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Ask HN: What are good solo developer blogs that you enjoy reading?
618 points by lucasfdacunha 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 143 comments
Hey guys, I like to read blog bosts about developers that run some kind of project (rentable or not) and usually are pretty open about its development and how things are going.

However, it's really hard to find some of those, unless you found those somewhere. Hacker Newsletter today had a pretty good article https://mtlynch.io/solo-developer-year-2/

I'm mostly looking for something similar since this kind of blog post can give some good insights.

Thanks.






I follow regularly these people, these are mostly slow-going blogs or websites:

1. Fabrice Bellard: https://bellard.org/ This is not really a blog, but a traditional website with links to the work of its author (who is probably one of the top programmers ever). It updates rarely, but when it does, it is to expose yet another monumental piece of computing work that will blow your universe.

2. Linus Akesson: https://www.linusakesson.net/ He's always onto some funny crazy things: obfuscated programming, underhanded programming, c64 emulation, chiptunes...

3. Uriel l'Étranger: http://cat-v.org/ The only self-described "philosopher of software" that I have ever seen. His website is of course not updated anymore, but you can re-read it many times and always learn something new.

4. Ted Unangst: https://flak.tedunangst.com/ Nice to follow some cool news about openbsd development

5. Andy Chu: http://www.oilshell.org/blog/ Who has embarked in an amazing quest to turn the unix shell into a cleaner tool

6. Jens Gustedt: https://gustedt.wordpress.com/ If you really want to be up to date about the evolution of the C language


Did I just run Windows 2000 on my Pixel???

lol

I love the blog posts of Julia Evans - https://jvns.ca/

they are quite informative and very enjoyable to read.


I really enjoy these, but they're really for an entry level audience. See, e.g., how to do a select query in SQL. Good to know, for sure, and helpful if you're unfamiliar with SQL, but definitely really basic. Love the drawings though, and I could see if I were just getting into being an SWE or aspired to be one, they could be a good starting point.

They're for an entry level audience, but not just for aspiring SWEs. I've been a professional developer for a while, yet I'm part of the entry level audience for XDP programs[1] or for the ML bias-variance tradeoff [2]. Her posts are "entry-level" because she's so good at making complex stuff easily understandable for beginners of all kinds.

[1] https://jvns.ca/blog/2017/04/07/xdp-bpf-tutorial/

[2] https://jvns.ca/blog/2016/01/02/winning-the-bias-variance-tr...


I recently came across her "Perf zine" [1] and immediately bookmarked it because I enjoyed it so much. It may target entry-level engineers, but it's still a joy to read for anyone.

[1] https://jvns.ca/perf-zine.pdf


Whenever I evaluate a technology stack for microservice architecture viability, I implement the same feature identical polyglot persistent microservice then run it through the same load test as all the others. In that way, I can compare and contrast these various technology stacks. I blog about the results here.

http://glennengstrand.info

So far, I have covered clojure on ring, scala on finatra, java on dropwizard, javascript on node, python on flask, scala on scalatra, java on spring boot, go, and typescript on apollo (graphql).


Great idea for a blog! Is there any reason you have not ventured into the serverless realm? It would be interesting to hear the take on that ecosystem from someone who has such experience with microservice stacks.

That is a great question. You are absolutely correct. I try to evaluate open source technology stacks that are emerging. I do feel like there is growing interest in serverless computing but most companies end up going with AWS Lambda which is not open source. I was wondering if the folks here are considering open source serverless technologies. If so, then which ones are making your short list?


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I don't know if you're not a native English speaker, but 'please do X' is not a polite way to ask someone to do something in English. I know it looks like it is if you look up 'please' in the dictionary, but it really doesn't sound like it in practice to native ears. You made a blunt demand, not a polite request.

Also since your username is 'BossingAround' and you were literally bossing someone around in your comment they may think you're a troll account.


Completely disagree as a native English speaker. "Please do foo" is polite. "Please pickup milk after work", "Please forgive me", "Please create a SSL cert for your website".

