All Sea Lions: TGIF! (49)

Thank Grohl, Gauss, Glob, Galileo and Science it’s Friday, and here are our reading recommendations, curated for you by Julia and Lena for your weekend. Enjoy!


Open Source

AngularJS 1.3 is out

While we’re at it: The Top 10 Mistakes Angular users make

Nominations for the next Women in Open Source Award are open (until Nov 21)


The Designer’s Guide to dpi

Alex Sexton: Peachpuffs and Lemonchiffons – A talk about CSS colours given at the CSSConfUS

Organization for creative entrepreneurs

Naming fonts: Scrambled eggs and serifs

Tips for creating accessible SVGs

The Setup: with Karolina Szczur

The Web and Development

“Accessibility and inclusion are broad topics. Think beyond screenreaders and colour blindness (but don’t forget them)” – Baking in Accessibility

On time-lock encryption

“Our industry has been infected by a dangerous meme, and it’s one that hasn’t been given its proper scrutiny. Like many memes that explode in popularity, “Worse is Better” gave a name to an underlying fragment of culture or philosophy that had been incubating for some time.” – Worse is worse

Philip Roberts: What the heck is the event loop anyway? (JSConf EU 2014 talk video)

“Our picture of surveillance needs to factor in not just tech developments, but the cultural standards that have bred surveillance, especially towards black culture, as part and parcel in our world.” – Everyone watches, nobody sees: how black women disrupt surveillance theory

Move fast, don’t break your API

“Human interaction has always fascinated me: social awkwardness, communication style, how knowledge is transferred, how relationships are built around trust, story telling and knowledge exchange. What if a machine invoked an emotional response?”Creating a Chat Bot

The Tech World and Culture

The Unsafety Net: How Social Media turned against women

“Kathy wrote an article explaining why she was leaving Twitter and it tore me up inside so I began tweeting Wednesday night, October 8th, 2014, about my experiences last year after PyCon when I became the target of a massive, organized harassment campaign planned in the underbelly of 4chan” Telling My Troll Story Because Kathy Sierra Left Twitter

No, Software is not “sexy”, “guys” is not a gender-neutral term and your mom is not a good example for non-technical people: Ways men in tech are (unintentionally) sexist

“Astounding the number of dudes who think a woman game developer being harassed has nothing to do with a movement founded to harass women.” – My thoughts this morning on GamerGate

“When you work in a male-dominated industry and you happen to have breasts, you do get treated a little differently.” – Why I’m Sick To Death Of Being A ‘Woman In Tech’.

The Linux community is dominated by western, white, straight, males in their 30s and 40s these days. I perfectly fit in that pattern, and the rubbish they pour over me is awful. I can only imagine that it is much worse for members of minorities, or people from different cultural backgrounds, in particular ones where losing face is a major issue.” – A Fish rots from the head down

Just when you think it can’t get any worse: Feminist Game Critic Cancels Talk After Death Threats

“There’s a culture war happening right now. It’s happening in games, in film, in journalism, in television, in fiction, in fandom. It’s happening online, everywhere. And everywhere, sexists, recreational misogynists and bigots are losing.” – Why We’re Winning: Social Justice Warriors and the New Culture War

[TW: misogyny, violence, harassment] #GamerGate Trolls aren Ethics Crusaders; they’re a Hate Group

“My name is Brianna Wu. I am a software engineer, a popular public speaker and an expert in the Unreal engine. Today, I’m being targeted by a delusional mob called ‘Gamergate.'”It happened to me

The Business

Some problems can best be solved through talking about it. Short but sweet: On One-sided problem solving

Why do you want to manage people?

Yup, she broke the rules of the YC Incubator, but here’s a story about being a founder as well as a mom and the stuff that goes along with it: “My story is for anyone who has dreamed about running their own startup but feel like they don’t fit the archetype. Guess what? You do. You are the modern day startup founder.”

“How do you sniff out culture smells and determine if a company’s work environment will be toxic to you?” – Getting hired without getting burned: sniffing for culture smells

How much should you charge?

