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What I like about dev.to... and what I dont (DEP 0)

Yaser Al-Najjar
Software Architect
・3 min read

What is DEP?

As we have PEP in the python community (Python Enhancement Proposal), it might be a nice idea to have some DEPs (Dev Enhancement Proposals) from the dev community.

How would this DEP look like?

In a nutshell, it would be a mere of:

  • Current
    • What I like.
    • What I don't like.
  • Future
    • What I hope to see.
    • What I hope to not see.

So let's start!


What I like

  • Dev nature

I see dev as "Facebook for developers", you communicate with developers, share ideas with devs, crack jokes with them, and most importantly know the trends of developing.

  • Super fast

Dev brings great user experience when searching/browsing, today I was searching about the testability of serverless architecture, so I wrote "tdd serverless" and voila it brought the result in the very exact second!

What I don't like

  • Notification links

When you open a notification on someone-has-commented, you click on it and darn! it opens a small window of his comment, you wanna check/read the context of his comment, you open the full topic and play the scrolling game to reach his comment... duh !

Why not opening his comment in the full topic window and auto-scroll to it, then do some yellow highlighting over his comment ?!

  • Adding pictures

Uploading above => Copying the link => Pasting the link in the editor => meh !

Why not copying the pic (from the clipboard) and pasting directly on the editor?

And keeping that button for the phone/tablet users.

What I hope to see

  • Emojis

Seriously speaking, how can you interact with others where written words are the only medium, and there isn't an easy-to-use emoji like in Discourse (you just write a colon and they all appear in front of you).

  • Markdown live-preview

Isn't it better to just check what I'm writing in a live-preview as in Discourse, instead of jumping from tap to another (Markdown / Preview) to just check how it looks :|

  • More organized/simpler UI

The main page UI is a bit cluttered, and can be much simpler

Example: which one feels better for you left one or right?

ui

What I hope to not see

  • Native iOS/Android/Whatsoever app

Yeah, I'm serious... even they've already started with the iOS app in their repo!

There is always a technical debt for every repo you start, every software you write, and every small idea you wanna apply.

It's a burden that the dev team will have (for two extra repos: iOS & Android), and bugs will surely occur, and they gotta fix it.

PWA is more than enough and much more pleasant in so many ways especially the updating thing... I don't wanna see a buggy, need-to-update-via-app-store, burdensome-for-dev-team app for dev.to.

  • Hostile environment

No (dislike / anger face) reaction to posts... just because you don't like someone's ideas, doesn't mean you gotta show an anger face to them, ignore it and be happy without spoiling other people happiness.

  • Localization/Internationalization

I know this is a social network... but let's not forget, more languages means scattering the community into smaller portions of different language speakers :(

And yeah, "English is the lingua franca of programming", says the great Jeff (co-founder of stackoverflow) in his article here.

  • Job platform

Most people here are pointing to there LinkedIn accounts in their profiles, so what's the point of adding a hiring platform (with annoying emailing/notifcations) in dev... given that HRs can check their posts/comments/github.

We all saw how stackoverflow got a bit spoiled with the job thingy.


Having said all that, tell us what do you think about it?

And, feel free to write your own DEPs ;)

Discussion (28)

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sudiukil profile image
Quentin Sonrel

If you really want emojis: browsernative.com/chrome-emoji/ . On a side note, I do believe that emojis should be an OS/browser side functionality rather than a website one... I mean, since emojis are now part of how we all communicate on the web, implementing emojis on every service is just as dumb as if every site implemented a keyboard to type words.

For the native app, even though I don't wish one myself (I never come here on a mobile device), I don't see why it would be a bad thing, if you don't want one, just don't use it (when it'll be here).

As for the rest, it's nice of you to suggest improvements for dev.to, but since it went open source recently, don't you think there would be better ways to do so? :)

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yaser profile image
Yaser Al-Najjar Author • Edited

Since when in the UX world you tell the users to install an extension on their browsers to use emojis :D

As for the native app read in the comment above plz.

since it went open source recently, don't you think there would be better ways to do so? :)

Ah... I saw that comin', and let's be a bit transparent about it:

Dev is the dream of the three folks: Ben, Jess, and Peter. They make the profits out of their dream (all happy for them), and we are the users of their platform. We all have dreams, like I do make my own coding academy: coretabs.net (totally open-source: github.com/coretabs-academy/websit...), and a handful of other projects: github.com/coretabs

If I would write something to improve their dream (for-free), I would do it for a tool/component that I might get benefit from like: Dapper ORM used in Stackoverflow or their fast Redis client, but not for stackoverflow website itself ;)

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sudiukil profile image
Quentin Sonrel

I'm not saying telling users to install a browser extension is a good thing, just that the "emojis on websites" problem is a wider problem than a per-website issue. Also I believe the dev.to team are OSX users, they might be a little biased towards emojis with their super futuristic OS that supports emojis πŸ˜‹ (that IS a joke, do not hit me πŸ˜‡)

As for the last part, I was not asking you to contribute, I was just saying that the GitHub issues might be a better place to submit some of your ideas (like the simpler UI, and, for the record, I do agree with this one, at least partly) than a post here... because it will sink eventually and might never get the visibility an issue would have had.

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yaser profile image
Yaser Al-Najjar Author

GitHub issues might be a better

Ah... I get it, thanks for elaborating!

