Dev Concepts

Your guide to the fundamentals of software development

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I want to help as many people as possible to create a clear mental map of how everything fits together and what it takes to create great solutions for real problems.

October 3, 2021 Dev Concepts Week 46 Update

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a great week!

My son has finally arrived at home last week. And what a joy it is! I can't take my eyes off of him ✨

Progress

As I imagined, working on Dev Concepts was practically impossible this week. My son needs to wake up every 3 hours, so our nights are rather tiresome at the moment ;-)

But I still managed to finish the new version of the landing page based on the copywriter's input. The new site does a much better job at showing what Dev Concepts is all about and what it includes. I hope that you'll all like it!

I didn't get any news from the designer, but I hope to soon improve the visuals and also have an idea about how we could collaborate for the illustrations of the collection.

Marketing & Sales

This past week, there were ~100 visitors on the landing page. The spike is due to the announcements I've made on IndieHackers and Twitter.

I'm going to wait a few weeks to see if the new landing page increases the conversion rate. I sure hope it will :)

What's next

I've decided to take a week or two off as I'm taking care of my family. I'll get back to Dev Concepts asap!

Have a great week!

September 26, 2021 Dev Concepts Week 45 Update

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a great week!

This week has been another whirlwind. My newborn son is still at the hospital right now, but hopefully he should be able to get back home with us tomorrow afternoon. I can't wait ;-)

Progress

This week I could only spend a few hours here and there. As I imagined, it was complicated to juggle between taking care of everything at home, the kids, school, sports, etc on my own.

I made great progress on the new landing page. The new site should be up in a few days.

I've also met with the designer who should help me improve the visuals of the landing page. She might also help me improve the illustrations of the book, but it really depends on the prices she proposes me. Even if I don't hire her for those illustrations now, I will certainly do it later if the collection starts selling.

Marketing & Sales

This past week, there were ~40 visitors on the landing page. The main sources were: Twitter, IndieHackers, and Google.

No new sales this week.

What's next

This week is going to be tough for Dev Concepts. I feel bad because I'd love to give it more energy, but with my son coming back home real soon, I expect to be very very tired ;-)

So no promises for this week. I'll do my best to deploy the new landing page, and I'll get back to writing Volume 3 if I'm done with that.

Have a great week!

September 20, 2021 Dev Concepts Week 44 Update

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a great week!

I've just realized that I completely forgot publishing my weekly status update. Shame on me! But I have a good excuse; my son is born last friday! ;-)

Progress

This week I received the new copy for the landing page from Claire, and I'm really psyched. It's a gazillion times better than what I had before.

I decided to start working on the new version of the site right away. I started by upgrading to Gatsby v3, and I wasted a whole evening on it. Major upgrades of Gatsby are really painful. This time around, they've completely changed their approach to images, and some plugins have made breaking changes (e.g., sitemaps). Combined with Webpack migration issues, I wasted hours and hours.

After quite a lot of trouble, I managed to get things working, but ended up deciding to ditch Gatsby once and for all. I've been really happy with Next.js for the last few months (which I used for my blog), so I just started over from scratch with Nrwl NX, and it was much more efficient than continuing to fiddle with useless complications.

Then my son was born and I had to take care of more pressing issues ;-)

This morning, I've started implementing the new layout and landing page blocks, but I'm not done yet.

Marketing & Sales

As soon as the new landing page is online, I'll first observe the impact on sales before launching new promotion campaigns (I prefer to change one thing at a time).

This past week, there were ~26 visitors on the landing page. The main sources were: Twitter, Medium, my blog, and dev.to.

No new sales this week.

What's next

I don't expect to be able to actually write this week or the next. I want to be present for my son as much as I possibly can for his first days in the family.

That being said, I will continue working the new landing page; a few hours here and there.

Have a great week!

September 12, 2021 Dev Concepts Week 43 Update

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a great week!
I wish I could say I did, but stress levels are extreme on my end. My wife could finally get back home, but she can barely walk so it's still very complicated at home.

