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Ask HN: Which developers do you closely follow?
551 points by krptos 89 days ago | hide | past | web | 264 comments | favorite
The one thing that keeps me inspired, more than anything, is following up with the activities of people whom I consider as masters.

When it comes to programming, which developers do you closely follow?

Please include blog/website/github links.

A couple of my favourites:

[TJ Holowaychuk](https://github.com/tj) - because he's a wizard. The number of premium open source projects he's been a part of, is just astounding.

[Dan Abramov](https://github.com/gaearon) - First hit on his redux talk, then drifted to his blog posts. I like his clarity of expressing the why's and how's.

None of them. There are lots that I respect and admire, and there are lots that I think provide a great value to our community. But I don't "follow" them for a few reasons: (1) it takes time, which I don't have, (2) I don't like buying into a cult of personality, no matter how benevolent and (3) I don't derive much value from that and would rather spend that time/energy on creating my own thing.

For example when I see a new thing by antirez on HN, I am likely to click it because it's usually good stuff, but I am not going to be following his blog, etc.

I would argue this is an unduly negative take on following the work of other developers. Following the work of one of your peers in your field does not have to become a cult of personality. It can help you discover what kind of open source work or intellectual direction is actually useful, especially at the beginning of your career. It's totally reasonable to not follow other developers but I also wouldn't want to cultivate the perception that following the work of others is a failure to be busy enough on your own.

> (2) I don't like buying into a cult of personality, no matter how benevolent

The reason to follow many developers is could be due to their useful output (e.g. informative blog posts). You don't have to agree with everything that someone puts out (cult of personality) to find things that they produce useful.

There are developers that I have met in real life, whom I didn't really like their personalty, yet I still take notice whenever they put out a new project because they usually have well-thought out and infinitely usable interfaces.

I suppose I prefer to consume my personal developer blog posts filtered through something like HN. It ends up being fairly high quality without worrying if I'm following enough people or the correct people.

I understand what you're saying, some people follow a popular developer and that can cause them to take what they say and regurgitate it with an annoying arrogance.

But supposing everybody took your stance we wouldn't be able to have something like Hacker News. I think following popular developers and sharing what you believe to be good content may not be enjoyable all the time, but I do think it's necessary. Just as someone who has only been in the software culture for about two years now.

You are right. Someone has to do it. I suppose I just don't want to be me :-p

They call me the wanderer.

Following the blogs of people whose work you like doesn't take much effort. All it takes is a good RSS reader.

Because most of them don't have time to write frequently. The people I follow tend to write once in a blue moon, but when it happens, the articles are really good and I consider it a shame to get lost in a sea of noise.

If I open my RSS reader right now, I'm sure to find 10 good articles that I like, which is not what I can say about HN on any given day.

In fact on HN I'm glad to see an item worth my click once per month. The content promoted here is really bad IMO and I only come for the discussions, which tend to be interesting as people bother to post long comments.

I was going to say pretty much this answer - good ideas stand out on their own, not because [insert person] says it is good. There are many fantastic developers out there that you probably have not heard of their name until they come up with a new idea that blows up or they become known for a prticular talk given or project released - the moment of recognition isn't the point where they suddenly became a developer at that level.

I find that it is better for developers to go through the exploration of ideas and to come to their own conclusions/path on the ideas that works for them. Encouraging that academic learning is much better than recommending a specific person for people to dump their time listening to.

I don't agree with the view that following specific people's work is the equivalent of cult personality, although thats how cults start out. It's not transpositional.

It's a decent starting point for those just starting out in the community/open source culture to get the hang of it.

The general idea however is to keep an eye out on places like HN to general trends and follow popular/radical repositories in those areas.

However, I would strongly suggest to not fall for the trap and limit yourself to just following people / news. Get the news but dig deeper, read posts on that topic, clone and play around with repositories, create and share small projects, connect this to what you already know and create ideas, no matter how useless you think it is, read influential papers (re-read them) and get involved in conversations on them.

That is more fulfilling and impactful than following personalities.

That's like a doctor not following leading medical scientists in his field...

You don't have to, but, it's probably a good thing.

Can't the doctor read medical journals and published papers in their fields instead of tweets from a select few peers?

Very much agreed. Curated, peer-reviewed, or just generally thought through by more than one person -- we need more of that.

What's the analogue to that in the software development space? Following a project usually means following a person, unless you're talking about huge projects maintained by a team of developers.

I think they mean following them on github to see what they're starring and working on.

I suspect he's referring to following HN and similar communities.

Or, scientific research? We do have that in IT.

Why can't we have both?

> when I see a new thing by antirez on HN, I am likely to click it because it's usually good stuff, but I am not going to be following his blog

In that case following his blog explains how he made that good stuff which helps in building skill and also helps others to build great stuff.

Some amazing non-male developers:

— Jen Simmons: http://labs.jensimmons.com/

— Julia Evans: https://jvns.ca/

— Lea Verou: http://lea.verou.me/

— Mina Markham: http://mina.codes/

— Sara Soueidan: https://sarasoueidan.com/articles/

— Sarah Mei: http://www.sarahmei.com/blog/

— Ana Tudor: https://thebabydino.github.io/

— Anna Debenham: http://www.maban.co.uk/

> non-male

In what way are the genitals of a programming blog author relevant?

I had the same reaction.

Women in IT talk about how hard it is for them not to be judged by their gender but by their skills and yet many of them promote their gender as if it's more important than the skills.

While the person writing the post pointed it out, only one of the blogs seemed to be about her gender* while the others didn't even mention it as far as I saw.

* http://mina.codes/# (extremely so, if I may add)

Of course, I was talking about the fact that, this comment is the second on this thread and that many women act this way.

The best programming girls are usually the ones that don't waste their time with this representation of their gender.


I'll bet some of them talk about gender/feminism/discrimination/etc because of men still calling them "girls".

Some people might wish to diversify the range of blog authors they read.

Contrary to the implicit assertion you make, nothing -- not even programming (and writing about programming especially) -- is inseparable from identity. Consider, for example, that where someone grew up is likely to influence how they think and write about programming. Why would gender not also have an influence?

