Hi everyone - it’s time for our first annual update!
In these updates we reflect on the past year (although we’ve only been live 6 months!) and we talk about our plans for the year ahead. Let’s start by reflecting on 2020: the year that will undoubtedly be remembered for all of the havoc Coronavirus wreaked across all corners of the earth.
Thanks to developers and tech companies all over the world, we proved (amongst other things) that thanks to technology, remote working is completely viable and that we really don’t need to pollute our planet or waste so much of our lives on lengthy daily commutes. We also showed that everyday shopping, socialising and connecting with loved ones can be done effectively digitally, too. Being forced to adapt to some of these changes however also highlighted some of the darker aspects of the tech world. Mainly, how our data and privacy is not respected and used against our wishes, and how tech is all too often being used for more nefarious reasons, with many intent on using it to spread hate and cause other general mischief - to the point where you’d be forgiven for thinking some of the tech giants are not just standing by, but being actively complicit because all they seem to care about is traffic, making as much money as they can, or whatever else serves their self-interest.
Who knows what the outcome of all this will be, but one thing we’re certain of is that as developers and makers of apps we have a direct influence on how technology is implemented and where it will head and be used. What you do with that power is up to you of course - we just hope you’ll be a force for good and won’t just stand by when you witness it being abused. You may not realise it, but as a developer you really can help forge our path as a species because our path is undeniably linked to technology. Here at Devtalk we’re excited to see what you will be doing and how you might shape the world!
Ok let’s move on to Devtalk itself now!
What a first 6 months we’ve had! We reached 1M pageviews in just over 3 months and have continued on that trajectory ever since - with over 300K every month. Some of you might remember that we served just over a million pages in our entire first year on the Elixir Forum, so we’re very pleasantly surprised by how Devtalk is doing. The potential reach for this platform and your voice is vast, and we’re glad that so many of you have become part of the Devtalk family to help shape the conversation and the direction of this platform.
We’d also like thank you for bearing with us while we’ve been working through various set-ups and features. We’re pleased to report that our setting-up period is now complete and the Devtalk you see today is thanks to all your feedback and how you’ve been using it
We’ve essentially compartmentalised three distinct areas of Devtalk - news, your discussions, and book errata (for our friends at PragProg).
This means each area of focus is now as follows:
- Language news and news from around the web is primarily on our frontpage and portals.
- Your chat & discussions are on our forum (as well as our frontpage/portals).
- Book errata is in the PragProg section and book portals (eg) or on the main forum if you start or post in one of those threads.
Additionally, if anyone comments in a news thread it will automatically be promoted on to our forum, turning it into a community discussion
Previously there were a few too many threads on the forum making it difficult to keep track of our conversations - this was a shame because our friendly community is one of our best highlights! The forum is much more manageable now, and we can go to the frontpage and portals for news, then browse the forum to see the more personal community chat. The frontpage will now also show you what’s new since you last visited it, meaning you can catch up with news as and when you get time.
So what’s in-store for us next? We’re glad you asked! A lot of cool stuff as it happens…
- We’ll be focusing on the learning side of Devtalk next!
- Our giveaways and discounts are back! And we have five giveaways with a total of SEVEN monthly prizes for you this year!
- Our MOTM/Y is back (although we’ll be doing these at the end of the year)
- ‘In the Spotlight’ is back! And not only will we be hosting PragProg’s Author Spotlights like we did last year, but we’ll be running some of our own too, where the person in the spotlight as well as someone commenting will receive a PragProg eBook! So we’ll be giving away up to an additional three eBooks per month (bringing our total monthly giveaways to around TEN per month!)
- We hope to expand our team, with dedicated teams for Diversity Officers, Mentors, and more!
- Longer term: we’ll be building a new platform from scratch! (And to help us garner feedback, we’ll be rolling out the portal system we have here to a few other communities.)
Here’s the above in more detail…
Focusing on the learning side of Devtalk
As many of you might already know, progress and self-improvement is built into our core and we’re really excited that now most of the setting up phase is complete we can finally focus on the learning side of Devtalk - for us just as much as for you!
As you no doubt know, being a developer means constantly learning and brushing up on skills because things are forever changing; new languages, frameworks, standards and even platforms and methodologies are not uncommon to surface every few years, or in the case of JS, every few months!
Expect to see more book clubs and learning related threads and initiatives where we’ll do our best to encourage and support you the best we can.
You can help too.
If you’ll be embarking on a journey refreshing your knowledge or learning something new - please document your progress in our Journals section. Not only will your experiences, trials and tribulations potentially help others, but documenting or explaining things can help reinforce what you’ve learnt too. Plus these sorts of threads can be infectious… so who knows who may decide to join you or who you might inspire to follow in your footsteps!
We’ve organised some amazing giveaways for you again this year - where every month you’ll get the chance to win one of SEVEN prizes!!