“The following is a set of “everyday” things you can do, starting immediately. They are easy. They almost certainly require a behavior change. They will make a difference — I know they did for me.” – Fostering a better work environment for women

We <3

Kindness is the way to go. Not only does it make the world better, people might also find you more attractive, if you are kind (assuming, this kind of thing matters to you).

You know that large parts of our modern tech are based on the work of women, right? Here’s to The forgotten female programmers who created modern tech

10 Things You Need to Learn to Start Living the Life of Your Dreams

Hacking a Billboard on a Skyscraper: What’s up, Hong Kong?

Consulting for men who have better things to do than educate themselves about feminism: The Womansplainer

“to the best of the best part is that it would mean the absolute world to me”iOS Autocomplete song#

“Live in anticipation, gathering stories and memories. New research builds on the vogue mantra of behavioral economics.” – Buy Experiences, not things

This week was Ada Lovelace Day. How much do you really know about women in science and technology? Find it out with this quiz!


“I am convinced that reading the news is worse than not reading anything at all. There is no proof that it makes us wiser, better decision makers, better informed, better citizens; nothing — if anything, entirely the opposite.” – Why I stopped reading / hearing / watching the News

Trouble and Feminist Killjoys: TGIF! (48)

Thank Grohl, Gauss, Glob, Galileo and Science it’s Friday, and here are our reading recommendations, curated for you by Julia and Lena for your weekend. Enjoy!


Open Source

Maybe worth a try: Duo – package manager for the front-end Offline First applications (presentation slides)

Offline First Web Apps (presentation slides with notes)

Frances Hocutt on open and welcoming open source communities

Avoiding Burnout, and other essentials of Open Source Self-Care (talk video with slides)

“we need to keep being the best people we can be, and that includes taking a moment to think about the effects your words and actions might have on the people who are exposed to them.” – Unintentional destruction

Operating systems war story: How feminism helped me solve one of file systems’ oldest conundrums

Hoodie goes Austria: join us for a Hoodie Workshop during Barcamp Salzburg!


Making the best out of design limitations: how to transform Design Limitations into Design Success

A golden age of design

The Web and Development

Learning much JavaScript from one line of code

For all you webdesigners and web developers who have to explain it over and over again: the hidden costs in website projects

Move fast, break nothing

GitHub Student Developer Pack

The Tech World and Culture

“We need to stop propagating the troll-driven meme that ‘it’s all just trollin’ and boohoo mean words you should cry more’ and start making the hard, fine-grained distinctions.” – Trouble at the Koolaid Point

“This pre-emptive strike against equality comes from a rightwing establishment that needs it pointing out to them that women haven’t won” – The backlash against feminism aims to preserve the ‘manosphere’

Why women leave tech: it’s the culture

“Yet for the rest of us, with visibility comes harassment, stalking, threats, loss of career opportunity and mobility, constant public humiliation, emotional and sometimes physical violence.” – “Internet Famous”: Visibility as violence in Social Media

“I am not leaving tech entirely. I like my job and being able to pay my bills. I am, however, leaving the community.” – Life and Times of a Tech Feminist Killjoy: You Can’t Go Back & There’s No End in Sight

“We should be building platforms to amplify the voices of women in tech, not to cater to the egos of men,” she said. “Men who want to help need to get the hell out of our way, basically. Because we’re coming. And we don’t need their support.”White male “allies” have surprisingly little to say about fixing broken tech culture; a related post: Male Allies and GHC (Grace Hopper Conference)

The Business

The most important skill for great Leaders: Trustworthiness

Networking to grow your career

At least someone on stage at Thursday morning’s keynote could speak honestly about the issues. Because, as we all know, karma doesn’t pay the bills.” – This is not good advice

High-tech pay gap: Minorities earn less in skilled jobs

We <3

“If you haven’t time or energy to get yourself to a point that’s respectively ‘well read’ on the topic, then please at least avoid emitting any equivalences at all. Listen to such conversations but do not add your input.” – False Equivalences

Oldie, but Goldie: This too Shall Pass – Rube Goldberg Machine

A wonderful short animation about the inevitability of everything: The Missing Scarf


Have a nice weekend!