It's now been 2 days since this was posted to hacker news. Here's the gender breakdown for the recommended posts:

209 unique males were mentioned 280 times

21 unique females were mentioned 26 times

Excluding GP's comment 14 unique females were mentioned 18 times

That ratio of 209 male voices to 21 female is the reason the genitals of a programming blog author is relevant.

*There were 11 mentions where I was unable to definitively determine gender.


There are studies who say that 90% of developers are male.

10% from 209 is 21.

Such a collection in one place might be inspiring for some non-male developers ? Some role models to emulate ;) Probably assurance that gender doesn't matter to be accepted and well-regarded?

> Probably assurance that gender doesn't matter to be accepted and well-regarded?

Isn't a list like this the exact opposite of that?


It is an attempt to normalise the idea that non-male programmers can work and communicate competently in their field. Whether you like it or not, certain elements of the technology community implicitly or explicitly reject this idea.

If this idea is normalised, then finally 'gender will not matter'.

This is a gendered list of programming blogs, and proudly claims to be gendered. As such, it is quite opposite to the idea that gender doesn't matter.

The fact you felt compelled enough to pose such a question shows a certain bias in the community that warrants efforts to empower and amplify minorities within the community.

Hola limedaring. You rock. Thanks for adding this specifically non-male list. A shame you're being downvoted.

See you at PyCon?

Here's hoping! Travel wise it might be hard — all my sessions were denied this year so it's a lot harder to attend. But still might happen. :)

I would add Erica Sadun to this list. She's been my go-to authority for all things ObjC (and now Swift) since 2008.


I just created an account specifically so I could thank you for posting this list.

I had never heard of any of these developers before, and now I'm following several of them.

I feel inspired. :)

Thank you for this !!

Much appreciated.

While he has many an interesting read on SEO and business related topics in the field of software, what programming related content from patio11 are you referring to?

He does not write programming related blogs often, but there are some if you go to the archive (most are published before 2012) http://www.kalzumeus.com/archive/

Recently he talked about building Stockfighter :



There has been some meta-related such as salary negotiations for programmers, the importance of A/B testing etc.

Can't remember any code examples off the top of my head though.

I follow Julia on Twitter.

She always has great drawings/hilarious stuff that she posts. It's really inspiring.

Yes! Julia's zines are an amazing way of communicating technical concepts https://jvns.ca/zines/ Wish more people made them

Jeff Atwood is not a serious programmer. He writes stories.

I disagree with saying "Not a serious programmer" but I would say his blog is not a "serious programming blog". As far as I remember, his blogposts were not _that_ technical in nature, and dealt more with the human aspect of software engineers and the people using their software. We need that as well though.

But he did work in Discourse and StackOverflow, which I'd say are pretty good achievements in the software industry.

What's wrong with stories?

Nothing wrong. But there is always a doubt(some brain cycles always being spent) while reading the experience of the stories since the author is not hard core tech guy.

Brad Fitzpatrick - https://bradfitz.com/ - Started and sold LiveJournal, wrote memcached, works on Golang at Google now. Always enjoy his talks on YouTube. My favorite part is that he doesn't come off as super serious so I find subtle humor in his delivery.

In one of his videos where he talks about HTTP/2, he says "HTTP/2 is just supposed to be a better wire format for HTTP, so it's not that interesting". In an earlier video, Brad and Andrew Gerrand screencasted building a full implementation of the protocol in Golang in under 3 hours on YouTube. To the average programmer that would take days to get working and we'd be so excited when it was done we'd be telling everyone who would listen how awesome it is.

He's also spearheaded Camlistore, which is intended to be a archival system for electronic data. Interesting both technically, and for the problem it attempts to solve.


For a second there I got excited because I thought it might be written in OCaml :-)

Any anecdotes from anyone who has used this? What did you use it for and did it work how you expected?

Only curious -- it seems really interesting for a personal project I plan on working on soon.

For those who enjoy reading there's a chapter/interview with Brad in the book "Coders At Work". I really enjoyed his perspective on the industry.

I also have to point to his filmmaking work in the genre of dystopian horror: https://youtu.be/BpsMkLaEiOY

Beware of putting people on pedestals. Far better is to just follow people who do cool stuff. They don't have to be a "master" to do something cool that will inspire you.

My introduction to the world of professional software development was meeting one of the idols and hanging out with him for two days before realizing who he was. We've kept in touch since then and I now consider him one of my best friends.

I agree about putting people on pedestals, and my own experiences speak to that. The person I once saw in a very idealized way I now see as fully a person, complete with faults and failures.

I would argue that there are no "masters" - or rather, that there are very few of them, and those that I might consider such are "just people" too.

> I would argue that there are no "masters" - or rather, that there are very few of them, and those that I might consider such are "just people" too.

Mastery does not obviate humanity.

The most gifted (which I define as the cross-section between talented and practiced) people I know tend to care more about the content of your character than your technical prowess.

>The most gifted (which I define as the cross-section between talented and practiced) people I know tend to care more about the content of your character than your technical prowess.

Odd choice of words, wouldn't it make more sense to switch the meaning of 'talented' and 'gifted'? A 'gift' is something you receive without sacrifice, while a 'talent' needs to be honed.

Talent is innate.

Skill is practiced.

If you're passionate enough about something that you happen to have a natural affinity for in order to hone your skills, I call that a gift.

Not a native speaker but I also find that odd: I always thought talented referred to the parable about the servants who were given talents, and as such I would expect that talented and gifted would be almost the same.

I assume you are referring to Jesus' "parable of the talents". If so, it is dealing with money, not skills. https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talent_(weight)

Disclaimer: I shouldn't be regarded as any sort of authority on the English language.

I sort of decide what words mean to me, publish them, and then stick to those definitions (while pointing anyone confused towards the published definitions).

There's probably a better way to classify these ideas without tripping over other peoples' lexicographic pedantry, but this is the Internet and you're always going to find a contrary opinion no matter what you do. The winning move is to not play.


  talent: natural affinity
  skill:  aptitude gained through effort
  gifted: a person who is both talented and skilled in an area

I just found it weird that you chose the word 'gift' as something less innate than a 'talent'. It's also interesting that 'talent' used to have the meaning 'A desire or inclination for something', which is similar to your use of the word gift.

Anyway, I won't say the way you're using those words is wrong, language is after all pretty flexible, it just didn't seem like the most obvious choice.

