TLDR Web Dev 2024-04-15

Devin AI debunked 🤯, the problem with dev tools 🤔, Next.js 14.2 🚀

Articles & Tutorials

Your background images might be causing CLS (10 minute read)

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures webpage instability caused by unexpected movements of elements. Background images can make CLS worse, since CLS calculations consider all page elements. To make sure that CLS isn't affected negatively by background images, developers should include width and height attributes on images and iframes.

How one line of code caused a $60 million loss (4 minute read)

In 1990, half of AT&T's phone network went down as a result of one line of C code that contained a buggy implementation of call handling. The outage affected over a hundred thousand Americans and the company lost $60 million. This article goes over the buggy piece of code that was deployed by AT&T and how engineers fixed it.

useTransition – React (12 minute read)

A new official React doc that explains how to animate a progress element using the new useTransition hook, which lets you update state without blocking UI.
Opinions & Advice

Ten Years and Counting: My Affair with Microservices (26 minute read)

Allegro, a major e-commerce platform, successfully transformed its monolithic application into a microservices architecture. Along the way, it shifted away from physical servers to a cloud-based infrastructure, which led to a much better developer experience. It also made large investments in tooling and infrastructure to reduce manual work for its engineers. Allegro made sure to allow room for experimentation, but also kept teams accountable for their architectural decisions.

The problem with trying to sell developer tooling is that developers have no purchasing authority (3 minute read)

Selling developer tools is challenging because developers typically lack the authority to make purchasing decisions. Successful tech companies often bypass IT and target revenue-generating business units. Simply making a tool popular doesn't guarantee profitability, especially with open-source software.

Why I Lost Faith in Kagi (13 minute read)

Paid search engine Kagi has spread itself too thin with multiple niche projects. The product is also starting to become over-reliant on AI, which leads to inaccuracy and bias that goes against what Kagi was in the beginning.
Launches & Tools

Zero Sheets (Website)

Turn Google Sheets into a database. Developers can perform CRUD operations on spreadsheets using APIs.

Index Advisor (GitHub Repo)

Supabase's Index Advisor is a PostgreSQL extension that recommends indexes to improve query performance.

Next.js 14.2 (6 minute read)

Next.js 14.2 offers faster local development with Turbopack improvements, along with clearer error messages and improved overlay design. It also has less memory usage during builds.

The Guide to Stock Options conversations (9 minute read)

Employees at startups should learn to understand their stock options as they are not an intuitive thing to understand. This article goes over the basics of stock options and how employees should gauge potential upside (or downside). Engineering managers should make sure that employees get additional stock option grants as they grow within the company.

How I got into deep learning (8 minute read)

This author decided to learn deep learning after running an education company for 8 years. They focused on the fundamentals with resources like "The Deep Learning Book", taught as they learned, and implemented foundational papers. They eventually developed their own tools in the data extraction space, which led to a job offer from a research lab.

Lessons after a half-billion GPT tokens (10 minute read)

This author, who works at a startup with several LLM-powered features, shares useful insights from using GPT. For text analysis and extraction, vague prompts often outperform overly specific instructions. The chat API itself is usually enough for most needs and most people won't need to use more complex tech like vector databases or Langchain. For a better user experience, it was useful to mimic the variable typing speed of chatbots.
Quick Links

The Best Manager I've Had (3 minute read)

The author's best manager was amazing because of their transparent communication (especially about career growth), technical competency, high but fair performance bar, credibility, and focus on impactful work instead of internal politics.

Debunking Devin: "First AI Software Engineer" Upwork lie exposed! (YouTube Video)

Devin AI, the “first AI Software Engineer,” was misrepresented - for example, in one of its demos, Devin is shown fixing errors in the source of a GitHub repository, but the errors it's fixing are bugs that Devin itself created.

Harmful 5G Fast Lanes Are Coming. The FCC Needs to Stop Them (6 minute read)

The FCC's proposed net neutrality rules would allow mobile internet providers to create "5G fast lanes" where certain apps get preferential treatment.

Browser Security Bugs that Aren't: JavaScript in PDF (2 minute read)

The potential to embed JavaScript in PDFs is often thought of as a security vulnerability, but in reality, it's intended by PDF rendering software.

The Arc Product-Market Fit Framework (12 minute read)

The problems startups solve are either hair-on-fire problems, “unchangeable” pain points, or non-problems that are solved by unbelievable visions (like the iPhone).
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