I got an email newsletter today and the topic was hiring in tech.  That was of interest so I read it (immediately instead batching a the end of the day/week) and that lead me down this rabbit hole.

There are a number of points made in the post. I don't find myself fully agreeing with all of them. Which is interesting to note as just yesterday I finished listening to Remote Ruby podcast's latest interview around Rails 7 with DHH, during my walk. I recall thinking 'man this guy has strong opinions and I can see how he'd rub some people the wrong way but I find myself agreeing with those opinions'. Especially around continuous learning and going deeper with the goal of feeling confident enough to do your own authentication for example. Strong agree.

I agree on technical things maybe not so much on tech industry and culture things.

But back to today's rabbit hole.

From the article in the newsletter I clicked another post about take home tests during intereviews. In there, I found description of a specific take home test extracted from Hey around autocomplete of 'to' field and 'subject' lines. I read that description.

Then got curious about the person who wrote it. A person whose name I've seen many times – Javan. So internet stalked researched him a bit (in my quest to document the humans behind the tech).

His personal site is listed on his github profile. So yes that's the same person behind Stimulus (and I followed him and Sam Sampleton (?) on Twitter after reading about Stimulus). And yes I was right, he is the same person that left Basecamp in April 2021 (after the 'no-politics-at-work' incidents) and tweeted about it. Now he has a new job starting Jan 2022. And yes looks like he does have two young kids and he is into gardening. All according to his Twitter.

I installed Action Text for my book tracking app last week and see his name there too, for creating the Trix editor.

I found this talk from 2014 that he gave about Javascript. Everything in there is familiar to me and makes sense. That was the time I was actually doing production level Rails daily at work (before I had to move to Java/Spring Boot, Angular and all that Jazz).  

  • The JS tech stack at Basecamp at that time was Coffeescript, JQuery, Backbone, Asset Pipeline.
  • I forgot that was the year of the name change from 37Signals to Basecamp.
  • He talks about Single Page Apps and 'Stacker' (Basecamp's internal library to handle responsive page updates without reloading the whole thing. 'Stacker' is what 'became' Turbolinks I think). Different than other SPA where rendering is all done client-side, HTML created from JSON fetched from server. In Basecamp/Stacker world, rendering HTML is mostly done server-side.
  • Stacker was inspired by PJAX from Github. Turbolinks born out of Stacker.
  • The reason it feels fasts is client side caching. Mentions 'russian doll' caching.

Then I listened to a Remote Ruby podcast episode (#31) from spring 2019 with Javan and Sam. They were part of a team called Research and Fidality at Basecamp. They talk about the evolution of Turbolinks and Stimulus. I also got to see the evolution of Chris Oliver in the Rails world. A name I only recently learned in mid 2021. One thing for a long time. That's what he embodies. One things for a long time.


What a rabbit hole. And yet I left some stones unturned. All this felt natural to do but not planned. So it counts as a distraction. Writing about it for today's daily post helps serve a purpose in a small way. I wonder if this type of 'research' is of interest to other people. I could share the historical evoluaiton of various tech. How (and why) things came to be how they are today. I can also document the people and some sort of a timeline.