StackShare
Avatar of ruswerner
Lead Engineer at StackShare

StackShare Feed is built entirely with React, Glamorous, and Apollo. One of our objectives with the public launch of the Feed was to enable a Server-side rendered (SSR) experience for our organic search traffic. When you visit the StackShare Feed, and you aren't logged in, you are delivered the Trending feed experience. We use an in-house Node.js rendering microservice to generate this HTML. This microservice needs to run and serve requests independent of our Rails web app. Up until recently, we had a mono-repo with our Rails and React code living happily together and all served from the same web process. In order to deploy our SSR app into a Heroku environment, we needed to split out our front-end application into a separate repo in GitHub. The driving factor in this decision was mostly due to limitations imposed by Heroku specifically with how processes can't communicate with each other. A new SSR app was created in Heroku and linked directly to the frontend repo so it stays in-sync with changes.

Related to this, we need a way to "deploy" our frontend changes to various server environments without building & releasing the entire Ruby application. We built a hybrid Amazon S3 Amazon CloudFront solution to host our Webpack bundles. A new CircleCI script builds the bundles and uploads them to S3. The final step in our rollout is to update some keys in Redis so our Rails app knows which bundles to serve. The result of these efforts were significant. Our frontend team now moves independently of our backend team, our build & release process takes only a few minutes, we are now using an edge CDN to serve JS assets, and we have pre-rendered React pages!

#StackDecisionsLaunch #SSR #Microservices #FrontEndRepoSplit

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28 upvotes985.3K views
Avatar of ruswerner
Lead Engineer at StackShare

Earlier this year we decided to go "all-in" on GraphQL to provide our front-end API. We needed a stable client library to power our React app. We decided to use Apollo Client for a few reasons:

1) Stability 2) Maturity 3) Heaps of features 4) Great documentation (with use cases) 5) Support for server-side rendering 6) Allowed us to stop using Redux and Mobx

Overall we've had great success with this library, along with a few minor hiccups and work arounds, but no show stoppers. If you are coming from Redux.js land, it takes a bit of time to settle into a new way of thinking about how your data is fetched and flows through your React app. This part has been the biggest learning curve of anything to do with GraphQL.

One of the downsides to Apollo Client, once you build a larger application, (past the size of most of the documented use cases and sample apps) the state management tends to get distributed through various places; and not just components. Apollo Client has a state management feature that relies on a normalised local cache. Mastering the knowledge of how this works is key to getting the most out of the library and to architecting your component hierarchy properly.

#FrontEndFrameworks

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17 upvotes2 comments317.3K views
Avatar of johnnyxbell
Senior Software Engineer at StackShare

So I am a huge fan of JIRA like #massive I used it for many many years, and really loved it, used it personally and at work. I would suggest every new workplace that I worked at to switch to JIRA instead of what I was using.

When I started at #StackShare we were using a Trello #Kanban board and I was so shocked at how easy the workflow was to follow, create new tasks and get tasks QA'd and deployed. What was so great about this was it didn't come with all the complexity of JIRA. Like setting up a project, user rules etc. You are able to hit the ground running with Trello and get tasks started right away without being overwhelmed with the complexity of options in JIRA

With a few TrelloPowerUps we were easily able to add GitHub integration and storyPoints to our cards and thats all we needed to get a really nice agile workflow going.

I'm not saying that JIRA is not useful, I can see larger companies being able to use the JIRA features and have the time to go through all the complex setup to get a really good workflow going. But for smaller #Startups that want to hit the ground running Trello for me is the way to go.

In saying that what I would love Trello to implement is to allow me to create custom fields. Right now we just have a Description field. So I am adding User Stories & How To Test in the Markdown of the Description if I could have these as custom fields then my #Agile workflow would be complete.

#StackDecisionsLaunch

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15 upvotes377.8K views
Avatar of johnnyxbell
Senior Software Engineer at StackShare

For Stack Decisions I needed to add Markdown in the decision composer to give our users access to some general styling when writing their decisions. We used React & GraphQL on the #Frontend and Ruby & GraphQL on the backend.

Instead of using Showdown or another tool, We decided to parse the Markdown on the backend so we had more control over what we wanted to render in Markdown because we didn't want to enable all Markdown options, we also wanted to limit any malicious code or images to be embedded into the decisions and Markdown was a fairly large to import into our component so it was going to add a lot of kilobytes that we didn't need.

We also needed to style how the markdown looked, we are currently using Glamorous so I used that but we are planning to update this to Emotion at some stage as it has a fairly easy upgrade path rather than switching over to styled-components or one of the other cssInJs alternatives.

Also we used React-Mentions for tagging tools and topics in the decisions. Typing @ will let you tag a tool, and typing # will allow you to tag a topic.

The Markdown options that we chose to support are tags: a, code, u, b, em, pre, ul, ol, li.

If there are anymore tags you'd love to see added in the composer leave me a comment below and we will look into adding them.

#StackDecisionsLaunch

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StackShare Decision Markdown Support - Johnny Bell Blog - Frontend Engineer (blog.johnnybell.io)
14 upvotes413.6K views
Avatar of yonasb
CEO at StackShare

Using Screenhero via Slack was getting to be pretty horrible. Video and sound quality was often times pretty bad and worst of all the service just wasn't reliable. We all had high hopes when the acquisition went through but ultimately, the product just didn't live up to expectations. We ended up trying Zoom after I had heard about it from some friends at other companies. We noticed the video/sound quality was better, and more importantly it was super reliable. The Slack integration was awesome (just type /zoom and it starts a call)

You can schedule recurring calls which is helpful. There's a G Suite (Google Calendar) integration which lets you add a Zoom call (w/dial in info + link to web/mobile) with the click of a button.

