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Ali Spittel
Ali Spittel

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A Beginner's Guide to

So, last week was my one year anniversary on (and I also hit 10,000 followers 🎉), so I wanted to write a thank you post. That being said, as a teacher, I thought the best way to do that would be to create an introductory guide to and how and why you should get involved with the community!

What is

According to the about page, is:

Where programmers share ideas and help each other grow. It is an online community for sharing and discovering great ideas, having debates, and making friends. Anyone can share articles, questions, discussions, etc. as long as they have the rights to the words they are sharing. Cross-posting from your own blog is welcome.

I also really appreciate the conference analogy, since encourages idea sharing and discussion in a more respectful way than a lot of other developer sites.

It's a great place for discussing developer topics and creating blog posts!

Why I love

There are a lot of reasons why I use as my primary blogging platform, even after trying some other platforms, and I want to share why:

The People

First off, it has a great community of people to discuss topics with -- the comments are usually super constructive and you can learn a lot from them! I've met so many cool people on here!

Code of Conduct

One of the biggest pro's of the community is the strong code of conduct that is well enforced. Sites like HackerNews and Reddit can devolve into toxicity pretty quickly, which can make it hard to post there. The more constructive community and moderation of comments here makes me a lot more comfortable posting!


The smaller community, the front page algorithm, and the huge @ThePracticalDev Twitter account make it a lot easier to gain readers for your blog posts. When I was starting to write technical posts, I wrote on Medium and I had next to zero readers. My posts got a lot more views pretty immediately after moving over to, and that really motivates me to write!


Ads are a really interesting ethical problem right now -- from shady undisclosed influencer marketing to using personal data for ad targeting. I really appreciate's transparent and opt-outable sponsorship and membership model.

Open Source is open source which allows for more community involvement and transparency. You can see the front page algorithm in the code, for example.

Accessible leadership

Ben, Jess, and Peter are active members of the site, and they are super responsive members of the community. I think that's really cool and leads to a really transparent and constantly improving site.


Every year on International Women's Day, hosts #SheCoded, where stories from women and non-binary people in tech take over the home page for the day!

Key Features


Posts are the base feature of, they can take a traditional format like a normal blog post, but they can also be used for discussion threads, AMAs, or for hosting content of other media formats, like videos or podcasts. You can change to the help tab to see more about the markdown and how to embed other media into your posts, like CodePens or YouTube videos. You can also read more about the frontmatter, which contains the metadata about your post, like tagging, the cover image, and a canonical url if you are crossposting.

Home Feed

The home feed displays popular, recent posts that are relevant to you. Posts from tags and people you follow will also be highlighted! There are also widgets that display posts with certain tags. You can also switch to seeing the top posts from the week, month, year, infinity, or just see the latest posts as they come in!


These are responses to posts and can be threaded so that conversations can take place. They take Markdown formatting and you can use the same liquid templates that you can use in normal posts!


You can follow different tags depending on what you are interested in. then stories with those tags will be featured on your timeline. You can also click on a tag and view all the posts that belong to it!


You can react to posts with any combination of ❤️, 🦄, and bookmark. The more reactions you give, the more it boosts the post on the front page.


The bookmark also has the added feature of adding it to the reading list, where you can save posts you would like to read later!

reading list


The community also hosts talks on different topics periodically. You can check this calendar to see what's coming up.


You can also get really cool stuff with the Dev logo on it! Stay tuned, it looks like there's more cool stuff coming soon!

RSS Feeds

If you would prefer to have your posts auto-imported instead of copying and pasting them over, you can set that up via the settings page. encourages crossposting, which is great for people who have their own blog or also want to post to Medium.

Performance is super fast, which is awesome: it makes for great user experience and it makes the site more accessible.

Offline page is also a progressive web app, which means that it has a page that shows up even if you're offline! You can even draw on it!

Top 7 (and reactions)

Each week, the 7 most popular posts are featured in an email blast and a post. It's a great way to read some posts that other people were loving in the past week! In addition, there's also a weekly post with the top five comments from the week!

Dan and Malik also started a podcast discussing these top posts, which is a must-listen -- they're super positive and have great takes on them!

