Site News #8: Survey says…

Hey there graceful devs,

Today’s site news update is dedicated entirely to a look at the results of the Focus Survey I mailed out last week. I asked what y’all, the members, would most like to see me focus on next, and you answered!

Specifically, 41 of you answered. Let’s see what you had to say…

What broad area should Avdi focus on next?

ItemTotal Score Aggregate Rank 
New courses on new topics not covered before1731
Extracting cohesive, topical courses from The Tapastry1492
Adding content to existing courses1333
Site features/improvements864
Growing the community/social aspect745

The first thing I take away from this result is that (almost) nobody cares about social features. This is actually great to know, because it means that’s one area I don’t need to think about for a while. Good signal!

The second thing is that while there are still some nice-to-have feature requests, my sense that the site basically works for people seems confirmed.

“New courses” and “extracting courses” ran neck-and-neck for a while, but “new courses” eventually pulled ahead. I’ll be honest, I have a personal preference to spend some time teasing courses out of the Tapastry, because that’s been on my mental want-to-do list for, like, half a decade. So I may still start out with that. But I hear you loud and clear: new courses, on new topics!

And what new topics might those be? Well, let’s see how you answered…

What potential topics would you love to see covered?

I threw a couple dozen potential topics at the wall. Every single one got at least one vote. The top five were:

  1. Tackling Technical Debt. This was a pitch from Chelsea Troy, based on a workshop she teaches. I’ll be conferring with her soon on next steps to make this course a reality…
  2. Domain-Driven Design: I’m pretty excited to see this one come out so high up! My Graceful.Dev co-conspirator Jessitron has been teaching DDD workshops with Domain-Driven Design author (and our friend) Eric Evans, so I think we can probably put something together for this topic.
  3. MORE RUBY DANGIT: Hahaha OK I hear you 😁
  4. Actors, events, and reactive design and Resilience Patterns: A tie, which feels appropriate since I think they are heavily interrelated.
  5. Analyzing Risk in a Software System: Another Chelsea Troy pitch, based on one of her workshops.

The big takeaway here is that Graceful.Dev members are more interested in design and method than in programming languages. Good to know!

However, for my own edification as a programming language dork, I’m going to narrow it down to the just the language-specific options and see what came out on top:

  1. Elixir with 11 votes. This pairs well with “actors, events, and reactive design”.
  2. Rust with 10 votes.
  3. Grokking JavaScript Asynchrony, also with 10 votes. I threw this in because it’s the topic of a series of videos Betsy Haibel and I worked on, but never finished. With 25% of responders were interested, it may be worth dusting off that footage!
  4. Modern JavaScript, TypeScript, and Go each got 7 votes.

Which course-in-progress do you want to see more of?

There was a clear winner here: systems thinking! This makes me happy, since it’s what I spend a lot of my time thinking about these days. It’s also the topic of a series of workshops Jessitron has been co-teaching with Kent Beck, so I think more content in that vein should be doable.

What format do you prefer?

I read you loud and clear on this one: stick with the tried-and-true RubyTapas format of video-centric topics!

Specific feedback

The survey contained several prompts for elaboration. Some highlights and commentary, in no order:

  • Categorized search results: oooh, good idea.
  • Rails 7 frontend (Hotwire/Stimulus/etc.) hmmm I might know someone who could do justice to this topic…
  • Check off a course as done: yeah that should be do-able.
  • A course on setting up deployment: oh yeah I like this idea. With a YAML YAML here and a YAML YAML there, here a YAML there a YAML everywhere a YAML error…
  • A weekly email with a pointer to a random topic: YES! We used to have a “from the freezer” series, and I’ve been thinking a lot about re-establishing something like it.
  • Although “social” did not do well in the overall focus section, a couple of people brought up doing regular Twitch-style streams.
  • High-productivity workflows, ensemble programming: Hm, how about a series on how everyone is doing code review wrong?
  • More on testing and TDD: Yeah I should have included that in my list of potential topics.
  • Functional Programming: Good idea!


I don’t have a plan per se, but the results of this survey have given me some solid direction. The results have been super enlightening, and I really appreciate some of the kind notes some of y’all included.

Thanks again to everyone who filled in the survey! If you didn’t, you’re still welcome to add your two cents–I’ll continue to reference back to it as I prioritize my work going forwards.