Progress

I wish I could tell you that I made progress this week, but the energy simply wasn't there. With the stress and the preparations for the baby, I can't dedicate nearly as much time to this project as I'd like to.

The only thing I managed to do this week was publishing one more article taken out of the first volume: https://dsebastien.net/blog/2021-09-11-problem-solving-101

Marketing & Sales

I'll meet Claire again next week to discuss for the landing page review. I have high hopes on that front! :)

This past week, there were ~35 visitors on the landing page. The main sources are: dev.to, indiehackers.com, Google, my blog, and Twitter.

Country wise, visitors were from various parts of the globe: Indie on top, then Netherlands, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Sweden, Canada, United States of America, etc

No new sales this week.

What's next

Once the baby is born (i.e., real soon), I will take some time off to be present and welcome this wonderful new person in our family ;-)

Hopefully once I have had time to recharge a bit, I'll get back to Dev Concepts and will continue writing.

So again, no empty promises. I prefer to push back the release date of Volume 3 than rush it and deliver low-quality content.

Have a great week!

September 5, 2021 Dev Concepts Week 42 Update

Hello everyone!

I don't want to ghost you this week, so I'm here, as usual.

Unfortunately, things haven't improved as I hoped this week. My wife is still in the hospital, and the doctors might induce childbirth next week. In practice, it means that I'm home alone with the kids. It's pretty exhausting to take care of everything and to drive back and forth between the hospital and home.

Progress

I didn't get to write this week. But don't worry, I'm not letting go of Dev Concepts; on the contrary. I continue filling the ideas backlog with interesting things to cover in the series (https://trello.com/b/4oK5lsD1/dev-concepts-ideas), and will get back to writing as soon as I possibly can.

One thing I did this week is switching from Google Analytics to Plausible (https://plausible.io/) in the hope to better respect user privacy.

Marketing & Sales

I've met Claire this week to discuss her progress with copywriting. She condensed her findings in a document, exploring the way different developers express their challenges.

This was very interesting and made me realize that one of my biggest mistakes with the project so far has been to have an unclear target. In my mind, Dev Concepts was going to be for everyone, but in reality, I need to narrow my focus down, at least for the marketing copy. For it, we will most probably focus way more on junior developers that feel overwhelmed by the complexity of IT. It doesn't mean that the content will be any less valuable for senior developers though.

This past week, there were ~45 visitors on the landing page.

No new sales this week.

What's next

I don't want to make empty promises for next week. It will most probably be as complicated for me as this one. We'll see how things go.

Have a great week!

August 28, 2021 Dev Concepts Week 41 Update

What a week! I thought that I'd have time to work on my projects, but instead, I've spent a lot of time in the hospital. Life is always full of surprises!

It seems that our baby will be arriving sooner than anticipated! We're now rushing to get everything prepared for his arrival, and that leaves little time for other things. Still, I wanted to take a bit of time to check in and say hi to you all!

Progress

As you can imagine, I was not able to write much this week, so not much that share on that front.

Marketing & Sales

This week, Claire has started doing customer research for the project. I can't wait to learn about her discoveries & ideas.

This past week, there were ~70 visitors on the landing page.

No new sales this week.

What's next

Next week, I hope to be able to resume writing, but I'm not sure it'll be possible. My wife is in the hospital right now, and will probably not be out until Wednesday. So, no promises for the coming week.

Have a great week!

August 22, 2021 Dev Concepts Week 40 Update

Hello there!

It's time for our weekly status update. Let's go!

Progress

This week, I've made great progress on Volume 3.

I've finally finished the section about application integration by covering SOAP Web services, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), and Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).

It was fun going down memory lane to write about SOAP. Many believe that it's completely outdated and irrelevant, but I disagree. SOAP still has valid use cases, and shouldn't be ignored entirely. That's why I wanted to at least cover the topic in Dev Concepts.

