N. Sobolev: "I entered Elixir in about 2 months"

Elixir-lang.moscow organizer, Auth0 ambassador, CTO at wemake.services, speaker at RailsClub 2017
11 October 2017   687

Nikita Sobolev
Nikita Sobolev

CTO at wemake.services, organizer of elixir-lang.moscow conference, speaker at RailsClub 2017.

On the RailsClub 2017, we’ve managed to talk with Nikita about his report, his job and future of Elixir.

Tell us about yourself, who are you, what are you doing?

My name is Nikita, I write on Hype.codes sometimes about Elixir. I, basically, am now engaged at different conferences and meetings. I'm talking about what a cool language Elixir is and try to evangelize it in various ways. In fact, with a mercenary goal - I have my own small company called "wemake.services". We sell custom development to our customers. We want to sell Elixir development, because we like it, and we are happy to work with it. Therefore, my selfish goal is combined with disinterested.

How did you get into the Ruby ​​event?

In fact, I know that many rubists are switching to Elixir, and I decided why not even more Ruby developers could be dragged into this wonderful world of functional technologies. I applied for it, got the approvement, and here I am.

What was your report about?

My report was about the basics of Elixir, about its ideology, how to build the architecture of an application, about how you can write business logic, how it differs from other programming languages. I assumed that the audience knows Ruby, I know Python. They are similar enough, so it was a report for them. I hope it was clear.

What are your impressions of the conference?

I really liked it. Very good conference. One of the best this year, on which I was. Despite the fact that I never understood a single report.

How do you see the programming world in the next 10 and 50 years and is there a place for Elixir?

I think yes. I'm not ready to talk about 10 or even 50 years, but it seems to me that in next 5 years Elixir will have its own strong niche, connected with processing a large number of real-time applications, asynchronous requests. We hope to get fixed in this niche, together with Elixir.

What are the main pros of Elixir?

A low entry threshold, even though it is functional. I entered Elixir in about 2 months. At the same time, I did not know any functional programming language, and I can say that I still do not know. I write on Elixir, not noticing that it is from a different paradigm. This is a very great dignity. Elixir is gaining popularity very fast. Low entry threshold = fast popularity gain.

What are the main differences between Elixir and Erlang?

The main difference is syntax. Either way, they are very similar. They have common pros and cons. But Elixir really has a much more pleasant syntax. To us, those who are used to writing in Ruby or Python, this approach is understandable and does not cause any rejection. We can start writing on Elixir the same way as we write on Ruby.

Recently, the IT field for employment has become very popular. Which advice would you give advice to the average "IT specialist" to stand out from the crowd?.

You can stand out the crowd with 2 things - work hard and learn, and talk about yourself, talk about what you can do, share knowledge with others. Thanks to the combination of these two factors, you can achieve a lot.

Do you have any plans to write a book? Or maybe you are already the author of some book?

No, unfortunately, I did not write and do not plan yet. I do not know what, I do not have those that I could put in the book. But I hope that someday they will appear and I would not be willing to write anything fundamental.

What in your work makes you truly happy that brings inner pleasure?

We, as a project team, are always happy when we finish the project. We have a whole day of happiness. Similarly, we experience stress, if the project goes wrong for some reason, and when issues are fixed, as a result, happiness becomes even greater. But we also need to feel the process - when we write what we like, when we make a very high-quality product, we get pleasure not only from the result, but from the process. And in fact, it's even bigger pleasure. Since we sometimes work with large corporate or governmental clients, result is not visible. And the process is remembered and remains forever.

Elixir is a young language, and there are very vacancies and elixirists in the labor market. How to increase the number of Elixirists? And how do you think, when there will be enough of them?

In fact, I believe that there won't be many Elixirists. Elixir is a very niche language. It is not a general programming language. Its concept and features allow it to become a very good niche tool. At the moment, amount of vacancies growns on the wave of hype. There will never be the same amount of vacancies as for Pythonists or Rubists. But, I think that there will be more of them in a whole.

Do you have nightmares related to your daily work?

Of course. Whenever someone calls me, I think the server crashed. But, in reality, I don't have nightmares. Sometimes when I go to bed, and read something before, or watch a video or a report, and I don't want to fall asleep, but I want to try something cool. So I have to force myself to say sleep. It happens. 

N. Sutterer: "Ruby is dead. Long live Ruby!"

Creator of Trailblazer that introduces several new abstraction layers into Rails, Rails contributor and gem author, speaker at Railsclub
15 January 2018   377

Nick Sutterer at RailsClub 2017
Nick Sutterer at RailsClub 2017

Hello! Please, introduce yourself in few words.