Hoodie goes Austria: join us for a Hoodie Workshop during Barcamp Salzburg!

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 10.00.01

Twice a year, the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg hosts a Barcamp. A Barcamp is an un-conference: there’s no fixed schedule, all sessions and topics are discussed when all attendees are there and everyone has the chance to bring themselves and their ideas in.

From October 24-26, this Barcamp will take place in Salzburg for the 7th time. The range of topics in the past years covered (almost) everything from JavaScript to Ruby on Rails, Perl and PHP; from test-driven development to usability, from Greenpeace to Firefox OS. The audience included people from various industries, NGOs, as well as the university. Registration and Tickets for the Barcamp are free (you should only register so the organizers can plan accordingly).

The schedule for the 3-days-event includes: talks and a small project presentation on Friday; talks and workshops on Saturday; and a speakers’ retreat with food for all speakers on Sunday. Although most sessions may be in German, people are encouraged to give their talks in English.

And this time, we’re up to something special.

At Barcamp Salzburg, Jan-Erik and Lena will be hosting a Hoodie-Workshop on Saturday. We’ll start by discussing with you which kinds of apps you want to develop, either on your own or in small teams, go on with setting up Hoodie together with you and then help you develop your very own Hoodie-based app. During the workshop, we’ll be there to answer your questions and help you when something is blocking you. All learning materials for the Workshop will be in English, so if you don’t speak German but want to attend: join us!

The workshop mainly targets frontend developers and designers with frontend development skills and we’d love to meet you there. The workshop is free, there’s only a registration fee of 5€ which will be returned to you when you attend the workshop. Sign up for the workshop here, we hope to meet you there! :)

Tickets for the Barcamp itself are available here.

See you in Salzburg!


Tell me on a Tuesday: TGIF! (47)

Thank Grohl, Gauss, Glob, Galileo and Science it’s … well, not Friday this time. But, hey, it’s Tuesday, this is also a good day, and we really hope you’re having a great week so far. To make it even a bit better, here are our reading recommendations, curated for you by Julia and Lena, for your weekend or a lazy afternoon. Enjoy!


Open Source

Open Standard or Open Source? Or both?

“Free software is fundamental to providing user privacy. The ability for third parties to continue providing security updates is vital for ensuring user safety. But in the real world, we are failing to make this argument – the freedoms we provide are largely theoretical for most users.” My Free Software will respect its users or it will be bullshit


Just because you are a freelancer doesn’t mean you have to do everything. We give you The freelancer’s guide to outsourcing.

A complete guide on centering things using CSS

uilang is a minimal, ui-focused programming language for web designers.

Seen a font and want to know its name? Try WhatTheFont.

The Dead Pixel Society.

The Web and Development

It needs a good partner, but here are some pros of pair programming in case you need some more reasons to finally try it.

In case you want to build a dashboard really quick, here are some templates (AngularJS, Bootstrap, HTML5…there are a few).

You know you want to have a terminal that looks like it works on an old cathode display.

The Cap Theorem and what you get with CP Databases, AP Databases and Hybrid solutions: Choosing the right Database for the Job

Why can’t you track periods in Apple’s Health App?

The Tech World and Culture

“In the past I’ve had hectic speaking seasons (why is September such a pain?), but doing this all with a jolly but demanding little accomplice in tow added a whole new dimension. Not only do you need to worry about your talk, but you also have to worry about the baby as well.”How to host speakers who also happen to be parents of young children

“If you really care about a product, then publicly shaming it is counter-intuitive.” To End all Rage Tweets

“But get to know someone from a marginalized background who also works in tech. Ask them privately what they think of Hacker News—as I have in preparing this post. Almost always, the response starts with one word: Ugh.”Y Combinator and the negative Externalities of Hacker News

“It creates an environment where a woman’s sexuality is an item for public consumption, a thing which can be approved of or rejected, valued or denigrated by the community.” – Silicon Valley’s Cult of Male Ego

The Business

Of course, investing is important, but if you remember what overspending did to the economy, spending less than you make seems like the most sensible advise to any business person.

