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A podcast from the team at Heroku, exploring code, technology, tools, tips, and the life of the developer.

A podcast from the team at Heroku, exploring code, technology, tools, tips, and the life of the developer.
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A podcast from the team at Heroku, exploring code, technology, tools, tips, and the life of the developer.






20. Becoming a Junior Developer

Chris Castle sits down with Shirley Xu, who went through a coding bootcamp, and Eric Chen, who is a recent graduate, to talk about their journey into their first programming jobs at Heroku. For both of them, the experience of programming in a day-to-day role is vastly different than what they experienced at school; namely, rather than analyzing algorithms, they were exposed to Ruby, Rails, and entire groups of people involved in shipping features. They recognize that they went through a...


19. Securing the Web with Let's Encrypt

Josh Aas, the co-founder of the non-profit Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), is interviewed by Craig Ingram, a Runtime Engineer at Heroku. Amongst other outreach programs, ISRG is in charge of developing Let's Encrypt, which is a Certificate Authority (CA) designed to provide free TLS/SSL certificates to any website on the web. While starting ISRG in 2013, Josh noted that only about a third of websites on the Internet were secured by HTTPS. He discovered that not only was the price of...


18. The Making of Trailhead

Tyler Montgomery, Trailhead's engineering director, and Shaun Russell, its principal engineer, kick off a conversation with Chris Castle as to how Trailhead came about. One of Salesforce's developer evangelists, Josh Burke, wanted to create some teaching material for classes he taught. The idea was that students wouldn't just read some content and take a quiz; they would perform real actions, such as making a dummy user an admin, and an API call would assert that they accomplished the task...


17. Integrating Terraform with Heroku

Terraform is an open source project to help automate the provisioning of infrastructure resources and services for your application. It integrates with cloud platforms through open source plugins, called providers. Mars Hall is a Heroku engineer that works on the Heroku provider. Rather than using a CLI or a web UI, Terraform provides a platform-agnostic configuration file written in the Hashicorp Configuration Language, or HCL. This sets Terraform apart from similar tools like Chef, which...


16. Accessibility in Web Standards

Léonie Watson does many things: she worked on overhauling the UK government's digital services, is on the W3C advisory board, acts as co-chair of the W3C web platform working group, is an advisor for Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages project, and also runs the Inclusive Design 24 conference. She also happens to be visually impaired. The show begins with how she went from drama school towards a career as a web programmer, and how she become a strong advocate for improving accessibility in web...


15. Pursuing a Career in Tech

Designer and front end developer Charlie Gleason and developer David Routen are both on Heroku's marketing team, and both of them transitioned into the world of programming from disparate career paths. For them, moving into tech was about following their passion for creative problem solving. They did so by first creating a plan for what they needed to learn. After viewing several job postings, they got a sense of what skills each potential employer required, and then set about to learn them....


14. Talking About Talks

This episode begins with a roundtable introduction from five Herokai engineers who describe what motiviated them to speak at their first conference. If you're a first-time speaker, it's best to let conference organizers be aware of this, not only because they will support you, but also because they will try to give you a prime time slot in order to boost your message (and spirits). The group then delves into how to prepare and practice for your talk. In general, they agree that improvising...


13. oclif: An Open Source CLI Framework

For many years, Jeff Dickey was a lead architect for Heroku's CLI tool, which was used by application developers to get their apps deployed to Heroku's platform. He muses on his history with CLIs with Nahid Samsami, a director of product at Heroku, as the two of them worked together on oclif. oclif was designed from the start to be a framework for developers to use when building their own command-line interfaces. It's currently written in TypeScript, but Jeff goes through its four-year...


12. Mindfulness at Work

Francis Lacoste, a Director of Engineering at Heroku, is a longtime meditation practicioner. In 2015, he attended public seminar on mindfulness by the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, which was co-founded by a former Google engineer. The workshop emphasized mindfulness as a benefit to businesses by framing the mental health benefits as something that could improve worker productivity. Enlightened by this discovery, he worked to bring the lessons over to Heroku. Heroku's remote...


11. The Agony and Ecstasy of Maintaining Good Documentation

With the explosive growth of people using, and contributing to, open source projects over the last decade, more and more of us are spending their time reading, writing, and understanding documentation. Heroku's Dev Center is the central hub of documentation for Heroku, covering everything from getting started, to how Heroku works, to extending the platform. It acts as a manual for the entire platform, spanning an enormous number of topics and tools. Stephen Barlow, lead strategist for Dev...


