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The Bike Shed

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The Bike Shed

On The Bike Shed, hosts Joël Quenneville and Stephanie Minn discuss development experiences and challenges at thoughtbot with Ruby, Rails, JavaScript, and whatever else is drawing their attention, admiration, or ire this week.

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Recent Episodes of The Bike Shed


428: Ruminating on Ruby Enumerators

428: Ruminating on Ruby Enumerators

Joël explains his note-taking system, which he uses to capture his beliefs and thoughts about software development. Stephanie recalls feedback from her recent RailsConf talk, where her confidence stemmed from deeply believing in her material despite limited rehearsal. This leads to a conversation about the value of mental models in building a comprehensive understanding of a topic, which can foster confidence and adaptability during presentations and discussions.

The episode then shifts focus to the practical application of enumerators in Ruby, exploring various mental models to understand their functionality better. Joël introduces several metaphors, such as en...

Episode 11 June 2024 35m and 44s


427: RailsConf Recap and Conversing About Coupling

427: RailsConf Recap and Conversing About Coupling

Joël and Stephanie talk RailsConf!. Joël shares how he performed as a D&D character, Glittersense the gnome, to make his Turbo features talk entertaining and interactive. Stephanie's talk focused on addressing test pain by connecting it to code coupling, offering practical insights and solutions.

They agree on the importance of continuous improvement as speakers and developers and trying new approaches in talks and code design, and recommend Jared Norman's RailsConf talk on design patterns, too!

That One Thing: Reduce Coupling for More Scalable and Sustainable Software Connascence.io [Connascence as a vocabulary to di...

Episode 28 May 2024 37m and 3s


426: Bringing "Our Selves" to Work

426: Bringing "Our Selves" to Work

Joël shares his preparations for his RailsConf talk, which is D&D-themed and centered around a gnome character named Glittersense. Stephanie expresses her delight in creating pod-related puns within thoughtbot's internal team structure, like "cross-podination" for inter-pod meetings and the adorable observation that her pod resembles "three peas in a pod" when using the git co-authored-by feature.

Together, Stephanie and Joël discuss bringing one's authentic self to work, balancing personal disclosure with professional boundaries, and fostering psychological safety. They highlight the value of shared interests and personal anecdotes in enhancing team cohesion, especially remotely, and st...

Episode 14 May 2024 33m and 4s


425: Modeling Associations in Rails

425: Modeling Associations in Rails

Stephanie shares an intriguing discovery about the origins of design patterns in software, tracing them back to architect Christopher Alexander's ideas in architecture. Joël is an official member of the Boston bike share system, and he loves it. He even got a notification on the app this week: "Congratulations. You have now visited 10% of all docking stations in the Boston metro area." #AchievementUnlocked, Joël!

Joël and Stephanie transition into a broader discussion on data modeling within software systems, particularly how entities like companies, employees, and devices interconnect within a database. They debate the semantics of...

Episode 7 May 2024 29m and 39s


424: The Spectrum of Automated Processes for Your Dev Team

424: The Spectrum of Automated Processes for Your Dev Team

Joël shares his experience with the dry-rb suite of gems, focusing on how he's been using contracts to validate input data. Stephanie relates to Joël's insights with her preparation for RailsConf, discussing her methods for presenting code in slides and weighing the aesthetics and functionality of different tools like VS Code and Carbon.sh. She also encounters a CI test failure that prompts her to consider the implications of enforcing specific coding standards through CI processes.

The conversation turns into a discussion on managing coding standards and tools effectively, ensuring that automated systems help rather th...

Episode 30 April 2024 36m and 47s


423: Cognitive Strategies for Coders

423: Cognitive Strategies for Coders

Stephanie is back with a book recommendation: "Thinking in Systems" by Donella Meadows. This book has helped to bolster her understanding of complex systems in environmental, organizational, and software contexts, particularly through user interactions and system changes. Joël describes his transformative experience watching last week's total solar eclipse.

Together, they explore how systems thinking influences software development and team dynamics by delving into practical applications in writing and reading code, suggesting that understanding complex systems can aid developers in navigating and optimizing codebases and team interactions.

Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows Notetaking for developers e...

Episode 16 April 2024 39m and 52s


422: Listener Topics Grab Bag

422: Listener Topics Grab Bag

Joël conducted a thoughtbot mini-workshop on query plans, which Stephanie found highly effective due to its interactive format. They then discuss the broader value of interactive workshops over traditional talks for deeper learning.

Addressing listener questions, Stephanie and Joël explore the strategic use of if and else in programming for clearer code, the importance of thorough documentation in identifying bugs, and the use of Postgres' EXPLAIN ANALYZE, highlighting the need for environment-specific considerations in query optimization.

Episode mentioning query plans Query plan visualizer RailsConf 2024 Episode 349: Unpopular Opinions Squint test Episode 405: Retro on Sandi Metz ru...

Episode 9 April 2024 35m and 23s


421: The Idealistic vs. Pragmatic Programmer

421: The Idealistic vs. Pragmatic Programmer

Stephanie revisits the concept of "spiking"—a phase of exploration to determine the feasibility of a technical implementation or to address unknowns in feature requests—sharing her recent experiences with a legacy Rails application. Joël brings a different perspective by discussing his involvement with a client project that heavily utilizes the dry-rb suite of gems, highlighting the learning curve associated with adapting to new patterns and libraries.

Joël used to be much more idealistic and has moved to be more pragmatic. Stephanie has moved the other way. So together, Stephanie and Joël engage in a philo...

Episode 2 April 2024 41m and 1s


420: Test Database Woes

420: Test Database Woes

Joël shares his recent project challenge with Tailwind CSS, where classes weren't generating as expected due to the dynamic nature of Tailwind's CSS generation and pruning. Stephanie introduces a personal productivity tool, a "thinking cap," to signal her thought process during meetings, which also serves as a physical boundary to separate work from personal life.

The conversation shifts to testing methodologies within Rails applications, leading to an exploration of testing philosophies, including developers' assumptions about database cleanliness and their impact on writing tests.

Avdi’s classic post on how to use database cleaner RSpec change mat...

Episode 26 March 2024 28m and 16s


419: What's New in Your World? (Extended Edition)

419: What's New in Your World? (Extended Edition)

Stephanie introduces her ideal setup for enjoying coffee on a bike ride. Joël describes his afternoon tea ritual. Exciting news from the hosts: both have been accepted to speak at RailsConf! Stephanie's presentation, titled "So, Writing Tests Feels Painful. What now?" aims to tackle the issues developers encounter with testing while offering actionable advice to ease these pains. Joël's session will focus on utilizing Turbo to create a Dungeons & Dragons character sheet, combining his passion for gaming with technical expertise.

Their conversation shifts to artificial intelligence and its potential in code refactoring and other applications, su...

Episode 19 March 2024 37m and 13s

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