The Bike Shed

By thoughtbot

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On The Bike Shed, hosts Chris Toomey and Steph Viccari discuss their development experience and challenges with Ruby, Rails, JavaScript, and whatever else is drawing their attention, admiration, or ire this week.

Episode Date
203: A Blessed Monkeypatch (Eileen M. Uchitelle)
On this week's episode, we revisit RailsConf 2019 for another live recording, this time with Eileen M. Uchitelle, GitHubber and rails core team member. Eileen joins Chris to discuss her RailsConf talk on how GitHub maintained a custom fork of Rails for years, how they finally moved off it, and what lessons we can take away from their experience. They also discussed Eileen's recent work on automatic database switching coming in Rails 6, microservices and monoliths, and getting into working on Rails.
Jun 25, 2019
202: I Left it All on The Dance Floor
In this week's episode, Chris and Steph discuss how working with typed-languages influences their work with dynamic languages. They also chat about the benefits of pair programming, tracking performance events using Rails' Instrumentation API and respond to a listener's question about how to structure code that doesn't fit neatly within the default Rails' structure.
Jun 18, 2019
201: Artisanally Indented Code (Kevin Deisz)
On this week's episode, Chris is joined by Kevin Deisz, CTO of CultureHQ, live from RailsConf. They discuss Kevin's RailsConf talk on preevalution in Ruby, but dig further into Kevin's core philosophies that drive his work on tools like preval. They round out the discussion with Kevin's work on prettier-plugin Ruby, an automated code formatter to finally tame the wild west of Ruby syntax, and the hopeful path to a v1.0 in the not too distant future.
Jun 11, 2019
200: FOMO for Hallway Track (200th Episode!)
On this very special Bike Shed, Steph and Chris celebrate reaching the 200th episode. They discuss the origins of the show and thank some of the wonderful folks who helped make it happen (thanks Derek, Sean, Amanda, Laila, and of course Thom!). They discuss Chris's recent trip to RailsConf and some strategies for making the most of conference attendance. Also, Steph's recent work hosting an intro to web development course. They wrap things up with a series of questions captured live from RailsConf at the community meetup covering career growth, naming, graphql, joy, and more.
May 29, 2019
199: Pave That Path
On this week's episode, Steph and Chris talk about PR sizing, load testing (the weird way), and ponder the merits and pitfalls of personal style in code. They also discuss Hertz suing Accenture for undelivered software and the belief that engineers should talk to users! This one truly has something for everyone.
May 21, 2019
198: In Terms of Tradeoffs (Glenn Vanderburg)
On this week's episode, Chris is joined by Glenn Vanderburg, VP of Engineering at, live from RailsConf. They discuss Glenn's RailsConf talk, "The 30-Month Migration", covering distributed data models, refactoring, and the wonders of postgres. They also discuss Glenn's famous talk, "Real Software Engineering", and what the term "software engineering" means within our communities.
May 14, 2019
197: Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls
Steph and Chris discuss Redux, integration testing strategies, scoping data for React components, and take a question from a listener about improving process and reducing bugs in a complex service-oriented system with a hint of waterfall in their workflow.
May 07, 2019
196: I Can Be Wrong on the Internet
On this week's episode, Chris welcomes Steph as the new co-host of The Bike Shed! Chris and Steph discuss their experiences using React, TypeScript, and Angular.
Apr 30, 2019
195: WebAssembly & WASI (Lin Clark & Till Schneidereit)
On this week's episode, Chris is joined by Lin Clark and Till Schneidereit of Mozilla to discuss all things WebAssembly. Lin and Till are helping to lead the development and advocacy around WebAssembly and in this conversation they discuss the current state of WASM, new developments like the WebAssembly System Interface (WASI), and the longer term possibilities and goals for WASM.
Apr 19, 2019
194: My PGP Shame
Mike Burns discusses the ins and outs of application security, his comprehensive Application Security Guide, common security holes, and his personal information & security management workflow.
Apr 12, 2019
193: A Thing I Know Almost Nothing About
Edward Loveall, former thoughtbot design apprentice and now thoughtbot developer, chats about his thoughtbot origin story, podcasts, DNS, and "must have" developer tools on new machines.
Apr 05, 2019
192: I Don't Want to Think That Hard
Sid Raval chats about functional programming, strong types, and accessibility. The discussion touches on TypeScript, Haskell, Scala, Elm, as well as accessibility and developer tools. Thank you to CircleCI for sponsoring this episode.
Mar 29, 2019
191: Open Source is Created By Humans (Devon Zuegel)
Chris is joined by Devon Zuegel who recently joined GitHub in the new Open Source Product Manager role. Devon and Chris discuss the complexities inherent to open source including funding models, managing motivation and burnout, different open source models, and end with a discussion around how we can be better open source citizens, both as consumers and maintainers. Thank you to CircleCI for sponsoring this episode.
Mar 22, 2019
190: Going Steady With a Platform
Alex Sullivan takes Chris on a tour of the mobile landscape comparing the core native platforms (the languages, developer tooling and IDEs, and fundamental thinking), React Native, and briefly touching on the newest entrant into the mobile space, Flutter. Thank you to CircleCI for sponsoring this episode.
Mar 15, 2019
189: It's Gonna Work, Definitely, No Problems Whatsoever
Chris is joined by Steph Viccari to chat about Steph's recent experience working on the Hubspot API ruby wrapper, testing third-party APIs, VCR, using exceptions as control flow, and spooky mystery guests at a distance. A little something for everyone!
Mar 01, 2019
188: A Function by Any Other Name
On this week's episode, Chris is joined by German Velasco for a conversation that fully lives up to the name of the show with plenty of opinions and impressively deep dives on topics that folks outside the world of programming would never think could warrant this much discussion.
