but it navigated the lot without a hiccup. Very Impressive!

The video reminded me of the famous line by William Gibson: “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”


Software Engineering ⚙️

Presenting v7.0.0 of the npm CLI – npm

Workspaces, more predictable installs, and better peer dependency management! I was slightly worried about delays or changes because Github acquired npm, Inc before v7 work was done. But I am glad to find my concerns were unfounded.

TypeScript to WebAssembly: The What, The How And The Why – Fernando Doglio

Maybe not every day, but there will be a time when we need to do a computation-heavy task in a browser. But if we don’t know Go or Rust already? AssemblyScript is a great alternative that utilizes a subset of Typescript syntax to write WASM.

Writing JavaScript tools in other languages – a new trend? – Dr. Axel Rauschmayer

This post discusses the pros and cons of using a non-JS language for JS tooling. A tool creator will have to tradeoff between performance gains and the JS community.

People ❤️

Email to former board member – Ryan Caldbeck

A startup CEO shared an email to a former board member publicly as he stepped down. The email gives you a look at how sausages are made (or how dysfunctional boards can be). No matter what we do for a living, we are all humans with our frivolities.

Business 💸

A Quarter Century of Hype – 25 Years of the Gartner Hype Cycle – Mark Mine

A great way to get out of hype is to look at the long term trend. The visualization below connects 25 years’ worth of the Gartner Hype Cycles.

Young Reacts #96 – Rust-based Javascript tools

Lately at work, I’ve been migrating my servers from AWS instances to Docker containers. Although the internal tools try to provide the turn-key migration experience, I found that many hidden assumptions, especially regarding the dev machine’s environment, created gaps in the process. I often had to spend hours fixing the bad states from half-complete commands. Which is fine. I accept those hours as the price I pay for being an early adopter. But I do hope my notes and feedback will create a more stable foundation for the future adopters.

Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash

Software Engineering ⚙️

Rust-based Javascript tools: Boa and RSLint

Two exciting, albeit experimental, tools popped last week. Boa is a parser, and RSLint is a linter (obviously). I am looking forward to performance gains from these native tools. At the same time, I worry that I won’t introspect the source code of these tools as easily.

Hidden Features of Chrome DevTools – Martin Heinz

I believe all engineers must be able to debug efficiently. Once I got comfortable with the Chrome DevTools debugger, it made debugging much faster than using console.log. But the DevTools have a lot more features. I’ve used the Performance tab and Conditional Breakpoints heavily lately.

People ❤️

An update on efforts to reduce spam with Hacktoberfest: introducing maintainer opt-in and more. – Digital Ocean

The Hactoberfest snafu perfectly exemplifies how a well-intentioned system can incentivize bad behaviors. Before this update, the old system rewarded pull requests to open source projects with free t-shirts while relying on the project maintainers to discern spammy pull requests. In the end, the spammers overwhelmed the maintainers and created media backlash. Never underestimate how motivated bad actors will be.Domenic Denicola @domenicUgh, oh no, October is starting. Prepare for a month of spam pull requests… whatwg/html has already been hit hard, at 5 in the last 3 hours. @hacktoberfest, please please stop this annual tradition of wasting maintainers’ time. You are a net negative for the world.September 30th 2020161 Retweets721 Likes

The Wetware Crisis: the Dead Sea effect – Bruce F. Webster

When a team first gets founded, it’s easier to recruit top-level talents into the team. Vision and autonomy are great motivators. But it is also easy to lose them because they have so many options. Like many things, it’s easier to keep the already-high talent density high than to rebuild the team.

Business 💸

House Democrats push Congress to break up Big Tech monopolies – Engadget

After the congress hearing with Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google CEOs, the US House Democrats suggest that the four companies be broken up. All companies argue that breakups will cause consumer harm. That may be true in the immediate future. But these dominant monopolies are hurting future innovations and consumer gain.

The Full-Stack Startup – Chris Dixon

As Chris Dixon defines, full-stack startups own all necessary pieces around their users, thus enabling better user experience. It’s not just Amazon now. Many companies do this now: Peloton, Lemonade, Netflix, etc. These investments, on top of the enabling software, will also create a lasting moat.


“피드백”이라는 단어를 들으면 가슴이 철렁하는 느낌부터 먼저 듭니다. 잘한 점에 대한 피드백은 인색하고 부족한 부분에 대한 피드백(좋게 말해 constructive feedback)만 자주 받기 때문이라고 생각합니다. 저도 이 글을 읽기 전엔 긍정적인 피드백보다 부정적인 피드백을 훨씬 더 많이 줬습니다. 하지만 하버드 비즈니스 리뷰에 올라온 이 글을 읽고 제 피드백 방식을 바꾸게 되었습니다.