Tangentially: Same thing happens in code reviews. People become extra soft at objective reasoning!!! The onus is on the offendee, not the offender. Stop being offended so much all the time, you'll live a healthier, happier life. Special treatment, feeling of being entitled for politeness is a slipper slope where everyone is being nice to each other and no one can criticize. Nothing gets done. We don't make progress together like this.

Advice to the sender: Be polite, but assertive. Don't make personal attacks.

Advice to the receiver: Assume good intentions, focus on problem at the hand, accept harsh criticism, don't be offended at little things.

The world would be a better place.


Why would the onus be on the offendee? The person making the request or giving the feedback is the person that has the most opportunity to choose their method of affect their communication. The receiver has very little choice, except sucking it up stoically.

If you really want to communicate an idea, it's in your own best interest to adapt your approach to the listener.


I think I’d always say ‘would you mind picking up some milk’. ‘Please pickup milk’ sounds blunt to the point of mocking sarcasm! Maybe it’s cultural.

I think the amount of energy you've spent on this thread convincing others of what you find offensive is worrying, but you've also taken my comment out of context.

Yeah I agree, if you end the sentence abruptly it sounds blunt. Just replace it with "Please pick up milk on the way home" and it sounds normal. But that's not what I said.

I can't believe we all have spent so much energy, downvotes, and bikeshedding including myself. This is surely not efficient. Instigator is the offendee. What a disgrace!


I am a native English speaker and it seemed polite enough to me.

How would you phrase the request?


> Hi this is a great article! I don't know if you've ever considered adding TLS to your personal site? I know a lot of people like me really appreciate even small websites having this.

The shit sandwich always works!

This sounds as fake as "marketing-speak".

There's nothing wrong with asking "Please do <something>" in the English language, it's plenty polite.


It's not marketing speak. It's getting off on the right foot by saying you like the person's work. Then it's asking more carefully if they've considered it before, in case they have and decided against or weren't able to. Then it's saying you'd appreciate it rather than you require it.

Just saying 'please do X' sounds like an email I'd get from a German who doesn't know English very well. It's grammatically correct but it's really all wrong.


I'm Dutch speaker, we're known to be very direct, but I too believe adding "Please" in front of a request does not per se make it more polite. Another example that bothers me quite a lot is adding "Thanks" to a request without awaiting a reply. Writing "Can you please do xyz? Thanks" makes it come over as an instruction instead of a request, even though the author may have had the best intentions (express his gratitude). Or maybe I'm just overly sensitive ;)

One of the things I love about some European cultures is that they carry over their natural bluntness when they speak English, my partner is Hungarian and to English ears her way of speaking is blunt to the point of trauma, I think it’s great, I far prefer people just get to the point particularly when they are asking for something.

I am really not a fan of saccharine sweet false politeness.


With a Slavic language as my first, I generally feel like adding “please” or “thanks” makes a request canned-polite; essentially it distances the speaker from the receiver. That said, the effect could be adjusted with carefully chosen intonation.

Often a direct request would feel friendlier, unless receiver is particularly insecure/on the defensive. Sandwiching it between appreciative words is most foolproof, but I find it time-consuming to do in a genuine way.


We Brazilians use it. It’s because it is the way we talk in Portuguese.

I'm just curious what you would consider marketing-speak then. To my eyes, your phrasing seems to veer off into the other extreme towards seeming patronising and insincere. And it is pretty clear that you want essentially the same thing as the person who said "please do X".

Maybe "please consider adding TLS because ... " is a good compromise? Still not a foot-stomping demand but you're stating why it would be better for all involved while not treating the subject as a child.

Personally I would even leave off the "because ..." because I'm a non-native speaker and happy to be taken as a little abrasive.


Counterpoint, I often enjoy conversing with Europeans because it less often sounds like they are bullshitting and more often they just directly say what they mean, compared to fellow American born folks.

Are you from UK?

Lol yes.

Saying "Could you kindly ..." is explicitly less demanding than "Please ...".

Seems like unnecessarily much ass kissing for a simple request.

