Bitterness, optimism & criticism

Welcome to the fourth issue of Growing the Stack!

I was on holiday last week, which means I was able to spend time culling my read-it-later list’s “soft” articles instead of digging through code. This edition starts out with a great article about open source, useful for people new to the open source ecosystem and veterans alike. The other two articles are about UX design and dealing with criticism.


A Bitter Guide To Open Source

Ken Wheeler writes open source JavaScript libraries (Slick Carousel and Webpack Dashboard are two notable projects). He recounts his experiences with open source so far—the good, the bad and the ugly—tells us why we should be part of the open source community and how we should maintain our open source projects.

Whats the worst that could happen? People are gonna talk shit? I got news for you kiddo, you could put out the most perfect, useful, fuckin mind blowing code that ever touched GitHub and guess what? Some asshole is gonna come in and whine about something. Its an inevitability. Worst case scenario, you learn something. Someone will be like, “Hey this makes performance suck” and you can either be like, “Ugh I’m bad at programming, I quit” or you can be like “Oh wow, thanks for the tip, just fixed it, now its better”. Be the person who makes it better.

Optimistic UIs in under 1000 words

Igor Mandrigin gives an illustrated introduction to optimistic UIs. You may have not heard of optimistic user interfaces yet, but they’re all over the web.

Optimistic UIs don’t wait for an operation to finish to update to the final state. They immediately switch to the final state, showing fake data for the time while the real operation is still in-progress.

Optimistic user interfaces are a core concept in today’s web applications. Our interfaces expect a user action to succeed, so they don’t need to wait for a server response to move on to the next task.

It is a very simple concept behind a fancy name. Yet it can make a huge impact on your users’ happiness. Firstly, it makes your app feel faster. User can start doing something else while your app uploads a Hilarious Betty the Cat Picture or posts a Smart And Ironic Comment to a discussion. Secondly, it streamlines the experience by removing unnecessary states and distractions. The app will look simpler and more friendly.

How to Take Criticism

As developers and designers, we face criticism on a daily basis. Criticism can come from anywhere: clients, colleagues, other peers, social media; that’s why it’s important for us to be able to take (and give!) criticism in a constructive manner.

I firmly believe you can be a critic while being kind and open-hearted. I don’t even care if that sounds naive. Most people think the number one goal of a critic is to judge whether work is good or bad. They are wrong. #imo The number one goal of a critic should be to make things better. That’s it. None of this binary good/bad stuff.