24: I have been Looking for an Excuse to Exercise my Confessional Personality with Ed Finkler

Kahlil and Henning talk to Ed Finkler about his origin story. Ed tells us about his interested in computers as a user and how to took quite some time for him to become interested in development. He adopted PHP in the early days and also dabbled in JavaScript and Python before returning to PHP. In one of the /dev/hell podcast episodes he reviled that he has suffered from mental illness for most of his life and this gave rise to the Open Sourcing Mental Illness project he is currently involved in.


  • [00:00:00] Pre Show
  • [00:03:50] Henning introduces Ed Finkler
  • [00:04:22] Space Invaders and Pong
  • [00:10:36] C64, Basic
  • [00:18:15] College, HTML
  • [00:25:40] PHP
  • [00:40:28] Desktop applications
  • [00:45:58] Spaz Twitter client
  • [01:08:26] Python
  • [01:20:24] The MicroPHP Manifesto
  • [01:23:15] /dev/hell
  • [01:26:55] Mental Health Issues
  • [01:43:44] Picks


Got feedback/suggestions/questions? Get in touch with us!

23: One is Just the Other in Reverse with Jafar Husain

Kahlil and Henning talk to Jafar Husain about his origin story. If you listen to any episode of Descriptive make it this one!

This is the must-listen story in which Jafar takes us from batch programming Doom to writing JavaScript on the server before anyone else to many "failures" and victories to finally creating Falcor at Netflix which brings together all the lessons he learned along the way.


  • [00:00:00] Pre-show
  • [00:03:50] Kahlil introduces Jafar Husain
  • [00:04:09] Batch programming to run Doom on 486SX
  • [00:05:11] Turing the programming language
  • [00:08:58] First contact with JavaScript
  • [00:15:57] Writing JavaScript on the server
  • [00:20:46] Meta programming in JavaScript
  • [00:22:27] .NET
  • [00:24:36] Learning non-programming skills
  • [00:34:10] Microsoft Office Platform for Software Development
  • [00:41:48] A programming language is yet another tool
  • [00:44:27] Getting into the web at Blast Radius
  • [00:45:54] Paradigm shifts - Data is Code and Code is Data
  • [01:07:00] Getting on the Silverlight team
  • [01:17:26] What is the difference between an Event and a Stream?
  • [01:28:19] Bringing RX to Netflix
  • [01:31:18] Falcor
  • [01:49:19] You need to be a triple threat as a developer
  • [01:58:48] Go find a great manager
  • [01:59:37] How to externalize passion
  • [02:05:02] Picks


Got feedback/suggestions/questions? Get in touch with us!

22: Building Abstractions That Aren't Ahistorical with Ashley Williams

Kahlil and Henning talk to Ashley Williams about her introduction to computers and programming with Logo and HyperCard. Ashley explains how her degrees in philosophy and neuroscience help her reason about program architecture and where her interest in teaching comes from. She becomes the lead instructor at Flatiron School after being rejected as a student, which leads to many different teaching and speaking engagements. Before taking a position at npm, Inc. she also worked at Mozilla and Bocoup.


  • [00:00:00] Kahlil welcomes Ashley Williams to the show
  • [00:00:58] Logo
  • [00:01:42] HyperCard
  • [00:06:35] Philosophy and Neuroscience
  • [00:22:02] Where @ag_dubs comes from
  • [00:23:46] Teaching
  • [00:35:24] From rejected student to lead instructor
  • [00:42:27] NYC Web Development Fellowship
  • [00:49:44] bocoup
  • [00:51:19] endpoints
  • [00:59:32] APIs and API driven development
  • [01:01:56] Ashley's personal website
  • [01:07:26] Mozilla
  • [01:08:56] Low Cost Education
  • [01:12:02] Conference Talks
  • [01:14:56] npm, Inc.
  • [01:25:18] Writing documentation
  • [01:34:33] Picks


Got feedback/suggestions/questions? Get in touch with us!

21: I Will Not Get in the Way of My Projects Success with Steve Francia

Henning and Kahlil talk to Steve Francia about his introduction to programming with a Texas Instrument Calculator, Zoop Framework, Blogging, MongoDB, Vim Distributions, Go & Hugo and many other stops in his career up to his current job at Docker and his numerous speaking engagemens on a large variety of topics.


  • [00:00:26] Henning welcomes Steve Francia to the show
  • [00:01:40] First programming experience with Texas Instruments calculators
  • [00:04:30] C, Pascal, Prolog
  • [00:16:45] Swiched from CS degree to Philosophy
  • [00:20:00] Developed software for Toyota
  • [00:21:16] Zoop Framework
  • [00:28:40] OpenSky
  • [00:37:00] Blogging
  • [00:38:36] MongoDB
  • [00:43:34] Vim Distribution detour
  • [01:00:40] More MongoDB
  • [01:02:49] Go
  • [01:03:47] Hugo
  • [01:16:20] The Go community and OSS communities in general
  • [01:19:28] Docker
  • [01:35:25] MongoDB's large number of programming languages
  • [01:28:50] The Pitch for Docker containers
  • [01:51:48] Picks

Got feedback/suggestions/questions? Get in touch with us!

