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2000 Today I Learned posts

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2000 TILs is a landmark but is just a small window into what we do at Hashrocket every day.

Two Thousand

This week, we published the 2000th post to our daily learning site, Today I Learned. The statistics page gives a sense of the scope and scale of this ever-evolving project. It is the result of continual small contributions by the entire Hashrocket team.

Two thousand TILs began on April 13th, 2015. Springtime: a great time of year to begin something new. We've averaged a bit under two posts a day since starting to document these things in a digital, shareable way. Of course, before we had TIL as a platform there was a fair amount of non-shareable, non-documented learning. Okay, a "fair amount" is an understatement; Hashrocket's entire history has been about teaching and learning and craftsmanship and sharing. You can't be a great developer without obsessing over all the small ways that code can be written more elegantly and efficiently, and Hashrocket has seen more than a handful of great developers grace the keyboards and pairing stations of our two main offices.

Web development was once just text, tags, and the network, but every year since the early nineties has seen higher expectations for what a website should be. Our eyes recoil at 1995's Space Jam or Bob Dole's 1996 Campaign Web Site. In 2006, creating a website had become prohibitively expensive for small organizations. Creating the expansive websites of that era took big teams of developers working with seemingly insane managerial overhead and software that was most definitely not free. Hashrocket's conceit in 2008 was that great developers using smart open source software (Ruby on Rails) and subtracting that managerial overhead would bring great websites to life for anybody with an idea.

There is not a website built in 2008 that would come close to meeting expectations today. There's been at least five generations of JavaScript technologies since then! Security and performance requirements have multiplied, data sizes have gone from GB to TB, and of course the number of screen sizes that must be accommodated has grown as the screen sizes themselves (and bandwidth) have shrunk.

Hashrocket's advantage in 2008 was retaining a set of developers that were at the cutting edge of web development, wanting to stay there, and setting up structures that promoted learning and expanding the craft of web development. From bookclubs in 2010 to internal conferences in 2012, to mentoring in 2018, the developers at Hashrocket have continually pursued the active structures that facilitate sharing and learning. Today it's our definitive strength that we learn together and share what we learn. Every Friday we have Show 'n Tell, and of course we pair.

Pairing is continual positive reinforcement of sharing what you know. There is an inherent joy in showing somebody something new, and that in and of itself can drive you to explore further each of the endlessly deep technologies that we use on a daily basis.

From that perspective, 2000 posts in Today I Learned is really not all that impressive. It could easily be 5000, or, if every little detail that each of us has internalized over the last three years were documented it would easily be 10,000. TIL serves as a small window into our company and represents very well our collective interests and joint journey in becoming ever better web devs.