Standing on the shoulders of others

Posted in: Blogs, Development, Team

First, a disclaimer: this post is in no way to ingratiate myself with Iris. I'm pretty confident we are already friends.

A few weeks ago, Iris posted about using GitHub integrations to make code reviews more awesome. I've been working on building my own URL shortener recently, and over the weekend I reached the point where I was ready to start looking at more serious deployment and testing options. This post isn't so much about the process of doing that (though I've posted about it on my own blog if you're interested), but rather about the value of stealing sharing ideas.

If I had been doing this all from scratch, there would have been two likely outcomes: either spend several hours googling, and slowly refining my google search terms as I went until I finally (dear gods finally) found what I was looking for; or I'd have given up about 45 minutes into the process, felt frustrated, anger git stash-ed everything in sight, and gone outside into the sunshine/rain. Aside from the sunshine part, neither of these options sound great, and they're definitely less fun than actually *doing* the thing I wanted: setting up cool integrations to automatically test and deploy my code.

Developer blogs/posts are magic things. Very rarely do you run into communities that are so invested in sharing their knowledge as the developer community. Nine times out of ten, if you have a problem, someone else has already hit it, and a few minutes of good googling will help you find an elegant answer. Stack Overflow is amazing, because not only do you find the answers, but you get answers vetted by the hivemind. Often though, these are just answers to tiny or component questions--useful if you have an isolated problem, less so if you are looking at something more on the level of a system. This is where the blog comes in: answers here tend to be more holistic and cover the system level questions.

So at this point, instead of spending a ton of time on google/running out into the rain in frustration with a boombox...

Lloyd Dobler from the movie Say Anything standing outside the girl's window holding a boombox overhead
Say Anything you want, we all want Lloyd Dobler outside our windows in the rain with a boombox

Sorry. Distracted myself there. Anyways.

At this point, instead of spending a ton of time googling or running out in frustration, I looked up Iris' post, and started stealing her ideas using the tools she had pointed out. I'm using Codeclimate to vet my code's quality and test coverage, and Hakiri to scan for vulnerabilities in the code. Hakiri caught one, and immediately notified me, so I fixed it. This stuff works, and makes our code better.

In the true spirit of sharing though, I was talking to Iris earlier today about how I had used the tools she had flagged up, and it turns out I had figured out a way to automate an extra step, by having Codeship, the automated build/test tool I'm using, send the test coverage report over to Codeclimate once it had run the tests and deployed the code to staging, instead of having to do so manually. (And no, the student is *not* becoming the master).

So yea. This is why I love blogs. There aren't that many other platforms out there that are so focused on sharing. Some blogs share silly things (looking at you Bun Karyudo), others the news, some dev stuff... the list, as the internet goes, is endless. The common thing that unites them is the desire to share things of value with everyone else.

And now, because I deserve it for that Say Anything pun:

picard facepalms
Picard will not Say Anything about the pun in the other image's caption

Posted in: Blogs, Development, Team

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