Web Developer Monthly 💻🚀 January 2021

Andrei Neagoie

Andrei Neagoie

31st issue! If you missed them, you can read the previous issues of our Web Developer Monthly newsletter here.

If it’s your first time here… (otherwise, skip this part)

Being a web developer is a fantastic career option. You have many job opportunities, you can work around the world, and you get to solve hard problems.

One hard thing, however, is staying up to date with the constantly evolving ecosystem. You want to be a top-performing web developer, coder, programmer, software developer, but you don’t have time to select from hundreds of articles, videos and podcasts each day.

This monthly newsletter is focused on keeping you up to date with the industry, keeping your skills sharp, without wasting your valuable time. I curate and share the most important articles, news, resources, podcasts and videos of the month.

Think Tim Ferriss and the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) meeting the Software Development world. What’s the 20% that will get you 80% of the results?

If you want to be the first to get next month's issue of Web Developer Monthly and receive other exclusive ZTM content once in a while, subscribe below 👇

Let's dive in. Here's what you missed in January 2021 as a Web Developer…

State of JS 🧞‍♂️

The popular annual survey which is slightly biased towards "very" trendy development tools, came out with their report. The big takeaways for me?

  • Next.js is growing... keep an eye out
  • People love Testing Library and Jest
  • TypeScript fandom is real
  • Gastby interest is dwindling
  • React fatigue?
  • Deno is making moves... watch out Node (first posted about this in the May edition)

You can also check out the rising stars/hot github repos from 2020 here.

Free Tools For Web Developers ✂️

Some tools and assets to help you build your next project since we are best friends by now (unless this is your first time reading my articles… in that case let’s take things slow):

  1. Compatibility tables for default local fonts
  2. Artsy pattern generator
  3. Yet another CV builder
  4. Tailwind CSS blocks you can copy and paste
  5. 30,000 SVG icons to last you a lifetime
  6. Illustrations for your next project
  7. Open source browser tools for everyday use: Omatsuri
  8. 3D Avatars made with love

For those of you who don't know, the ZTM team and I list our all-time best free resources here for you.

Digital Identity 🤳

I loved this article. It's pretty much a history of digital identity. Digital identity is the online representation of a person, organization, or a machine, and it is what gives us access to the data we use daily. Where we came from, and where we are in the industry: here’s a brief overview of identity, why it's vital to information security, and why you should know more about it.

React News 💎

Mostly everyone's favourite frontend library. What crazy things have they been up to?


FYI: we also just released a new React Native course. It's pretty cool.

TypeScript At Scale 🖖

Every time you put the word TypeScript and Scale in a sentence, a Silicon Valley developer gets a new beanie hat. Bloomberg Engineering team writes about the 10 Insights from Adopting TypeScript at Scale.

Now, go ahead and read the 10 bad TypeScript habits to get rid of.

Deno in 2021 🦕

You all know by now how much I love Deno.

Expect to see more growth and adoption of Deno in 2021. For now, you can check out how much was accomplished in one year alone with the Deno project.

Also, Deno 1.7 is out!

Hotwire 🧨

The Basecamp team is famous for their simple but effective tools, and their marketing. This time around, they introduce to us Hotwire: an alternative approach to building modern web applications without using much JavaScript by sending HTML instead of JSON over the wire. With cool names like Stimulus, Strada, and Turbo how can you not have a look to see how it all works?

Story of Technical Debt 🧬

If you keep funding your success with debt, it will catch up to you once one of two things happen. Either your growth will slow down or your technical debt has accumulated and development slows down. Both lead to you struggling to pay the interest on your debt. So it’s vital so reduce your technical debt before it spirals out of control. Here is a strategy to do exactly that.

Weekend Project Ideas 🧰

Learn how to build an interactive globe using WebGL. This is how the Github team did it, and you could do something similar: check it out.

Or maybe you want something more CSS centric? How about CSS Grid honeycombs?

Perfect Keyboard Navigation ⌨️

Discord recently released an article as well as their custom library for creating FocusRings. Huh? This kind of work benefits all kinds of users. It enables those who can’t comfortably use a mouse to access everything in the app, assists screen reader users in understanding and interacting with apps effectively, and provides power users with even more shortcuts and opportunities to work as efficiently as possible. This is probably the best keyboard navigation library I have ever seen (will use it on a future project).

Interesting Question Of The Month 🕺

What's a way to safely test run untrusted JavaScript code? Can you guess the answer?

Mind-shift for Web Dev 🧠

An interesting perspective on how this freelancer, who doesn't work on a team, approaches projects and minimizes complexity. It won't work for everyone, but makes you think doesn't it? If you like this, check out this library.

ECMAScript 2021 is Official 🎼

ECMAScript (that thing that the JavaScript programming language is based off of) has their 2021 specification officially released.

While you are deep in the JavaScript land here is a reminder of the difference between null and undefined. A JavaScript staple interview question.

