It's about the curry

I got invited to speak at Monkigras 2018, a superb conference on software, technology and craft. This year’s theme was “Sustaining Craft”. I wrote and delivered It’s about the curry - you’ll find a (close enough) transcript below.

Fast is not enough

I’ve been advising a startup on the data transformation space. As part of this, we re-wrote the core engine in Clojure. The new version is, at the worst case, 16 times as fast in the same hardware, and in some cases over 200 times faster. And it does it with a fraction of the lines of code.

We did this in under 3 months of part-time work. We couldn’t focus our entire attention on it, as we had other concerns as well - I was involved with general team and management tasks, and the second developer was helping on other internal projects as well. To further raise the bar: we had to keep it functionality-compatible with the current version, so I had to get acquainted with the existing feature set, and it was the other developer’s first Clojure project.

Clojure made our lives so much easier. But this is not a post about why Clojure is cool.

Learning Through Mentoring

On Wednesday, April 26, I gave a talk at Webit 2017 in Sofia about mentoring and movies. The audio unfortunately came out like it was recorded through two tin cans connected by rusty barbed wire. I write these things as effectively a long speech, so my original notes should work as a transcript.

Update: Here’s the video from CodeMotion Berlin 2017.

Interruptions: A User's Manual

Interruptions are one of the best ways to squander time and money, but the value chain is not always obvious. This handy guide will help you make the case for why you should be interrupting your developers (nay, any employee!) regularly.

Be Transparent

This is something of an open letter to team leads and managers out there: you need to be as transparent with your team as you are legally and contractually allowed to.

Reading Clojure, part 2

Welcome back

Have you gone over the fundamentals on Reading Clojure? Did you shake off that preconception that there’s some magic syntax to declaring and evaluating things beyond the list?

Great! Let’s now go over other things you might encounter when looking at a random source file. I’m first going to give you an overview of types and related things. After it, we’ll then we get into the good stuff like going over a project, and the weird stuff like ->, ->>, #, the quote and other squiggles.

Reading Clojure


Back in early December I held a Clojure workshop for the Bucharest Functional Programming meet up. Having to explain the language to developers who were completely new at it was an interesting experience. I decided to start from the ground up: how to even read the blasted thing.

Branching workflow: git-flow and github-flow

Choosing a branching model for macchiato

Lately, I’ve been working on Macchiato to bring web application development libraries for ClojureScript on Node.js. Get a few people of different backgrounds involved on a project, and pretty soon a discussion about methodology will emerge.

Since both Dmitri Sotnikov and myself are working on some libraries at the same time, we had to decide which approach to use.

There are two major alternatives: Git-flow and Github-flow (with Gitlab-flow being a slightly more elaborate version).

Let’s review them.

HTML parsing in Clojure

Once again I’m doing a personal project that requires me to do some HTML parsing. If you have had to look at it, the landscape of Clojure HTML parsing libraries seems to be littered with dead projects.

Let’s look at the options.

Deploying a Clojure application from Gitlab CI to Heroku

Now that we have our Clojure application tested every time we push it to Gitlab, let’s configure another stage to deploy it to Heroku.

This assumes that:

  • Anything you merge to master is ready to deploy,
  • You have your Heroku API key handy, and
  • You already have a Heroku app configured, with all the necessary environment variables.

There’s two ways we can do this.