Feb 22, 2019
187: Convincing People Not to Build Software
On this week's episode, Chris is joined by Matt Sumner, development director in our Boston Studio to discuss Matt's crypto adventures, design sprint experiences, a new ecosystem for him with Scala & GraphQL.
Feb 15, 2019
186: Let's Duplicate Stuff
On this week's episode, Chris is joined by Daniel Colson, developer in our New York studio and current maintainer of all things FactoryBot. Chris & Daniel discuss Daniel's work as maintainer of one of thoughtbot's most popular open source projects and some of the parallels to thoughtbot's consulting work. They then discuss a bit more on the specifics of FactoryBot and what's in store for upcoming versions.
Feb 01, 2019
185: The Transactional Fallacy (Avdi Grimm)
On this week's episode, Chris is joined by Ruby Hero Avdi Grimm. They discuss Avdi's history of guiding the Ruby and broader programming communities, his thoughts about where we're at with object-oriented programming, and where he's looking to next for our industry.
Jan 25, 2019
184: Fun, Interesting, and I Wouldn't Recommend It
On this week's episode, Chris is joined by Eebs Kobeissi, a developer in our Boston studio, for a discussion encompassing the front end, back end, and everything in between. They start by discussing Eebs' recent work with both Elm & TypeScript, and the relative merits of these two strongly typed languages for the front end. From there they move on to a discussion around the different communities and rates of change in each.
Jan 18, 2019
183: Former Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots (Ben Orenstein)
On this episode of the Bike Shed, Chris is joined by former thoughtbotter Ben Orenstein. Ben & team are currently feverishly working towards launching, an app for remote pair programming. The conversation covers the unique technical challenges inherent to building this sort of app (WebRTC & firewalls, oh my), as well as a discussion around the merits and value of pair programming. To round out the conversation, Ben checks in on whether Chris is still "nerding out hard on Vim".
Jan 11, 2019
182: What's it in the Service Of?
Chris is joined by Eric Bailey, thoughtbot designer and champion for all things accessibility on the web. Chris & Eric chat about how Eric approaches accessibility and works to include it throughout the design process, design systems, functional CSS, CSS in JS, and more.
Jan 04, 2019
181: Strong Types and a Functional Flair
On this episode of the Bike Shed, Chris is joined by thoughtbot CTO Joe Ferris. Chris & Joe start by talking about all things data. More and more we're building applications that need to manage medium to large data sets, combining data from multiple sources, and our approaches and frameworks need to evolve to match these needs. Joe provides the low down on how this can shape the way we build our applications. As part of the discussion around data they dig into the idea of event logs, most notably discussing Apache Kafka and it's unique approach to capturing state by storing an immutable event log, and the resulting architecture that falls out of this. Lastly they chat about the Scala language both in relation to data and streaming applications, but also more generally as an example of an approachable yet powerful strongly typed language.
Dec 14, 2018
180: A Citizen of the Internet (John Resig)
We're thrilled to welcome special guest John Resig, creator of jQuery and front-end architect at Khan Academy.
Dec 07, 2018
179: We CAN Just Use a Form!
Matt Sumner returns to chat with Chris about their recent adventures. They discuss Matt's ongoing work building an open source Ethereum implementation in Elixir, Chris's recent trip to speak at GraphQL Summit, and React Hooks.
Nov 30, 2018
178: Friday is For Spikes
On this episode of the Bike Shed Chris is joined by Derek Prior, former thoughtbotter and previous host of this very podcast. Derek has recently moved on from thoughtbot to try out a new role as an engineering manager at GitHub.
Nov 16, 2018
177: Tricking Computers Into Doing Things
On this episode of the Bike Shed, Chris is joined by Christina Entcheva, developer from thoughtbot’s New York studio to discuss rails performance, user focused development, and headless CMSs.
Nov 09, 2018
176: The Machines Will Learn
On this episode of the Bike Shed Chris is joined by George Brocklehurst, development director in thoughtbot's New York studio. The conversation starts with a discussion around progressive enhancement and the state of the modern web, and then shifts to focus on George's recent explorations of machine learning. This episode is a perfect introduction to the topic of ML, and provides a great summary of why you might want to start working with it and how to go about that.
Nov 02, 2018
175: Tell Me When It's Real
On this episode of the Bike Shed, Chris is joined by Josh Clayton, thoughtbot’s managing director in our Boston studio. Chris and Josh spend the episode discussing the various patterns and trends they see in the world of web development, covering languages and frameworks as well as more general patterns and approaches.
Oct 26, 2018
174: I've Watched a Lot of Vim Courses
In this special crossover episode, Chris is joined by Chad Pytel, Co-founder & CEO of thoughtbot and host of Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots podcast, to discuss the content, history, and the process of making Upcase, thoughtbot's online learning platform, FREE.
Oct 18, 2018
173: A Combinatoric Explosion of Nulls
Joël Quenneville joins Chris to discuss Elm, the strongly typed functional programming language for writing reliable client side web apps. They discuss recent changes from the 0.19 release including reduced bundle size from dead code elimination, the somewhat controversial removal of custom operators. Anecdotally, Joël and team saw a reduction from 31.5K to 16.6K in bundle size going from 0.18 to 0.19 and felt no pain from the custom operators removal, so a big net win for them with this new version. Along the way Joël and Chris detour into the complexity of managing a project and community like Elm's and discuss Joel's recent work with the thoughtbot apprentice program. To round things out, Joël and Chris discuss the power of using a type system like Elm's to constrain the valid states of your application and make your apps more robust and maintainable.
Oct 12, 2018
172: What I Believe About Software
Steph Viccari joins Chris for a conversation starting with a discussion of some deployment and orchestration issues Chris was helping out with, followed by some of Steph's recent experiences with JSONB in postgres and the relative trade-offs of unstructured data. The heart of the conversation revolves around the core processes we use to develop software touching on sprint planning & story points, deadlines, the place for refactoring and code review in the regular cadence of development, and the often lamented retrospective meeting.