This. +1+1

It's a bit off-topic, but I keep coming back to this song, I find it very inspiring in its simplicity. "Try this at home" by Frank Turner:


Key lines from the lyrics:

In bedrooms across England // and all the Western world // there’s posters and there’s magazines // but the music isn’t ours

So tear down the stars now // and take up your guitars // come on folks and try this at home

Let’s stop waiting around // for someone to patronize us // Let’s hammer out a sound // that speaks of where we’ve been // Forget about the haircuts // the stupid skinny jeans // the stampedes and the irony // the media-fed scenes

Do listen to the whole thing, it's a great song.

Also: If you don't find your name on this thread, that doesn't mean that you're a nobody and that your work is unappreciated. It only means that the sort of folks who'd respond to a thread like this in earnest haven't noticed you, which probably isn't a reflection on your value to the {community, industry, world} (select appropriate).

Hopefully all of our work is appreciated by the people near us but it's really ok to be a "nobody" as in you aren't famous or even regarded as a "dev to be followed." There shouldn't be the expectation that to be a professional who's good at your job and solves problems you should also be on the list of popular devs people follow.

Agree with this. I think that many of the people named here may be more talented at marketing their ideas and themselves within certain developer communities. Their work may seem popular and exciting, but are lost in abstract thought and have little to no connection to the real world. Rarely will you hear about the programmers who write software for the things people rely on every day, these are the unsung heroes.

Sometimes pedestals are justified, though. For instance, Dan Abramov (mentioned by OP) is not only one of the most respected voices in React patterns and best practices, he also works at Facebook and has an outsized voice in advocating for development priorities internally; in fact, he is the secretary at the core group meetings [0]. What he retweets [1] is the closest indication we can get to what the core group will have in mind when choosing what design patterns to best support going forward, in both performance and syntax. And so "What Would Dan Abramov Do?" is a tongue-in-cheek meme at the office, but it's also a helpful indicator to help future-proof our choices of React patterns.

[0] https://github.com/reactjs/core-notes - see, for instance, https://github.com/reactjs/core-notes/blob/master/2016-12/de...

[1] https://twitter.com/dan_abramov

I wish more developers had his mindset and put their ego aside. He is totally professional and open to ideas even from "competing" technologies.

For Android dev related, I follow

Jake Wharton : https://github.com/jakewharton , https://twitter.com/JakeWharton - He is well known in Android community. He has authored a lot of great libraries personally and under Square.

Mark Murphy - https://commonsware.com/blog/

Chris Banes - https://chris.banes.me/

Cyril Mottier - https://cyrilmottier.com , https://twitter.com/cyrilmottier

Dan Lew - http://blog.danlew.net/

Donn Felker - http://www.donnfelker.com

Mark Allison - https://blog.stylingandroid.com

Jesse Wilson - https://publicobject.com/

Roman Nurik - https://twitter.com/romannurik

Thank you for mentioning me. I really appreciate it. I'm always here to help. Please reach out if there is anything I can do to help you in any way. :)

I think you missed one :)

Romain Guy - http://www.curious-creature.com/

Jon Blow: A game designer and programmer behind the popular titles "Braid" and "The Witness". He's currently working on making a new programming language and chronicling it on YouTube. - Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jonathan_Blow - YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCuoqzrsHlwv1YyPKLuMDUQ

Every time I get stuck on a project, I watch this video. It's about games, but IMO a lot of it applies to software projects in general, especially MVPs. How to ship something that works before it collapses under its own complexity. I think the bit about remembering to optimize for developer effort is gold.


He's the main one I follow too, although I haven't kept up on his programming language progress (although I should get on that). He gives very interesting lectures though. I had the good fortune to see him give two in person at the Game Developer's Conference in 2008, and that was actually before I knew who he was and before Braid came out. He actually showed a tiny piece of Braid during the lecture, although it didn't hit me how clever it was until it was released and I got to see the whole thing.

Still working through The Witness, but it's amazing. Put about 40 hours into it so far. It's the best video game I played last year.

He did a couple of streams recently using his language to work on a new game.

At the very least it will be C/C++ where you don't have to type () around if expressions. So there is that. :D

Cool, I'll definitely check those out. I am looking to start making video games again, although it seems like this is probably in too early of a state still, so I was planning on refreshing my knowledge of Unity. But it doesn't hurt to watch those streams, and I look forward to when it makes sense to do serious development in it.

I like Jonathan Blow too. He has a twitch.tv channel https://www.twitch.tv/naysayer88 which he livestreams coding from time-to-time as well.

In the last week, it's gone from 'time-to-time' to 'multiple times a day'. Great stuff, but it's getting very hard to keep up with.

David Nolen - http://swannodette.github.io/

James Long - http://jlongster.com/

I follow these guys for similar reasons. They always seem to be a couple steps ahead of the rest of the industry and it's frankly a little embarrassing how productive they are. Come to think of it maybe I'd feel better about myself as a programmer if I stopped following them...

I mean this in the most respectful way possible: David Nolen has a reached a level of enlightment the French describe as jouissance I will never achieve.

What makes you say that?

just the way he talks and simplifies FP in a way that previously has been impossible to achieve.

Agreed on David Nolen, although I regularly feel he doesn't know how much smarter than the average developer he is, and I find a lot of his work inscrutable from both the documentation and API standpoint.

That impression goes away quickly when you meet him since he is a tremendously empathic person and clear speaker. The difference, in my opinion, is that he expects another level of effort/investment from the consumers of his work than other open source contributors.

That mismatch often causes frustration from people that are not used to it. In my case, it quickly went away once I understood the implicit contract.

I recently had the chance to see David Nolen speak at CUSEC, it was an amazing experience. I think back to it a lot.

Hardware/microcontroller people write code to do interesting things. Sometimes the code isn't as interesting as the whole system or application but you get lured in anyway. The miracle of the adafruit magnetometer driver or MQTT client isn't in the elegance of the code (although its not awful) its that it exists at all and it works. Anyway presented in no order:

Ian Lesnet from dangerous prototypes

Michael Ossmann and Dominic Spill from great scott gadgets

Limor Fried from adafruit

There's innumerable folks in the ham radio community who both solder and code like Hans Summers from qrp labs or Wayne Burdick from elecraft. I like the GPS clock discipline system Hans created, its not the pinnacle of esoteric control theory but its very solid engineering in that it works with minimal resources. Good engineering is making the best you can under the limitations, not like IT type work where the more baroque the better seems to reign as a value.