What's In The Cloud? 🌩

We all know what the Cloud is by now don't we? Or do we? Here is the best article I have found describing what "the cloud" is, and the historical context of how we got here. I love articles like these. Check it out.

Big O Notation 🏄‍♀️

If you haven't taken my Master the Coding Interview: Data Structures + Algorithms, well then I am offended and our friendship is on thin ice. Buuuut, you can still learn about Big O notation and what it means/why it's important in this short article.

UX Matters 💡

Are you a programmer/developer/human who forgets about user experience? This website is on a mission to help the world build better user experiences by demystifying UX and showing case studies of good user experience.

Programmers and developers who learn and embrace UI/UX and design fundamentals will continue to advance faster in their careers and create more successful projects/apps.

All About Lambda Functions 🌿

Here is a nice little tutorial to teach you everything about AWS Lambda functions. As a bonus, you will get to learn Terraform, an open-source infrastructure as code software tool that enables you to safely and predictably create, change, and improve infrastructure. Don't know what that means? Well, you will learn that too.

Software Stagnation 💁‍♂️

Software is eating the world. But progress in software technology itself largely stalled around 1996. Here’s what we had then, in chronological order:

LISP, Algol, Basic, APL, Unix, C, SQL, Oracle, Smalltalk, Windows, C++, LabView, HyperCard, Mathematica, Haskell, WWW, Python, Mosaic, Java, JavaScript, Ruby, Flash, Postgres.

Since 1996 we’ve gotten:

IntelliJ, Eclipse, ASP, Spring, Rails, Scala, AWS, Clojure, Heroku, V8, Go, Rust, React, Docker, Kubernetes, Wasm.

What's the difference? Read on (some great points raised in this article)...

Why Just AMD and Intel? 👬

Ok, this is a bit of an "out of scope" resource for this newsletter, but I still think you will find it interesting. Have you ever thought about why there are only 2 dominant CPU manufacturers in the industry? Well, the video below will give you the reasons and history. You'll learn something new.

Essential vs Accidental Complexity 🪢

If I didn't have such good articles already for the Best Resource Of The Month section, this would have definitely made it. An important read and important reminder to be careful of accidental complexity.

New Codebase, Who Dis? 🐄

You often get a job, and start working at a company on an existing codebase. It's quite rare to get to start from absolute scratch. So what do you do when you get thrown into the deep end on an existing massive codebase you don't know anything about? Well... How to Join a Team and Learn a Codebase

SQL or NoSQL? ⚖️

NoSQL was the next big thing in system architecture in 2011, but overall interest in it has plateaued recently. I feel like I have posted a lot about this lately, but here is another great article about the dwindling interest in NoSQL databases like MongoDB. Very opinionated article, but there are some good points.

IPFS On Brave 📡

Big news. Brave is the first browser to have deep integration with IPFS and support this protocol which may signal towards the future beyond HTTP. IPFS is an exciting technology that can help content creators distribute content without high bandwidth costs, while taking advantage of data deduplication and data replication. There are performance advantages for loading content over IPFS by leveraging its geographically distributed swarm network. IPFS is important for blockchain and for self described data integrity. Previously viewed content can even be accessed offline with IPFS! You can read all about it here.

New Libraries and Tools 🗿

Just because we had a ton of these this month, I've added them into this section. Check out these shiny new/interesting things:

  • Wasmer 1.0 is out! What the heck is it? Compile everything to WebAssembly. Run it on any OS or embed it into other languages.
  • Snowpack 3.0 is out with streaming imports which makes it possible to import any package directly into your project, pre-built and pre-bundled for immediate use.
  • Toast UI Chart 4.0 is out

News Around the World 🗺

Big Tech News 🏢

  • Well this was a crazy month for the Big Tech companies. The conversation around censorship and centralization was a big topic with companies like Facebook and Twitter and others, banning big political figures (guess who).
  • Amazon and many other companies are trying to battle it out in the Podcast space. Lot's of things happening lately including Amazon recently buying up a podcasting company. Also, here is the story of how AWS got started and how they moved from Sun proprietary servers, to Linux based servers that changed their trajectory.

... but the biggest news from Amazon this month was their open sourcing of Elasticsearch. Long story short: Amazon used Elasticsearch (open source) to make money. Elasticsearch said "that's not fair, we want to make money", so they updated their license so Amazon has to pay to use it. Amazon said: "nah, we'll just fork your repo and make it open source".

Completely useless to your career but still great 🙃

Best Resource of the Month ✅

By now, you have seen that the best resource of the month usually contains an article or resource that teaches principles and knowledge that can take you many years into your career. That is because fundamentals, are more important to a long and successful career than the latest tricks with a trendy library. Without further ado, here was my favourite resources of the month that have some great advice for you:

My Engineering Axioms

Once you are done with that, here is some advice after 45 years in the software industry.

And since we are on a roll, once you are done with the above, read this.

Trick of the Month 🌗



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By the way, I teach people how to code and get hired in the most efficient way possible as the Lead Instructor of Zero To Mastery Academy. You can see a few of my courses below or see all ZTM courses here.

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