이 글에서 최고는 제각기 다른 모습을 띠고 있다고 한 부분이 특히 와닿았습니다. 호날두와 메시는 세계 최고의 축구 선수지만 각자 다른 방식으로 득점을 합니다. 이런 공격수가 되려면 수비나 헤딩을 못 한다고 그 보충 연습을 할 게 아니라 자신이 잘하는 부분을 극대화하는 것이 필요합니다. 단점이 없다고 최고가 되지 않습니다. 오히려 최고가 되려면 장점을 갈고 닦아야 합니다. 그러기 위해 우리는 서로의 단점을 고치기보다 장점을 더 길러줘야 합니다.

저는 이 글을 읽은 이후 매일 동료와의 협업에서 긍정적인 부분을 일부러 찾아 구체적으로 그 부분이 어떻게 저에게 도움이 되었는지 피드백을 남기고 있습니다. 제 적은 노력이 동료들이 최고가 되는데 이바지했으면 하는 바람입니다.

The Feedback Fallacy – Harvard Business Review

Young Reacts #95 – Erikson’s A (Mostly) Complete Guide to React Rendering Behavior

I watched a fascinating talk on GraphQL. Its premise is what made it fascinating; to convince people on the other side, we need to understand their reasoning to the point where we can make the argument more convincing than they can. Instead of talking about why we need to use GraphQL, Robert Zhu discusses the pitfalls of GraphQL at a GraphQL conference so that we understand the skeptics. Watching this talk made me reexamine how I promoted new ideas at work.


Software Engineering ⚙️

Blogged Answers: A (Mostly) Complete Guide to React Rendering Behavior – Mark Erikson

As I worked on building an interactive and performant table of thousands of items, I learned I still didn’t fully understand how React hooks behave. For example,

  • When I have multiple setState statements, will they force the component to rerender multiple times?
  • When I use multiple useEffect hooks, in what order do they run?
  • How is setState from useState different from the class component’s this.setState?

This excellent guide by Redux maintainer Mark Erikson answered all of my questions.

Demystifying Cache Normalization – Apollo

If you are using Apollo client, you need to read this article. It explains how Apollo Client uses GraphQL’s typed schema to denormalize and cache the responses and also goes into the limits of the Client in specific mutations.

People ❤️

Coinbase is a mission focused company – Brian Armstrong

Coinbase CEO announced that “we don’t engage here when issues are unrelated to our core mission, because we believe impact only comes with focus” while “we need to do a better job of being authentic about who we are.”

This announcement is full of irony. We cannot be authentic when we cannot talk about the things that impact us. Unless, of course, all your issues are already mainstream that they aren’t deemed “political.”

GitLab’s outbound recruiting model – Gitlab

GitLab has turned its recruiting model on its head. They explicitly state that “we do not accept inbound applications for our roles.” Looking back at my manager days, I realize all my best hires were from referrals and outbound sourcing. Maybe it’s not a bad approach if I can invest a significant amount of time recruiting.

Business 💸

Bond was the last straw: Regal and Cineworld will reportedly close all theaters in US and UK next week – The Verge

With the disappointing result from the highly expected movie “Tenet” and other blockbusters postponed until 2021, the second-largest US theater chain is also now shutting down its operations until 2021. Given the way things are going in the US, I wonder if any theaters will survive at all.

Young Reacts #94 – Why do you do code reviews?

During the QA session after my talk (which feels so long ago since I also moved on Friday), I was asked what I find the most exciting/stimulating for my career lately. After some thoughts, I realized the preparation for the talk was that. I never spoke in front of hundreds of people. I never gave a non-technical talk. I never gave a talk over Zoom. There were so many firsts for me, and I am proud of myself. I didn’t know that I could talk about my career, or anything really, coherently for 20 minutes. Now I know!

I especially want to thank my wife Eunyoung, for her support and patience to listen to me over and over for the last month. 🥰


Software Engineering ⚙️

A Better Code Review – Gilad Peleg

Code reviews have become a standard engineering practice. But not everyone agrees on the why. I believe that they are a way to spread knowledge. They are too late in the process to change the design meaningfully and too unreliable to catch bugs. Based on that belief, I should surface those important pieces better. Why do you do code reviews?

Why we decided against GraphQL for local state management – OkCupid

The OkCupid team explains why they don’t find Apollo’s local state management is not yet ready. While I think the cons are mostly Apollo client’s issues, the article can be helpful if you want to understand pros and cons of using the Apollo client for local state management. For the record, I think the Apollo client is too heavy-handed, and React state and reducer hooks can meet most of my needs.