How to start a startup.

Some thoughts on how to keep talentes empoyees.

We <3

Maybe you could try to let your curiosity run wild to have an adventure this weekend. No overthinking, just doing it.

Nana nana nana nana, nana nana nana nana BATMAN!!!

Why not spend thre months to build scenes from doom out of lego?

“The state of the world’s biodiversity appears worse than ever. Population sizes of vertebrate species measured by the Living Planet Index have halved over the last 40 years.”

Beautiful chemistry:“We shot chemical reactions in 4K UltraHD resolution to capture their finest details. Also, we tried our best to remove the distraction of beakers and test tubes so that you can enjoy watching these reactions in their purest form.”

Two Pizzas building their own Grumpy Cat and writing letters to Robots: TGIF! (46)

Thank Grohl, Gauss, Glob, Galileo and Science it’s Friday! The week’s (almost) over, and these are our reading recommendations, curated for you by Julia and Lena, for your weekend or a lazy afternoon. Enjoy!


Open Source

If you start working with Node.js in your team, there are some things you should refrain from doing.

While many Open Source projects are true labours of love, from a certain point on it can be necessary to make money to keep them going. Offering support and instruction materials are just two possible options.

The CouchDB Weekly News, September 25, 2014.


How to promote yourself as a designer

Being a magical warrior overlord might be fun, but it can also scare people off from doing business with you. Stopping to be pretentious and let your work speak might therefore be a good idea.

If you want to try a new open source design tool: Gravit is currently in beta.

The Web and Development

Five reasons why you should work for a startup at least once.

Docker’s Registry Hub now contains some official repos for Node.js and languages like Ruby to get you coding without having to worry about dependencies etc.

“But it turns out that marketers are working diligently to develop forms of mass-generated mail that appear to have been patiently and lovingly hand-written by actual humans. They’re using handwriting robots that wield real pens on paper.” – How to tell when a Robot has written you a letter

The Tech World and Culture

Some things, harassment for example, you can’t really grasp, until they happen to you. “We know the world is full of horrible people and we assume/hope they are nowhere near us or loved ones. Unfortunately if there is a large enough group then statistically speaking they will be.”

“Trans women face some unique forms of stereotype threat, where the explanation for their behavior is often mistakenly attributed to their birth-assigned gender.”

Drag queens aren’t the only people affected by Facebook’s real name policy … think about abused and stalked people for example.

“Dan Sinker, compared it to having a fire marshal present at a major event. You don’t do it because you expect a fire. You do it because you could have a fire, so it would therefore be irresponsible not to have a fire-safety plan.”Why you want a Code of Conduct and how we made one

“I’m not saying you need to run out and hire the first black person you find, –but do realize how your branding might create the appearance of exclusion.” 3 Ways Tech Companies help increase their Diversity

“My impression of Lean In is that aside from the sort of generic advice that benefits almost everyone in the corporate world—men and women alike, really—the book doesn’t offer any groundbreaking revelations for Black women professionals like me.” – Black Women are already “Leaning in”

The Business

Hiring people is always hard, so here are some tips on how to hire a great engineerings manager.

Ann Friedman on being a boss: “the hardest thing for me was always to walk the line between being transparent and treating my reports as the adults they are, but also insulating them a bit from the management drudgery i had to deal with.”

Two Pizzas should be sufficient for a team … otherwise it might be too big to work efficiently.

And a two for one on VC: “The myth of venture capital” and “Winter is probably coming soon

We <3

John Malkovich as John Lennon, John Malkovich as Alfred Hitchcock, John Malkovich as Marilyn Monroe, John Malkovich as Bette Davis, John Malkovich as Salvador Dalí … gotta love him for so much mutability :).

