Moving faster than the documentation

I’ve decided to hop back into the game, and build a new app. I’m not announcing what it is yet because it’s no where near ready, but I really like the idea.

I’ve also decided to be really trendy, and use the latest in software development tools. This kills many birds with one stone:

  1. Challenge myself to learn a new programming paradigm as recommended by my favorite programming book
  2. Keep up to date with some of the newest, coolest toys on the block
  3. Connect more personally with the customers of the products we build at TokBox to better understand their needs in modern JS development

And I have to say that while I know we have a long way to catch up as far as TokBox technical content goes, we’re miles ahead of the current state of the coolest toys on the block in JS world.

In full disclosure, I’ve only tried the React.js stack, and not the Angular stack. I’ve also avoided Backbone, underscore, and many others. And so this may not be true in other places.

But I’m fascinated at how far ahead of the documentation and developer experience Facebook has moved on these projects. Tutorials written six months ago are grossly out of date with the latest code bases. GitHub issues that look like the problem I’m having have actually nothing to do with what’s in front of me.

I jumped into this world because I saw that the folks at Automattic had done so for Calypso. I figured I’d follow their lead. But I’m getting swamped.

What’s the killer resource folks are using? What’s the bare minimum project that I should be starting from? What’s the Slack channel I should subscribe to to learn bottoms up?

Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

  • Sam Hotchkiss

    Nice! I’m in the same boat, learning react currently. Some of the folks at Automattic have recommended the Egghead tutorials to me (, so that’s what I’m working on.

    • I think it’s time to suck it up, and pay for it. Maybe I’ll make it my corporate L&D for this year 🙂

  • There’s a couple ones is suggest (not knowing anything in specific about what you’re going to build):
    * Web Starter Kit from Google: The Chrome Developer Relations team does an awesome job of curating best practices and modern tools/workflows into this guy. Not everything is right for every project, but taking it apart and studying what’s in there can be a super educational experience.
    * yeoman generators: If you’ve got something specific in mind (like React), you’ll find awesome tool kits to scaffold out a basic project here. Search through the most popular ones or really dive deep to find hundreds from the community with pretty niche focuses. The best ones even have a CLI that will interactively ask you some simple questions and scaffold it just how you like it.

    • The Yeoman generators I knew about, but I didn’t check out before starting. This would have been wonderful…

      I’ve built a rails-api backend, and a react frontend for my new project. I’ll ping you when I’m ready to share!

      • Awesome! The more I invest into exploring lots of backend tools/frameworks, the more I realize how amazing Rails is (but obv not for every single task/app). I’ve enjoyed playing with React because it presents a radically different way of thinking about front end application development, and I think its awesome you’re approaching that type of novel thinking. Can’t wait to see what you are working on!