Oct 05, 2018
171: What If We Just Used a Form?
Matt Sumner joins Chris for a discussion around Matt's recent adventures with the block chain and Ethereum, as well as tackling the thorny issue of server rendered vs client side apps. They cover a bit of history, a bit of opinion, and some practical considerations to keep in mind when tackling rich client development.
Sep 21, 2018
170: Less Charted Territory
Chris is joined by Paul Smith to discuss Crystal, a statically-typed and compiled language with a Ruby inspired syntax. Paul has spent much of the past few years exploring Crystal and building a new web framework called Lucky. Paul's infectious enthusiasm for the Crystal language shines through in this discussion covering some of the unique features of Crystal & Lucky, but there is plenty to enjoy even if you're not specifically interested in Crystal. With Lucky, Paul has done a great job of taking the best of what has been built in other frameworks and bring it to Crystal, drawing inspiration from Ruby & Rails, Elixir & Phoenix, and even PHP and the Laravel framework. There's something in this episode for everyone!
Sep 14, 2018
169: Fear Driven Development
Chris is joined by Kane Baccigalupi, development director from thoughtbot's San Francisco office to discuss Kane's history in government working for 18F and California State and how those experiences have informed Kane's work since. Throughout the conversation Chris and Kane discuss their shared desire to hide all implementation details and their love of Ruby for how it allows us to do that, testing vs test driven development, and approaches for refactoring large untested systems.
Sep 07, 2018
168: An Escape Rope of Learning
Chris is joined by Rachel Mathew to discuss Rachel's recent experiences with Scala on a handful of client and side projects. They discuss the benefits of working within a type system, learning to work with a compiler, and the process of getting to know a new language and paradigm. Along they way they dip into the complexity of twitter as a platform for discussion and making improvements to development workflows.
Aug 31, 2018
167: I Feel Like We Should've Solved This By Now
Chris is joined by German Velasco for a discussion ranging from German's recent transition to remote working to the wonders of the Elixir language and the Erlang platform, blockchain, Ethereum, TypeScript, the Language Server Protocol, and more!
Aug 24, 2018
166: Are Services the New Rewrite?
Chris & Derek discuss the world of services, exploring the various forms SOA can take, the oft stated benefits, and some of the pitfalls they commonly see in the wild. The discussion ranges from alternative architectures, guidelines for how to think about services within your platform, and even includes an anecdote about thoughtbot's foray into the world of SOA on Upcase.
Aug 10, 2018
165: The Tables Have Turned
Chris & Derek talk about beginnings and ends, borrowing from their consulting mindset for a conversation spanning CI, deployment, communication, team structure, and everything in between.
Aug 03, 2018
164: A Piece of My Identity
Jul 27, 2018
163: Insert Some Colons For Me
After Sean confronts some breaking changes to Diesel, we discuss what we like about Visual Studio Code and how changing your tools can change your perspective.
Jul 20, 2018
162: You Have Ruined Your Rails App (Sam Phippen)
Sam Phippen joins us to discuss the maintenance burden of supporting old Rubies, service oriented architecture, and explorations of GraphQL and graph databases.
Jul 13, 2018
161: Re-Incoherence
Rails performance, rebalancing coherence, and themes from career advice requests.
Jul 06, 2018
160: Praise Hands Emoji 🙌 (Vaidehi Joshi)
We're joined by Vaidehi Joshi to discuss her multimedia empire, conference talk prep, getting started with computer science, and the applicability of a computer science education in every day development work. We wrap the episode with live Q&A from our RailsConf audience.
Jun 29, 2018
159: Confusing and Hard to Use
An ORM that's a pleasure to use with raw SQL when needed? Sean discusses how that can be. Plus, Derek shares a new and exciting way for migrations to break!
Jun 22, 2018
158: This is How I Ruin Meetings (Aaron Patterson)
We're joined by Aaron Patterson for puns. Aaron also updates us on compacting GC for Ruby and Ruby 2.6's JIT compiler before telling us how he really feels about functional programming.
Jun 15, 2018
157: Whiz-Bangy Frontend Thing (Chris Toomey)
Chris Toomey joins Derek to talk about their shared experience in Elm and their excitement about GraphQL.
Jun 08, 2018
156: It's a Commercial Enterprise (Olivier Lacan)
We speak with Olivier Lacan about, tooling improvements for better developer experience, and the emotional impact of shutting down
Jun 01, 2018
155: Abstractions on Abstractions (Alex Sullivan)
Amanda is joined by Alex Sullivan, Android developer at thoughtbot, to discuss the state of React Native and its new competitor from Google, Flutter.
May 25, 2018
154: We All Have Work to Do (Eileen Uchitelle)
Eileen Uchitelle joins us live from RailsConf to talk about exciting improvements coming to Rails 6, problems encountered by larger Rails apps, strategies for upgrading Rails and more!
May 18, 2018
153: 🎶 I Would Lose 3,000 Crates, and I Would Lose 12,000 More 🎶
Is the bug in Postgres? Sean takes over operations of and keeps himself very busy. We also wrap up our experience at RailsConf.
May 11, 2018
152: I Look For Stories (Nickolas Means)
We catch up with Nick Means at RailsConf and discuss storytelling, "human error", advice for job seekers, and the idea of licensing software developers.
May 04, 2018
151: Scheming About Schema
Derek & Sean discuss their final preparations for RailsConf, the role of Diesel's is in comparison to schema.rb in Rails, and how Derek took down production.
Apr 27, 2018
150: I Fight For the Users
Derek and Sean discuss ethical concerns in software development and the prospect of licensing software developers.
Apr 13, 2018
149: E With an Umlaut
Sean experiences a frustrating Ruby bug while building tooling to enforce module boundaries in Shopfiy's monolith. Derek deprecates Rails functionality instead of preparing his talk.
