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Through the stack 1.19 (week 39)

Through the stack 1.19 (week 39)

This is "Through the Stack," a weekly list of links relating to topics relevant to Lead developers (actual or aspiring) working with an internet-related product.
Many lead developers, tech lead, and staff engineers have their hands in many projects and influence many layers in their organizations. This publication aims to share thoughts and content that are relevant to such profiles.
If you have comments or content to suggest, please reach out to us by email through-the-stack@imfiny.com.

This week ...

We start with a small edito, then we will jump into a mix of links for leaders and engineers.

On breaks

In July, a contract finished. I decided to take some time off to take care of my partner's move to France and some personal projects. This newsletter got paused. After a first month off I started feeling a bit more energy to read, listen and do a few things.

So, in this end of September, it's with a few different ideas that this newsletter restarts.

It will migrate over the next months to a new domain (pier22.eu). This will match a stronger focus on some activities to develop the company. You can find more information about this move in this post. The content will stay similar though.


This week we have a mix of older posts (pre-break) and more recent ones. First, two posts about developer productivity. The first one is actually a thread on Twitter.

And that led me to another article on the SPACE framework: https://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=3454124.

An interesting read. If you haven't yet started to listen to the Tech Lead Journal you might have missed episode 43 with Dr Jenna Butler (one of the authors of the above post).

In the same level of content, we can go onto "Reporting to the board as an engineering leader" by Dalia Havens. This topic is key as we start to grow in our careers and get more responsibilities. This post offers great insights on how to conduct this reporting exercise.

Two opinion pieces have caught my eye this week. One is "Your CTO should actually be technical" by Aditya Agarwal. This might be obvious to most but the article is quite interesting to read. There are some interesting insights in it for tech and non-tech people. The other one is about the AWS skills gap in our industry. Certainly not a surprise either to senior engineers and tech leads out there. But this article gives some numbers on the situation.

For us, it means more people should pick up at least some basic knowledge of AWS, GCP and other IaaS platforms. If you don't have any I encourage you to take half a day this week to read an introduction to either of the big three at least to get a basic idea of their services. If you have but most of your team do not have basic knowledge then encourage them to go through the first tutorial of your platform of choice. At least.

In the Ruby zone

As usual, I can't help but include some Ruby content.

Let's start with a great post from Domenico Angiletta: "Save money, optimize your test factories". Once a Ruby project reaches a certain size tests tend to slow down due to a mix of reasons. This article gives a good overview of how to solve some of those issues.

Quoted by Domenico Angiletta and a good read still after many years: Evil Martians' "TestProf: a good doctor for slow Ruby tests".

For those of us who keep an eye on Kafka one of the good libraries to use it with Ruby has been updated with a 2.0 release: Karafka framework 2.0 announcement.

Another thing in the same area hit my radar. A little Epub from Redis Labs about streams in Redis and Kafka. As with any comparison done and published by the makers of one of the compared solutions I'd be careful with the claims but still, a good read nonetheless.

To stick to Ruby and its security side two posts on Snyk's blog, written by Liran Tal, will make for a good read on one of those fresh mornings:

Both are good reads, especially if you have never looked at how to make a gem or how bundler works.


No podcasts to reference this week but as usual Remote Ruby, Tech Lead Journal, and others have published interesting episodes over the summer.

This time I want to share a bit about the books I have read (or listened to) this summer.

I have gone through two books by Tim Ferris: Tribe of Mentors and Tools of Titans (both links are Amazon affiliate links). While I have mixed opinions on the content I cannot argue with how much food for thought is included in both of those books. I'd recommend both to most people between the age of 16 and 60.

Who are we, by the way?

This content is written and published by Pier22, a consulting company based in France. We do Ruby software engineering and DevOps in the Cloud (AWS, GCP, and others). We also train and support teams in their journeys to grow code, infrastructure, and practices (production engineering, incident management, retrospectives, ...).

Check our landing page on how to book a call during our office hours, a multiday assessment of your current engineering culture and strategy, or discuss your custom needs.