Happy new year! What tech topics do you think will be the focus of 2021?

Hello content creators! Happy new year. What tech topics do you think will be the focus of 2021? My vote for one topic is ethics in technology.

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Happy New Year Margaret!

I would love to see more books about WebAssembly as I think it is going to be a very important technology moving forward.

I’d also like to see some books on PWAs (progressive web apps) as I think a lot of people are getting a bit tired of the two App Store giants, particularly when it comes to giving away so much of their revenue.

We have lots of Elixir books now so I’d love to see more Erlang books, particularly those where the authors can draw on years (or decades!) of experience and provide insights on how to build scalable systems (perhaps you could approach @bjorng and some of the other Erlang Core Team members, @ferd, or even those who use Erlang on a massive scale like @alavrik (WhatsApp Core Team) for such a book?).

I’d also love to see some books about devtalk.com/svelte and devtalk.com/typescript as well as some dedicated to Phoenix’s LiveView.

Finally, I’d love to see some about modern Ruby, and in particular Ruby 3 and its new features (such as concurrency). Perhaps @jc00ke and @ohm or some of our other Ruby fans might be interested in writing a book as they’ve been into Ruby for a long time.

Great minds think alike! We’ll be touching on this topic in our annual update (which we hope to post in the next few days)!

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Rust :crab:
JS :clown_face:
Covid-21 :skull_and_crossbones:

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I have a feeling that C++ will get more focus this year than the last few years. Then there is Ruby 3 which a lot of my friends can’t seem to stop talking about. Rust as usual.

Other than programming languages, I think it is going to be, and I agree with you in this: Ethics.

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Thanks for the input @mafinar! You are right that there is quite a bit of buzz around Ruby 3 and Rust. I have heard that as well. C++ I am curious about what makes you say it will get more focus this year?

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C++20 was released recently and it includes the most significant changes since C++11. Things like modules, concerns and coroutines will certainly attract new people, and motivate the old ones to talk more. Also, if you look into books on C++, you will see most of the books are written for C++11, due to the fact it included more languages level changes and cultural shock. If you held a C++11 book, C++14 and C++17 (ongoing for a decade) you wouldn’t be needing a book, “What’s New” would suffice. C++20 change is similar, it’s time for more books and more workshops as the changes are no longer added library functions.

Then again, it’s all my opinion, I could just be wrong :slight_smile:

I am waiting for C++ Crash Course 2nd Edition to come out though!

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What do you mean? Just new syntax Ruby?

I already wrote some about Ruby and concurrency in my PhD thesis. Haven’t really touched it since, but I would definitely be up for writing something about it! :open_book:


I think PWAs could become a hit as well. Especially with the current focus on compiling JS to native apps (e.g. react-native)


Ethics in technology is important as well. Take a look at the current situation with Parler (sorry to bring politics into the picture :sweat_smile:) It’s crazy what’s going on and how much power “Silicon Valley” - and us developers in general - has.


I would also love to see more on productivity and work processes. I recently introduced Scrum to my current team. Hopefully, we’ll be able to take it to the max! :muscle:t2:

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Not just syntax (though that would be important to cover too) but how the language is behind used as spearheaded by some of the newer frameworks like https://devtalk.com/hanami (though I can’t remember exactly what they’re doing different now, but recall hearing some people say its a more modern approach).

Concurrency too - how will people be making the most of it using Ruby, what kind of concurrency model it is, etc.

Congrats on your thesis btw, it looks great!

We touch on some of this in our 2021 update :upside_down_face:

I was going to start a thread about that but haven’t got around to it yet :relaxed:

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Cryptocurrencies
Algorithmic trading

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Not sure if this is a space you are looking to get into @Margaret, but @CinderellaMan is actually working on a book on the topic and has also created a set of accompanying screencasts (which could be a nice fit for an idea I ran by @Dave a little while ago).

It’s certainly an emerging field :smiley:

My only advice for the book (not having read it myself mind) is to perhaps slightly broaden it so that it is applicable to Erlangers too. I’m not sure if you use any Elixir-specific libraries or tools but if it’s straight Elixir code, I think there could be benefit in including Erlang code too. There is a growing number of BEAM languages now and the common denominator is Erlang, so including Erlang could widen your potential reader base by quite a bit by also being useful for a wider variety of people.