IMO, "Please x" is a plenty polite way to ask for x in English, and "I am not going to x" is not rude at all

I always fail to understand when people shy away from simplicity in communication.

How long until we replace `wontfix` tags with `I totally would but I already have a thing that day`


They're not shying away from simplicity, but from ambiguity, especially when the range of possible interpretations includes being a jerk. We don't have nonverbal channels to communicate in this format, unlike in person, where positive intent has many easy ways to come across. Here the only channel we have is words, so it needs to be explicit in words. The burden is on the commenter to disambiguate.

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...

(Doubly so when the message is off-topic and double again when it's a cliché.)


Thanks for this. Non-native speakers of English trip this one up a lot. This entire phenomenon of "please" is worthy of its own article.

I downvoted both this post and the one above because it's completely off topic.

That's fair. Thank you for the explanation.

It wasn't a polite suggestion. It was a demand for the author, who is giving you something for free, to accommodate your preferences.

Unless I'm reading it wrong, the text says "Please implement TLS". Not everything is evil, toxic and in need of your downvote hammer. There's no injustice to be fixed here.

Just because somebody tries to phrase it in a polite way doesn't make it any less of a demand.

Here's a good one: https://susam.in/

Stumbled on this when his domain was hijacked accidentally due to an anti-botnet operation and his post about it came on HN (check the "Sinkholed" post). Since then I've subscribed to his blog, read the older posts and enjoyed the newer posts too.

He mostly posts about technology and mathematics. The reason why I got hooked to this blog is that they are mostly about offbeat topics that I wouldn't normally come across on my own. So there is something new to learn from every post. And they are very well written with great attention to detail.


Sinkhole incident: https://susam.in/blog/sinkholed/

HN discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21700139

Pretty scary stuff for domain buyers!


How does a domain get hijacked accidentally? Don't domain transfers take a few days and require approval from current domain owner?

The blog post states that the domain was erroneously flagged as belonging to a botnet system by a German law enforcement org, which took control of the domain to "sinkhole" what they assumed was botnet traffic.

Presumably the approval was the accident. (Or not renewing yet, so perhaps no approval necessary.)

Also, 'transfer locks' are a good idea, but not supported by all TLDs.



Good blogs, but I wouldn't call them focused on "low-level" software. The material is more of a conventional desktop software development.

Maybe I just don't read all the articles, but the ones I've seen on there are definitely for low-level programming. Things like release/acquire semantics, writing a game engine, and AVX512 penalties.

Cliffski's blog is one of the only ones I follow that is still active. Not every post is on development progress, but enough that I find it worth following:

http://www.positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/

A couple of recent posts I liked:

https://www.positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/2019/12/16/stability-p...

https://www.positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/2020/01/14/trying-to-a...


Here’s a curated list of engineering blogs, anchored to the individual category: https://github.com/kilimchoi/engineering-blogs/blob/master/R...

Might be some names you recognise or want to explore.

I also wrote a basic script to rank domains by HN upvotes if you want to distill the list a bit more: https://github.com/RhettTrickett/hacker-news-rank


I had a similar question the other day. I asked a few people and no one seemed to have a good collection to point to.

I specifically like reading posts by people who post regular retrospectives (weekly, monthly, or yearly).

So I started [0]. It only has three entries right now (including the one you mention above), but I would love to see contributions via pull requests.

[0] https://github.com/sixhobbits/technical-writing/blob/master/...


Joey Hess: http://joeyh.name/

Lives out in the sticks and codes embedded stuff in Haskell, usually to automate his life in the backwoods of East Tennessee.


Thanks for posting that. I went down a rabbit hole reading his off the grid material. I live in a fairly small mountain town but still with a civilized lifestyle: I can easily walk to two health food stores, movie theater, library, and the local food bank where I enjoy volunteering. My wife and I talked about moving ten miles outside of town but decided against it.

I also like Joey’s Haskell projects. Good stuff.


I had never looked into who ran olduse.net, turns out it's Joey Hess. Joey if you're reading this, thank you, I love it!

His fridge build is pretty great!