Build your own grumpy, arm-waving lucky cat out of paper! What else to do on a weekend? Exactly!

This goo sculpture in Oslo shows the emotions of the internet users near it.

There now is a first blood test to diagnose depression in adults.

Director Steven Soderbergh stripped Raiders of the Lost Ark off the colour and added a new soundtrack to let you concentrate on the way the scenes are built and shot. Two more hours of your weekend sorted :).

Ignorant Erlang Colors of motion in moodboards – TGIF! (45)

Thank Grohl, Gauss, Glob, Galileo and Science it’s Friday! The week’s (almost) over, and these are our reading recommendations, curated for you by Julia and Lena, for your weekend or a lazy afternoon. Enjoy!


Open Source

We’re young and old, all genders, all nationalities, temporarily able and not (although our stations fail at accessibility a lot), and speaking dozens of languages. We’ll know we’ve won when open source looks like this.” The next Tor, role models, and criticism: the future I want

What many of us have been experiencing this week after Reject.JS, CSSConf EU and JSConf EU 2014: Dealing with Post-Conference Blues


If you want to make a quick moodboard and share it with customers or colleagues, is worth a try – no account needed.

“The colors of motion” explores the use of colour in movies.

There isn’t really such a thing as foolproof, but here are some at least sensible tips on how to put together your first proposal.

Startups are fun, but you should consider some things before you start to work for one.

A Flexbox Composer, based on Fibonacci numbers.

Even when materials are available, technology is often clearly designed for men. The results of this range from intensely annoying to the downright exclusionary.”Technology isn’t designed to fit women

“As your user, I do not care that it works for you. I did not dream that your website failed. I did not make it up. I do not have the time to waste reporting things that never happened.” – A small rant courtesy of your users

“Whenever I’m looking at a product designer’s work, I find myself continuously asking the same question: which solution is the boring one? Maybe it’s born out of seeing apps choose flash over function, or trying to understand just one too many indecipherable icons-as-buttons. Whatever the case, here’s an ode to the boring designers among us.” – The Boring Designer

The Web and Development

CSS can become quite hard to manage, once your projects get larger. CSS Guidelines tries to give some advice on how to keep the code sane, manageable and scalable.

“Stuff goes bad: Erlang in anger” is a free ebook that offers some tips when it comes to understanding where failures come frome and how to debug productions systems that were built in Erlang.

A really short talk of one of etsy’s security people at this years Velocity conference, pointing out some things you should consider, if you want a safe website.

Building a Vagrant Box from Start to Finish

The Tech World and Culture

In Why We’re Winning: Social Justice Warriors and the New Culture War – Laurie Penny reflects on the culture war that seems to be going on and why sexists and bigots will loose it.

“If we want more women in the industry, we need more women as role models and more women doing the selecting. These measures may not be perfect, but at the moment they constitute a best effort approach to combat institutionalised sexism.” – In Defense of Diversity Measures

Open Data: A Political Illusion? – Interview with Evelyn Ruppert, data sociologist

“Despite the fact that she is not rich or an expert in any specific field and has not yet rage-quit the industry, the fact that she is a living breathing woman with a job means that she somehow managed to ‘make it’ in tech.” – Work, Work, and Work Some More for Little Benefit to Yourself

Hans Rosling and Ola Rosling: How not to be ignorant about the world (video)

The Business

Fostering an atmosphere in which people can speak freely and honest constructive feedback that focuses on the work rather than on personal flaws are key elements to the success of a business. “The Lost Art of Candor in the Workplace” discusses just that.

Bad managers talk, good managers write.

Here’s a collection of productivity hacks you can start experimenting with (and seeing results from) immediately.

Should you still be writing code or become a manager?

Cloning yourself isn’t an option.

SpringSource co-founder Rod Johnson talked at goto; in Amsterdam about the lessons he learned while starting a company and after, so you don’t have to repeat his mistakes (it’s a bit long, but there’s good stuff in it).

