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Gracie Gregory (she/her) for The DEV Team

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Share your experience using IRC and other communication tools as a developer

The format of DEV's first official podcast, DevDiscuss, begins with an interview and ends with commentary from the community.

For this week's episode, we want to know...

What has your experience been like using things like IRC and other communication tools as a developer?

If you'd like a chance to be featured in the episode, please send us a voice memo or leave a comment below by today (6/16) at 5 PM PDT (12 AM UTC, 6/17).

Details on how to participate:

  • Call our Google Voice at +1 (929)500-1513 and leave a message πŸ“ž
  • Send a voice memo to pod@dev.to πŸŽ™

OR, if you don't want your voice recorded...just leave a comment here and we'll read your response aloud for you πŸ—£

Our most recent episode:

Top comments (13)

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darkain profile image
Vincent Milum Jr

Ya'll ever remember or ever heard of Winamp way way WAY back in the day!?

Yeah, they hosted some IRC channels for various aspects of things they worked on. As a teen in the late 90's and early 2000's, their devs taught me C++ absolutely for free with no expectation of contributions back through their IRC channels.

There are so many tools nowadays though, but development and communication, that it is honestly overwhelming and sometimes hard to jump into new things. Back then, things were significantly simpler, because we didn't have the resources to build these massive web communities. Hell, half the internet was still Geocities, Angelfire, and AOL keywords!

IRC provided immediate feedback from respected knowledgeable mentors, whereas we also had forums which served as the place to document our progress.

Also on a more personal note, I've been going back through all of my ZIP file archives (because who had source control back then that WASNT just a collection of ZIP files!?) and have been uploading as much as possible to GitHub, along with chronological notes on my personal web site: darkain.com

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amorpheuz profile image
Yash Dave

I haven't been on a Team server as a professional developer, but I am on a few Developer Community Discord and WhatsApp groups. Being on such servers has been immensely helpful as a beginner for me since it provided me a straightforward way to communicate with more advanced programmers and teams working on the projects. Personally, an introvert, the casual interactions in off-topic chats have also helped me get more comfortable with people and help develop my networking skills too! It also originally motivated me to start contributing to Open Source as a sense of comfort developed in my mind that there are people who will help me out if I get stuck somewhere.

Btw, any chances for a DEV community discord server? πŸ˜‹

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mrrcollins profile image
Ryan Collins

Please, for the love of all things, DEV don't create a Discord. πŸ˜„

A developer community should be open, not stuck using proprietary communication channels like Discord and Slack. Plus, I can't use Discord from the command line!

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recurs1v0 profile image
EPPR • Edited on
  • Do not use me as a +1 button *

Me:

  • +1 on NO Discord
  • +WTF on Dev.to can be used from cli ???

Google Adwords:

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mrrcollins profile image
Ryan Collins

I read dev.to with Newsboat, although I switch to a browser when I want to comment.

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kayis profile image
K (he/him)

IRC... those were the days!

I was on euIRC and Animexx from 2001 - 2005. Found many friends there.

I wrote my first software with mIRC-Script.

Almost all of my code was just copy-paste frome somewhere. I wrote some card games and a web crawler that got the newest anime news and spammed them into a Channel.

I really don't know how I managed to rewrite all that copied code without even understanding loops or arrays, let alone functions, but it worked. I think, I was 16 years old at the time.

Well, my first job was as a PHP dev in 2006, so way after my IRC time has already ended.

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jrc86 profile image
Jonas

When I learned to code I never communicated with other devs, apart from a friend a few times.
I just recently started using twitter, as a way to hopefully find some devs to talk to. I found Google to be a good enough source of information if needed. I think dev.to is my first dev community.

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gwutama profile image
Galuh Utama • Edited on

The year was 1998. It was the time when Windows 98 was just released. I dialed up my 56k modem and fired up mIRC, one of the most popular IRC client back then and connected to EFnet.