Apr 06, 2018
148: Baseball is a Legacy App
Amanda and Sean discuss Flutter, modeling the game of baseball, and the state of persistence and networking in Android.
Mar 30, 2018
147: Is a Lambda a Sandwich?
Derek shares his experiences with new features in Ruby 2.5 before we turn our ire towards daylight savings time and timezones once more.
Mar 23, 2018
146: --YOLO
Amanda, Derek, and Sean discuss style guides, automated code formatting, and the cycle of disillusionment in development work.
Mar 16, 2018
145: The Internet is Ruined
Derek and Sean commiserate about the latest generation of MacBooks, Slack, and the state of the Web.
Mar 09, 2018
144: Fisher Price™ Tools
We talk about everyone's favorite Fisher-Price web framework and a small upcoming change to it before pivoting to discuss Derek's experience with his first Elm PR.
Mar 02, 2018
143: It's Hard to Have a Secret Rocket
We chat about the Falcon Heavy launch before discussing a couple of issues Derek encountered when upgrading to Rails 5.2
Feb 16, 2018
142: What if We Didn't Do Any of This?
Derek and Sean debate the value provided by database migrations written in your programming language of choice versus those written in SQL.
Feb 09, 2018
141: Go Baby, Go
We discuss the challenges in parallelizing development work and also take a look at what's coming soon in Rails 5.2.
Feb 01, 2018
140: A Sign of... Stability?
Sean and Derek argue the semantics of versioning and opine for automated reporting on more structured changelogs as a feature of future package managers.
Jan 25, 2018
139: Red, Green, Refactor (Alex Clark & Sean Doyle)
Derek is joined by coworker Sean Doyle and Codecademy’s Alex Clark to discuss the process of test-driven development and the development of a new TDD course for Codecademy.
Jan 19, 2018
138: I Don't Know How the World Works Anymore
We chat about how shared global state in tests can cause you to doubt foundational truths of the universe, some issues with Rails system tests, and recent changes in browser behavior.
Jan 12, 2018
137: What's Up, Docs
Who should library documentation be written for? How do you, as an author, know what your users will need to know? Should you have long form guides in addition to API documentation? We ask and answer these questions in the context of Sean's work to document Diesel 1.0. Stick around for the spoiler-filled after show about Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Jan 05, 2018
136: Propagating Conspiracy Theories
Amanda joins Derek to discuss KotlinConf, powerful IDEs, our Ralphapalooza hackathon, and the React Native experience from a native mobile developer's perspective.
Dec 22, 2017
135: A Series of Unfortunate Examples
We discuss a possible ActiveRecord bug Derek encountered and explore the ambiguity of SQL formatting best practices.
Dec 13, 2017
134: Fastributes
We share our favorite talks from RubyConf and discuss how Sean has made ActiveRecord attributes allocation significantly faster with Rust.
Dec 08, 2017
133: A Very Special Bike Shed
Sean is on to a significant ActiveRecord optimization using an extension written in Rust and Derek shares an overdue thanks to an excellent manager.
Nov 23, 2017
132: What Went Well?
We discuss patterns and anti-patterns encountered in agile retrospectives and revisit a favorite topic: form objects.
Nov 16, 2017
131: Nouns For Verbs Sake
We briefly discuss the renaming of factory_girl to factory_bot before diving in to the visitor pattern; what is it, and what are its inherent tradeoffs.
Nov 08, 2017
130: I Grew Up in Balloons
Is Database Cleaner necessary anymore? Tune in for our exciting play-by-play reporting on that issue and stick around for chatter on personal defaults for new Rails applications.
Nov 03, 2017
129: You Wanna Talk About GraphQL?
We discuss an issue in the interaction between Rails, Chrome, and the HTTP referrer policy before Derek shares his love for GraphQL.
Oct 27, 2017
128: And Now for My Next Trick!
We discuss strategies for fighting back against project management overhead, refactoring workflows, and on-call rotations.
Oct 19, 2017
127: Bike Shed: Discovery
We discuss Bundler warning us to update to a prerelease version and other recent annoyances with our favorite dependency manager. We also wonder what GitHub diff stats can tell you about your contributions to a project and when they might be a smell. Stick around post credits for some spoiler-filled chatter about the first couple episodes of Star Trek: Discovery.
Oct 13, 2017
126: Speaking of Compilers...
We discuss a major change to Diesel's insert statements in advance of its 1.0 release and reexamine Contracts.ruby after Derek spends some time with it in use.
Oct 05, 2017
125: Less Bad Than Expected
We share and discuss some user feedback on fakes and mocks, discuss the benefits and drawbacks to FactoryGirl and share exasperation over the handling of the Equifax data breach.
Sep 28, 2017
124: Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.
We go inside the RubyConf CFP review process before turning our attention to questions about the impact of code review. Stick around post credits for some spoiler-filled, lukewarm Game of Thrones takes.
Sep 20, 2017
123: Too Many Parameters
Derek and Sean discuss the troubles encountered when code reuse is a goal above all others and strategies to have your reusable cake and eat it too.
Sep 13, 2017
122: Name That Smell
Derek and Sean discuss going from zero to code on new projects, writing tests that deal with external services, and a tricky floating point precision bug Sean encountered in ActiveRecord.
Sep 05, 2017
121: The Bike Log (Jerod Santo)
The Changelog's Jerod Santos joins the show to talk finding time for, sustaining, and funding open source development.
Aug 21, 2017
120: Free Apples
We do some follow-up on open source fundraising and discuss some interesting patterns in Derek's new client project.
Aug 03, 2017
119: Questions Are For the Weak (Caleb Thompson & Matt Mongeau)
Sean and Derek are joined by Caleb Thompson and Matthew Mongeau for our annual live episode to discuss lessons learned from past projects, and speaking at conferences.
