GitHub Knows

I was reflecting the other day how useful it would be if GitHub, in addition to the lists it has now like Trending and Explore, could also provide me a better view into which projects a) need help; and more, b) can accept that help when it arrives. Lots of…

"What are you struggling with?"

This week I had a discussion with my open source students in order to get a sense of where people were at with their work. One of the questions I had for them was, "What are you struggling with, what are you finding tricky?" Here's some of what…

Service Workers and a Promise to Catch

I love Service Workers. I've written previously about my work to use them in Thimble. They've allowed us to support all of the web's dynamic loading mechanisms for images, scripts, etc., which wasn't possible when we only used Blob URLs. But as much as I love them, they add a…

When the music's over, turn out the lights

This week I've been thinking about ways in which GitHub could do a better job with projects and code as they age. Unfortunately, since technology is fundamentally about innovation, growth, and development, we don't tend (or want) to talk about decline, neglect, or endings. GitHub has some great docs on…

Fixing a bug in TensorBoard

This week I'm talking with my open source students about bugs. Above all, I want them to learn how The Bug is the unit of work of open source. Learning to orient your software practice around the idea that we incrementally improve an existing piece of code (or a new…

Why Good-First-Bugs often aren't

Let me start by saying that I'm a huge fan of open source projects putting a Good-First-Bug type label on issues. From my own experience over the past decade trying to get students engaged in open source projects, it's often a great way to quickly find entry points for new…

Service Workers and Cache Storage in Thimble

tldr; During the spring and summer, I've been working on rewriting Thimble to use Service Workers and CacheStorage. Now that we've shipped it, I wanted to talk about how it works and what I learned. On Twitter a few weeks back, I was reminiscing with Dave Herman and Brendan about…

"When in doubt, WebIDL"

Yesterday I was fixing a bug in some IndexedDB code we use for Thimble's browser-based filesystem. When I'm writing code against an API like IndexedDB, I love knowing the right way to use it. The trouble is, it can be difficult to find the proper use of an API, or…

On Sabbatical

As I begin the new year, I'm trying something new. I'll be taking a sabbatical for all of 2016. Normally at this time of year I'm starting new courses and beginning research projects that I'll lead in the spring/summer semester. I've been following that rhythm now for over 16…

How to become a Fool Stack Programmer

At least once in your career as a programmer, and hopefully more than once and with deliberate regularity, it is important to leave the comfort of your usual place along the stack and travel up or down it. While you usually fix bugs and add features using a particular application,…