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@AstonJ you are a :star: thank you very much for mentioning me and the book! Have you ever considered an agent career? :stuck_out_tongue:

On a more serious note - the book itself focuses on real world usage of Elixir and OTP - I’m using a handful of Elixir libraries but 90%+ of contents of both book and the videos revolve around creating supervision trees, sending messages between processes, autostarting processes, streaming messages using PubSub etc etc. I would believe that seeing those problems and how solutions for them could be designed(thinking process) and implemented could benefit both audiences(Erlang and Elixir developers). It’s a great point that I could widen my audience and I will surely try to do that - just need to get that book / video course finished :wink:

I don’t want to take over this topic, thank you once again for the mention, I’m truly humbled.

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Advanced tooling and new runtimes.

Examples: a brand new BEAM VM (Erlang, Elixir) or tools to effortlessly change parts of projects.

It’s my belief that most dynamic languages are peaking and will need a fresh investment of new ergonomics to keep them used and loved.


EDIT: A book on tools like semgrep – when it matures, unclear if it’s going to happen in 2021 – might be extremely important at one point. Current dev tooling has been stagnating for years and it is still rather underwhelming. People are aware of it and are trying to improve the status quo, but nothing much has happened still.

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You’re welcome Kamil! I am sure it’s going to be a great book and it’s certainly a topic that more and more people are becoming interested in :smiley:

A secret agent, perhaps? :sunglasses:

Awesome - sounds neat! I agree that it could well be interesting to a lot of people in all of the BEAM languages!

No problem at all - you should start a dedicated thread for it in our #backend-developer-forum:backend-learning-resources section :+1:

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Hi @CinderellaMan,

Thanks for the topic suggestions. I have had several cryptocurrency book proposals come through, but I haven’t had any luck with signing one. The topic is not one that the proposal committee seems to like. Elixir, however, is topic area we do publish in. If you are interested in publishing Create a cryptocurrency trading bot in Elixir with us, please get in touch directly: margaret.eldridge@pragprog.org. Here’s a link to the proposal form.

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@dimitarvp Thanks for the topic suggestions. Forgive my non-programmer mind, but I don’t quite understand what the books would be. I’m an English major / book editor with no programming experience (unless you count XML, HTML, and snippets of Javascript in PDF forms). What would the books teach programmers to do? Build a new BEAM VM? Develop new tools? Or are you saying wait for those things to be developed and mature enough, and then cover them in books?

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Mostly that, yes.

As a person who deals with human language writing, imagine this: you say to a machine “make a paragraph describing a character’s morning: they make coffee, spill some of it, curse a little, then proceed to drink it with a toast and a strawberry jam”. And the machine makes you that paragraph which is, say, 200 words. Afterwards you are free to edit the paragraph if you want to fine-tune it.

The basic idea is captured by the quote of one writer: “I love writing books. What I hate is the damn typing work.”

I predict that in the next several years there will be an upsurge of tools that are able to partially create / remove / edit snippets of code when given similar instructions (in a much shorter form obviously, otherwise there would be no productivity gain). I believe that’s worth exploring in terms of making an educational material for – when these tools arrive and gain traction.

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@ohm what topics specifically are you wanting as far as productivity and work process? We are going to be distributing 3 new books by Johanna Rothman by early March:
Modern Management Made Easy book 1
Modern Management Made Easy book 2
Modern Management Made Easy book 3

As for Ruby, I’d love to work with you on a book proposal if you want to do something. We just published the third edition of Chris Pine’s Learn to Program, which uses Ruby, so it is still a topic we are publishing on, though I think there is some skepticism about its long-term interest level. Maybe a project-based book like building a web app prototype with Ruby 3? We can explore ideas if you want to get in touch (margaret.eldridge@pragprog.org).

For PWAs do you think the topic should be about converting existing apps to the PWA model, or starting from scratch to build PWAs, or something else? Also, framework-free or using a framework, and which language(s)?

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@dimitarvp what you describe sounds similar to a low code/no code concept.

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Yes, the ideas have a lot in common. I don’t mean exactly like “don’t write code but still have a working app” but more like “have a hand-crafted code project but also have tools that can manipulate parts of it for you”.

I’d welcome books on low-code and no-code tools as well, by the way!

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