Jul 26, 2017
118: Nonsense In, Nonsense Out
We discuss the economics of remote work, ActionDispatch::SystemTest in RSpec, and the use of Patreon on open source projects.
Jul 18, 2017
117: S.A.L.T. (Justin Searls)
We chat with Justin Searls about testing, programmer personality types, programming communities, and putting spreadsheets on the Internet.
Jul 10, 2017
116: A More "WALL-E" Future
Amanda is joined by SF thoughtbot developers Tony, Josh, & Greg to discuss learning new languages (and whether developers should do that in their free time), machine learning, the future of AR/VR, and tech that strives to make a social difference.
Jun 28, 2017
115: I Don't Need Another Google Hangout (Cecy Correa)
We talk with Cecy Correa about how to hire and get hired.
Jun 22, 2017
114: Reasonably Thread Safe
We discuss a tiny DOS caused when upgrading to Rails 5.1 and how Rails could better surface warnings that only occur in your production configuration. We also get an update on multi-table joins in Rust.
Jun 16, 2017
113: Have You Considered Rust? (Matt Casper)
We talk to Matt Casper about contributing to Diesel, Rust's ecosystem, and the next big thing.
Jun 09, 2017
112: Lifecycles Are Dead, Long Live Lifecycles!
Amanda joins Sean to discuss all the Android news to come out of Google I/O, Kotlin as a "first class language", and features of Android "O"!
Jun 01, 2017
111: Trike Shed (Aaron Patterson)
We talk with Aaron Patterson about Ruby and Rails upgrades, and the goal of making Ruby 3 three times faster than Ruby 2.
May 25, 2017
110: Green Chips
What’s the deal with green potato chips? Also: RailsConf wrap up and an AST pass refactor for Diesel.
May 18, 2017
109: The Final Countdown
Follow up about Service Objects and Computer Engineering. Plus, RailsConf prep, code slide woes, and modal pop-ups.
Apr 26, 2017
108: Have You Tried Rebooting?
Is your operating system hosed? That might be related to Rails! We also chat about the trend towards compiled languages.
Apr 18, 2017
107: "Composition" Over Inheritance
Single table inheritance, polymorphic associations, state machines and service objects, oh my!
Apr 14, 2017
106: Nerd Sniping (Chris Toomey)
Chris Toomey joins to talk about Tell Me When It Closes, Haskell, and GraphQL.
Apr 05, 2017
105: For Display Purposes Only
Complexity vs Functionality, Validations vs Database Constraints, plus whatever a Cap'n Proto is.
Mar 30, 2017
104: It's Dangerous to Refactor Alone!
Google's carrot-and-stick HTTPS policies and how playing The Legend of Zelda is like refactoring.
Mar 23, 2017
103: I Just Want to See Green Dots
When a hash isn't a hash, GitHub as your Résumé, and porting to Diesel.
Mar 16, 2017
102: To the Moon!
Going "to" the moon, hidden type errors in our Rails apps, the process of talk prep, and the S3 outage.
Mar 10, 2017
101: Hey, You Leaned!
Amanda and Sean discuss the evolving stages of open source projects, native apps vs web apps, and space.
Feb 28, 2017
100: Nouns You Can Verb
Sam Phippen helps us celebrate episode 100, as we discuss Diesel bugs, REST, RPC, and more.
Feb 24, 2017
99: Just Sayin'
We go into the weeds with MySQL and discuss the virtues of database migrations written in SQL.
Feb 16, 2017
98: I Have Good Branch Hygiene
We discuss complexity and progressive disclosure, garbage collection, and the impenetrable nature of Git.
Feb 08, 2017
97: One Equals Zero
We wonder why writing parameterized associations in Rails is not easy, and discuss the difficulty in eliminating no-op queries in ActiveRecord. Plus, we discuss how you can give a great RailsConf talk proposal that doesn't have anything to do with Rails.
Jan 31, 2017
96: Who Stinks?
Baby Ruby, Ruby refinements, Rails discoverability, and annoying polyfills.
Jan 27, 2017
95: Click 'Cat' to go 'Home' (Morgane Santos)
Amanda is joined by Morgane Santos to discuss the experiences, technology, and development of Virtual Reality.
Jan 20, 2017
94: It's Not Supposed to Work
We discuss the pain of custom inputs in HTML, ActiveRecord bugs, and Rust's Fire Flower.
Jan 11, 2017
93: I Have Complex Feelings
The impact of codes of conduct on community behavior, shipping a mobile app written in Elm, and yet more to say on SemVer.
Dec 21, 2016
92: The Queen of Canada
We discuss the sneaky performance differences between present?, any?, blank? and empty? with ActiveRecord, when N+1 is a "feature", and the future of Diesel.
Dec 16, 2016
91: I Think It's a Fish
Derek briefly complains of the staleness of the asset pipeline in Rails 5, before Sean catches Derek up on Rails 5.1's support for Webpack, Yarn, and ES6. We also discuss the pain of deprecations in the upgrade to Rails 5.
Dec 08, 2016
90: Freedom Units
We discuss adventures with shared mutable state in Elixir before turning to our thoughts on mocking HTTP interaction and how our approaches may differ depending on the language we’re using.
Dec 01, 2016
89: There Will Never Be One Right Way (Ashley Williams)
Ashley Williams joins the show to discuss NPM, Yarn, and the general package manager ecosystem.
Nov 23, 2016
88: How Many Puppies Now?
Amanda and Sean discuss talk prep and slide envy before diving in to Kotlin 1.0.5, UTF-8 identifiers in programming, and responsive layouts in Android.
Nov 18, 2016
87: The Refrigerator Took Down Your Website
We talk about a widespread DNS outage and what steps you might take to avoid or limit your application's exposure to these things in the future.
