Saying goodbye to one Dave at PragProg, and welcoming back another!

Hey everyone,

As many of you know Dave Rankin took over from Andy Hunt as PragProg’s CEO when Andy retired a few years ago. In that time Dave’s been a huge supporter of Devtalk and many of the PragProg-Devtalk initiatives you see around here today were actually his idea. He is now ready to take on a new challenge so recently stepped down as PragProg’s CEO.

Thank you @Dave for all your support over the years, you really have been a pleasure to work with and we wish you all the very best for whatever you have planned for the future! We know it’s going to be something special and that you’ll be just as great at it as you were at PragProg! Good luck and please don’t be a stranger - you’ll always be part of the Devtalk family!

If you’re wondering (perhaps even a little worried about) who’ll be replacing Dave as PragProg’s CEO, fear not, because it is the one and only Dave Thomas - one of PragProg’s original founders!

Many of you will no doubt be aware that @PragDave and @Andy founded The Pragmatic Bookshelf over two decades ago, and they quickly became one of the best tech publishers around. Not only did they help a huge number of people become accomplished developers, and help spearhead the whole Agile movement, but they were also pivotal in helping a number of languages and frameworks get off the ground. In fact it was @PragDave’s own books that did this for two languages - Ruby and Elixir. This is why we’re excited to see Dave back at the helm because we can’t wait to see what he’s going to do or come up with next!

In fact this is where you can help! Dave’s asked us to post this thread so he can solicit your feedback on the future of PragProg:

One thing I learned in my time away is that I need other people. So, I’m asking for your help. Please, tell me what The Pragmatic Bookshelf can do to improve your life: as a developer, as a content creator, and as a human. And, most importantly, should we bring the gerbils back?

You can read why he left and why he decided to come back at his personal blog: pragdave - PragProg 2.0 and you can either send him your feedback there or leave it more publicly in this thread. We’re actually just as excited to see what you’ll say so we’ll definitely be keeping an eye out ourselves!

Thank you once again @Dave for everything you’ve done, you definitely did the PragProg team proud and we really do hope you’ll keep in touch, and @PragDave, welcome back home! We really can’t wait to see where you’ll take PragProg next and we’ll do our very best to support you in whatever way we can!


A wonderful colleague, a terrific inspiration, and a good friend. Thank you @Dave


I would definitely echo all of the above!

@Dave is such a genuine, thoughtful and smart person so I’ll genuinely be sorry to see him go. But I know he will be moving on to something equally special so I’m super excited for him in that regard! Please keep in touch Dave, and thank you not only for being a friend and a supporter of Devtalk, but for being such an all round lovely human being too- the world definitely needs more people like you in it! :orange_heart:

And for Dave Thomas…

Welcome back @PragDave!

I can imagine you’re buzzing with ideas and I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t wait to see where you’ll be taking PragProg. Dave Rankin (and @Andy before him), Margaret, Erica, Pat, Janet, and all your editors and authors (and the Gerbils!) have been doing a wonderful job in your absence and I’m sure they’re equally excited about what the future holds. Good luck in this new chapter and please don’t hesitate to let us know if you need our help with anything :blush:

In terms of feedback and wishlists I’d say one of the things I love most about PragProg books is the quality of your material - in an age where there is information overload and we’re bombarded with so many options I really appreciate how your books have always been reliable ways to learn and keep up to date on dev topics. Please don’t change this.

Another thing I’ve grown to appreciate is how many of your books now factor readers of tablets and e-devices like Kindles. I wrote more about this in my review of Programming Ecto but it’s small things like code blocks being repeated immediately before or after being spoken about so you’re not having to flick through lots of pages (which is a bit of a pain in Kindles, less so on iPads) that makes a big difference for those using those devices.

Not sure if this one is possible, but it would be awesome if there was a way to carry through highlights and bookmarks to new editions if possible. These days I read my books using the Apple Books app because I love how any highlights or notes I make automatically sync to all my devices, it would be even more awesome if they could be imported into newer versions of books as often books in beta will get several releases by the time you are finished reading them,

Another thing I have wondered is whether you have thought about researching new ways of teaching with modern life in mind. I’ve read a number of times that people now (especially younger people) have significantly shorter attention spans due to the way our minds have been moulded by modern social media/internet use, and I’ve wondered how this might have impacted book readers. Must admit I do find it harder to get through a book myself now - I find it takes a lot more discipline and technique to get a good reading session in (I use techniques such as clearing my mind through meditation before reading). I think a survey of customers past and present, asking how reading habits have changed could be very insightful to you, which in turn could result into something that could help make your books more accessible to those of us with our ‘modern’ minds. Genuinely curious to hear whether anyone else or anyone on the PragProg team have thought about this!