At that time I already knew Pascal a bit, so the concept of programming is not entirely new to me. Finding programming channels back then in my native language was impossible but I found some english programming channels and so it helped me improve my english and programming skills.

The concept of scripting mIRC to automate things amazed me. Being a nerd I was, I created simple scripts to automatically connect, identify and join channels; to more complex ones such as trivia and file sharing bots.

Yes, I programmed chatbots before it was cool.

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

Nowadays I use weechat which I leave going in a tmux session. I don't check it often, usually just when I need something specific.

I do still use IRC a bit for development. Mainly freenode, with channels like #drupal-support who are really very good for quick answers to Drupal questions (and Drupal is definitely the sort of thing that makes you have a lot of questions).
Because I'm there, I'll also have other channels open, like general chats, though I mostly idle.

I use Slack at work, which I don't see as particularly different (there's even a Slack-IRC gateway which is pretty transparent). The main differences are that Slack is proprietary, relies on one company and isn't going to be around in 20 years :P

I used IRC in the 90s, but in the early 2000s I wrote an IRC client plugin for another chat system, which got used by - I think - two other services. It wasn't very good and I did it by referring to the RFCs and sniffing packets to and from my regular client.

I also used to use a combination of a VPS, irssi, bitlbee and screen to send all my social media to one interface, which I could connect to from anywhere. It's much, much easier to read a Twitter feed when it's in chronological order rather than the top-posted feed you get in the app. I only stopped doing that because the various services kept changing their APIs and making it more difficult for bitlbee to keep up.

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recurs1v0 profile image
EPPR

n_n

  • Takes a deep nostalgia-filled breath * IRC ... when the internat was all about screen names and people knew better than sharing their real name, gps, family tree and licence plates.

We could do so much with 56KBps!

My first ever IRC client was mIRC, the realest,
for me these guys are on WinAmp level (True Tech Rockstars)

Everybody on my highschool used to go on mIRC and get their phone-lines hooked so they will never loose their admin/mod status

Being a MOD in a cool channel, was more important than being an Influencer today.
At least it felt that way, CHANNEL ADMINS would even get VIP treatment at local clubs.

If you think this comment is not "developer" oriented,
then explain to me how did we get to use those special programs that will FLOOD people out of a channel

And how the first tro-j-an I ever met was transmitted by mIRC channels

It could do simple yet powerful things like

a) Retrieve a screenshot of the computer in its current state
b) Install that screenshot as a Screen saver, so people would think their computer froze
c) Open your CD tray
d) Keylog -_-

Those were the days, the true LAMP STACK
WinAmp
Ares / Kazaa / Napster
The latest Eminem video just drop and I'm going to download it in only 7 days.
But I'm gonna watch it forever so it's worth the while.

Then Hotmail was sold to baby Microsoft.
And that's the real reason why climate changes.

It all started with that creepy ICQ sound and the rise of OG Messenger Stickers

Elon, Bezos, You and Me, we all went through this space of time.

Respect, we survived this far.

I'm sending in my voice note, someday when we will have an app that will allow us to go back 4 days and send an email, with a voice note, no problem

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jess profile image
Jess Lee

@erikaheidi given your recent article, I wanted to ping and see if you'd like to call in or make a comment on this topic!

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erikaheidi profile image
Erika Heidi

Sure, thanks for the ping :) one of my first experiences with coding was on mIRC, and chat / communication tools have always been important in my career because I feel I can express myself better in writing form. Even though I haven't used IRC for years, Twitch (and probably other services that I'm not aware atm) use IRC as a chat platform on the web, so I built a chatbot to use in my streams. I think IRC is a very nice platform, super lightweight, and easy to parse commands and implement things on top of it...

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bernardbaker profile image
Bernard Baker

I personally use GitHub comments and like Slack. GitHub tends to be a direct comment to some code while Slack provides a great set of utilities which help improve communications between team members.

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