Nov 10, 2016
86: Purple Train, Purrrple Train (Ian Anderson)
Derek chats with Ian Anderson about developing a mobile app for iOS and Android with React Native.
Nov 02, 2016
85: Are We in a Black Hole?
We briefly ponder the very nature of our existence before discussing edge cases and interesting bugs encountered in ActiveRecord.
Oct 26, 2016
84: Why Are Manhole Covers Round?
What do we look for when reviewing job applications, interviewing candidates, and pairing with prospective co-workers?
Oct 19, 2016
83: Canadian Halloween
Sean encounters a roadblock in updating Diesel to use Rust’s new soon-to-be-stabilized procedural macros. Derek and Sean discuss the most recent CVE filed for Bundler, which is a lot like the previous CVE filed for Bundler.
Oct 12, 2016
82: I Just Want a Dog in a Spacesuit
We discuss the problems with getting a CVE and the new lightning fast search tool, ripgrep. Sandwiched between those topics, we dive into the colonization of Mars. Yes, that's right, Mars.
Oct 05, 2016
81: Is This Really a CVE?
Derek and Sean talk through how to handle a security vulnerability that was reported for Clearance, a user authentication library.
Sep 28, 2016
80: Back to the Futures
What's appropriate for a web middleware stack to provide? Does Rack do too much? Plus, our thoughts on NeoVim and Vim 8.
Sep 21, 2016
79: Comments in Your Queries
Derek and Sean talk through some complex SQL before they examine the calluses developed from years of writing software on OS X.
Sep 14, 2016
78: I'm an Adult and I Choose Java
Sean and Amanda discuss the state of Android Development in 2016. Java, Kotlin, Dependency Injection, and Functional Reactive Programming, oh my!
Sep 09, 2016
77: The Floors Are Not Zero Indexed
How can you get your open source pull request merged?
Aug 31, 2016
76: The One With Laila & Brenda
Between thoughtbot's Summer Summit and Sean's vacation, we are sadly without a new episode this week. However, we would love you all to check out thoughtbot's newest podcast, interviewing inspirational designers, developers, and other makers in tech, The Laila & Brenda Show! Give their latest episode a listen here, and if you like it subscribe to their feed however you listen to podcasts!
Aug 17, 2016
75: I'm Not Sure That's Better
Derek and Sean discuss hunting down intermittently failing tests, finding unused code in your application, and why you should never ever change your test framework.
Aug 11, 2016
74: A Dip in the Connection Pool
We talk through design considerations for a user-visible custom query builder for a high volume ecommerce system.
Aug 03, 2016
73: Probably In My Other Pants
We discuss Pokémon Go and what its success might mean for software developers before Sean lays out his case for replacing the pg gem and libpq.
Jul 28, 2016
72: Surprises Cut For Time (Aaron Patterson)
Aaron Patterson joins us from RailsConf for puns, performance improvements in Ruby, and AirDropping cats.
Jul 20, 2016
71: It's a Total Hack
Inspired by Nickolas Means’ fantastic RailsConf keynote, we discuss the corollaries between Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works projects and our software development projects.
Jul 13, 2016
70: Make Small Things (Sandi Metz)
Sandi Metz joins us live from RailsConf to talk about the rules, the trouble with naming things, making the right kinds of errors, and conference speaking. A big thanks to everyone who came out to our live show! A video version of this episode is available on the thoughtbot YouTube Page.
Jul 06, 2016
69: No More Drills
We discuss thoughtbot's increasing use of Elixir and Phoenix and what that means for our Rails work before diving into what's new in Elixir 1.3 and Ecto 2.0.
Jun 29, 2016
68: Mostly Undocumented
Sean runs through a Rails bug that sits at the intersection of several magical and confusing Rails features.
Jun 22, 2016
67: Longtime Listener, First Time Caller (Rafael Franca)
Leading Rails contributor Rafael Franca joins us from RailsConf to talk about taking over Sprockets, the future of the asset pipeline in Rails, managing Rails dependencies, and the hard work of software maintenance. Also, Sean said you'd all "definitely" have the final build of Rails 5 by now. Whoops!
Jun 15, 2016
66: Make Ruby Scripting Great Again (Terence Lee)
We talk with Terence Lee of Heroku, Bundler, and mruby-cli fame about Apache Kafka and the future of mruby scripting.
Jun 08, 2016
65: Free as in Puppy (Katrina Owen)
While at RailsConf, we talk with Katrina Owen about finding metaphors for software development, the successes and mistakes of, and the benefits of providing code reviews.
May 25, 2016
64: Open Mic SF
Open Mic is back by popular demand, this time in San Francisco. We hear from developers in thoughtbot's San Francisco office about their recent investment time projects.
May 18, 2016
63: Types Are Only Good If You Use Them
Derek and Sean discuss some recent issues with exciting language features like pattern matching, macros, and static types.
May 11, 2016
62: Shipping is the Fastest Way to Get Somewhere
Sean celebrates Diesel reaching "faster than a SQL string" status before we chat about Rails 5 blockers and the clarity of focus and priorities that only shipping can bring.
May 04, 2016
61: I'm Not Telling You My Birthday
"Send me an email every year for my birthday" is an easy thing for a human to understand but it can be deceptively tricky to do with computers. Also tricky for (some) computers: SELECT * FROM <empty_table>. Wait... what?
Apr 27, 2016
60: Remote Control (Katherine Fellows)
KF (Katherine Fellows) joins the show to chat about successful BridgeFoundry events and creating environments where remote developers, junior and otherwise, can thrive.
Apr 20, 2016
59: I Wish They Wouldn't Do That
Derek and Sean discuss the left-pad saga, how other programming communities are reacting to it, and what you should learn from it as a library or application author.
Apr 13, 2016
58: Nobody Gets Fired For Buying IBM
Should you rewrite or refactor? What should you consider as you weigh this decision and what exactly constitutes a rewrite anyway?
