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Why I like dev.to

moopet profile image Ben Sinclair 惻3 min read

This was originally going to be a post about dev.to's strengths and weaknesses. It turns out I just wanted to talk about things I like. ĀÆ\_(惄)_/ĀÆ

The editor is great.

It's way more useful than the basic Markdown you get on places like Github, and it's way less error-prone than the hybrids you get on systems like Confluence. It's actually a pleasure to use. It's also very similar to the Markdown-with-front-matter interfaces used for static site generators like Jekyll or Grav which a lot of us probably already use in our daily grind.

I suppose you could say it wasn't overly user-friendly because it doesn't have buttons for making things italic and you have to paste in picture URLs yourself, but, come on, we're developers. We like that sort of level of control.

Or if we don't, we get alternative editors in the mix because it's, you know, open source.

It's a place to get answers

Over the last couple of years there's been a growing dissatisfaction with Stack Overflow, the de-facto Q&A resource because of the way it's seen as inflexible and unwelcoming: comments are not the place for extended discussion. Here, nobody's getting downvoted for simply asking a question. This is partly a problem of scale, and it's hard to understand how something could get to be as big and, well, useful as SO without some hard rules and attitudes. But it's clear to see people want the human experience along with their code fix.

It's a place to share knowledge and experiences

Dev.to is still small enough to be an actual community, but it has enough clout to feel like a big thing. People seem to be open to using it to tell their stories as well as discuss technical details.

So it's a discussion but it's not a discussion forum

I've hung around enough programming places over the years, from bulletin-boards to threaded forums to IRC and subreddits to realise that most of them don't work, or if they do, then they only stay stable with a small active community.

It's not a competition

Probably my favourite thing about the whole site is that it's not gamified. There's no peer-pressure. If you look at my profile page you'll see some basic stats, sure, but you won't see how many people follow me. Even I can't see that unless I click farther down the rabbit hole. People don't have little popularity indicators when you hover over their pictures. Nobody is "better" than anyone else, and if you're just starting out you're on an equal footing.

The people are nice

People stop and take time to say things like this:


Since I've been here I've seen maybe one or two interactions that weren't friendly. That's pretty good going, right? I mean, you've seen what it's like on the Internet before?

The people behind it are accessible

In chat, in posts, and in generally responding to the site as it evolves.

The people who use it are really on board with the whole social community thing...

... But it's still developer-focused

We're all fine with the polish and the rough edges

We're developers. We like something that's a work in progress more than we like something finalised, because if it's final than every flaw becomes a reason to grumble rather than an opportunity to fix it.

Honorable see-also:

What do you like about it?

Posted on by:

moopet profile

Ben Sinclair

@moopet

I've been a professional C, Perl, PHP and Python developer. I'm an ex-sysadmin. Back in the day, I had a geekcode which I'm not going to share with you. 418 I'm a teapot.

Discussion

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I like it too. Nice and welcoming community.

I read a few times that some people (mostly senior developers) don't like it, because it has too much non-technical content for a developer site and is mainly populated by junior to mid-level developers.

Probably also dev.to's strength, because there are more juniors than seniors in the world, lol.

 

Adding on, there are still things to be learned from junior developers.

Given how many resources there are for senior developers to have a large audience, I'd go so far as to say it's good for junior developers to have an audience too.

 

I think that having junior devs around is hugely insightful actually. As devs we often get tunnel vision and do things simply because we always have. Having somebody question why is often a learning experience in itself because it makes us stop and think "Yeah...why do I do it this way?" Which makes us better. Dev.to is my favorite programming community as well mostly because people share their stories. The rest of the world sees us developers as robots that write code and nothing else. It can be kind of depressing when your contemporaries also forget that you are a human being.

 

True.

The trick is, to keep the new genration of devs in the community while they become seniors.

I think a huge side effect of the focus on being welcoming is that it attracts a lot of juniors. The more beginner-focused stuff also tends to bubble to the top out of popularity, but over time I really hope we can improve the algorithms to be the right relevant mix of content for everyone.

Almost by definition, these things take time. We can't rush it, but I think the platform will eventually host the kinds of deeper, more advanced articles and discussions a lot of folks are looking for.

It will happen as we improve platform mechanics to serve different user groups effectively, but as you mentioned, it should also happen naturally as folks grow up on DEV.

 

I hadn't heard that, but on the other hand I haven't spoken to many people who aren't signed up here about it.

 

Really glad you like it Ben!

This whole post is a great identification of a lot of small deliberate choices. It's not like we set out to radically change what developers do on the web, but early on I felt like there were a lot of little things places like Medium, Twitter, Stack Overflow, GitHub, and others did well and did poorly, and it's been an attempt to take these observations and create something that was a bit healthier.

Along the way, we've tried to build something that works for the current scale, and as we grow, make adjustments.

It's really funny, I've been making website like dev.to since I was a kid in one way or another. It's definitely been a life-long personal craft. This is the first time I've gotten to do it at a bigger scale. I think there's still a lot of work to do in the details. I can't wait to see this place in a year or two. Hopefully we can keep up the momentum, positivity and scale to be super duper useful for all sorts of developers.

 

For me the main reason to join Dev.to was it becoming Open Source.
I knew about Dev.to from long time but wasn't interested to join yet another online community. But When I heard that Dev.to is going Open Source, I felt an attraction and I joined , soon after joining I realised it was no mistake to join Dev.to and It has the most friendly community I've ever seen.
I ā¤ Dev.to

 

There's another thing I like about dev.to is it doesn't have an "echo chamber" effect. I don't see posts in my feed just because someone I follow liked it. I get quite disenfranchised from using Medium or Quora sometimes because my feed is filled with liked posts from a few very active people I follow, and I don't get new perspectives.

 

I've heard about this site a few months ago when it was featured in this video, but I've only decided to join a few days ago when I finally had a strong feeling to write about some weird stuff about JavaScript.

I've been having a great experience here since I joined. As you said, the people are very friendly (and intelligent) here. I enjoy this kind of company. Even if most of the people here aren't in my age group, I really feel welcome from the way I was treated and talked to. It's a great place, no doubt. I don't think words can do justice to my experience here so far. I'm looking forward to contributing more to such a welcoming community. Thanks to everyone!

 

Whoo! Thanks for watching @somedood and thanks again for having us on State of The Web, @rick_viscomi !

 

I was just browsing medium a week ago and this site caught my attention. So I headed to this site,made a profile and start browsing through the posts. This site is like the combination of medium and stack-overflow(in my opinion) where I can ask anything about Dev's to design. And now this is my favourite site šŸ˜

 

i like it here because it's:

a) welcoming to junior devs like me, esp. w/r/t asking questions and building confidence sharing experience & ideas

b.) welcoming to me as a trans woman--i ESPECIALLY appreciate the explicit language in the code of conduct re: pronouns, "cisphobia", etc.; and

c.) welcoming as a communal space generally, because i actually enjoy and feel confident commenting publicly on others' posts (and i've been in perma-lurker status everywhere on the internet for years...)

i really enjoy being here, and appreciate the work that's gone into creating (and moderating!) digital spaces like this :)

 

I basically come here to get some motivational drive as it's not easy to motivate yourself everyday when having a large project and/or legacy monolith's maintenance running. I like the coderish attitude and the geeky stuff you can read. Sometimes I lose myself reading comments on a blog post that are more valuable to me than the post itself from time to time.

 

I love this place. I read stuff on it just as much as I read from Medium, and the community is amazing.

 

I can post anonymously through Sloan. ā¤ļø

 

wow you're right ! im planning to move my other SMNs and BMNs postings to devto too !