Ben Heck counts too.

A shout out to frankly the entire esp8266 community

the folks behind evilmadscientist (their website is down at this moment)

Nathan Seidle from Sparkfun probably count under "masters of shipping lots of working stuff"

Admittedly this is turning into a list of cool low level hardware projects that involve coding. But they do develop software and I do follow them.

Love your list, here are a few other hardware people that put out great stuff:

- Charles Lohr http://cnlohr.net/ mixed bag of art and hardware

- Jeroen Domburg (SpriteTM) of http://spritesmods.com now at Espressif, an adept magician.

* Feross Aboukhadijeh (https://github.com/feross)

* James Halliday (https://github.com/substack)

* Paul Irish (https://github.com/paulirish)

* Addy Osmani (https://github.com/addyosmani)

* Tim Abbott (https://github.com/timabbott)

* Zach Holman (https://github.com/holman)

* Jessica McKellar (https://github.com/jesstess)

* TJ Holowaychuk (https://github.com/tj)

* Jeremy Ashkenas (https://github.com/jashkenas)

* David Heinemeier Hanson (https://github.com/dhh)

* Juan Benet (https://github.com/jbenet)

* Guillermo Rauch (https://github.com/rauchg)


Instead of sniping at others' lists, why not contribute your own?

Mike Acton, Casey Muratori, Sean Barret, Jonathan Blow, Shawn McGrath.

All game programmers, focused on low level C/C++ programming. I'd love to have some similar guys/girls to follow who do something at the other end of the spectrum (F#/Scala/Haskell etc) but haven't come across any that do educational streaming. I get a lot out of seeing people's workflows, as they build actual production code. Most of the functional programming stuff I follow is blogs about toy examples or ideas.

The same for me plus more of that from Charles Bloom's epic blog (http://www.cbloom.com/rants.html and http://www.cbloom.com/rambles.html)

David Beazley : http://www.dabeaz.com/

Kenneth Reitz : https://www.kennethreitz.org/

Armin Ronacher : http://lucumr.pocoo.org/

Julien Danjou : https://julien.danjou.info/

Hynek Schlawack : https://hynek.me/

Donald Stufft : https://caremad.io/

I would like to also add Brett Cannon: https://snarky.ca His blog is very informative.

I enjoy David Beazley's presentations. My mind is usually mush after watching, though. He makes the difficult look way to easy.

found the Python guy

How'd you guess?


My current list:

* Armin Ronacher: Flask, Jinja2, click

* Jonathan Blow: game dev, designing a new low-level language called Jai (https://www.youtube.com/user/jblow888)

* Michael Fogleman: extremely proficient Go developer; wrote a Minecraft clone in both Python and C, and a NES emulator in Go (https://github.com/fogleman)

Shoutout to Michael. His tenacity and discipline amazes me. He posts some great stuff on his Twitter: https://twitter.com/FogleBird

While i wouldn't say i "follow" them, i have found inspiration from

Stephanie Hurlburt: https://twitter.com/sehurlburt

Scott Hanselman: https://twitter.com/shanselman

David Fowler: https://twitter.com/davidfowl

Frank Krueger: https://twitter.com/praeclarum

Troy Hunt: https://twitter.com/troyhunt

Niall Merrigan: https://twitter.com/nmerrigan

Bret Victor: http://worrydream.com/ Gets posted a lot.

Brendan Gregg: http://www.brendangregg.com/blog/ Everything Linux Performance.

Rich Hickey/David Nolen Mentioned enough around here.

Bret Victor is amazing. I saw his video about the future of programming[0] and have been following him since then.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pTEmbeENF4

Fabrice Bellard, http://www.bellard.org

Seconded. This developer has an absolutely amazing output and corpus of works.

very true. I just wish he gives some video interviews. Just would love to watch such an amazing productive guy.

Since you seem to be in the web area:

- Addy Osmani https://github.com/addyosmani - Paul Irish https://github.com/paulirish - Substack https://github.com/substack - Jeff Atwood https://blog.codinghorror.com/

I really like Substack's philosophy of development. It has stuck with me for a long time:


Ned Batchelder. Blog - http://nedbatchelder.com/ Stack Overflow answers - http://stackoverflow.com/users/14343/ned-batchelder Coverage.py - https://github.com/nedbat/coveragepy Twitter - https://twitter.com/nedbat

Ned created coverage.py and is one of the most famous Python devs. He explains Python concepts in a very lucid, easy-to-understand way. Going through his stack overflow answers, his tallks in PyCon are worth doing it.

Mainly scala devs or java performance people:









I follow a lot more but have chosen the n most interesting with a recency bias. In a few cases their blogs are way more active than github.

honourable mention for https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/mechanical-sympathy

Whenever Rich Hickey says something, I listen!

I would add to this list the late Pieter Hintjens, known for ZeroMQ and many other projects over the years.


Beyond programming, his writings about society and how it can be explained algorithmically are very interesting to programmers.

Flattered, but honestly many of us are just well-known because we work in the average domain, where many people happen to be. I don't think people should really look up anything I do that way, there are plenty of far more skilled programmers out there, they're just working on more obscure things haha. There's nothing I do that someone else couldn't easily achieve, just takes some time.

Besides, most of us also had the perk of working for startups where we got to produce a lot of OSS. Anyone in that position can do the same. The only skill you need is persistence.

Jessie Frazelle : https://blog.jessfraz.com - Funny, culturally aware, and works with a lot of things that are going to be shaping our world. Also, @jessfraz

I follow them as well :) Their work with containers, and their general commentary make for fascinating reading.

Edit: And Peter Norvig http://norvig.com/ipython/

Most guys I follow are either rust or haskell developers.