Recurring Threads

There are a couple other threads that occur periodically. Each week, there is a post about open source projects looking for contributors:

There's a monthly post about who's hiring:

A periodic welcome thread for new users to introduce themselves:

And, there are weekly issues on the codebase that you can help out with:


Each user has a profile that they can use to tell the community more about themselves (speaking of, I should really update mine!). You can also change whether you're looking for jobs or not! You also have links to your other code social media accounts and feature some GitHub repos.

Following users

When you follow a user, their posts are featured on your front page. Also, you will get notifications about their new posts.


The connect chat room is a newer feature. You can direct message people who you follow and who follow you back! You can get there by clicking the airplane icon in the nav bar.

iOS App

This is another more recent feature -- there's an iOS app for! Since it's also a progressive web app, you can also save it as an app on your phone on Android!


The mentorship matching program is a beta feature that allows members to mentor each other! I haven't had the bandwidth to participate, but you can sign up under Mentorship in your settings.

Mentorship in settings

Posts to start with

I wanted to share some of my favorite posts on in order to inspire you to write, and just to give you some great things to read!


Opinion Pieces




Start Posting

Now that you know a little bit more about the community, start posting! Here's a bunch of posts on starting to blog. Or you can start by commenting on or asking questions on somebody else's post!

Thank you! ❤️

I just want to send out a big thank you to this community for the past year! It's been awesome to learn how to blog through using this platform, and I've grown so much from it. You all have been so supportive, and I've learned so much from people on here. Also, a huge shout out to the Dev Staff for creating such an awesome platform -- can't wait to keep seeing it grow!

Top comments (43)

kaelscion profile image
kaelscion • Edited

What a great post! I couldn't agree more. I've posted on Medium and have totaled about 100 reads across 9 articles and the only post to even get "applause" was one in which I was insanely sarcastic about the process of UI/UX design and how no customer will ever be happy with it (can be read here if insterested). And I felt that the applause was only because I poked fun at the life of a front end person from the view of a back end person. There wasn't really any tech discussion that happened, just complaining. Is that the only type of content people will pay attention to? I thought to myself? Not even because I have no followers there, no twitter followers, etc.

Then, I come to and start posting the same articles here as there and just broke 100 followers last night (woo!!) and have new people follow me every day. I don't think I could assemble a group of 100 colleagues from my 10 year career who would care enough to follow my blog posts, and they know me personally! The exposure to awesome people, the ability to learn and have discussions without trolling, and the moderation and "nip it in the bud" mentality of any trolling is superb. Every time I look at the profile of the moderators or Dev staff, their recent comments are full of "Hey, this is being mean and trollish. The comment was deleted. Keep it up and your account will be to". Which I love! I know some folks think that's censorship and "I should be able to speak my mind". But you can absolutely speak your mind, just be constructive. I feel like sites like Reddit and HackerNews either are afraid of backlash for that kind of moderation, or are too huge and understaffed to care. But these communities are filled with highly educated and brilliant people, both on the user and administrator side, has our experience and education never taught us to speak to each other with respect? Do these people talk to their team at standups or their customers at consultations? If so, just go ahead and be a black hat because being a helpful developer is reserved for professionals who can show some restraint and respect. I love that Dev seems to get that.

The comments are constructive, insightful, and the community of such diverse background that I can see my code from the cultural perspective of somebody in Russia, India, Pakistan, Japan, etc. How we live affects the way we think. How we think affects how we solve problems. Coding, at its core, is problem-solving so having this input is exceptional and getting it in a place where nobody is going to call me a "noob" or be passive-aggressive because they used a different library which is soooooooooo much better is wonderful.

Well, this is more of a rant than a comment so I'll end it here. But to reiterate, I agree and love this platform so far. Thank you, good night. mic drop credit of

aspittel profile image
Ali Spittel

Awesome! Totally agree! :)

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

This is really super.

As creators/administrators/insiders, we struggle to see concreteness in our own work. Always stuck in the mindset of where something came from and where it's going, struggling to explain what they are.

spirodonfl profile image
Spiro Floropoulos

I have to admit that posts like this (and communities like have renewed a passion for my career. Time can sometimes make you jaded as you experience people of different kinds ruining what should otherwise be an amazing adventure. Thanks for writing this and thank you for facilitating this space.

milkstarz profile image

Great intro to Ali! I recommend this site all the time to people, and it's great to see posts that support newcomers.