With that done, I've actually completed the chapter about Software Architecture, which ended up being HUGE. I'm proud of myself today! 💪💪💪

Time to celebrate! 🎉🎉

I've also published one more article extracted from the first volume: https://dsebastien.net/blog/2021-08-18-what-is-a-software-crafter. This one is important. It shares my vision about why one should approach software development as a craft. I wanted to share another one, but I instead decided to work on an essay about the future of work as part of the Medium Writers Challenge: https://dsebastien.medium.com/going-back-to-work-no-thank-you-5429d60acd12

Marketing & Sales

This week I decided to bite the bullet and hire Claire, a professional copywriter who's behind https://copyisland.com, and who is also (https://www.indiehackers.com/Haikuka)[part of the IndieHackers community].

She reached out to me via Twitter after having seen one of my posts on IH. The timing was just perfect. I've been hesitating for a while about hiring someone, as I couldn't find enough energy to move forward efficiently on that front. I think that I was going in the right direction with my efforts, but now I'm taking a shortcut, trading money for time.

With the help of Claire, I should finally be able to do a better job at explaining which problems Dev Concepts solves, and improve the CTR & conversion rates.

Of course, it's an important budget (> 500€), but it should be worth it in the long run. It just shows how much I believe in this project...

Numbers

So far, I've spent ~390 hours working on Dev Concepts.

This past week, there were ~35 visitors on the landing page.

No new sales this week.

What's next

Next week, I'll dive into the chapter about Information and Data architecture. It's the last big chapter for this volume.

Writing this next chapter is going to be tough because there's a LOT to cover: relational & non-relational data stores, data modeling, data models, normalization, data storage, data integration (e.g., ETL, CDC, etc), data governance, big data, linked data, data analytics, and more!

Have a great week!

August 15, 2021 Dev Concepts Week 39 Update

Hello there!

It's time for the weekly status update. I hope you all had a great week!

Progress

This week, I've worked for about 20 hours on Dev Concepts. It was probably a tad too much as I'm now feeling exhausted, but I really wanted to make progress on the Web Services part.

I've completed the following sections:

  • What are APIs
  • Why use APIs
  • API Design
  • REST, RESTful, and Web APIs
  • GraphQL
  • Server-Sent Events (SSE)
  • WebSockets (WSS)
  • RPC

I'm pretty happy about the results, but it's really a grind. Even if I know the subjects quite well, I need a lot of time to gather my ideas, to research the subjects, and to make sure that I cover all the important aspects, etc. It's also really difficult to introduce ideas and concepts in a logical and easy-to-follow order. Technology is complex, and it's a maze. Technical writing is definitely not like writing fiction ;-)

I've clearly articulated the difference between REST, RESTful, and Web APIs, as well as why HATEOAS is so important. I sincerely hope that my readers will get to know the real REST architectural style and will build actual REST APIs. I'm not a "RESTafarian", but I think that it's really important to understand that REST is not about pretty URLs!

I've covered the history of RPC APIs and explained why RPC is still useful. I've also explained why I consider that most REST APIs are actually RPC in disguise.

During the week, I took the opportunity to publish a thread about APIs: https://twitter.com/dSebastien/status/1424661897446629379

As usual, the goal is to share a condensed version of some of the ideas covered in Dev Concepts, and of course to try and raise more awareness about the project.

Yesterday, I've also published one more article extracted from the first volume: https://javascript.plainenglish.io/how-to-get-started-in-it-and-grow-as-a-software-developer-a0004790d735. There's a lot more that I'd like to write about career evolution & career paths in IT, but it'll have to wait ;-)

I did not progress on the copywriting part all that much, and unfortunately, the designer won't be able to help me with the re-design before September. It's a small bump in the road, but it gives me a bit more time to revise the marketing copy.

About the marketing copy, I've been contacted by a copywriter that proposed to help me improve it. Getting some help from a professional will certainly boost progress on that front.

Numbers

So far, I've spent ~275 days and about 360 hours working on Dev Concepts. Consider that Dev Concepts is not the only thing that I'm working on. I normally dedicate ~10 hours a week to it, so I can't do miracles ;-). But it shows that I won't let go. I'll keep working on it until all twelve volumes have been released.