@manishearth - rust - https://manishearth.github.io/

@bitemyapp - writer of haskell: first principles

@bartoszmilewski - haskell - https://bartoszmilewski.com/

@jdegoes - writes informative FP blog posts - http://degoes.net/

@aaron_turon - rust - https://aturon.github.io/blog/

@pcwalton - rust

@nikomatsakis - rust - http://smallcultfollowing.com/babysteps/

@paf31 - purescript creator

@nick_r_cameron - rust

@kmett - famous haskeller

@steveklabnik - rust - http://words.steveklabnik.com/

Some interesting mentions here. I tend to follow mostly people who talk about statically-typed functional programming. Some people who I believe stand out because they changed the game in some way:

* Dan Grossman for his amazing, succinct explanations of static typing and functional programming concepts in Standard ML

* Philip Wadler for his work on Haskell

* Miles Sabin for freeing Scala developers from fixed arities with shapeless

* Jordan Walke for React (put immutable and reactive programming in every JS dev's hands) and Reason (bringing OCaml to JS devs)

* Erik Meijer for putting monads (LINQ) in C#

* Evan Czaplicki for bringing functional reactive programming to JavaScript devs.

Scott Hanselman. If you are a Microsoft / .NET developer he is probably at the top of your list. Pragmatic, fun, quality blog posts and produces really good podcasts.


Scott's blog is one of my favourites. Even when it's not .NET related, it's always entertaining.

That being said, I usually read Eric Lippert's blog (www.ericlippert.com) although, since he "switched dev environments", I find the topics less relevant (for me).

But for .net the good ones are (from top of my head):

Jimmy Bogard (marten, mediatr, general architecture)

Jeremyd Miller (structuremap)

Jeremy Skinner (fluentvalidation)

K Scott Allen (typescript and genereal .net core)

Mike Hadlow (.net core)

Mark Rendle (.net on linux, funny guy)

Jonathan Channon (nancyfx)

Brad Wilson (xunit)

Damien Edwards (.net core)

Rick Strahl (.net core)

Jon Galloway (javascript and .net)

Leon Bambrick (very funny guy, knows everything)

I'm not a MSFT/.NET guy and I still get a ton out of his content.

Fabien Sanglard knows how to do code reviews of old games in such a way that I feel like I understand what he wrote. Until I close the tab, of course.


I'm a Ruby user, these are my inspiration

* Yehuda Katz - https://twitter.com/wycats

* Steve Klabnik - https://twitter.com/steveklabnik

* Aaron Patterson - https://twitter.com/tenderlove

* Charles Nutter - https://twitter.com/headius

This will either be my most highly upvoted post ever or will get me hellbanned, but that MOC blog has got to be some of the most aggrandizing, self-obsessed nonsense I have ever read. It's like he's living in his own fantasy world where he is simultaneously the smartest person on Earth and incredibly oppressed.

The idea that someone is going through life thinking that way is more than a little depressing.

oh man, xah lee is still going strong? i remember him trolling usenet in the 90s!

Bryan Cantrill.


Overzealous love of systems, I don't necessarily always agree with him but I always learn something when listening.

Brenden Gregg.


If I could import someones brain to my own, it would be his.

Kyle Fuller


Guy is like a UNIX programmer for the modern age.

I recommend following Donald Knuth, the late Richard Stevens, Brian Kernighan, Douglas Comer, Rob Pike, Ken Thompson, and many others I can't think of at the moment. By "follow" I mean read their books.

Peter Norvig. http://norvig.com

Steve Yegge http://steve-yegge.blogspot.com/

Wil Shipley https://blog.wilshipley.com/

Yossi Kreinin http://yosefk.com/

All three brilliant, with good sense of humor and having good "vision thing"

Windytan (Oona Räisänen):



Not quite 100% programming, but she is always doing something super interesting. Mostly with electronics and DSP. She is an awesome hacker and very inspiring to me.

Marco Arment, of tumblr, instapaper, Overcast, and ATP: https://marco.org/, https://twitter.com/marcoarment

Gary Bernhardt, of wat: https://github.com/garybernhardt, https://twitter.com/garybernhardt

You actually mean Gary Bernhardt of Destroy All Software https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/screencasts

Scott Hanselman(dotnet and random h/w hacks) -http://www.hanselman.com/

Rob Connery(dotnet,elixir,postgres) - http://rob.conery.io/

David Heinemeier Hansson, CTO of Basecamp and Creator of Ruby on Rails https://www.twitter.com/dhh

I follow the legendary Jeff Vroom [1] and his stratacode project [2]. I was lucky enough to work with Jeff in the 90s, when he was architect of the AVS/Express visualisation system. He went on to Art Technology Group, then Adobe, and is now independent. AVS/Express had the best visual programming system I've ever used, and was way ahead of its time.

[1] https://github.com/jeffvroom [2] https://github.com/stratacode

Sean Griffin, going forward (recent discovery).

He's a member of both Rails and Rust teams; works on database stuff for both (https://diesel.rs).

Always working on something interesting to talk about on 'The Bike Shed' podcast, which I 'follow'/would recommend in its own right.

Podcast: http://bikeshed.fm

Github: https://github.com/sgrif

Rachel: https://rachelbythebay.com/w/

Kyle Kingsbury, for his Jepsen series: https://aphyr.com/tags/jepsen

[Nick Craver](http://nickcraver.com/) and on twitter [@Nick_Craver](https://twitter.com/Nick_Craver)

I know you didn't ask for books but here are some interesting ones. The first two cover individuals and the last two cover the works of others.

Coders At Work (https://www.amazon.com/Coders-Work-Reflections-Craft-Program...)

Founders At Work (https://www.amazon.com/Founders-Work-Stories-Startups-Early/...)

Architecture of Open Source Systems (https://www.amazon.com/Architecture-Open-Source-Applications...)

Architecture of Open Source Systems - Vol 2 (https://www.amazon.com/Architecture-Open-Source-Applications...)

Some names from memory:

- all the React team (Dan, Sebastian, Vjeux, Christoph, etc)

- Addy Osmani (Google)

- Sindre Sorhus (full time open sourcer)

- JD Dalton (Lodash)

- Guillermo Rauch (Zeit)

- Jeff Atwood (StackOverflow)

- Elon Musk (genius)

Second for TJ and Dan. I also like following James Kyle - https://github.com/thejameskyle because he seems to keep people humble and realize we're pushing code not doing heart surgery. We're not some special snowflake that is above others.

Oleg Kiselyov on functional programming http://okmij.org/ftp/

I hadn't seen links to these guys.