20: I've Always Been Interested in Really Rich Experiences with Robin Ward

Henning and Kahlil talk to Robin Ward, the co-founder of Discourse, the creator of Forumwarz and the Evilest Trout of them all. Robin explains how his interest in forums and the software that powers them leads him to a collaboration with Jeff Atwood to create Discourse. And of course we had to ask how his alias "Evil Trout" came to be.


  • [00:00:25] Henning welcomes Robin Ward to the show
  • [00:01:20] Introduced to computers via IBM's first PC
  • [00:02:32] Kings Quest
  • [00:06:40] First job as a web developer at $15/h
  • [00:15:16] Discovered Ruby on Rails
  • [00:16:06] Forumwarz
  • [00:32:20] Jeff Atwood talks about Forumwarz ...
  • [00:33:28] Discourse
  • [00:47:20] Ember forums - first user of Discourse
  • [00:53:43] Ember.js mobile performance of Discourse
  • [01:05:44] Gamification/trust levels in Discourse
  • [01:09:42] The "Evil Trout" alias
  • [01:14:02] Picks

Got feedback/suggestions/questions? Get in touch with us!

19: I Don't Own Stuff Exactly with Steve Klabnik

Henning and Kahlil have an interesting and amusing conversation with Steve Klabnik about his origins as a programmer and how he got involved in Ruby, JSON API and Rust.


  • [00:01:30] Henning welcomes Steve Klabnik to the show
  • [00:04:30] Learning C at age 12-ish
  • [00:13:03] Dropped out of college and joined a startup
  • [00:41:50] Taking over the Hackety Hack project
  • [00:47:50] First conference talk
  • [00:50:10] Teaching Ruby at Jumpstart Labs
  • [01:04:01] Starting at Mozilla and working on Rust
  • [01:12:05] arewewebyet.com
  • [01:13:00] The story of JSON API
  • [01:22:35] Hold on! How does that Mozilla gig work?
  • [01:26:40] The Servo Parallel Browser Project
  • [01:29:47] Why Rubyists should use Rust
  • [01:36:45] Picks
  • [01:57:00] I will be unlocking my Twitter in the near future

18: Hilariously, Isaac Emailed Me with Raquel Vélez

Raquel talked to Kahlil about getting into robots, transitioning to web development, working at several startups and landing at npm inc. as employee #1. Raquel also goes into what it was like to rebuild npm's website and the different challenges they are facing at npm because of the explosive growth.

NEW: Chat with us on Slack!

17: What's Going On With Angular? with Pascal Precht

Henning and Kahlil talk to Pascal about what's going on with Angular, how internationalisation works it's way into core and what he and his business partner are doing with Thoughtram.


Just after we recorded this episode parts of the Angular 2 API, that we talked about, have changed as you can see here and here.

There are no terms like 'Decorator' and 'Viewport' directives anymore. As mentioned in this episode, the framework provides ES7 decorators formerly known as AtScript Annotations.

If you want to find out more about the difference between Annotations and Decorators, read Pascal's corresponding article.

16: Feel Free to Argue About Services with Rachel Myers

Rachel talked to Kahlil about how she got interested in programming after her philosophy major, how she ended up at GitHub, what RailsBridge and the Passions Projects are and what her talk at SoCoded Conf will be about.

13: Introducing Henning Glatter-Götz

12: We've Never Had This Many Active Contributors to Core Before with Mikeal Rogers

11: I Probably Wrote 70 Tests Today or Something with Sean Devine

10: All These Components Do is Fetch Things and Render Them, Essentially with Tiffany Conroy

Tiffany talks to Kahlil about her work at SoundCloud, @weareallawesome and JSConf.eu.

9: What Comes Out of the Box Will Be Dependable with Elise Huard

Elise Huard talks to Kahlil about how she got started with programming and explains what Haskell is and some of the principles in functional programming.

Elise has worked with many languages throughout her career: C, JAVA, Ruby, JavaScript among others. Two years ago she started teaching herself Haskell and is now working as a Haskell freelancer in Berlin. She is also writing a book on writing games in Haskell.

8: If You Want to Keep Making Money off of It, You Have To Make it Easy to Work On with Jamison Dance

7: I Don't Know, Why Don't You Write A BitTorrent Client? with Mathias Buus

Kahlil talks to Mathias Buus about working with Node early on, application structure, LevelDB, distributed infrastructure and his JSConf.eu talk on streaming anything with BitTorrent and Node.

Database experiments Mathias has been doing:

BitTorrent stuff:

Distributed infrastructure:


Mathias' Music Pick

Kahlil's Music Pick

Intro and outro music by Boris Lechelt.

6: Everyone Who Has Root Also Does On Call with Ole Michaelis

5: We Should Make This its Own Thing with Gregor Martynus