Four ways to help your customers to be successful, which really is a success for you, too.

Why our startup has no bosses, no office, and a four-day work week

“But I already know with certainty I will never feel the same about who I am, who I’m supposed to be, and what potential lies ahead for my business and for me.” – I need help

We <3

French illustrator David Troquier creates impressive (and funny) doodles that interact with their surroundings.

Waiting for Star Wars? Watch the cookie monster fight his inner urges, when he is teamed up with a chewy cookie to free a princess -with oreos stuck to her head- in the new blockbuster Star S’Mores, instead.

“If you don’t like it, I’ll use it in one of my weird albums”. Here’s the true story of how David Bowie, Brian Eno and Tony Visconti did record Warszawa ;).

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet to becoming a great Public Speaker


Have a nice weekend!

Announcement: a new Website for Hoodie

You know what it’s like with clothes you love, right? They’re cozy and make you feel comfortable and safe, and so you wear them any time you can, regardless of the weather and change of seasons. Unfortunately, even the most beautiful clothes tend to get broken from time to time – then you have to add patches or renew seams, and sometimes they also lose their bright colours after some time.

This beloved garment is what Hoodie’s website is to us. Being set up initially on only a few days in spring 2013, it has always been a great companion in the past 1.5 years since we launched it. Hundreds of thousands of people have viewed it, to many of them it was the first thing they saw of this project. Over the time, it slightly changed: we added new pages, we changed a bit of its content, but in total, it always stayed the same. Completely aware that it wasn’t perfect, it was still reliable and always there for us when we needed it. But we always knew it wouldn’t be with us forever.

And now the time has come.


We’re very happy to announce that we’ll be launching a completely new website and documentation soon*.

We have been receiving a lot of feedback from many people about the current website. Our community has also grown enormously, and the project itself has moved further. We have been thinking a lot about

  • how we talk about Hoodie
  • how we can make clear to people what it is, what it does in general, and what it can do for them specifically
  • how we can show people easily how they can contribute to Hoodie
  • how we’re onboarding new community members
  • how we can make Hoodie more understandable and more accessible
  • how we can depict content that is valuable to people
  • how we can show the values, goals and philosophy which mean a lot to us and are deeply embedded in our work on Hoodie
  • how we can show our appreciation to the huge number of people who have been and are supporting Hoodie

and much, much more.

The work on this relaunch project has started in January 2014, and since then, many thoughts have gone into this. Parts of our community have then taken on the actual work on the design, technical setup and the content by August. We also found new coding and non-coding contributors who have joined Hoodie because of this project, and we’re looking forward to introducing them all to you soon.

In parallel, there was also a team of community members who had started finally setting our documentation up. Our lack of documentation has been a hurting issue for quite some time, but these people helped us make enormous progress. And because of them, we’re now also glad to announce that we will launch the first tranche of the documentation together with the new website.

And we’re ourselves very much looking forward to seeing all of this get together.

The new website aims to show what this is all about: Hoodie is for you, those amazing people out there, those of you who have been with us for a long time, those of you who just met us and those of you who haven’t heard of us yet. Our daily work on this project is because of and for you. And this is what our new website and documentation will be about.

Please stay tuned. We’re looking forward to making this happen.


The Hoodies


*We’re spoilering a bit already in this post, but the actual time and date will be a surprise.

Periodic table of challenges in startup culture: TGIF! (44)

Thank Grohl, Gauss, Glob, Galileo and Science it’s Friday! The week’s (almost) over, and these are our reading recommendations, curated for you by Julia and Lena, for your weekend or a lazy afternoon. Enjoy!


Open Source

How Open Source can make your $job a better place.

If you’re into Erlang, chances are good, Elixir might be interesting to you (plus it’s on several “languages to watch”-lists right now). Version 1.0 of the language can be found on GitHub since wednesday.

Come sit down with us: CouchDB Weekly News, September 11, 2014 is out and incudes releases such as a streaming replication protocol for CouchDB & PouchDB.


