Ben McCormick


New Newsletter and The 2018 Roundup

2018 was the 5th full year of this blog, and I chose to experiment a bit. For the first 9 months of the year, I posted a Weekly Links post every week, and also published 24 normal articles, before taking a break the last 3 months to deal with some changes in work and home life. My employer went through an acquisition this year and I started working with a new team. Then Claire and I welcomed our first daughter, Elena, to the world earlier this month. It’s been a busy but rewarding year.

Christmas picture with Claire, Elena and myself

I’m excited to get back to the blog in 2019, and take what I’ve learned the last few years and make some improvements I’ve been considering for a while. The biggest one is shifting to a newsletter format for initially publishing my posts.


Over the last year, email newsletters have become my favorite ways to stay up to date in my professional world. High quality newsletters from people like Kent, Lara, and Ponyfoo are some of the best ways to both keep up with what’s going on tech and trends, but also learn new ideas in a blog post, way. It’s a better forum for thoughtful content than social media, allows for communication between the writer and their audience.

I’ve always allowed people to subscribe to this blog through email, but to be honest, the experience has been kind of crappy. I’ve meant to improve my email template forever, and articles sometimes got jumbled into a single email. Going forward, they’re going to be a first class citizen, and the best way to follow the blog. I’ll publish articles there first, and include extra “weekly link” like content in the emails only. I’m switching emails over to Buttondown and they should be much cleaner and content focused going forward. If you follow this blog through email, you’re probably reading this post in that format now. If not, please go ahead and subscribe. I’ll be starting the year with a series of posts about front end architecture.

2018 Roundup

Most Read Posts Published in 2018

  • React Architecture Confessions React unquestioningly has a learning curve. I decided to talk through the various mistakes I’d made as I learned React on the fly while building a large web application.

  • Evil JavaScript This was something different for me, a tongue-in-cheek look at the ways you can use and abuse some of JavaScript’s more powerful features

  • ES6: The Bad Parts

My take on which parts of ES6 should be avoided after 3 years of use.

Languages, Libraries, and Technologies I started using in 2018

With all the changes, it hasn’t been a big year for experimentation, but Immer is fantastic.

  • Immer This probably deserves a full post at some point, but I’ve been experimenting with using only Immer and React’s built in state features for state management on a new project, and it’s been fairly nice so far. It’s a lovely little library that makes working with immutable data pleasant.

  • Storybook My other big experiment on the new project has been using Storybook as a collaboration tool for our UI components. It’s still early days, but I’m liking it.

Languages and Libraries I used (more or less) every day in 2018

JavaScript (ES6), Python, React, PostgreSQL, lodash, MobX, Jest, Immer, CSS Modules

Languages and Libraries I want to try in 2019

I want to try building some small hardware projects and automating them this year. Something completely different.

Blogs I started following in 2018

Blogs I read every post from in 2018

Overreacted by Dan Abramov, Lara Hogan’s Engineering Leadership blog and newsletter, Rands In Repose, Stratechery, Daring Fireball

Software I used (nearly) every day in 2018

MacOS/iOS, Google Search, Chrome/Safari/Firefox, GMail/MailPlane 3, Twitter/Tweetbot, Feedbin/Reeder, iMessage, Slack, Jira, 1Password, VS Code/Vim, iTerm, Fish Shell, Bitbucket, Fantastical, Spotify, Bear, Annotate, Dash

Best Technical Books I read in 2018

Best Non-Technical Books I read in 2018

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