Top Posts of 2022

Jan 1, 2023

582 days in. The best posts of the last 365 days and some honorable mentions.

(see Top Posts of 2021 for best of the first ~200).

  1. Screenshot as the Universal API (Hacker News, Twitter) – We can now easily extract meaning (image-to-text), layout information (object recognition), text (OCR), and other metadata from images. Screenshots, while not the most glamorous format, are (1) easier to parse than complex layout formats (like PDF), (2) universally available and easily copyable, (3) permissionless (hard to prevent), and (4) can yield more complex metadata.
  2. Don't Use Kubernetes, Yet (Hacker News) – My philosophy of Kubernetes Maximalism means that I believe Kubernetes is the best choice for at-scale companies, but that also means that it's the wrong tool for most other teams.
  3. The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Makefiles (Hacker News) – An old but favorite tool of mine, the Makefile. As someone who has spent a considerable amount of time thinking about building software, why the Makefile gets right, and what faster or more correct systems get wrong.
  4. What Comes After Git (Hacker News) – Git has a significant market share of version control. Whatever replaces git won't look like git. A few ideas of why and how the evolution of a new version control system (or something that satisfies a new developer workflow) would emerge.
  5. Why Did Heroku Fail? (Hacker News) – This is a contender for most controversial, but it reasons why Heroku failed to capture as much value as it created. Many startups built products promising a Heroku-like experience, but will their fate be similar? Heroku ended up scraping its famous free tier not short after this post.
  6. Non-Obvious Docker Uses (Hacker News) – Isolating workloads and running software at scale is usually cited as the main benefit of Docker. Yet, I believe the tool can be effectively used in many different ways. After working on Docker internals for years, this is how I use the tool.
  7. SQLite Doesn't Use Git (Hacker News) – Another investigation into version control systems and developer workflows with surprising results.
  8. The Lost Art of System Administration (Hacker News) – An ode to how I learned my Linux and sysadmin chops. I'm not nostalgic, but in the end, I wonder what the equivalent is for new developers today.
  9. Thoughts on RSS (Hacker News) – A few thoughts on why I believe RSS is dead, why I believe RSS isn't dead, the RSS idea maze, and what comes next.
  10. AWS Is Not a Dumb Pipe (Hacker News) – Telcos failed to build over-the-top services and instead are relegated to providing "dumb pipe" connectively for the internet. Will cloud providers succeed in competing against SaaS providers for managed services? A few thoughts on why it's different this time.

Most Controversial Post

Against Pair Programming (Hacker News) – A post on the pair programming workflow. It wasn't meant to be intentionally controversial, but workflows can be core to a person's professional identity (especially if they have advocated for them or instilled them in their own workplaces). I underestimated the number of developers that still practice this Agile method (I've rarely seen it at the places I've worked, so potentially that's a large bias).

Honorable Mentions

  • Antifragile in 2022 – I started off the year with a note on antifragile systems. I believe it will be even more true in 2023.
  • Commoditized Trust – A philosophy about brands, crypto, and centralization/decentralization. I still believe this is the way to look at the appeal of centralized technology. However, with the fraud of FTX in November, we saw what happens when seemingly trusted entities break trust.
  • Why TypeScript for Infrastructure? – With so many products coming out around infrastructure-as-code or configuration-as-code, an implementation that I believe will ultimately win. Also, Every Sufficiently Advanced Configuration Language is Wrong.
  • A Universal Package Manager – Some thoughts on how package management could evolve. It's important because, at it's core, package manage is about sharing code – one of the exponential factors in developer productivity.
  • Web3's Eternal September – Some parallels about web3/Usenet and the normalization of community norms when technology moves past early adopters.
  • Commoditization of Large Language Models –  Part 1Part 2 – A look into LLMs: what data it requires, where the data comes from, how much it costs to train, how much it costs to serve inference, and what this means for the value chain.
  • What's an MVP in 2022? – It's never been a cheaper or more expensive time to start a startup. SaaS products can be cobbled together with different foundational SaaS services quickly. What's a prototype in 2022? What's an MVP in 2022?