Speak English to me, The secret World of Programmers

This page summarizes the projects mentioned and recommended in the original post on news.ycombinator.com

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  • missing-semester

    The Missing Semester of Your CS Education 📚

    > "Why does it have to be so complicated? I just want to install a program"

    > "Why would you do that in the command line? It's way easier using $Program"

    A concerning observation that’s slowly dawning on me is that more and more programmers don’t know how computers work. They can write code, build software, and do lots of useful things. But they have no idea how computers work. They’re more akin to lusers as we used to call them than they are to hackers of old.

    Fantastic at their specialty and the tools they use. But move a button to an unfamiliar place or throw them into a new (but fundamentally same) environment and they’re lost.

    The realization came a few weeks ago when someone shared The Missing Semester of Comp Sci on HN. It’s full of basic things you’d expect any programmer to somehow magically know … but they don’t learn this anymore. https://missing.csail.mit.edu/

    Seeing that link shared connected the dots in my mind. I’ve been wondering for months ”Why does everyone at work have so many random local environment issues all the time?” … it’s been working fine for me for years. Same code and hardware. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • blog


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  • asdf

    Extendable version manager with support for Ruby, Node.js, Elixir, Erlang & more

    Yeah, I feel this. I recently added a .tool-versions file to a website repository (that non-programmers need to edit) and updated the README to say "install asdf (https://asdf-vm.com/) and then run `pnpm install`". And then I saw people try to follow the instructions and start needing to install Xcode, then Homebrew, etc., and it took forever. I think the right solution is to give them a 1-click cloud IDE with the repository loaded and a live preview running in the background.

  • tldr

    📚 Collaborative cheatsheets for console commands

    > I'm frequently stumped by man pages, and end up having to hunt down an example of how to use a particular command line application on Stack Overflow.

    If you're not aware of tldr [0], I highly recommend it.

    [0] https://tldr.sh/

  • trunk

    Build, bundle & ship your Rust WASM application to the web.

    Here here. I don't think programmers - as a group - get to complain about people not learning programming tools while simultaneously making them so unapproachable (especially Linux things).

    It's not just the overuse of acronyms. There's also:

    * Religious devotion to the CLI despite it having terrible discoverability.

    * Really bad naming. Git is probably the worst offender at this, but the whole of Unix is a naming mess. WTF is `usr`? Is that where user files go?

    * Generally over-complicated tooling. A good example of this is Node/NPM. So complicated to set up! Contrast it with https://trunkrs.dev/

    * Deification of distro packages. No I do not want to spend half of my development time packaging my app for 10 different distros. I guess I'll go with curl | bash then.

    * Distain for binary app distribution. I'm looking at you glibc.

  • Gooey

    Turn (almost) any Python command line program into a full GUI application with one line

NOTE: The number of mentions on this list indicates mentions on common posts plus user suggested alternatives. Hence, a higher number means a more popular project.

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