Before I joined Artsy, I worked at companies where software projects tended to have meaningful, predictable names. If we were building a system for flagging media uploads, it might be called media-review. In many cases, our code repositories' names matched the main product's branding or even the company's name. Life was simple and there was no risk of ambiguity.

At Artsy, our systems have peculiar code names like Gravity, Pulse, and Vortex. There's a persistent learning curve as you contribute to different repositories or as new services get created. Numerous times, I've wondered: are code names worth the trouble?

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Today is my last day at Artsy, it's been 8 years and I figured a nice way to book-end my time here is to make a post that tries to talk over the last ~90 blog posts I've shipped. My posts tell the story of a junior-ish engineering solving problems on successive larger scales, until their decisions impact whole industries.

These posts cover so many topics that the right way to give them justice is to try group them in terms of general themes and provide a larger context about why they were written.

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One of the defining cultural features of the Artsy Engineering team is that we strive to be Open Source by Default. This didn't happen over-night and was a multi-year effort from many people to push Artsy's engineering culture to the point where it was acceptable and living up to the ideals still requires on-going effort today.

I think to understand this, we need to dive into the archives of some of member's older posts to grok their intentions and ideas. Yes, this is a re-cap episode. Let's go.

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In early 2018, I was set to begin my fifth year working at Artsy. Something about my imminent Artsyversary had me thinking about my role within the Engineering team. Not my role as an engineer per se, but my role as a colleague. This is the longest I've ever worked for one company, and as Artsy started growing the team last year, I wanted to leverage my impact as a longtime colleague to help scale its culture.

Artsy collects quarterly, anonymous, company-wide surveys through Culture Amp to determine how everyone is doing. These are great for answering quantitative questions about the team, like "how engaged are we on average?", and I always check out the breakdown of answers in the Engineering team. But there's something unsatisfying about these reports – they're super-valuable, but they feel impersonal to me.

If I wanted to leverage my impact, I needed to play to my strengths and interests. I'm keenly interested in people – as individuals – so I decided that the best way for me to contribute to the team was to get to know everyone as individuals. To become someone the team could talk to. Someone outside the typical manager/employee structure, who could use their history at Artsy to answer questions (or at least point them in the right direction).

So, I set off on a project to meet with every member of Artsy's Engineering team for a one-on-one. With no explicit goals or expectations, but in line with Artsy's People are Paramount value, I got to know my colleagues better.

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Growth is tricky. Whether in terms of raw headcount or people's evolving career stages. As a team you want to provide ways in which members can experiment with new ideas, and provide tools to help them offer new perspectives. One of our greatest tools for instituting change at Artsy is our RFC process.

An RFC is a Request For Comments, and it is a structured document (in the form of GitHub issue normally) which offers a change to something. The format is used in large open source projects like: React (Overview, Template), Swift (Overview, Template) and Rust (Overview, Template). To give core & non-core contributors a chance to propose an idea to everyone before implementing a change.

We took this idea and applied to the process of making any cultural change in the company. Read on to find out why we needed it, how we refined it, some of the tooling we built around it, and what other options are available.

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When the mobile team at Artsy considered moving to React Native back in 2016, one of the most compelling cases for making that jump was Relay. This, it seems, is a dependency that is rarely used in the JS community and we often find ourselves re-explaining this decision to new engineers during onboarding, and to the public at large.

Which makes this a perfect blog post topic, so let's have a deep dive into what makes Relay compelling for Artsy's engineering team.

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TypeScript is a language from Microsoft which builds on JavaScript. This post is a non-technical overview of what JavaScript is, how TypeScript extends JavaScript and why we choose to adopt TypeScript at Artsy.

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For the last two years, we've used Peril to automate quite a lot of process at Artsy. You can see a full overview of what we automate in artsy/README. As a service, Peril is a bit of an iceberg of complexity, most tooling-y developers at Artsy have contributed to our user-land Dangerfiles but very few have touched the server itself.

To lower that barrier, I gave our Engineering team a run through of how the server works and how a lot of the pieces come together. Jump to YouTube for the video, or click more for a smaller inline preview.

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