Win an eBook from The Pragmatic Bookshelf - TWO winners a month!
Win an eBook from Manning Publications - TWO winners a month!
Win a years worth of AppSignal - worth $468!
Win a course from The Pragmatic Studio - worth up to $200!
Want one of the above but can’t wait? No problem, we’ve got you covered there too…
Get 35% off any eBook published by The Pragmatic Bookshelf!
Get 35% off any item at Manning!
Get 10% off your first year at AppSignal!
Get 20% off any course at The Pragmatic Studio!
Get 20% off Onivim!
Simply use coupon code “devtalk.com” at checkout (or just ‘devtalk’ for AppSignal). Where applicable, this coupon can be used for as many items and as many times as you like!
Please note that the The Pragmatic Bookshelf or Manning Publications coupons can only be used for items published by them (so cannot be used for items that they merely distribute). These coupons can also only be used for regular priced items (so not in conjunction with any other offers or sales).
For those of you interested in Elixir, check out our giveaways over there too!
Members of the Year
Platforms like this would be nothing without helpful members like you. Whether that’s through keeping members updated by regularly posting news or other interesting threads, documenting your learning journey or encouraging others to, welcoming and posting in other people’s threads or simply helping them the good old fashioned way by answering questions. If you consistently add value to the community we are likely to notice - and we aim to recognise and reward 50 of you this year with an eBook of your choice from PragProg or Manning! We may also use some of these to help encourage some of you to write journals or get involved in book clubs too - since documenting your learning journey can be beneficial and helpful for others as well.
In The Spotlight!
Proudly in association with our friends at The Pragmatic Bookshelf, we’ll be hosting a number of Spotlights in our Spotlight section. These will consist of an interview followed by the thread being opened up to questions from you, the Devtalk community.
But there’s more!
Every month The Pragmatic Bookshelf will run a Spotlight on one of their authors, and, after user questions have run their course, one participant from the thread will be randomly selected to win one of that author’s books!
That’s not all - we will also run a number of Spotlights throughout the year ourselves. These spotlights will be on Devtalk members or other interesting people in the dev world. In these, the person being interviewed, as well as someone commenting in their thread will receive an eBook from PragProg
As a highly community-orientated platform we love things like this! Thank you PragProg for helping make it happen!
A huge thanks to our partners who help make so many of the cool things we do here possible - if you get a moment, please show your support and check them out here
Expansion of our Team
Community means a lot to us, so we plan on expanding our team this year. Generally if you want to get involved we should be able to find a place for you!
Initially, we are aiming to create a team of Diversity Officers to help with our diversity portal and initiatives, Mentors who can help with learning (such as by taking part in our book clubs or helping formulate learning paths and helping others on their learning journeys) and News Editors to help curate the best of the news out there - something we currently love about Devtalk!
If any of this sounds interesting to you, please let us know!
Longer term: build a new platform
Some of you might remember that when we decided to become more than just a forum we were aiming for:
- A forum for our core community to hang out
- A front page for those who might not have the time (or inclination) to log on to a forum every day but would still love to keep up with what’s happening in the dev world (or with specific languages or frameworks) were the info presented to them in a format that suits them - and this is something we decided to do via our frontpage and portals.
What we quickly learned though is that what we really need is a different kind of community platform. Forums are great for longer threads and conversations, but they’re not so great for very large communities or smaller updates; those that you often want to share but don’t necessarily want to dedicate an entire thread to (or to get lost in a larger mega-thread). These could be sharing small milestones, news you come across, or just random thoughts or opinions - and the same is true for updates from projects or companies too - such as release news, special offers, conference announcements, promotions, etc.
This (and lots of other reasons) made it clear that we need to build a new kind of platform geared towards our specific needs. This is something we’re VERY excited about!!
It is going to be a multi-year project, and we’re not in any rush - Devtalk as we have set it up now will hopefully serve us well for quite some time and will help us continue building our community as we grow. We also love our portal system and since it is going to be the focus of this new platform we are going to roll out the version we have here to a few other communities as the feedback will prove invaluable.
In brief, our plan is to investigate which tech to use for the project and then build a prototype - once that’s done we’ll put together a team and start work on the final product. Additionally, since the dev space is what we are targeting initially we’ll be able to focus on cutting edge technologies - alleviating the need (to begin with at least) to worry about legacy browsers or older systems as most developers are reasonably up to date. This should also make the process a lot more fun and far more enjoyable which is an incentive in itself!
Keep an eye on our Members Only section for updates on this! Needless to say this is extremely exciting and we hope you’re just as excited about this as we are, you’ll be one of our founding members after all
Devtalk’s had an amazing start and this really is just the beginning! We’re really excited to see where we go from here and we couldn’t be happier with the community we are embarking on this journey with - thank you for being a part of Devtalk we can’t wait to talk more. And more. And more
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2021!