David Heinemeier Hansson

December 7, 2021

The time is right for Hotwire

It's not exactly been a big secret that I've harbored a fair skepticism towards single-page applications over the years. Not because of some innate animosity with JavaScript, at least not the modern variety, which we first tasted in the form of CoffeeScript, then as transpiled ES Next. But because writing and updating HTML like that ne...
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December 2, 2021

Worrying yourself into excess

When we were developing this HEY World system in the beginning of the year, we ended up spending a very considerable amount of time worrying about and discussing all the ways it might be abused. This is the internet after all! Full of savage trolls! Surely we must fortify lest we be overrun? But the trolls never came. Since we launched...
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December 1, 2021

Books that bust bubbles

It's a disorientating time in America. So many societal seams are unraveling simultaneously. So few ideas for how to stitch those seams back together find common cause. No wonder despair and anger comes so easy to so many right now. These dark emotions are then propelled by the particle accelerator that is Twitter into super-charged ta...
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November 25, 2021

Programmers should stop celebrating incompetence

In the valiant effort to combat imposter syndrome and gatekeeping, the programming world has taken a bad turn down a blind alley by celebrating incompetence. You don't have to reduce an entire profession to a clueless gang of copy-pasta pirates to make new recruits feel welcome. It undermines the aspiration to improve. It reduces the w...
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November 22, 2021

Authoritarian hippie parents

There was a time when liberal ideals of self-determination, self-regulation, and free-range independence naturally extended to parenting as well. Such ideals were seen in stark opposition to conservative parenting based on obedience, discipline, and reverence. Today it seems like these roles are often reversed. The strictest parents I ...
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November 17, 2021

It must be worth it even if it doesn't work

The way to work without regrets is to pursue projects that'll have been worth your time even if they don't pan out. Projects that'll tickle your curiosity, flex your competency, and teach you something new regardless of where they ultimately end up. Projects that leave you better off, as a person, despite not being a commercial or crit...
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October 6, 2021

How do you know what people have been working on?

Losing the sense of being in the know about what's going on at the company is one of the most common concerns I hear regarding working remotely. Both at the managerial level and between coworkers. There's a real fear that staying remote for too long will eventually lead to nobody really knowing what's going on, and thus the organizatio...
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September 24, 2021

Stimulus 3 + Turbo 7 = Hotwire 1.0

For so long, it felt like I could only tell half the story of how we make software for the web at Basecamp. Too many of the chapters about our front-end approach were missing key pages. Sure, we had some of it out there. Turbolinks, for example, hark back to 2012, when I was inspired by Chris Wanstrath's ideas in pjax, and took them fu...
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September 20, 2021

Conceptual compression is lossy (and loss hurts)

To make things simpler, you have to take something away. That means giving up something of real value to get something else of greater value still. You can't counter complexity without being willing to sacrifice. That is the nature of conceptual compression. It's why it's so hard to do. People become attached to the choices and advanta...
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September 16, 2021

Your likes, hearts, and flattering comments are bad for my brain

I’ve been publishing controversial thoughts, essays, books and software for half my life. It has endowed me with a thick skin to repel the haters, and kept me going whatever they said. But after close to two decades of having my work often judged favorably, I’m still no better at dealing with gestures of adoration. In fact, I think it’...
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