Headless Recorder (previously Puppeteer Recorder) – Checkly

At my team, writing an automated e2e test takes a lot of effort. So much so that I get scared just thinking about writing it. The exposed API for our internal framework is so granular that I have to manually add “wait” statements for a dropdown to open after a click. We chose our internal framework over Cypress for consistency, but I still want a helper extension like Headless Recorder.

People ❤️

Stephen Wan: Staff Engineer at Samsara – Stephen Wan

Here is another Staff Engineer interview. These interviews give me a peek into not only the works but the lives of the engineers, and I love that very much. I also appreciate that Wan calls out having an organizational history as one of the reasons he became a staff engineer. It has put my current work in a longer-term perspective.

The Management Flywheel – Camille Fournier

The lesson applies even if we are not a manager. I understand that it is tempting to do something big to prove ourselves after joining new teams. But that is precisely the wrong move to make. We need to start small, learn more, and build momentum.

Business 💸

Google to Increase Push for Apps to Give Cut of In-App Purchases – Bloomberg

Amidst anti-trust scrutinies, Google seeks to standardize Android app payments around Google Play. I first found the move surprising. But I’ve learned that the larger developers got exemptions from the policy, which doesn’t look good from a regulatory perspective.

2020 Bundles – Ben Thompson

A concise overview of how different subscription bundles fit with the corporate strategies: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Microsoft Xbox All Access, and Apple One.

Young Reacts #93 – Sunsetting Moment.js

I am giving my first big conference talk in front of 450 people (!) tomorrow about how curiosity and courage led me to create a more significant impact in my current role. Unfortunately, the talk will be in Korean, so I won’t share the slides or the live recording here. But I hope to share my lessons here after the presentation.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash


Software Engineering ⚙️

Moment.js Project Status – Moment.js

Moment.js, the de-facto standard Javascript library to handle time and timezones, has announced its active development, thanks to newer libraries like Luxon and the new Temporal proposal. I first used this library in my first job eight years ago, and still use it in my current role. Kudos to the Moment.js team to have shepherded the project to this point 🎉

If you are interested in learning more about the issue with “Date” in Javascript, read this.

Fluid Framework – Microsoft

Fluid Framework is “a collection of client libraries for distributing and synchronizing shared state” without a customized server application.

Tools like Google Docs, MURAL, and Figma have raised the bar for all collaborative applications. The business users expect real-time collaboration inside their tools now. I bet my team will have to implement something similar soon.

Speedy Neural Networks for Smart Auto-Cropping of Images – Twitter

People found yet another example of biased algorithms, this time on Twitter itself. The algorithm above seemingly prioritizes white people over black people when cropping images for the feed.

People ❤️

Things To Know About Engineering Levels – Charity Majors

Charity is on fire with her writing lately. This blog post is another gem. It scratches the exact area I’ve been wondering: how to get to that next level. Two takeaways for me: first, “not every opportunity exists at every company at every time.” Second, more practically, don’t join a startup without much high-level work to do, or a company already with enough staff/principal engineers.

Meeting everyone on a new team – Anna Shipman

Anna, a Technical Director at FT.com, recollects her introductory 1:1s with her 50-person organization. The article is very detailed and makes an intriguing read.

But I was a bit taken back because, even when her people explicitly told her that they enjoyed building relationships with her, she chose not to make the 1:1s recurring. I am used to and expect regular quarterly reviews with my skip-level managers. I suppose everyone has their preference.

Business 💸

ByteDance picks Oracle as partner to try to save TikTok U.S – Reuters

It is old news that Oracle, not Microsoft, will buy TikTok in the U.S. I am not sure what Oracle will buy exactly yet, given the Chinese sanction against the export of recommendation algorithms. In the meantime, the U.S. government bans TikTok and WeChat.

TLDR Stock options – LTSE Tools Team

This interactive tool provides a reality check on the value of the stock options you get from your prospective employers. The real challenge is to figure out where the employers fall on the curve, given that they likely won’t provide any information that might turn you away.

Young Reacts #92 – Remote pay tradeoff

Silicon Valley companies are having debates about remote work. Not only is there a question of whether to go remote-first or not, but there is also one of whether to adjust pay. Teams have to think through three angles:

  • Should they be paid according to their contributions to the company, which may not change meaningfully based on their locations of work?
  • Should there be an adjustment based on cost-of-living so that employees don’t feel more incentivized to work remotely?
  • Should there be an adjustment based on cost-of-labor so that employers can pay competitively across different labor markets?