I used to read Joel's Joel on Software a lot. Also, Graham's . Another hidden jewel is the Elias Daler's blog.

Edit: I have to add Steve Corona's blog to the list. He's more on the motivation and guidance side. Everyone gonna hear and read stories about people getting straight out of their college with a six-figure job, working for SV startups. But the truth is, you're more likely to struggle, a lot, specially if you live outside of the developed world. Instead of success, Steve's story is of one who dropped out of the college at 19 and had to sleep in his car for while.


Do you have the link to those that you've mentioned?


I really love Jesse Frazelle's[1] blog. She posts things about low-level (firmware/open-hardware/system) security. Her work is already well known here on HN[2].

A few more of my fav:

The grugq (NatSec, Tradecraft, OpSec): https://gru.gq/

Pinboard (aka Maciej Cegłowski): https://idlewords.com/

Adam Aelkus: https://aelkus.github.io/

Bert Hubert: https://berthub.eu/

____

[1] https://blog.jessfraz.com/

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/from?site=jessfraz.com



https://overreacted.io - Dan Abramov's blog


I second this, but all of his posts hit the front page of HN anyway, no need to actively follow it! (/s)

I quite enjoy reading what Drew has to say. Something about his transparency, his intense honesty, his approach, minimalism, objectivity and slight tinge of libertarianism - it is quite refreshing. Not to mention all of this through the lens of software engineering.

One of the sweetest Distributed Systems blogs I have ever read: http://muratbuffalo.blogspot.com

And yes, also my favorite 101 explainer blog: https://arjunsreedharan.org


Not exactly a blog but as fresher I used to read https://www.perlmonks.org/

PerlMonks. The Original StackOverflow.

I still at times discover cool programming ways. Its a treasure mine.


What is a "fresher"? Freshman?

Freshman are called fresher in other countries, at least in UK


Reading the last one now. Haven't made up my mind yet but the writing is great so far.

http://www.tinytouchtales.com covers both the process and the results, including the $ numbers. Great games too :)

https://bvckup2.com/wip covers mostly technical parts, but gives a good view into what's involved in making a software product from A to Z, especially in the parts further down the page.


Here is my list of solo developer blogs. Usually they are on topic. This does not include personal blogs I follow that happen to be developers.

@mdo (Bootstrop) - http://markdotto.com/

Keith Cirkel - https://www.keithcirkel.co.uk/

Coding – Corbin's Treehouse - https://www.corbinstreehouse.com/blog

Aaditya Purani – Ethical Hacker - https://aadityapurani.com/

Ben Balter - http://ben.balter.com/

fulldecent - https://privacylog.blogspot.com

Orange - http://blog.orange.tw/

Cocoa with Love - http://www.cocoawithlove.com/

Mark Otto - http://markdotto.com/

Moxie Marlinspike's Blog - http://www.thoughtcrime.org/blog/

hueniverse - http://hueniverse.com/


I stumbled upon Corbin's Treehouse back in the late 90s when I was a kid researching... treehouses! Was enthralled by his treehouse construction and still visit from time to time for all the other content.

I started posting weeknotes a few months ago and it's really helped me get back into the habit of posting at least once a week: https://simonwillison.net/

Weeknotes archive here: https://simonwillison.net/tags/weeknotes/


If you’re into Laravel and PHP, Freek is very open about all his code: https://freek.dev

I also blog about code and the financial side of running your own business: https://ma.ttias.be


Brent Simmons has a good blog where he writes about the development about the RSS reader Netnewswire

https://inessential.com/

(Netnewswire itself is not a solo project though)


Small Cult Following, for Rust core language development: http://smallcultfollowing.com/babysteps/ It's far from a solo project but he presents unique insights into the language. I personally really enjoyed his discussion of associated type constructors and high-kinded types, a series back in 2016(!), back when I started toying with Rust and somewhat frustrated by the lack of HKT.

I started a blog last year with the intent of sharing my journey to build an online game as a solo developer.

My activity dropped off but I’ve recently committed to push forward again so plan to get back to blogged several times a week.