Martin Fowler - https://www.martinfowler.com/

Rober C. Martin (Uncle Bob) - https://sites.google.com/site/unclebobconsultingllc/

Excellent list of devs already. I would add:

Tess Ferrandez: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/tess/ (Fantastic analysis of Windows debugging internals)

John Gruber: http://daringfireball.net/

++1 for Tess Ferrandez and her debugging labs. As an engineer for a web hoster I found these invaluable for tracking down why, with no knowledge of their codebase, customer worker processes on IIS would suddenly die, hang or go 100% CPU.

Dr. Axel Rauschmayer : http://www.2ality.com/

This is fun. Here's mine:

- Brad fitzpatrick -- http://bradfitz.com/

- Julia Evans -- https://jvns.ca

- Raymond Hettinger -- https://rhettinger.wordpress.com/

- Rich Hickey -- https://changelog.com/posts/rich-hickeys-greatest-hits

- Peter Bourgon -- https://peter.bourgon.org/

- Rebecca Murphey -- https://rmurphey.com/

- Daniel Greenfield -- https://www.twoscoopspress.com/

John Walkenbach. https://plus.google.com/+JohnWalkenbach

I followed him initially hoping to learn some Excel tricks, but he mostly posts recipes and songs and political posts. I've been following him since I was about 13 years old, and I feel like his posts have really shaped my personality growing up.

I also started following these two guys after I came across an interesting post they wrote (not together):



However, I've never seen an interesting post from them since, so I should probably stop following them.

Eli has highly technical in depth dry stuff. I followed him even before he joined google and became core python developer.

C: Salvatore Sanfillipo (antirez)

Python: Kenneth Reitz

JS: TJ Hollowaychuck

C++: John Carmack

Ruby: Aaron Patterson, _why

What's common about all those programmers is that they're consistently nice people.

@tenderlove does some revolutionary stuff. For example, one of his latest project has been to measure the weight his cats' poops.


Came for the tech, stayed for the puns and generally odd behavior.

Rich Hickey (Clojure, Datomic) and David Nolen (ClojureScript) - consistently helping us to express previously unthinkable thoughts

consistently helping us to express previously unthinkable thoughts

Care to share three or four?

Not sure if unthinkable is the right word:

Simple Made Easy: https://www.infoq.com/presentations/Simple-Made-Easy

David Nolen talks about how immutable structures work: https://youtu.be/SiFwRtCnxv4?t=504

Objects are Marionettes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSdnJDO-xdg&feature=youtu.be...

Not sure if unthinkable is the right word

That's exactly what I'm asking about. I'm familiar with Hickey and Nolen.

Sure, there's a couple in this post: http://tonsky.me/blog/the-web-after-tomorrow/

Humans think in language and as such the languages we use shape the ideas we can have, and as our ideas evolve we build upon old languages with new languages to express new ideas that old languages lacked the necessary atoms.

I write Clojure every day and enjoy it. I think Hickey/Nolen have clarified many ways of thinking about programming problems for me. I've learned a lot from them.

But this level of marketing spiel can be off-putting -- especially when you provide examples that non-web architectures have been using for many years.

Imagine I'm an experienced developer, and you've promised that I will be able to express previously unthinkable thoughts if I just learn what these guys are talking about. And then I look at it and it is exactly the same thing my colleagues and I have been doing for years in Java. What am I supposed to make of it?

Okay. I think we just have different expectations of the word "unthinkable".

This reads snarkier than intended. I appreciate Hickey and Nolen and the work they've done a lot.

ktoso: https://github.com/ktoso - he's not human, but If you want to do anything on the java/scala ecosystem, you need to follow him.

Jonathan Blow (The Witness), Erich Ocean (Fohr), Howard Chu (LMDB), Dan Luu (BitFunnel) and Casey Muratori (Handmade Hero).

These developers have a unique way of looking at problems. I've gained a lot of valuable knowledge from them.

Giulio Canti[0] - creator of tcomb library. He writes a lot about type systems and writing typesafe Javascript code.


[0] https://medium.com/@gcanti

[Jeff Preshing](https://twitter.com/preshing). He is a master of threading primitives. His CppCon talks are enlightening.

I don't know if he is considered a developer, but I think Justin Jackson has some awesome startup advice (for developers). He follows others closely and draws from their experiences as well.

There are two things that I commonly see: 1. You have to fail in your first startup to understand. 2. Just because you had that experience doesn't mean the same person will

I don't fully agree. The fact is, you can always take heed of advice from ANYONE who has run a startup, gained experience, knows what works and what doesn't; and feel pretty confident that those people know what they are talking about.

When it comes to startup.. no need to jump right in and fail like so many others. There are plenty of things you can do in order to NOT fail... and that is.. following the advice of others who have failed, maybe still failing, and found even some hint of successes.

His website deserves a visit and a few reads.. just randomly choose some articles with good headlines: https://justinjackson.ca

He'll pull you right in. Sounds like a great guy who is just trying to make his own living to support his family while creating financial freedom away from the mundane workplace, while also helping others.

I've been putting together a list of hackers, bug hunters, star developers (or notably popular at the organisations they work for), and a few IT/OPSEC/SIGINT style companies (and aggregators).

Still much work to be done, but feel free to check it out: https://twitter.com/lemiffe/lists/tophackers/members

Mike bostock, the founder of d3.js

* cool blog articles: https://bost.ocks.org/mike/

* Beautiful dataviz and tips on twitter: https://twitter.com/mbostock

* github: https://github.com/mbostock/

Jeremy Evans[0]: He has made a lot of useful tools for developers who want to implement a minimallistc approach to web development on Ruby.

His probably most well-known projects are Sequel[1] and Roda[2], but he has frequently contributed to many important projects and Ruby[3] itself focusing on simplicity and performance that impacts all the ecosystem.

0: https://github.com/jeremyevans/

1: https://github.com/jeremyevans/sequel

2: https://github.com/jeremyevans/roda

3: https://bugs.ruby-lang.org/issues/12024

Edit: formatting

Edit: Also forgot to mention, I really like his approach on developing frameworks with great extensibility and modularity leveraging Ruby's capabilities without 'magic'.

Some of my favorites...

