Young Reacts #75 – Deno 1.0, Autonomy vs. Leverage, Twitter going remote forever

I had a disappointing week because our user acceptance testing session after a month of hard work revealed two blocking issues. I don’t expect huge changes, so the release will be delayed only about a week. Normally, I would expect some amount of rework and often appreciate this feedback since it means we can release a better product. But this delay sapped my morale.

Thinking over the weekend, I see two reasons why I am so disappointed. First, I have led the engineering effort for this project and communicated with the stakeholders about the release plan. While I accept the inevitable uncertainty, I still feel that I am responsible for the delay, and it doesn’t feel great.

Second, this is the last project before I move to a different domain, and this delay leaves me in a limbo state longer. I need a clean closure and want to focus on the new domain, which already has many projects that require my attention. But this project is getting in the way.

Hopefully, by the next issue, I will have completed the project!

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash


Software Engineering 🌐

Deno 1.0 – Ryan Dahl, Bert Belder, and Bartek Iwańczuk

The biggest news in Javascript last week was the announcement of Deno 1.0. Deno is out to simplify and secure the ecosystem, as outlined two years ago. Deno promises to provide stable and standard browser APIs. While its ecosystem is split from the Node ecosystem and still very nascent, it already offers many standardized solutions to common problems, such as formatting and running on AWS Lambda.

Native Javascript APIs are now powerful enough for most tasks, thanks to quickly evolving ECMAScript standards. If we have some key libraries for data access and web server framework production-ready, Deno will be useable as a webserver.

Apollo Server File Upload Best Practices – Khalil Stemmler

JSON isn’t the only form of data that needs to be sent between clients and servers. I read this article in preparation for the internal GraphQL discussions. As the article suggests, it makes sense to isolate binary data handling from GraphQL servers.

The JavaScript coders guide to getting more from GitHub and NPM – Edward Thomson

This video is a sneak peek at the upcoming npm 7. A picture is worth a thousand words and a video worth a thousand pictures. You can find improved npm audit at 7:36, yarn support at 13:56, and workspace support at 16:32.

People

Autonomy vs. Leverage – Marty Cagan

I appreciate this list of factors to consider when you tradeoff between autonomy and leverage. Two factors new to me were Level of Accountability and Importance of Integration. If you want the work by many teams to integrate with relative ease, you will want to align on common interfaces, which is what my org is going through.

Business 💸

#LoveWhereverYouWork – Twitter

Twitter announced last week that it would support a permanently remote workforce. Even though there have been some notable remote-first or remote-only companies, we never had it at a Twitter scale. As more companies support remote work, it will have a massive implication on the local economy (commercial and residential real estate, to begin with). People in Silicon Valley are already talking about moving out.

Reddit About to Beat Facebook, Telegram, and Most ICOs With Actually Useful Token – Camila Russo

Reddit launched the Community Point system for its subreddits on the public Ethereum network, which means the awarded Points belong to the users forever. As a crypto skeptic, I don’t see that this ownership aspect differentiates the system much from other loyalty programs. Doesn’t Reddit still own the rest of the ecosystem that could change the value of the Points? Nonetheless, I am deeply curious about how this experiment will pan out.

Young Reacts #71 – Crank.js, blurhash, Seniorless, and more

One benefit of working from home and the resulting lost sense of time is that every weekend comes very fast.

Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash


Software Engineering 🌐

Introducing Crank – Brian Kim

The entire React lifecycle […] could be expressed within a single async generator function.

An interesting experiment to move away from pure functions in React framework to side effects with async functions in Javascript. It was quite astounding to see how component lifecycle methods nicely map to a generator function.

blurhash: A very compact representation of a placeholder for an image. – Dag Ågren

blurhash is easily the most exciting library I found this week. With just a pre-calculated short string (20-30 characters), you can create a beautiful placeholder image.

Versioning fields in GraphQL – Leonardo Losoviz

We can create our field with an argument called version, through which we specify which version of the field to use.

I never thought of versioning subsections of a schema with a version argument. However, I still expect that the work of defining a contract, communicating changes, and program-managing the changes will not go away. Because those are human problems, not technical ones.

Typing functions in TypeScript – Axel Rauschmayer & Augmenting Interfaces in the Global Scope in TypeScript – Marius Schulz

These two Typescript articles taught me two things I always get confused about: How to overload functions, and how to type the global scope in a type-safe way.

People

Seniorless — 5 Reasons You Should Hire More Juniors – Gabriel Grinberg

I was in similar shoes when I was leading a team at a startup. I didn’t have the budget to hire senior engineers, so I instead turned to junior engineers and developed them. Contrarily, I concluded after two years, if your project is time-sensitive, and needs less uncertainty, not more, you should consolidate the headcounts and hire fewer, more senior engineers.

Carta’s covid-19 layoff – Henry Ward

I don’t want to celebrate this article since a lot of people just lost their jobs. However, I do appreciate a CEO of a company taking full responsibility for the decision to lay off.

Business 💸

COVID-19 Global Impact Charts – Luke Wroblewski

An eyeopening set of graphics showing how our society has changed because of the pandemic. Would you have guessed we sleep more now that we don’t need to commute?

The third wave of open source migration – Donald Fischer

for any technology-driven organization that hasn’t embraced the reality that the modern application development platform is a polyglot mix of open source languages, frameworks, and packages: the time is now.