Actually, I'll keep improving the content afterward. My goal is for Dev Concepts to be an evergreen series. IT moves fast, and the content will need regular updates to cover new evolutions in the field. In addition, the ideas backlog is full of concepts that I want to add: https://trello.com/b/4oK5lsD1/dev-concepts-ideas.

There were ~50 visitors on the landing page this week, so it stays quite constant.

No new sales either.

Next week

Next week, I'll try to get back to a normal rhythm and rest a bit. Now that RPC is covered, I can write the section about SOAP, as it'll be easier to explain where it comes from. I intend to explain why SOAP is still used by so many larger organizations & financial institutions.

After that, I should be able to cover SOA & ESB, which will conclude the HUGE chapter about software architecture.

Have a great week!

August 8, 2021 Dev Concepts Week 38 Update

Hello there!

It's Sunday already! Weeks pass by crazy fast. My 3rd child will be born in ~3 months and I'm soooo not ready yet. We still have tons to prepare ;-)

This week I've completed the section about message queues, and covered the basics as well as the pros and cons. I really wanted to cover EDA/ES and message queues first because they're often not known/misunderstood/overlooked by juniors. Hopefully, more people will get to learn about those, and will understand when those are relevant and beneficial for their projects!

I took the opportunity to share a Twitter thread about messages queues: https://twitter.com/dSebastien/status/1422455105098375168

After that, I started writing the section about Web services, which will cover RESTful Web Services, GraphQL, WebSockets, and Server-Sent Events. For the part about REST, I'll reuse the content I wrote for my previous book, as it clearly explains the most important elements of REST, as well as the difference between REST and RESTful approaches.

I've also published a third article taken from Dev Concepts volume 1: https://javascript.plainenglish.io/what-is-the-difference-between-software-developers-engineers-coders-and-programmers-b4ee7eb23b66

Recently, I've decided to publish most of my past articles on my blog (https://dsebastien.net). At this point, I'm done with the bulk of the work (~100 articles are available), but there are still a number of older articles that I need to recover from my WordPress database.

Finally, I've continued reading articles about copywriting, and continued working on the new copy for Dev Concepts. Hopefully, this time the benefits will be more obvious for the people who visit the landing page. I haven't heard back from the designer yet, but I still hope to revisit the landing page with her sometime in August.

This week, there were ~54 visitors on the landing page.

Next week, I'll focus on finishing the section about Web services first. Then, I'll continue working on the copywriting aspect.

August 1, 2021 Dev Concepts Week 37 Update

Hello there!

This week felt GOOD. I could finally get back into writing mode without interrupts, and without stress thinking about the floods around here in Belgium.

I've also resumed my morning writing ritual/routine, which also helped a lot. Waking up much earlier is tough for the first few days, but after a week I already feel much better. I also wrote a lot more and wasn't distracted.

I continued working on the Architecture volume and completed the section about protocols and HTTP. After that, I wrote about WebSockets and its pros and cons. Finally, I've started the application integration section, and started explaining Message Queues.

Once I'm done with application integration, (probably in ~2 weeks), I'll dive into data architecture, talking about data modeling, data storage, integration, and analytics. Tons of concepts to explain there!

I've also started publishing content taken out of the first volume to Medium and on my blog. So far, I've published two articles:

https://javascript.plainenglish.io/what-is-software-development-4a6433f2ded3
https://javascript.plainenglish.io/what-is-software-engineering-dubois-sébastien-333e347a0919

I plan on publishing 1-2 such articles each week. My rough estimate is that there's enough content in the first volume to publish ~100 articles (probably more depending on how I organize the publication).

My goal here is to get my content in front of more people, helping them along the way, and hopefully letting them discover Dev Concepts. This should also contribute to help me grow a larger audience, interested in the things I'm writing about.

There were ~73 visits on the landing page this past week, which is quite nice, with an average engagement time of 16 seconds. Cool!

Next week, I'll split up my time in two; half for the marketing copy, and the other for writing. I should soon start working with the designer, so I need to know what text to include in the new version.

See you next week!

About

I want to help as many people as possible to create a clear mental map of how everything fits together and what it takes to create great solutions for real problems.