[Oldletter #12] The Python Paradox, Platforms Rant and the Software Testing Honeycomb

Every Friday, I’m sharing a short list of evergreen articles/resources broadly related to software engineering that wouldn’t typically get shared in most tech newsletters or social media feeds.

***My backlog is running low again, so please send me any new recommendations you have.


  • The Python Paradox (2004) by Paul Graham. The premise of this piece is that selecting a non-mainstream programming language (which Python was in 2004) to build your startup with can be attractive for hiring certain types of desirable candidates, despite there being a very small number of available engineers with experience using it. This could probably be broadened to any technology (platform/framework) which makes up a startup’s stack, not just the programming language.
  • Stevey’s Google Platforms Rant (2011) by Steve Yegge. An ex-Amazon employee who worked for Google at the time of writing this compares the two companies. Thanks to reader Chris Scott for this recommendation.

    One thing that struck me immediately about the two companies — an impression that has been reinforced almost daily — is that Amazon does everything wrong, and Google does everything right.

    When software — or idea-ware for that matter — fails to be accessible to anyone for any reason, it is the fault of the software or of the messaging of the idea. It is an Accessibility failure.

  • Software testing honeycomb (2018) by André Schaffer. How building a microservices-based system (or indeed any form of distributed system) requires a different approach to automated testing than the traditional testing pyramid. In this scenario, integration tests should get more focus than unit tests. This approach is something I espouse for testing serverless applications.

Submitting your recommendations

If you’d like to share an evergreen article/book which has significantly influenced your thinking or practice around software delivery, please email it through to me and I’ll add it to my backlog for sharing in future editions.

Have a great weekend!

— Paul

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