Bytes #76 - get hired as an S3 at Netflix

get hired as an S3 at Netflix

Issue #76.November 29, 2021.2 Minute read.

Astro gets even faster, Tamagui is the chosen one, and a surefire way to get hired as a FAANG tech lead (and be indicted for securities fraud). Welcome to #76.

Michael Scott is fast

Astro irl.

Astro v0.21 -- Faster than ever

Astro just released v0.21 and they're calling it their "biggest release ever."

Quick review: Astro is a super fast static site builder that renders your entire site to static HTML. You can still use all of your favorite JavaScript frameworks to build a site, but without actually shipping any JavaScript to the browser.

Ok fine, Astro still might need to ship a little JavaScript for interactive components like image carousels (gross) and shopping carts -- but if a user never sees those elements, they don't need to load the JavaScript that runs them.

TLDR -- Astro is kind of like Diet JavaScript. Or code-splitting, but with better branding.

v0.21 brings some major changes (and complete re-writes) to some of Astro's key internals:

  • New compiler -- It's written in Go (which is a weird way to spell Rust I'm confused) and distributed as WASM, which makes it faster, more flexible, and more stable than Astro's first compiler (which was forked from Svelte).

  • New build engine -- The big news here is that Fred K. Schott replaced Snowpack (his other creation, besides Astro) with Vite. This is a smart move (because Vite is objectively awesome), but Fred still deserves props for being willing to make the change.

  • Components in Markdown -- You can now import components inside of your Markdown frontmatter with an optional setup script and use them anywhere on the page.

Bottom Line: Astro is already getting high praise from pretty much all of tech Twitter for how fast and easy it is to work with (see Cassidy Williams' one-question interview later in this issue). This release helps Astro double down on those strengths.

Some free advice: It's time to change your name. That, or be stuck associated with both the worst cheating scandal in the history of American pro sports and the worst music festival in a long line of terrible music festivals.

We already chose a great new name for you and we even bought the domain. Just say the word, Fred, and I'll transfer ownership (for a very reasonable brand consulting fee).

Mona Lisa Meme

The choice is yours. [Sponsored]

Retool makes it 10x faster to build internal tools

I've been telling you about how great Retool is for a while now.

It's the easiest way to build internal tools at your job... blah blah blah. We all know that.

But here's the thing: you don't build a toaster from scratch every time you want to eat some crispy bread. It's 2021. Someone already built that for you.

Here's another thing: you shouldn't build internal tools from scratch every time your boss wants to "see the data." It's 2021. And Retool already built all that for you.

Retool gives you all the building blocks you need to make tools that *actually* look good -- tables, lists, charts, wizards, etc. And you can easily connect it to any database or API you want, instead of trying to hack together all that internal data yourself (gross).

And if you want to ~~bedazzle~~ customize your app, you can always add your own custom JavaScript to build some pretty robust stuff.

👉 Check it out.


What makes me think I'm responsible enough to handle this job? Does _this_ answer your question?

Tamagui -- a new way to build cross-platform React apps

Tamagui is a brand new styling library (still in alpha) for React Native that lets you share components across your web and native apps "without sacrificing look, feel, and performance." Tamagotchi is an interactive, virtual pet that would always die in the middle of the night because I was in 4th grade and oh, I don't know, couldn't handle the burden or responsibility of waking up to feed my virtual pet – sorry Mametchi 😔.

If you've ever tried using React Native to simultaneously build for the web and mobile, this idea might sound like a pipe dream -- a hairy, clunky pipe dream that'll still force you to write a bunch of janky media queries. But Tamagui takes a new and innovative approach, which could prove to be the Holy Grail we've been waiting for.

How does it work? The library sits as a thin layer on top of React Native/React Native Web and works backwards from ideal syntax (for both inline styles and hooks). From there, it generates the necessary CSS media queries and CSS variables for the web, and it extracts everything to StyleSheet.create for native apps, via an optimizing compiler.

This allows you to create and use fully-featured design systems that are typed, themed, and able to run exactly the same on web and native -- even with responsive queries. Tamagui also supports cross-browser server-side rendering for frameworks like Next.js.

Bottom Line: It's still early days, but Tamagui looks like it could be The Chosen One™ who helps fulfill the promise of React Native by breaking down major barriers between web and native apps. Just like Tamagotchi fulfilled its promise by giving me all the satisfaction of caring for a pet without actually having to care for a pet.

One Question Interview

What is the most exciting thing about Astro for JavaScript developers?

Speed. Both in development time (you don't have to learn a whole new library to use your favorites like React, Vue, or Svelte out of the box), and in performance. Your site build and bundle are so speedy and small (relative to other frameworks) that your sites are wildly performant (unless you make them slow, of course)!

Cassidy Williams Cassidy Williams is both our favorite person and the Director of DX at Netlify. She'll be doing a subscribers-only Event this Wednesday called "Astro from the Ground Up." Grab a free 3-day trial to if you'd like to join.

Cool Bits

  1. Breakpoints and console.log are the past, real-time feedback without leaving your editor is the future. Quokka.js runs individual JavaScript/TypeScript files directly in your editor, and Wallaby.js provides the fastest JavaScript/Jest testing and debugging feedback loop out there. And they're currently offering a limited-time discount. [Sponsored]

  2. is a slick website for tracking all of the ECMAScript proposals across their various stages. Be sure to call the toll-free number on your screen right now to vote for your favorites and help them make it to the next round.

  3. Robin Hansen wrote about how JavaScript engines are able to achieve great performance. Thankfully, it's not from taking heavy doses of Lance Armstrong's performance enhancers (we think).

  4. Josh Finnie wrote about Using Rust (and Wasm) to create fast React components and to look smarter than your co-workers.

  5. John Surrel wrote about Volta vs. Node Version Manager for JavaScript tooling. He didn't mention that Volta is also the name of a Filipina superhero who is the "Queen of Thunder", but I thought you deserved to know.

  6. Pramit Marattha really went above and beyond with this list of 330 React Interview Questions. I know this gal who knows this guy who has a friend whose cousin just started learning to code like 3 weeks ago, and they used this list to get hired as an S3 at Netflix. Crazy.

  7. Ravi Sojitra wrote an in-depth article about 20 different Advanced Javascript Design Patterns. If you memorize all of these (along with the 330 React interview questions), you'll immediately be hired as a Tech Lead at Google and required to create a YouTube channel where you defraud your subscribers with a pump-and-dump crypto scam. (I don't make the rules.)

  8. Armin Briegel wrote about The Unexpected Return of JavaScript (for Automation on MacOS). It's a great article, but I'm a little pissed at Armin, because "The Unexpected Return of JavaScript" was the working title for the second book in my Lord of the Rings-inspired fantasy trilogy that serves as an extended allegory of the history of web development (and the follies of 20th-Century US foreign policy).

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