The periodic table of web design process – an infographic!

How can you tell if a problem on your site is your code’s fault, or the browser’s?

Allison House used her skills in designing apps to direct a music video.

Junior Designers vs. Senior Designers — The Year of the Looking Glass

The Web and Development

The slides of Robert Nyman’s talk about mobile trends, web and native are online.

Some thoughts on why using CSS variables might be a good idea.

Seven things you have to think about when setting up a website. “Once upon a time in web design, all you had to do to make your sites cross compatible was set them to be 960px wide and fix the issues that popped up in IE6. Ah, the old days….”

Working for a startup comes with its own set of challenges – make sure you’re clear about those before taking the job.

The Tech World and Culture

Eight female leaders present their ideas on how to overcome what’s holding women back

There were more influential female programmers as is often believed: “While researching a college project, Kleiman found a photo of the ENIAC computer surrounded by women. The men in the photo were identified in a caption but the women were not. A representative of the Computer History Museum told Kleiman that the women were models. They were not. They were women known as “computers,” and they’d been selected to program a machine that could do their wartime work of calculating ballistic trajectories.”

Transgender people often have experienced the workplace from both sides and can help to understand gender-based bias. “At one conference, another scientist said, “Ben gave a great seminar today—but then his work is so much better than his sister’s.” (The scientist didn’t know Ben and Barbara were the same person.) “

The Business

Too little market research was only one of the reasons, Dinnr didn’t survive. But founder Michal Bohanes learned some great lessons from this failure and shares them quite openly.

Startup culture is for exactly that – startups. Once you grow, there might be things you have to change in order to survive.

It sometimes doesn’t seem that way, just because it isn’t often discussed, but depression amongst founders is a serious issue.

If you’re already stressed out, some calender hacks might help you feel more organized and make room for yourself.

We <3

Want to stand out at JSConf EU? Adding sound effects to your conversations might help ;).

Imagine the great bard of Avon would have rhymed about being the prince of Bel-Air … Shakespeare Meets Top 40 Music in “Pop Sonnets”

If you feel stuck or in over your head, a walk might help you get a new perspective.

Poetic, useful and just the right thing if you’re a pro at killing plants: the Coniferous Clock.

Hue Grant – how come, nobody before thought of this?

Essential Tooling for a Small Modules World: Bringing Back the Excitement of Software Releases with grunt-semantic-release

tl;dr: Don’t release :floppy_disk: like a :monkey:, as it causes lots of :bug::beetle:. Do it like a :princess: using :boar::balloon:. Use the :clock230: saved and the :moneybag:made to :revolving_hearts:grunt-semantic-release.

A screenshot of the grunt release command in the terminal

This how easy it is to release software now. Yes checkboxes are pre-checked for you.

Before that at Hoodie’s: …

I begin with changing the version number in the package.json, which is not in sync with the bower.json, because obviously someone messed that up last time. Okay, just commit and tag this with the new version. But wait, should I use the vx.y.z or the x.y.z pattern? There were so many discussions about this, I am just confused. It had never been consistent anyways, so I just continue with pushing something. I forgot to use the --tags flag though. Luckily, I noticed immediately and the last step is just npm publish.


Five minutes later I realise the Travis CI build failed. I have invested an entire week to ship a new feature and now everything falls apart, because releasing a new version means I have to remember a gazillion steps and execute them in the exactly right order.

This happened approximately once a week at Hoodie, especially as we are currently maintaining over 50 repositories. You can probably imagine how messed up things can get when a lot of different people have to follow this fragile, lengthy and awfully repetitive process:

A graph of the error-prone "process" we used before.

The old process looks simple, but due to multiple human interactions it is error-prone.

At some point I was so fed up with this that I defined our requirements for a solid new process. It should be

  • automagic
  • supportive
  • forgiving and
  • bring back the fun and excitement of a software release.