I’m working on a post right now to talk about my experience of having my game reach #2 here at HN at what that was like. Should have it out tomorrow.

Anyway, you might find it interesting: https://blog.spacefrigates.com


https://akoutmos.com/

I started a blog the middle of last year and have written mostly about topics related to Elixir. But have also covered topics like RabbitMQ, Prometheus, Grafana, and PostGIS. I find my own blog very useful as I often reference the associated GitHub tutorial projects to remind myself how I did something :D.

Next week's post is about using Loki for structured logging!



Awesome comment feed.

Specific to CSS, Chris Coyier's stuff is good https://css-tricks.com/author/chriscoyier/

Fairly sure he's solo enough and blogger enough to count.


Shameless self-plug: I blog about React, interaction/animation, and remote work. It's a bit of a pot pourri, but people seem to like it!

https://www.joshwcomeau.com/


1. Alex Pakhunov: https://blog.not-a-kernel-guy.com/

Alex Pakhunov (aka 'Not a kernel guy') is Sr. Software Engineer, Flight Software at SpaceX.

He born and graduated in Ukraine, but now is U.S. citizen.[0,1]

[0] https://twitter.com/alexeypa/status/958886120825081856

[1] https://blog.not-a-kernel-guy.com/about/


2. Eric Buijs: http://homehack.nl/

Eric Buijs about himself:[0]

> I’m an privacy, free/libre software, open data and open standards advocate. I’m holding a grudge against Big Tech, big IP holders and authoritharian governments. Furthermore I’m a 3D designer, 3D printer, webdesigner and overall DIY guy. But most of all I’m a free man.

> In addition I'm also a bicycle enthusiast. The bicycle is one of the most energy efficient ways of transportation and as far as I'm concerned the most fun way. On top of that riding a bicycle is an excellent way to lose weight, increase strenght and improve overall health. Now get on your bicycle and have fun.

[0] https://fosstodon.org/@ericbuijs

[1] https://homehack.nl/about/


Nicholas Frechette[0] has a deeply technical blog about building his MIT licensed animation compression library for game development...

[0] https://nfrechette.github.io/


I'm trying to get a forum about MMO development started by posting to my own blog from here: http://reddit.com/r/mmodev

This is a true solo developer:

http://pketh.org/archives/

It looks like this thread is turning into general blog recommendations. I like these, and they haven't been listed:

https://macwright.org/

https://tonsky.me/

https://nadiaeghbal.com/posts/


I've been building a Dashboard web app for almost one year now and I'm blogging [1] about it from the first day.

[1] https://dashboard.darekkay.com/docs/blog/



Oh good, more things to add to my rss reader :)

The Dolphin blog is good. https://dolphin-emu.org/blog/ It might have what you're looking for. Not single dev though, but very personal.

John Carmack on Twitter is good as well.

Here's my own: https://blog.winricklabs.com


Very good articles about Elixir and Erlang

https://www.theerlangelist.com/



I personally enjoy https://jalammar.github.io/ and https://mlexplained.com/- For machine learning & deep learning stuff

http://danluu.com is excellent.

I think what you are looking for is Indie Hackers: https://www.indiehackers.com/ They have a plethora of interviews with one-man projects you can learn from.

https://kyletruong.com

I recently quit my job to become a solo dev and just started blogging about the process. If my content is of any value, please consider visiting.


Here’s a good one: https://stevelosh.com/

And here’s mine: https://jezenthomas.com/


John Carmack tweets pretty regularly, often about projects. Right now he's taking a solo swing at AGI

https://mobile.twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack


Not solo but factorio: https://factorio.com/blog/ team has blog which is maintained every friday and very insightful

https://www.starterstory.com/ Its like Indie Hackers was back then. Before it changed ownership and became boring....

I write about Swift and various development topics.

I’m getting ready to start a new series about Core Bluetooth.

https://littlegreenviper.com/miscellany


Looking forward to the Core Bluetooth series.

I'm beginning now. It may take a while before it's done. If you want to look at it while I still have it up on blocks, I could always use feedback.