My name is Nick Sutterer, I’m developing software for like 22-25 years and I work like a consultant of my open source project for different companies. Sometimes I give presentations at conferences.

Is it your first time in Russia, Moscow, RailsClub?

It is. Everything for a first time. I’m blown away!

How do you like it?

Great! It’s amazing! Since I arrived, people care about me, people take me out, people show me the city, people give me history lessons. It’s amazing. Great food. We go to places and have a drink. I go to hotel, sleep, and everything starts again. That’s amazing! I’m really enjoying it.

Can you tell us about your report in few keynotes?

My talk was about the lack of innovation in Ruby language and about innovations that is happening in frameworks, that use Ruby. I’m just showing what we have. I try to inspire people and Ruby core team to pick some ideas from other technologies and make Ruby even better.

Your talk is called “Ruby is dead”. If Ruby is dead, what’s alive?

Ruby is dead. Long live Ruby. I’m trying to be provocative with my talk. I’m still coding Ruby everyday, I’m still traveling to all conference because I still believe that Ruby is an amazing programming language. There’s languages, showing up recently. Elixir or Golang for example. They have completely different way. They deal with problems and they are way more innovative. But they are brand new. I, actually, don’t think that Ruby is dead.

What you don’t like in Ruby the most?

I hate that we keep thinking in really old way. We reject innovation. It is especially due to frameworks like Rails. I would love to the more development of Rails, with all it’s huge audience. Ruby is lacking a lot of features that a lot of other languages have, like pattern matching and method overloading. The problem is that sometimes I feel that we are behind the innovations that happen to other languages. Specifically features, that make other languages amazing. We don’t have them, and it’s very sad.

What is your way to improve Ruby?

Every time is meet Matz at conference, I tell him for few hours what should be done to improve Ruby. Without any providing any help. It’s all about innovations. I try to innovate in my own framework, Trailblazer. So we can put the way we write business code to new level. I try to inspire people with my library code they use new concepts in Ruby that never been there before. I think that helping them to write the applications.

How do you see the world of programming in 10 and 50 years? And will Ruby and Rails have place in this future?

I don’t think Rails will have place. I really love Rails community and people in Rails Core. But I don’t think that Rails will be a thing in 10 years. But I think Ruby will still be around. It all depends on what is going to happen with Ruby 3.0. When it will be released and what features will it bring. I think Ruby will still be there. But I can’t tell you what will happen in 50 years. Because in 50 years there won’t be a need to program anymore. We will probably just write diagrams on the air.

In your opinion, what technologies are the most hypest today?

Craft beer and coffee, haha! Everything that hipsters do! Now everything is switching from OOP to FP. We are trying to avoid to have unwanted side effects in order to not let users to screw up internal state. Functional programming makes it impossible to users to do stuff in wrong order, for example. Like problems that we have in Ruby. I see a lot of development in functional languages because they are also way easy to paralyze and they have a lot of advanced features.

What advice can you give to average programmer to stand out the crowd?

Important thing in IT is that you always need to play with new tools. Even if you are not a super programmer, you have to look at the community and check what’s going on. It is really important to keep moving. Otherwise, I see that my current job at the police is really slow. They using very outdated technologies. A lot of people are affected. It is non productive. It’s good because a lot of people are keeping their jobs . But it is important to adopt new technologies. I’m not saying be a coding hipster and change your framework everyday. But a lot of new things in last 10 years make sense. People should use it and not just sit there and enjoy excellent job. They can get fired tomorrow.

What makes you excited about your job?

That’s beautiful question. I think that idea of open source is that you expose code that you think is helpful and people will tell you that it really is. This is what keeps me programming. When I write something and I see that a lot of people use it and they say like “It is so much better that I used before!” It’s great! This is making my day. It’s all about what comes back. I also program my own stuff and sometimes I think: “Yes!” But mostly I like when something what I do is helpful to other people.

Do you have any plans on writing a book?

I have already wrote one book. Two years ago, it took like 16 months. I was writing and inventing at the same time. That was a huge mistake! I was keeping updating my book with changes in my library code. It was massive. I plan to write more books, because it was fun. It has to be with the right timing. I’m not gonna write a book about, for example, a new version of my framework now because it’s still changing. I’m not gonna make this mistake again. It’s so much work! Unbelievable.

Do you have any nightmares, related to you job?

I used to have those kind of dreams few years ago. Sometimes I still have them.You always imagine software as something visual. Brain just does that. My dreams about those thing and passing the objects. And it’s always the wrong object! It’s the only nightmare that I have. I was able to have good work\life balance. So I have very rare the bad sleep. Even if I don’t look like it.