Our requirements

  1. Simplicity: One and only one simple command to execute
  2. Maintainability
    1. Seamless integration with our current grunt setup
    2. Zero to no setup to make it maintainable with 50+ repositories
  3. Consistency
    1. Never release a module when the build/tests fail
    2. When the build fails there should be no need to rewrite git history
    3. Implicit SemVer compliance
  4. Permissions: Everyone with push access should be able to release
  5. Communication
    1. Automatically generate a changelog
    2. Make the changelog available on git/GitHub releases
  6. Fun: Gimme animated gifs

Existing solutions

There are quite a lot of (grunt) plugins that evolve around releasing software but except for 1, 4 and 5.1 nothing is solved to our satisfaction and above all not out of the box. So for example 1 is solved by grunt-bump, 4 is solved by Travis CI deploy hooks and 5.1 is solved by angular’s commit message guidelines and conventional-changelog, but it would already take forever to set this up for some of our modules and it doesn’t even cover 50% of our requirements.

The Hoodie Way: our own solution

This is why I decided to build a layer on top of the existing tools that solves all the remaining issues, but at the same time incorporates and configures the existing ones. Let’s have a look at the new workflow.

All I have to do locally now is type grunt release into the terminal. The task will analyse the changes made since the last release and suggest the next version – and that’s it already. Once I confirm, everything is taken care of by bots. No more error-prone humans necessary.

A graph of the new process

The new process is complex, but automated and taken care of by bots.

Instead of running the build and generating the changelog locally as before, this only tags the current HEAD with release-x.y.z and pushes it. On Travis CI, a special deploy hook recognises this, generates the changelog, runs the build (and everything else you want it to do) and finally creates a release commit with all the changes. This is important because Travis CI is a neutral environment where everything is freshly installed. No more “But it works on my machine”. As soon as this is pushed back to git, yet another run on Travis CI will finally publish to GitHub releases and e.g. npm. But you can basically configure every deployment target Travis CI has to offer.

As this is packaged in a single grunt plugin including an interactive setup script, it’s easy to setup a lot of modules and release them all in exactly the same way. There is no more confusion about tagname-patterns and it’s straight-out impossible to publish a broken build. I even managed to cover 6 – the fun part. Every time a new version is about to be released, a random superb-animal-codename is generated and, using the Giphy API, a matching animal gif is appended to the release body.

Get this for your own package

Obviously, the whole plugin was initially tightly coupled to the needs of Hoodie, but I extracted a general-purpose gruntplugin and published it to npm (using itself) last week. Say hello to grunt-semantic-release, or say hi to its repo on GitHub.

A screencast of the grunt release workflow

Join the discussion!

This module aligns with our efforts to provide essential tooling for a small modules world. Another one we built with this goal in mind is Ubersicht.

We would love to hear your thoughts, not only about grunt-semantic-release, but about tools you (would love to) have for your work as module author. Chime in on the discussion in the comments, on Hoodie’s or my personal Twitter or in the Issues.

Productive cooking of AngularJS Plugins with ice cream – TGIF (43)

Thank Grohl, Gauss, Glob, Galileo and Science it’s Friday! The week’s (almost) over, and these are our reading recommendations, curated for you by Julia and Lena, for your weekend or a lazy afternoon. Enjoy!


Open Source

On the business value of open source: “If you said 20 years ago, that there would be this huge thing and everybody would work for free and they would give things away for free, you wouldn’t have believed it.”

Sascha Brink is writing an AngularJS Cookbook to help you speed up your work process when using the framework. 85 percent are already done and ready to be read and you yourself decide, what you want to pay.

Our amazing Hoodie-Community-Member Stephan wrote a grunt-semantic-release plugin this week, and you should check it out (you can also find it on GitHub).

PouchDB 3.0.4: Night of the Living Attachments

Apache CouchDB 1.6.1 is out. This and more news in the new issue of the CouchDB Weekly News, September 04, 2014


Not exactly useless, but not really practical either: “The uncomfortable” plays with the semiotics of original items while re-imagining them in an uncomfortable way. (more…)