* Tantek Çelik -> http://tantek.com and https://indieweb.org

* Aaron Parecki -> https://aaronparecki.com and https://indieweb.org

* Patrick (patio11) McKenzie -> http://www.kalzumeus.com

* Moxie Marlinspike -> https://moxie.org

* Scott Hanselman -> http://www.hanselman.com

* Joel Spolsky -> https://www.joelonsoftware.com

* Jeff Atwood -> https://blog.codinghorror.com

* Gina Trapani -> http://ginatrapani.org

* Matthew Hodgson -> http://matrix.org and https://riot.im

* Armin Ronacher -> http://lucumr.pocoo.org

* Jeffrey Zeldman -> http://www.zeldman.com

* Eric Meyer -> http://meyerweb.com

Steve https://twitter.com/steveklabnik

He is awesome human being.

Thank you (and to everyone else in this thread) <3

Yes, Steve is the best person on the internet indeed! Always outspoken, always protective, never nasty

> always protective, never nasty

Nobody's perfect


Yes, this is an incident I still regret deeply. I probably think about it once a week. It's one of the reasons that I'm a bit different these days than I am back then; I didn't want this to happen ever again.


Please comment civilly and substantively on Hacker News—no personal attacks like this.

def concur! coolest stranger on the Internet

are you a competitive programmer?

For JavaScript there are a lot of great devs but these two are the guys who I like reading the most, IMHO they write code thats beautiful to look at and well designed.

1. Jeremy Ashkenas - https://github.com/jashkenas

2. Nathan Faucett - https://github.com/nathanfaucett

There are others that are really good from a technical skill/functional standpoint, (https://github.com/jdalton, https://github.com/jeresig, https://github.com/douglascrockford) but I personally don't find their code as aesthetically pleasing i.e. Resig's love of the terniary statement.

Armin Ronacher creator of Flask lucumr.pocoo.org

Linus Torvalds and Greg KH. I follow them on LKML, I have set up email filters which put their replies into separate folders.

I'm all about ideas; couldn't care less about individuals, including myself. Spending too much time with other people's work kills your creative spark and creates the super star culture we're currently struggling with collectively. We need more fresh perspectives and less idol/icon worship to get out of this mess.

For InfoSec: Troy Hunt https://www.troyhunt.com/ and Eric Lawrence https://textslashplain.com/

For JavaScript (particularly the language changes): Brendan Eich and Dominic Denicola

I feel someone should include Marco Arment [twitter.com/arment] in this list. I don't know if he's a "master," but I have found his journey of building one-man projects to be inspiring.

Also, Maciej Ceglowski [twitter.com/pinboard]. His twitter is hilarious, even though I don't personally subscribe to his service.

Avdi Grimm. He's basically the version of me that's better at a) programming, and b) communicating.

3 hours and nobody Linus Torvalds? I must be getting old...

If you wanted to follow him, how would you do it? He doesn't exactly have a blog, or other channels aimed at a wide audience

Subscribe to LKML, he posts regularly :)

Jokes aside, your can follow him on Google+

He's torvalds on GitHub....

[Dave Winer](http://scripting.com)

If you're looking for cutting edge complete full stack development, Akshay Nihalaney has an excellent blog series where he shares building a high end production ready application step by step (i.e., Angular 2, SCSS, Material Design, automated testing, security, etc., etc.) https://blog.realworldfullstack.io/@akshay.nihalaney

I stalk Steve Klabnik since I'm happy to see anarchism represented in the community.

Haha, I mean yeah. Steve is so much fun.

But surely the state is seen with a more critical eye in this community than in society at large, no?

At PyCon, anyway, there's always a sense that, when the state finally falls (ideally with a whimper and not a bang) that we'll all be there for each other.

Sort of. There's definitely an anti-authoritian trend amongst hackers, but hackers are only part of the community; the rest are capitalists.

I don't really follow anyone, but here's a few whose work I've admired and learnt from (not just their code):

D. Richard Hipp (SQLite, Fossil) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._Richard_Hipp

Guido van Rossum (Python)

Any of the FreeBSD folk. Same goes for the PostgreSQL lot too - I just like their way of doing things in a calm, collected and efficient manner. Well, at least compared to some other dev teams I've seen :)

Donald Knuth of course.

The guy who tried to make Objective-C more Smalltalkish. Uh, Marcel Weiher. Had to look that up.

Bret Victor.

There's more, but that's all I can think of for now.

As no one else has mentioned him yet: Mike Thompson, creator of re-frame (ClojureScript).

There are not many ways to follow him (mostly GH [1]), he hardly uses his Twitter [2]. Maybe that's why he's so productive?

The constantly evolving re-frame docs [3] are all you need to follow..

[1] https://github.com/mike-thompson-day8

[2] https://twitter.com/wazound

[3] https://github.com/Day8/re-frame

James Hague, "a recovering programmer who has been designing video games since the 1980s...", http://prog21.dadgum.com

Chris from Clickspring [1].

Perhaps a little off topic because his content is not specifically software, but given some other mentions of hardware and inspiration his videos are lovely to watch after a long day of code reviews. He recently completed a series building a brass skeleton clock and looks to have some more interesting things going on soon for anyone interested in building things other than software.

[1] http://www.clickspringprojects.com/

Gary Bernhardt - https://twitter.com/garybernhardt He's making great screencasts in his copmpany!

1. [Damian Gryski](https://github.com/dgryski) - implements a bunch of modern academic papers (mostly in go). Also his twitter has a bunch more stuff.

2. [Daniel Lemire](http://lemire.me/en/) - comp sci professor who frequently blogs about interesting db/indexing topics

MPJ and his funfunfunction channel https://www.youtube.com/mpjmevideos

Very talented guy- his 'musings' on development-related matters are worth a watch too.

The great thing about following coder bloggers is that they don't actually blog all that often. So you can subscribe a lot without getting overloaded.

Dan Luu (danluu.com) Joey Hess (kitenet.net/~joey/) Matthew Garrett (mjg59.dreamwidth.org) Josh Berkus (databasesoup.com) Bunnie Huang (bunniestudios.com) Jessie Frazelle (blog.jessfraz.com)

Plus a ton more that haven't updated in years. But if they ressurect and post again, I'll be on top of it!