Feel free to contact me (See my HN ID - https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=ChrisMarshallNY . I have details therein).


A good friend of mine is a very talented frontend engineer and has a very cool blog/website.

https://rafaelcamargo.com/stories


Thanks bro!

https://rubenerd.com/ is a dude from Australia who posts about BSD, anime and various tech-related stuff.

I love reading these two for Python/Recommender Systems: 1. Ben Frederickson: https://www.benfrederickson.com/blog/ 2. Erik Bernhardsson: https://erikbern.com/

And for pure ML: 1. Ferenc Huszár: https://www.inference.vc/ 2. John Langford: https://hunch.net (although he hasn't written a technical post in a while)


Raymond Chen's The Old New Thing:

https://devblogs.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/


As for developers building projects, you might like: https://www.derrickreimer.com/

I blog about my learning journey here if you're interested: https://victorleungtw.com

I love Matthew Rocklin’s (the maintainer of Dask) blog https://matthewrocklin.com/

AWS Lambda lead Articles about distributed systems and more

http://brooker.co.za/blog/


Nothing fancy but the content is really good. https://talktechnical.net/

https://www.indiehackers.com/

The founder also runs a podcast.


Designer/gamedev/makes interesting tools

https://xxiivv.com/


I think he’s living off the grid on a boat in the South Pacific. Incredibly cool dude.

Hi,

I'm Boobo and I have a dev blog: https://boobo94.xyz

Hope you subscribe there.

Thanks


the twitter of the maker of nomadlist , levels.io . He doesn't seem to have time to write blog posts, but he 's actively against the VC and publishes his company's financials 100% in the open

He gives real advice rather than wannabe advice


if you are into obj-c/swift, there is a list of the most useful blogs here: https://apple-developer.org/resources/online-resources.html#...


Steve Yegge's old rants are good. I can never tell for sure which parts are him trolling me.

Agreed, though I don't think he's trolling.

Here's the link to his classic "Drunken Blog Rants": https://sites.google.com/site/steveyegge2/


rusu.io tracks the challenges, lessons and successes in the development of a solo developer.

It won't overflow you with content that you cannot keep up with, but you'll get good insights into how a stoic approach to life and development works


shameless self plug: https://victorzhou.com has a mix of machine learning, web development, and other topics. You may have seen some posts from there on HN in the past


If I'm allowed to self promote my own blog: https://opensourc.es Currently building a constraint solver from scratch and in a few days there will be a post about how to build an Enigma and how to crack it

Not always strictly dev related, but nice:

https://codinghorror.com

https://shkspr.mobi


Very nice post! A lot of awesome references here.

This thread os great

Google really kill personal site like these


Declan Hopkins: https://dooskington.com/

His latest Antorum game blogs have been real interesting


Here's mine: https://jacobobryant.com/

Can't vouch for if it's any good though ;)


Indiehackers.com has tons of these. Enjoy!

Looks like nobody has mentioned https://daringfireball.net/ yet.

That's hardly a developer blog though. It's mostly commentary on Apple's business practices and products.

It's Apple-focused but it's definitely from the perspective of a developer. It's not generic macrumors-type reporting for the layman.

I'd argue it's from the perspective of the Apple marketing department. At least often.

Personally i follow codeburst.io

For reverse engineering, Rolf rolles.

Hacker News!

Dan LeMire

John Regehr


www.yegor256.com

Ah, yeah. I’ve met Yegor. Charismatic, but has some incredibly stupid opinions.

His latest post for example explains that if you ask your boss what you should be working on next, you are a loser.

I would never call any of my employees a “loser”.

If your boss thinks of you as a loser, you should fire your boss.


> you should fire your boss

This not how it works in our world.


Sure it does. Software development is a seller’s market. There’s plenty of opportunity out there for any half decent programmer, and nobody should be compromising on their dignity for the sake of a pay check.

I am working towards a side-project but it's not live yet. I hope to launch it in the summer. I plan to document the process and release some posts about it "kalzumeus style" once I start it. My main blog right now is https://statagroup.com/



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