10. How to Learn Something New

Vaidehi Joshi found that many resources on the web about core computer science concepts she wanted to know more about were either too obtuse or too academic. She started a blog, basecs, where she wrote down something she had learned that week--every week--for an entire year. While learning something new in and of itself was a delight, her curiosity led her to question how people learn best. She discusses the Feynman Technique, which, through a processes of iteratively explaining a concept...


9. Coordinating Remote Work

Heroku splits its units of work into squads; on this episode, we're joined by some members of the squad responsible for the Private Spaces feature. Every member of the squad is remote from one another. The team talks about the pain points around this setup, and the solutions they've set up to minimize feelings of isolation. One tactic has been to keep a long-running meeting URL. Individuals from around the team can hop in and enter a space where they can just be social with one...


8. Sharing Data with Dataclips

Chris Castle introduces Becky Jaimes, the product manager for Heroku Dataclips. Dataclips is a feature that allows you to save and version SQL queries against a Postgres database. You can export these queries to JSON or CSV, share them online, or simply access them through an HTTP API. The two discuss the history of Dataclips, namely what its original needs were and how it has evolved. It was originally targeted towards individuals who simply wanted a quick way to get access to rows from a...


7. Application Performance and Building SaaS on PaaS

Chris Castle introduces Ryan Townsend, CTO of Shift Commerce, and the two begin by discussing the absolutely abysmal performance of web sites in areas with bad latency: airplanes, the rural countryside, or even just within a crowded cafe or conference. Shift Commerce provides a customizable shopping platform for its customers, who are several big brand retailers. For them, every millisecond of delay means lost revenue, as studies have shown that customers are unlikely to complete their...


6. Making Remote Work Work

More than half of the employees who work on Heroku are remote or distributed employees, meaning Heroku is what you might call remote-first. Host, Chris Castle, brings together five Heroku employees who have had interesting distributed employee experiences. They share some personal stories and discuss setting boundaries, self-awareness, timezones, and some advice for others interested in distributed work. Raúl Barroso is based in Madrid, Spain. He compares his experience working at Heroku HQ...


5. Solving Social Problems with Data Science

Isaac Slavitt is the co-founder of DrivenData, a platform for organizations to solicit help from data scientists to solve real-world problems. DrivenData does this by running "competitions" which asks teams to comb through data sets to solve problems for cash rewards. One such competition was Zamba. Researchers set up cameras in African forests and asked engineering experts to develop AI software which could classify the types of animals which were captured. This would then help with...


4. Delivering Amazing Presentations

Nickolas Means likes to tell stories. His conference talks [1] often center around a curious anecdote, but he deftly weaves both technical and organizational relevancy into them. Nickolas talks about how he builds a talk from conception to execution and goes over some fundamentals of good presentation slides. The goal is to provide a narrative without overwhelming the user with too much textual content. He continues with advice for novices and experts alike, including how to craft a CFP...


3. Spreading the Database Love

Brendon Murphy, CTO of Kajabi, talks about his company's experience with Dataclips [1]. Instead of requiring developers to connect to their database, everyone in the company is able to generate analytics on-the-fly, and they even democratize the information via a Slackbot. Their marketing team is able to get real-time feedback on their campaigns through [2] The advantage of using Dataclips dovetails with their preference for using Heroku in general. While they could build their own...


1. Running Grails in Production

Andrew Garcia is the co-founder of Goodshuffle, and as one of the first Grails users on Heroku, he worked closely with Joe Kutner, Heroku's Java Platform Owner over the years. They chat with Chris Castle, a developer advocate at Heroku, about Goodshuffle's experience with building a startup on top of the JVM. When building an application, it's often tempting to reach for the latest and greatest technologies to build your app. Andrew Garcia argues for something different: by using "boring"...


2. Ruby, Regexes and Risk: Aaron Patterson Explains Why Hiring Open Source Developers Will Make Your Company Stronger

In this episode Aaron Patterson joins our own developer advocate Jonan Scheffler to discuss his experiences as an open source developer within GitHub, and explains how he manages to balance his work as a member of the Ruby and Rails core teams with his other responsibilities. Aaron is the only member of both the Ruby and Rails core teams, and he's been working with Rails since 2005 when his friends attended the No Fluff Just Stuff (NFJS) Pacific Northwest Software Symposium and heard Dave...