I don't know if he can be considered a hard and fast 'developer' anymore, but I follow Rob Walling's work (softwarebyrob.com) pretty closely. His podcast with Mike is a nice open door to the life of a software/business engineer, and he's excellent at communicating complex tech or business problems in language that makes the ideas accessible to simpletons like me.

Ted Unangst BSD dev. http://www.tedunangst.com/flak/

[Zach Holman](https://zachholman.com/) is a big one for me.

wait ..... john carmack, reason why i end up programming for a living

Same here. And he looks like a friend of mine.

A really big issue in simplicity and modesty.

Engineers are supposed to simplify via their expertise and produce something is consistent, elegant and easy to use and maybe even beautiful. That's the achievement, taking something clearly complex and 'taming' it.

There is a ugly trend towards gratuitous complexity. Some seem to revel in it. Is it because of signalling, lack of expertise or hidden fears about becoming redundant and making work?

At least one of the folks mentioned here is responsible for producing by far the most user hostile pieces of software I have ever come upon.

Discourse seems to not only revel in complexity but celebrate it. The objective does not seem to simplify in any way but make everything as complex and convuluted as possible.

The only way to use it is via Docker so you need to know Docker which is itself not a friend of the simplicity line of thought. Then it needs a full dev environment with around 80 packages, 2 databases, around 150 gems most of which need to be compiled and can fail at any time with mysterious messages and while at building possibly the most important software in human history why not just throw in nodejs too. At the end of which I am sure many would have forgotten why they started this exercise in the first place.

Newsletters for me - http://importpython.com and http://importgolang.com ...

I follow anyone on github who is doing something that's interesting.

It seems this thread mostly lists folks with white sounding names. May be because software development mostly happens in the West.

When I was in college, I actually believed white people were superior because they had faster neurons. Took a while to invalidate that theory out.

I try to read most public mailing list posts (and for some, technical Google+ postings) by Linus Torvalds, Al Viro, Alan Cox, Ted Ts'o, Andy Lutomirski and the pseudonymous "George Spelvin".

I also keep a weather eye on the blogs of mjg59 and (not a developer, but an academic computer scientist) John Regehr.

Since no one mentioned them:

- Joe Duffy

- Raymond Chen

- Eric Lippert

I used to but I've found that since RavenDB started the problems he has and blogs about are very different to the problems I face everyday.

Hmm... I don't really think of things in those terms. There are no individual developers that I explicitly "follow" to any particular degree. I think more about projects, although for single-developer projects I guess it's approximately the same difference.

I'm not one to follow individuals. I prefer to follow projects that impress me. Within those there are often people who I have come to respect and will read what they have to say, but they usually only write on relevant tech stuff - not long form blog posts. Projects I look in on from time to time:



Rust (and Servo)


- Eric Lippert - John Carmack - Mark Seemann - Scott Hanselman - Scott Gu - Phil Haack

... And some others. Alas, not many open source contributors, because I follow then mostly for their blogs. Most are .NET people, which is my default ecosystem.

Lee Byron (@leeb) His work as a maintainer/evangelist of GraphQL is pretty impresive, in particular the way he communicates with contributors (i.e. soft skills) is something to learn from. He's also the author of immutable.js.

* Feross Aboukhadijeh (https://github.com/feross)

I've been following him since YT Instant. Always seems to be involved in some really exciting projects.

A lot of great programming celebrities here. A little surprised not to see Joey Hess. He's more low key than most: https://joeyh.name

Also, a second for Limor Fried, ladyada of adafruit.

Just one that hasn't been mentioned already:

-- Derek Sivers: https://sivers.org/

Brandon Rhodes -- http://rhodesmill.org/brandon/ Excellent speaker and has recorded some great talks on structuring your code.

[Greg Hurrell](https://wincent.com/) for Vim and Relay I wouldn't say closely follow, but I just really like the work he puts out there.

Vitalik, one of the devs of Ethereum


Lukas Eder, creator of jOOQ and a bit of a SQL wizard. Definitely upped my SQL reading things he's either written or retweeted. As a Hibernate refugee, jOOQ is a godsend.

[John Skeet] (https://codeblog.jonskeet.uk/) C#'s transcedence lord

Peteris Krumins - http://www.catonmat.net always has interesting bits on his blog.

Java Posse http://javaposse.com until the end. Even long after I had moved on from Java.

David Nolan and Rich Hickey. Hilariously enough, I've probably written less than 100 lines of Clojure in my life.

Jonathan Blow, developer of The Witness.

[1] http://the-witness.net

nowadays, none, thanks to restraining orders.

I'm surprised no one has yet to mention SirCmpwn. He's a HN regular and does a lot of truely amazing work.

in addition to these great names I owe so much of my career to Yehuda Katz (https://twitter.com/wycats) so much so that I'll probably terrify him with a giant hug if we were ever to meet in person.

From time-to-time I go over to Reginald Braithwaite's site at raganwald.com. He has the right mixture of practical and theoretical topics.

I don't "follow" anyone. When new posts show up on HN, and the like, by certain developers, I'm more likely to click on them.

My pattern is more commonly to be interested in a topic, do a search, and then read a few articles by whomever wrote on the topic.

transcranial - Because he is an MD and works on ML like me - Because he is the guy behind kerasJS (Tensorflow on the browser)[1]

[1] https://github.com/transcranial/keras-js

Bret Victor

Anders Hejlsberg - Delphi/C#/TypeScript

Jeff Atwood - Coding Horror

Joel Spolsky - StackOverflow

I don't follow developers, because of time. I tend to search for information I need, rather than follow someone and read what they have to say. If I did the latter I would be continuously distracted and overloaded with too many ideas to explore!

For iOS development Mattt Thompson @mattt

For iOS animations Victor Baro @victorbaro

I'm surprised no one here has mentioned Jose Valim yet.

Harrison Kingsley aka sentdex for Python tutorials

Chris Roberts! (robertsspaceindustries.com)

but, how do you follow them? follow them on github to get notifications? or do they have blogs?

Asher from strong.ai

Meta: it's a bit funny when the article itself sets the lead by posting non-functional Markdown on this site. I see replies are joining in, too.

Still, the beauty of markdown is that even if it does not get parsed, it is still legible.

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