I find them all valid perspectives to have, which makes the debates all the more difficult.

And there is an issue of reliable data availability. Industry-specific cost-of-labor data are sparse in non-tech hubs. While changing compensation policies is tricky, the companies should get ready to learn and adjust their systems as their first tries at the problem play out in the talent market.

Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash


Software Engineering ⚙️

We need more inclusive web performance metrics – Scott Jehl

The typical web performance metrics do not answer vital accessibility questions such as:

  • When and how are accessibility trees built and exposed?
  • Does client-side javascript block executions of assistive technologies?

Avoid Export Default – TypeScript Deep Dive

I’ve instinctively avoided default exports in Typescript. But it is nice to see the drawbacks listed. To me, the most significant pain points are the lack of autocomplete and typo protections.

People ❤️

How I operated as a Staff engineer at Heroku – Amy Unger

If one stays at the same place long enough to operate at the Staff level, it’d be easy to accept the status quo—because they are the status quo. Amy suggests that old-timers should “invest in meeting new folks as a counterbalance.” I agree 100% and took a note of it to follow through.

Every Public Engineering Career Ladder – Shawn Wang

This collection of career ladders would have been useful in my previous role. I thought I’d share for those who influence their teams’ career tracks.

Business 💸

Xbox All Access seems like one of the best deals in gaming – Ars Technica

Xbox All Access is an enticing proposition for which I would seriously consider signing up. Rather than competing with Sony on Sony’s turf, Microsoft leverages its investment in the cloud infrastructure and creates a new axis to compete—subscription and streaming games. A lot of transactional consumer products and experiences now are subscribable.

Young Reacts #91 – Engineering Isn’t A Demotion

Right before the long weekend began, I had a chance to chat with a colleague who has been at Netflix for more than seven years. I have been struggling with giving some feedback to my manager and thought she would understand my predicament. So we chatted about my foster cats for a couple of minutes, and I straight-up asked her, “how do you give feedback to the manager new to Netflix?”

Then we discussed the power imbalance and how it makes reports feel awkward about giving feedback to their managers. She also suggested that our HRBP can be an excellent person to talk through my feedback. But the most memorable advice was when she pointed out that my manager is likely going through an imposter syndrome phase, and that he’d appreciate any signal about his contribution so far. So if I can give feedback with positive intent to support him, the conversation will go well.

This chat was such a stunning colleague moment. It was a neat coincidence later that day when our CEO at an all-hands emphasized the importance of positive intent.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


Software Engineering ⚙️

A year with Spectre: a V8 perspective – V8

I read an old article on Spectre I collected a year ago. Then I found out that we still don’t have a proper hardware-based fix for Spectre since the fix will negatively impact the performance too much.

Chrome Content Optimization Service Runs on Go – Go Dev

I didn’t know that Chrome also had a server component for performance optimization. Today I learned.

People ❤️

If Management Isn’t A Promotion, Then Engineering Isn’t A Demotion – Charity Majors

I am 100% behind this article that engineers become managers because they need the powers to fix the problem and that engineers should have information and opportunities necessary to tackle big problems.

One additional note, I have an allergic reaction when managers refer to themselves as “leaders,” since that implies that the others (usually the reporting engineers) aren’t expected to lead.

Business 💸

Facebook complains, Apple responds: iOS 14’s big privacy change gets postponed – Ars Technica

Apple pulled back from deprecating IDFA (identifier for advertisers) in September. But the deprecation will come next year. It’s not clear to me how hard Facebook will be hit; it still got its logins. But I am sure other lesser networks will be decimated.

Also, here is an article on how precisely we are tracked, down to our names, addresses, and daily movements.

Epic, Apple and the Platform Wars – Paradox Podcast

I stumbled upon a podcast from a Swedish mid-size game publisher on Epic lawsuits. The gist was that the publisher sees the lawsuit as the battle between two closed ecosystems and that they prefer the future where there are multiple competing ecosystems. It was the first take I heard from the industry insiders.

Tailwind CSS: From Side-Project Byproduct to Multi-Million Dollar Business – Adam Wathan

I rarely hear opensource success stories but here is one, hitting $2 million revenue.