Meeting recordings (video and audio) are really nice, you get recordings stored in the cloud on the higher tier plans. One of our engineers, Jerome, actually built a cool little Slack integration using the Slack API and Zoom API so that every time a recording is processed, a link gets posted to the "event-recordings" channel. The iOS app is great too!

#WebAndVideoConferencing #videochat

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14 upvotes238.4K views
Avatar of ruswerner
Lead Engineer at StackShare

When we rebooted our front-end stack earlier this year, we wanted to have a consolidated and friendly developer experience. Up to that point we were using Sass and BEM. There was a mix of HAML views, React components and Angular. Since our ongoing development was going to be exclusively in React, we wanted to shift to an inline styling library so the "wall of classnames" could be eliminated. The ever-shifting landscape of inline CSS libraries for React is sometimes difficult to navigate.

We decided to go with Glamorous for a few reasons:

1) Previous team experience with this library 2) We can write our styles in plain JavaScript (which brings many benefits) 3) It supports server-side rendering 4) It has great composition patterns

As you may or may not know, Glamorous has ceased active development and been mostly superseded by Emotion. We are planning to migrate to either Emotion or @styled-components in the near future, and I'll write another Stack Decision when we get there!

#inlinecss

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Modernizing StackShare's Front End: The React + Rails Stack | StackShare (stackshare.io)
11 upvotes245.7K views
Avatar of johnnyxbell
Senior Software Engineer at StackShare

When I switched to Visual Studio Code 12 months ago from PhpStorm I was in love, it was great. However after using VS Code for a year, I see myself switching back and forth between WebStorm and VS Code. The VS Code plugins are great however I notice Prettier, auto importing of components and linking to the definitions often break, and I have to restart VS Code multiple times a week and sometimes a day.

We use Ruby here so I do like that Visual Studio Code highlights that for me out of the box, with WebStorm I'd need to probably also install RubyMine and have 2 IDE's going at the same time.

Should I stick with Visual Studio Code, or switch to something else? #help

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Johnny Bell's Stack Decision | StackShare (stackshare.io)
11 upvotes121.8K views
Replies (14)
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RubyMineRubyMine

If you're working with both Ruby and JavaScript, buy RubyMine and shut down the other two. It's much better for Ruby than Visual Studio Code is. It can also do everything WebStorm does, if you install the plugins you need from JetBrains, and they all work together nicely.

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10 upvotes2 views
Avatar of marcsw2
Software Developer
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If you install RubyMine, you shouldn't need WebStorm, as all the functionality of WebStorm appears to be included in RubyMine. (See here: https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/a/132950).

I've used PhpStorm for several years and have never needed to open (or even download) WebStorm for anything front-end or JavaScript related.

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9 upvotes1 comment6 views
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Avatar of yonasb
CEO at StackShare

One of the challenges we've had to deal with as our product surface area has grown, is identifying and reproducing bugs. We use Sentry for exception monitoring, however, it's usually difficult to try to reproduce bugs. I first heard about FullStory from our friends over at Flexport (check out the Stack Story and you'll hear them mention it: https://stackshare.io/posts/how-flexport-builds-software-to-move-over-1-billion-dollars-in-merchandise). FullStory let's you record user sessions, and play them back to help you identify bugs and UX issues. You're even able to view the console errors live as they happen during the sessions!

We were pretty blown away at how comprehensive the product was at first, and it seems to be getting better every time I use it. Only complaint is that it's super expensive once you're in the hundreds of thousands of sessions so we had to stop trying to record logged out sessions, we only use it for auth'd sessions. We also started out using it via Segment but once we needed to watch out for the number of sessions we were recording we realized that it was impossible to restrict FullStory recordings on a per-page basis without ripping it out of Segment, so we ended up just using their JS snippet and putting that in the Rails views that we wanted to monitor closely.

The ability to share specific portions of sessions, speed them up, skip inactivity, and all sorts of other little features all add up to a really solid product that helps both our PMs and engineers improve our own product much quicker. I officially requested a Sentry + FullStory integration a while back https://twitter.com/yonasbe/status/871987738777616384, still waiting on this! #UserFeedbackAsAService #reproducing-bugs #sessionrecording #bug-squashing

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10 upvotes275.1K views
Avatar of johnnyxbell
Senior Software Engineer at StackShare

We are always building new features and replacing old code at StackShare. Lately we have been building out new features for the frontend, and removing a lot of old jQuery code (sorry jQuery but it's time to go).

We've mainly been using React, ES6 and JavaScript on the frontend to build out the components, and we've been slowly removing some legacy MobX and using GraphQL and Apollo for our state management, if we need to control state further than GraphQL and Apollo allows us to we use just plain React with #context , or the new fancy React #hooks馃帲 .

As we've moved towards the above tech, its really made smashing out new features and updating legacy code super fast, and really fun!

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9 upvotes157.6K views
Avatar of yonasb
CEO at StackShare

We decided to use MemCachier as our Memcached provider because we were seeing some serious PostgreSQL performance issues with query-heavy pages on the site. We use MemCachier for all Rails caching and pretty aggressively too for the logged out experience (fully cached pages for the most part). We really need to move to Amazon ElastiCache as soon as possible so we can stop paying so much. The only reason we're not moving is because there are some restrictions on the network side due to our main app being hosted on Heroku.

#Caching #RailsCaching

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9 upvotes45.2K views