Well, Github issues are good but IMO for reporting, not for discussions (at least for dev.to cuz here feels a bit better for discussing).

And yeah I agree on your point, I was just a bit lazy to take that point separately into github :D

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qm3ster profile image
Mihail Malo

πŸ’©

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nektro profile image
Meghan (she/her) • Edited

If you're on Windows you can hit "Windows Key + ." and it will bring up an emoji picker. 😎

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sudiukil profile image
Quentin Sonrel

If you're on Windows

😁

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I can pretty much get behind everything you're saying. A couple things worth commenting on the "hope not to see" front:

Native iOS/Android/Whatsoever app

If you look at the approach we're currently taking, any native experience is basically going to be a pretty simple web wrapper. Apple's PWA story is really really lacking right now, so we're building towards a basic native-ish experience, but really low-touch.

We're not trying to re-implement views or any complex app logic, basically present the app natively and possibly hook into some native functionality for a few specific augmentations if it seems relevant.

So on the same page there.

Job platform

Same here. I agree 100% with you, the thing is: We already have a sort of job platform under the hood. We have the concept built in to your settings that you can opt in and opt out of certain job functionality. We totally hate this kind of direction you are describing and that's why (even though it's fairly experimental), you don't really even know this functionality exists unless you opt in.

There is one state in which someone might feel excited about a job opportunity: When they are looking for a job!!!

Some other platforms really miss the point here.

I think the best thing we do as an org/platform is care about the nuances of some of this stuff. We don't get everything right, but we try to be thoughtful.

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yaser profile image
Yaser Al-Najjar Author

simple web wrapper
basic native-ish experience, but really low-touch

Ah... I love that!
Hope it will never go through any different burdensome path ;)

We totally hate this kind of direction you are describing and that's why
you don't really even know this functionality exists unless you opt in
one state: When they are looking for a job

Love that way of thinking again!

care about the nuances of some of this stuff

IMO, that's why dev continues to be a non-stop growing platform... plz keep that up ❀️

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tux0r profile image
tux0r

Seriously speaking, how can you interact with others where written words are the only medium

Uhh.

I find the current wordless interaction on DEV ("heart", "unicorn", "bookmark", "three dots") confusing, actually. :-(

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sudiukil profile image
Quentin Sonrel • Edited

That's simple:

  • "heart" means you like that!
  • "unicorn" means you like that... more... maybe. Or you just like unicorns!
  • "bookmark" is when you... like... ok I give up.

Jokes aside, the "heart" is nothing more than a like button and the "bookmark" one is nice for people who haven't heard of Pocket (again, joking... last one, promised). As for the unicorn, I simply see it as a fun bit, not everything has to be 100% useful πŸ˜€

The three dots are side features (link, Twitter share and abuse report).

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tux0r profile image
tux0r

The unicorn one keeps weirding me out, honestly.

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yaser profile image
Yaser Al-Najjar Author • Edited

Actually it's related to the design time of dev "ah what are we gonna make... like button or heart or clap?", and then the unicorn came up :D

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v6 profile image
πŸ¦„N BπŸ›‘

πŸ¦„

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itsasine profile image
ItsASine (Kayla)

"bookmark" is when you... like... ok I give up.

Bookmarking actually does bookmark the article for later on your account's reading list.

Mine's pretty perpetually full of stuff... which is why I'm now coming back to this article!

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avalander profile image
Avalander

I actually like the unicorns and use them for stuff I really like, but that's just because I like unicorns in general.

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slavius profile image
Slavius

I always thought that the heart means you like the article (or want to show some love for it or its author) and the unicorn that you find it a unique gem you don't see every day - just like unicorns (not that I've ever seen one...).

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avalander profile image
Avalander

That reasoning makes sense.

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tux0r profile image
tux0r

Somehow.

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rhymes profile image
rhymes

Me too

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defman profile image
Sergey Kislyakov πŸ‡·πŸ‡Ί πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

Why a native app would be buggy and have to be updated every couple of days?

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yaser profile image
Yaser Al-Najjar Author • Edited

There is always a technical debt for every repo you start, every software you write, and every small idea you wanna apply.

It's a burden that the dev team will have (for two extra repos: iOS & Android), and bugs will surely occur, and they gotta fix it.

Why shattering the focus on the iOS & Android & web, while the PWA gives you an accessible auto-updating app for the same platforms with writing only ONE web app.

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notriddle profile image
Michael "notriddle" Howell

On Windows, hit the Win+. chord to get a pop-up dialog, complete with search, to pick an emoji. I think macOS has something similar.

... though I'm tempted to say that DEV should have its own emoji set, just to make sure that everybody on the site has the same ones ...

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abdurrahmaanj profile image
Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer • Edited

Some thoughts (btw happy to see a python guy here)

  • that upload link thing i think is one of the points that make dev.to unique.
  • that left pane, same throws in some niceness
  • yes that job things sometimes spoil the fun
  • i accidentally clicked one button and i followed 50 people, that i think can be removed
  • the dep structure can be removed

btw i see peps inspire lots of people, i know people who use it in biz in internal projects!

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juanfrank77 profile image
Juan F Gonzalez

To answer your question I like much better the left picture in the comparison of homescreens

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v6 profile image
πŸ¦„N BπŸ›‘

πŸ¦„