Apr 06, 2016
57: Mutability Ruins the Whole Party (José Valim)
We chat with José Valim about bringing light to Elixir's dark corners, the design goals of Ecto, and the future of Elixir, Ecto, and Phoenix.
Mar 30, 2016
56: Most People Aren't Building Trello
Is ActiveRecord reinventing Sequel? If it is, does it matter? Derek and Sean discuss that and whether maybe we could all stand to tone down the JavaScript.
Mar 23, 2016
55: Hot Dog is Not a Dessert
Derek and Sean talk about their experience with the Rails 5 betas, how to test against them today, and things that you might want to look out for when updating your app.
Mar 09, 2016
54: Argument Error
Derek shares some Elixir annoyances with Sean and they discus how a consulting role colors their perception of languages and frameworks, both for better and for worse. Sean provides an update on SQLite and Association support in Diesel.
Mar 02, 2016
53: Cache Machine
Laila and Derek go on a tour of the various caching mechanisms available to web applications in general, and Rails specifically. When is the right time to cache and at what level?
Feb 24, 2016
52: You're an Elixir Developer Now
Derek and Laila discuss Derek's excitement for Elixir and Phoenix. Is Elixir as fun to write as Ruby? Is Phoenix a better Rails?
Feb 17, 2016
51: Is Sim City Running? (Steve Klabnik)
We enjoy a wide-ranging discussion with Steve Klabnik on the importance of good documentation, the sometimes cloudy definition of a breaking change, the politics of open source contributions, and work/life balance or boundaries.
Feb 10, 2016
50: Open Mic
It's Open Mic day at The Bike Shed. We hear from other thoughtbot designers and developers about what they're excited to be spending their investment time on lately.
Feb 03, 2016
49: A More Practical Haskell
How can an ORM be faster than a SQL String? Laila and Sean discuss the latest happenings in Diesel and why it is that a systems language needs an ORM, anyway.
Jan 27, 2016
48: Is Everyone Trying Their Best?
Software is broken. In this episode, Derek and Sean discuss why exactly it's broken, and what we can do to make it better.
Jan 21, 2016
47: Star Wars Oranges
Ruby 2.3 is out! What are we looking forward to trying and what do we think of &. and try? Stick around after the credits for spoiler-filled discussion of Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Jan 13, 2016
46: Don't Breathe, Save the Planet
We discuss the maintenance burden of ActionCable and its dependencies on Rails 5, follow-up on Scenic issues, and discuss implementing migrations anew in Diesel.
Jan 06, 2016
45: I Think I'd Prefer An Error to Nonsense
Derek shipped Scenic 1.0, which spurs a conversation about semantic versioning and the value of the 1.0 milestone. We discuss what the bar for breaking changes in a library should be and look at some specific changes on tap for Scenic and whether they will or should carry a major version bump.
Dec 23, 2015
44: It Won't Crash... It Might Crash
Sean has shipped early versions of Diesel, an ORM for Rust! We discuss its semantic versioning, the ergonomics of use versus the complexities of implementation, early issues with the API and the road to Diesel 1.0.
Dec 17, 2015
43: That's DOCTOR Internet Technologist
We talk about lessons learned from teachable moments both in the moment and decades later.
Dec 09, 2015
42: That's Incredibly Ambitious (Grayson Wright)
We speak to Grayson Wright about building Administrate, an open source Rails framework for administrative interfaces. What makes Administrate different than existing solutions and what are the challenges in maintaining high-level dependencies.
Dec 02, 2015
41: Ugh, I Have to Write Web Apps in This Thing
Derek and Sean talk about Derek's exploration into Elixir and Phoenix, when and how performance matters, and ways to keep your Rails app fast from day 1.
Nov 25, 2015
40: ActiveRecord Deprecated Persistence
The ActiveRecord update API is a mess of methods that confuse even ActiveRecord’s maintainer. What are the problems and is there any hope for a solution?
Nov 18, 2015
39: Okay with Instability (Yehuda Katz)
We talk with Yehuda Katz about how much risk is right for you and your app, the sharp tools of high level abstractions, and how our statistical intuition leads us astray on web performance.
Nov 11, 2015
38: Ugh, Forms
Laila and Derek discuss how they have handled forms with complex validation requirements and how to make these forms have a smooth user experience.
Nov 03, 2015
37: The Web is Faster Without Garbage
Begun, the ad block wars have. Derek debugs an issue that arises from iOS ad blocking and wonders if analytics will move back to the server side. Sean fills us in on how dirty checking works in ActiveRecord and how he's making it faster and better in Rails 5.
Oct 29, 2015
36: Python Unchained
Derek and Laila talk about learning Python and Django and discuss how thoughtbot adopts new languages, frameworks, and libraries. What factors influence adoption? How do we share what works and doesn't work?
Oct 15, 2015
35: GitHub Ate My Résumé
Sean and Derek explain why you should always use a personal email address in your Git configuration before they dive into Ruby exception handling, and potential MRI proc optimizations.
Oct 07, 2015
Derek is joined by Laila Winner to discuss Neo4j, the importance of fantastic documentation, and the different types of documentation a project requires.
Sep 29, 2015
33: Just Put it in a Module, Man
Sean and Derek take some listener questions, and dig into DRY.
Sep 22, 2015
32: Bug For Bug Compatibility
Derek and Sean discuss Microsoft's interest in open source, improving the Rails development story on Windows, and Sean's progress implementing an ORM in Rust.
Sep 15, 2015
31: Oxidizing an ORM
Are provably correct queries of interest to you? Sean gives a rundown of what a Rusty ORM might be like to build.
Sep 08, 2015
30: Just Go to Slash Wibble
Derek and Sean discuss hypothetical changes to Rails routing before turning their attention toward hunting memory bloat and the proposal that strings be frozen by default in Ruby 3.