Young Reacts #90 – npm v7 beta

A few days ago, a college student asked me if there is anything I wish I learned sooner in my career. I thought I’d share my answer here too! 🙂

  1. I am solely responsible for my career. I need to keep learning and looking for new growth opportunities. Sometimes take new responsibilities opportunistically.
  2. I need to be able to look at myself in the mirror. That means empathy, inclusion, honesty, and integrity.
  3. Everyone will go through ups and downs at some point, so cut some slack. I will need it too.
  4. I don’t need to know/understand everything. While that is valuable, it is impossible. I need to let go and trust others to fill the gap.
  5. Be skeptical with higher-ups (especially the executives). If the upside (say, the company is getting sold) is big enough, they will screw me.
  6. My network matters. I am not good at expanding, let alone maintaining it. But my few connections already have opened up opportunities (including Netflix).
  7. Any feedback is powerful. But a positive, specific, actionable feedback is far more powerful because all top performers are different.

Software Engineering ⚙️

npm v7 Series – Beta Release! And: SemVer-Major Changes in npm v7 – npm

I just found out about this release from two weeks ago. I am excited by this news since npm will soon support monorepos. I am using yarn for them at work, but don’t want to upgrade to yarn 2 since it has departed radically from the package.json format I am used to.

Dear Google Cloud: Your Deprecation Policy is Killing You – Steve Yegge

How Google Cloud treats its customers makes me look back at how I am served by and serve other teams and platforms. The customer-oriented mindset that Amazon is famous for applies to my work, too— whether I am serving external or internal customers.

What’s a reference in Rust? – Julia Evans

I am having a rough time learning Rust, especially how to handle strings (Javascript was so much simpler!). But I understand them a little bit better now thanks to Julia’s explanation that a reference can point to the heap, the stack, or the data segment of your program.

People ❤️

Our remote work future is going to suck – Sean Blanda

A lot of us in the Silicon Valley buy that remote working is a good thing. However, if your company figures that an engineer in South Korea can do 80% of your job for 30-50% of your Silicon Valley (or in remote companies, Tier 1) salary, will it still employ you? I am not sure about mine.

I do believe that the remote work will provide opportunities for people outside the Valley. But under the current system, it will just pit every worker against another on a global scale.

Business 💸

Pinterest cancels huge SF office lease in unbuilt project, citing work-from-home shift – San Francisco Chronicle

Many people talked about how work from home will upend Silicon Valley’s commercial real estate. This announcement reads like the beginning of the upending.

Open letter to Australians – Google

Australians proposed a rule “to allow news media businesses to bargain individually or collectively with Google and Facebook over payment for the inclusion of news on their services” along with several other restrictions over the search and recommendation algorithms. I am not sure how this will pan out. Won’t Google and Facebook just cut mainstream news and surface more fringe media?

Young React #89

This week has made it hard for me to stay optimistic. In the Bay Area, we got not just the worsening pandemic but catastrophic wildfires clouding over millions of people. It’s less than two years since this area saw fires like this, making global warming all the more evident. I worry that the workers (warehouses, restaurants, factories, farms, and more) who can’t work from home have already been exposed to the Coronavirus, but now they also need to bear with the smoke. Things can’t go on like this, and I need to act.


Software Engineering ⚙️

An Update on MDN Web Docs – Mozilla

Due to the recent layoffs at Mozilla, MDN will get less investment from Mozilla—in fact, they laid off all technical writers. This change of directions worries me greatly because MDN has been THE go-to resource for web APIs.

TypeScript exercises – Marat Dulin

Marat created a set of Typescript challenges for you to test how familiar you are with the language. They get challenging quickly, and I confess I couldn’t solve the last two on my own (even though I’ve been using Typescript over the previous five years!).

ts-migrate – Airbnb

Airbnb released a tool that migrates Javascript to correct Typescript. I haven’t used it personally. But I, perhaps counterintuitively, recommend the tool if you are already familiar with Typescript. When I add the types manually, I clarify the domain and codify it into types. If you are not used to writing Typescript, that manual process will prepare you to think in a type-safe way.

People ❤️

Katie Sylor-Miller – Frontend Architect at Etsy – Katie Sylor-Miller

I am reading other interviews on StaffEng.com I shared last week. I read Katie’s since she is one of the rare staff+ engineers on the frontend. There are many bits of wisdom, but I especially loved this quote on how she operates:

It starts with taking in a ton of input from the work folks are doing – seeing that this team has a problem doing x, and another team has a problem doing y. Then you mix all that input up with your experience and what’s happening in the industry as a whole and let it sit in your brain for a while, until finally it all clicks and you realize that the deeper cause underlying both problems is z, so you come up with a plan to fix that problem which is really hard to fix.

Business 💸

Apple, Epic, and the App Store – Ben Thompson

I generally find Ben Thompson’s article insightful but especially liked this one on the Epic lawsuits. I liked how the article broke down what the App Store does, installation, payment, and CRM, and whether each piece benefits the consumers.