The calculations will differ by organization. The crisis probably put cost-saving at a higher priority. Eventually, it comes down to build vs. buy and tradeoffs between paying the price now vs. later, and immediate benefit vs. future flexibility.

My Review of GraphQL Summit 2019

I have been to the GraphQL Summit 2019 hosted by Apollo in San Francisco. I was very excited since GraphQL is the technology I use and learn about every day. Overall, it was an excellent opportunity to see the increasing penetration and impact of GraphQL. Speakers frequently quoted this number from the npm survey: 23% of Javascript developers are using GraphQL. Naturally, many talks focused on scaling GraphQL from large companies such as Shopify, Paypal, and Expedia. The technology is not just for greenfield projects or startups anymore. But, their mobile talk lineup was relatively weak, possibly indicating the immaturity of GraphQL on mobile.

Talks were primarily divided into two categories: client-side and server-side. I mostly went to the client-side ones. Of those I went to, I enjoyed Fine-Tuning Apollo Client Caching for Your Data Graph, Client-side GraphQL at scale, and, The GraphQL developer experience the most. The followings are my notes on the talks I attended. I hope the notes guide you to find something interesting.


Day 1

The GraphQL developer experience by Danielle Man (👍)

From the start, Danielle made a good point about the real benefit of GraphQL. It’s not just about minimizing payload or reducing round trips. It’s about the productivity boost from the integrated experience with typed API, normalization, and intelligent caching. React, Prettier, and VS Code solved the challenges of component structure, formatting, and type intelligence. Now GraphQL solves the next big problem, data fetching. I like that she went into the whys of GraphQL and also gave an end-to-end view of the tooling. I recommend it to those whose GraphQL journey is just starting.

State Management in GraphQL using React Hooks & Apollo by Shruti Kapoor

I was a little disappointed with Shruti’s talk since I didn’t find it that relevant to GraphQL. As she focused mostly on React hooks, this is your talk if you aren’t familiar with hooks.

Fine-Tuning Apollo Client Caching for Your Data Graph by Ben Newman (👍)

Ben talked about the new features in the upcoming Apollo Client 3. I found the material very relevant because my team is already seeing a huge performance bottleneck from Apollo Cache. There were several exciting features: Garbage collection, declarative cache config (though it doesn’t statically check the config yet), and improved pagination handling. Since most of the features are about performance, the talk is meaningful for those using Apollo Client at scale already.

Scaling GraphQL Beyond a Backend for Frontend by Michelle Garrett

As a frontend developer, it can be frustrating trying to adopt GraphQL since you find yourself dependent on backend counterparts. Michelle talks about how you can go around the inertia by using a GraphQL middleware (or BFF). Though I believe client-side resolver is the lighter weight approach, it was inspiring to see her org, eventually turning around thanks to the superior developer experience. She then continues to talk about her plan to adopt a federation. This talk is appropriate for those interested in figuring out the GraphQL adoption strategy.

Apollo Lounge (not a talk)

I spent an hour in between talks to talk to Hugh Willson, one of the Apollo engineers behind Apollo Client 3, about the performance bottleneck I saw in the beta release. The problem was that the Apollo Client took a long time to respond to a large query response (a tree of about ~2000 objects) even with the denormalization turned off. Due to the time constraint, we didn’t get to the bottom of the issue. But it was nice to see how an Apollo engineer goes about debugging the client and also get reassured that my configuration was not a problem.

Game Of Types: A Song Of GraphQL And TypeScript by Steven Musumeche

After seeing Danielle’s talk, Steven’s talk didn’t feel new to me. Especially because I am following the development process he outlined almost precisely. But if you ever wonder how all these generated types (whether they are from Apollo Tooling or GraphQL Code Generatorfit into your type system, this talk is for you.

(Video is not yet available.)


Day 2

useSubscription: A GraphQL Game Show by Alex Banks

The most entertaining talk I have ever been to. Alex made GraphQL subscription via WebSocket unforgettable. However, as I went to the talk expecting to see GraphQL streaming (a misunderstanding on my part), I ended up getting a little disappointed. If you are building a real-time app, watch this talk when it becomes available.

How do you get changes made to GraphQL? by Orta

Even though GraphQL’s governance mostly feels irrelevant, it matters to all of us. Orta talked through how the current GraphQL Foundation came about and how he saw through the changes. This talk isn’t for everyone, but if you like to contribute to the spec one day, watch this.

The future of GraphQL tooling and DX by Daniel Woelfel

The whole talk felt like a sales pitch of his company, OneGraph. But Daniel indeed showcased many inspiring tools leveraging: a point-and-click GUI to build a query, an Excel plugin to import GraphQL data into a spreadsheet, and a type checker for queries embedded in markdown documents. The talk was more inspirational than useful.

Building a faster checkout experience at PayPal with GraphQL by Vishakha Singh

Vishakha focused on how minimized payload and some intelligent caching using GraphQL improves PayPal’s performance. But honestly, I didn’t have a lot of take-away.

Client-side GraphQL at scale by Chris Sauvé (👍)

Shopify’s admin app has ~1000 GraphQL queries and ~700 entities. The company came up with a couple of useful libraries to mitigate this complexity. One library filled the gap in Apollo Client’s type system using collocated d.ts for GraphQL documents, which I found smart. Another autogenerated mock data based on GraphQL schema. I plan to adopt both of them at my current projects. If you are pressed for time, you don’t need to watch the talk since the documentation on the libraries do an excellent job of explaining what they do.

Edit: All videos can now be found here. I linked the videos to my review as well.