Colm Doyle A Developer Relations professional in Dublin, Ireland.

It's time to organize

Greg Wilson, posting over on Mastodon.social

There are roughly a spudillion more tutorials online about Kubernetes than there are readable explanations of tech workers’ labor rights. If tech workers invested one spudillionth of the time they put into learning the former into learning the latter, companies posting multi-billion dollar quarterly profits would think twice about performative layoffs.

I don’t think it’s that outlandish to suggest that a decent percentage of layoffs that are occurring in the tech sector right now have very little to do with companies on the brink of insolvency, and more to do with CEOs and boards wanting to demonstrate they hold some of the cards, and that employees should maybe think twice before asking for pay raises or improved benefits.

And as Greg says in his thread, they’re getting away with this because of a lack of awareness of just how many cards the employees themselves hold. As I’ve written before, it’s as simple as people not understanding the role of HR. Am I suggesting that we should all start refusing to meet with company leaders unless we have a union rep present? Or start electing shop stewards?

No. Although there would be no harm in more people considering union membership. What I’m starting to come around to though, is the idea that every conference that claims to be helping people become better technology professionals should have at least one session on their rights as employees, or just generally how to organize. We owe it to ourselves to be as interested in those rights as we are in the latest frameworks and languages.

Maybe if we did, we wouldn’t have people finding out they’ve been laid off when their badge stops working.

Extremely Hardcore

Zoe Schiffer, Casey Newton, and Alex Heath, reporting for The Verge:

Twitter’s staff spent years trying to protect the social media site against impulsive billionaires who wanted to use the reach of its platform for their own ends, and then one made himself the CEO.

I’m a little late sharing this as it was published earlier this week, but it’s a fantastic insight into the first few months of Elon Musk’s tenure at Twitter.

Personally, I read this as a cautionary tale of how to run a service into the ground, but I can definitely imagine there’s many CEOs, especially in the tech industry, who will read this and think it’s a blueprint for success.

And those CEOs are, to my mind anyway, unfit to call themselves leaders.

What does co-pilot know that the rest of us don't?

I write pretty much all the content on this site using VSCode, and for various reasons I have GitHub Copilot enabled in the editor. As I was writing my most recent post about the shenanigans at Twitter, co-pilot offered an auto-complete I wasn’t expecting to be so detailed:

GitHub co-pilot

What does GitHub know that the rest of us don’t? 🤣

Twitter Intentionally Ends Third-Party App Developer Access to Its APIs

John Voorhees, writing for MacStories:

Twitter’s actions also show a total lack of respect for the role that third-party apps have played in the development and success of the service from its earliest days. Twitter was founded in 2006, but it wasn’t until the iPhone launched about a year later that it really took off, thanks to the developers who built the first mobile apps for the service.

The prevailing wisdom is now all pretty lined up behind the notion that Twitter has intentionally revoked API access for the major third party Twitter clients, as I discussed earlier in the week.

I would say this whole debacle is a masterclass in how not to do Developer Relations, but as far as I know, none of the Twitter DevRel team are still at the company. Regardless, as the linked article says, Twitter has always had a pretty rough relationship with people building third party apps for the service, despite those apps being critical to the service’s growth and success.

And not only that, but those same apps are frequently excellent examples of iOS development. It’s probably not widely known outside the iOS developer community, but “Pull to Refresh”, the UX pattern whereby you pull down on a list to update it, was first introduced by Twitter before it was eventually adopted by Apple as a de-facto iOS standard.

I’m still not sure if Mastodon is going to be the new Twitter, but moves like this where you alienate your most passionate users and developers are not going to help Twitter’s case. Especially when you do it in such a manifestly disrespectful and unprofessional manner.

Tech early adopters might not be the largest percentage of users on Twitter anymore, but they built it into the service it is today, and they can be the ones to rip it all down too. Elon Musk would be minded to remember that.

Some third party Twitter client apps appear to be removed from the service

Mitchell Clark, reporting for The Verge:

Some third-party Twitter clients such as Twitterific and Tweetbot appear to be experiencing an outage, though the cause is currently unclear. Developers haven’t received any communication from the company about whether the issue is caused by a bug or something else, according to a Mastodon post from Paul Haddad, one of Tweetbot’s creators.

After my positive experience with Ivory of late, and the truly awful new home screen experience that Twitter is currently rolling out to iOS users, I was considering switching to Tweetbot, but I guess I’ll hold off for now.

It’s reasonable to suggest that this is just a minor glitch and when San Francisco starts to wake up it’ll be resolved, but it seems coincidental in the extreme that a bug would occur that appears to only impacts the most popular third party Twitter clients just as they’re rolling out a new home screen experience that introduces an algorithmic feed which has historically been resisted by a decent chunk of Twitter power users.