Sep 01, 2015
29: Django Unchained (Mike Burns)
Sean is joined by Mike Burns to discuss what Ruby and Rails can learn from Python and Django.
Aug 25, 2015
28: Minisode 0.1.1
Did you know Rails has no integration test suite? What could go wrong?
Aug 18, 2015
27: I've Got 29.97 Problems (and codecs are some)
Sean and Derek circle back on HTTP before diving into unsafe rust, and finally the merits of a small standard library.
Aug 11, 2015
26: My Cache is in the Cloud
This week, Sean and Derek discuss performance and inheriting code. In a stroke of complete madness, Derek decides that turbolinks isn't that bad.
Aug 04, 2015
25: Throwing the Schema Out With the SOAPy Bathwater (Gordon Fontenot)
Derek is joined by Gordon Fontenot for a discussion of the JSON API specification, problems consuming it from Swift, and the future of functional programming in Swift. This episode of The Bike Shed is sponsored by Code School. Entertaining online learning for existing and aspiring developers. Leave a review on our iTunes page to be entered to win a free month of Code School.
Jul 28, 2015
24: You Look Good in a Lab Coat (Richard Schneeman)
Richard Schneeman joins The Bike Shed to discuss ruby memory use, horizontal scaling, and tackling open source issues big and small. This episode of The Bike Shed is sponsored by Code School. Entertaining online learning for existing and aspiring developers. Leave a review on our iTunes page to be entered to win a free month of Code School.
Jul 21, 2015
23: Why Did They Call it Rust?!
Sean gives Derek a tour of Rust, a new systems language from Mozilla. This episode of The Bike Shed is sponsored by Code School. Entertaining online learning for existing and aspiring developers. Leave a review on our iTunes page to be entered to win a free month of Code School.
Jul 14, 2015
22: No Capes! (Eileen Uchitelle)
Eileen Uchitelle joins the show to discuss performance improvements to ActiveRecord, speeding up integration tests, and contributing to or running open source projects. This episode of The Bike Shed is sponsored by Code School. Entertaining online learning for existing and aspiring developers. Leave a review on our iTunes page to be entered to win a free month of Code School.
Jul 07, 2015
21: The "Best" Canada (Godfrey Chan)
Rails Core Team member Godfrey Chan joins the show to demystify rails bug hunting and contributing.
Jun 30, 2015
20: Intentionally Excruciatingly Painful
We're joined by Josh Clayton to discuss our differing strategies on testing view behavior, strategies for dealing with brittle feature specs, and what types of tests each of us favor.
Jun 23, 2015
19: The Oncoming Storm (Sam Phippen)
Derek and Sean are joined by Sam Phippen from the RSpec core team to discuss RSpec mocks, testing strategies, and minitest.
Jun 16, 2015
18: This Podcast is Rigged (But Not Animated)
Sean and Derek discuss rails asset dependencies before diving into an overview of animation techniques and C extensions.
Jun 09, 2015
17: Railing About Performance (Sam Saffron)
We chat with Sam Saffron about performance, benchmarking, and database migration strategies.
Jun 02, 2015
16: Wizards Are Hard to Kill
Grab Bag! Derek and Sean talk about math, augmented reality, RailsConf wrap up, Minimum Viable Products, Accessibility...
May 27, 2015
15: Might As Well Be About Trains (Sarah Mei)
Sean, Derek, and Sarah Mei talk about conference speaking, refactoring, and OO vs FP problems.
May 19, 2015
14: An Acceptable Level of Hassle (David Heinemeier Hansson)
This week, we're joined by DHH and discuss microservices, monoliths, shared abstractions, and the fate of Action Cable.
May 12, 2015
13: Begrudging Applause (Aaron Patterson)
Live from RailsConf, Aaron Patterson joins the show to talk about Rails 5, Rack 2, Contributing to Open Source, and cats. We also field audience questions.
May 05, 2015
12: A Poor Man's binding.pry
Derek and Sean talk about naming, debugging, and the anxiety of conference talks.
Apr 17, 2015
11: Form-ing Opinions
Sean and Derek talk about the state of Android tooling, refactoring journeys, and an approach to rails form objects.
Apr 03, 2015
10: I Don't Get Functional Programming
Pat Brisbin joins Derek to discuss the many advantages of Haskell programming.
Mar 20, 2015
9: Monorails, For the Kids
Sean and Derek discuss Monoliths, Service Oriented Architecture, and the new Adapter Specific Type Registry in Rails 5.
Mar 06, 2015
8: Attributes API, Relation#or, Paid Open Source
Derek and Sean discuss what the Attributes API enables, the addition of Relation#or and paid open source.
Feb 20, 2015
7: At the Car Wash
Derek and Sean talk trade schools, sneaky bugs, bad method names, before_filters, and the Superbowl.
Jan 30, 2015
6: Shh! Library Under Maintenance
Sean and Derek discuss thoughtful deprecations, backwards compatibility, and other joys of library maintenance.
Jan 16, 2015
5: Rails is Not Your Architecture
Derek and Sean discuss various ways of taking the Rails out of your Ruby on Rails application, what folder to put your files in, and the difficulties and rewards of learning new programming languages.
Dec 31, 2014
4: Put Everything on the Front End
Derek and Sean discuss hunting Rails performance regressions and techniques for improving performance in your web applications.
Dec 12, 2014
3: Flipping the Script
Sean and Derek take a fresh look at the tradeoffs in writing CoffeeScript and whether we should be using an ES6 transpiler instead.
Nov 28, 2014
2: Rails 4.2
Derek and Sean discuss Sean's commit access to Rails, what's coming in Rails 4.2, and how to go about making Rails code better.
Nov 17, 2014
1: Sandi & Derek's Rules
Sean and Derek discuss lessons learned from following Sandi Metz' rules on a project and the overall impact of rules on code.
Oct 31, 2014