Also wanted to take the time to say thank you for sharing Dan and I's podcast, really means a lot that you enjoy it.


aspittel profile image
Ali Spittel

Oh definitely! The podcast is an awesome feature, and a great way to hear more about posts!

iguza profile image
Yoghaswara Nugroho

It's a good short review and quick tutorial for how new comer using , like me. Thank you for posting this .

codingmindfully profile image
Daragh Byrne

I’ve just stumbled across Dev recently and the quality of the content and wisdom of the interactions stands out. Thanks for tipping me off about the reading list!

I like the direct access of Dev. With medium you have the necessity of befriending the gatekeeper publications and worrying if you’ll get published there. It’s inspired me to post more too!

albertc44 profile image
Al Chen

Thanks for writing this post Ali! Your post plus Arik's post about ways to make the most of really helped me with getting started as a newcomer. I actually shared Ben's post about performance with my team since it's something we're focused on currently with our own product.

dangolant profile image
Daniel Golant

Thanks for the shoutout, Ali :). I really like what you did here, I think it was perfectly timed. Malik and I have talked about how, as this community grows, it falls to the users to a) maintain the vibe and b) scale/creatively build on top of the great platform the team has given us, because at a certain point it needs to become self-sustaining if it’s to remain healthy. This strikes me as a great “onboarding” topic, because I think we’re getting to a point where users are about to start doing more and more interesting stuff, and it will be hard to surface without community involvement.

gypsydave5 profile image
David Wickes • Edited is super fast, which is awesome: it makes for great user experience and it makes the site more accessible.


So, just taking a look at the network tab of this article...

196 requests 5.87 MB / 2.89 MB transferred Finish: 3.70 min

That's 196 individual HTTP requests to read a single article, requiring just under 6 MB of data in total.

Not to mention the two scripts that Firefox refused to load because content blocking is enabled by default in my browser.

One of my favourite things about is its diversity of opinions and experiences, partly driven by its worldwide reach (as mentioned by @kaelscion ). I wonder how many more developers would be reached if the page was a few KBs big, made one or two requests to load, and ran no unnecessary scripts.

Page load is a diversity issue.

rhymes profile image

Well, I don't think the two things are mutually exclusive. is quite fast if you start to click around but it can always be better

It's also open source if you want to look into it ;-)

aspittel profile image
Ali Spittel

Yes!! I recommend it to my students too! Blogging is so important!

rattanakchea profile image
Rattanak Chea

Thanks for putting this together. Some of them are obvious but some are not so. I wonder why medium does not get similar engagement as dev. Is it simply because it is already too crowded. Will dev become similar to medium as it scales bigger?

Are there any new features/suggestions you would like to see?

cdmunozi profile image
Carlos Daniel

Hi Ali, is it possible to have publications here just like publications in Medium, I mean, to let people submit their articles, then with some publication editors, let them either be published or rejected.
I'm assessing several options, and I've never have used
Thanks for your help

mariewie profile image

Thank you for this great post, Ali and this great introduction to the universe of the DEV community. I only joined at the beginning of the month, but I already have a feeling that I have found the right community for me. Now I just need to jump the last hurdle and start posting myself

ikemkrueger profile image
Ikem Krueger

I have some questions: Are the live events recorded somehow? How can I opt-out for the „Who is looking for Opensource contributors“ newsletter?

jess profile image
Jess Lee

Hi Ikem, you most likely received the 'who is looking for open source contributors' email as part of the dev digest.

You can opt-out of that by visiting /settings/notifications and unchecking Send me a periodic digest of top posts from my tags. Keep mind, this digest sends different articles so it won't always be about open source projects.

aspittel profile image
Ali Spittel

Yes! #DevLive for the events! @ben @jess @peter may be able to answer the newsletter one better -- I don't get that email!

equiman profile image
Camilo Martinez

Really I hope more and more people and companies discover this amazing place.

There is no place like

And this excellent post will be useful to reach this target.