This Dev Pulse unpacks the recently announced Developer Immersive in more detail, but don’t miss the other good stuff at the bottom! There’s a new Holochain Launcher release, some important breaking changes in the Tryorama testing framework, and videos and articles from around the community.
Rust Developer Immersive
By now you may have heard the news that Holo is committing $2 million USD over the next couple years to support developer education. I was pretty excited when I heard the news because equipping developers to be successful is, well, everything. And education is a huge part of that. (And let’s face it, Holochain is a little weird and it’s nice to have as much help as you can get.)
The first piece of this initiative is a Developer Immersive programme from July 10th to 22nd. The content builds on the popular Dev Camps — it will introduce developers to Rust and Holochain concepts, then get them involved in writing code — but the format is quite different. This is an in-person event, two weeks of intense, iterative, hands-on learning with three and your peers.
In the Austrian Alps!
Yeah, that’s right. The course takes place in a guest house in a mountain village in Tyrol, Austria. Live-in accommodations and supplied meals will free up your time to both focus on your learning and build connections with each other. And I think that connection is one of the beautiful things about the community of devs and supporters in Holochain-land — the way they support each other, to grow not just at their craft but as people too.
Now, I realise that this format is not going to work for everyone. It’s a very intense programme, you have to commit all of your life for two weeks, and there is a tuition fee. But if these things work for you, I think it will be a transformative experience. It’ll also be transformative for Holo as we learn what approaches work best.
And because this is a cooperative experience, you’ll be much better equipped to become a skilled distributed app developer by the end of the two weeks. You’re not likely to slip through the cracks when everyone is dedicated to each other’s success!
Who’s leading this course?
Marcus Phillips co-founded Hack Reactor, an immersive software engineering school, in 2012. In conversations with him, it was immediately clear to me that he has a deep wealth of skill and wisdom when it comes to learning. He’s evidently passionate about supporting people to succeed — I know I keep using that word; it’s because this isn’t about just teaching a curriculum, it’s about tangible results. Out of all the possible ways to teach people about Holochain, he’s looking for the path that gets them to writing code most effectively and quickly. And he recognises that the curriculum needs to adapt in real-time to the participants. Not only that, but he’s genuinely excited about Holochain. Honestly, I’m stoked that he’s signed up to help lead this course.
Guillem Cordoba is no stranger to Holochain education. In addition to being involved in the last few DevCamps, he’s also created a lot of great learning resources like the Holochain Gym and Playground, helps lead Holochain in Action and Wednesday Workshop sessions, and has created a lot of reusable libraries as well. He’s a skilled and creative developer who writes straightforward, readable code, and he’s also just an all-around good-hearted and humble guy. His knowledge and helpfulness in the Holochain developer community are already renowned.
Liz Penny has been a tech educator and director of education with Hack Reactor, The Last Mile, and Galvanize. As Marcus’ collaborator she brings the same desire to see participants succeed. She’ll be involved in designing and coordinating the course and describes her role in programmes like this as ‘leader-student’ and ‘doula’. My colleagues say she’s got a singular focus on making things happen and choosing the right things to make happen, yet in the kindest and most supportive way.
Muhammad Meigooni lives at the intersection of education and technology, having worked as a full-stack software engineer for a number of startups, including Fullscreen and Speakeasy, as well as a Product / Campus owner at MakerSquare, Hack Reactor, and Galvanize. Muhammad was the 'student developer' in our 2-week pre-pilot immersion with Marcus, Guillem, and Arthur Brock.
I’m excited to see what will happen when the four of them bring their strengths together for this course.
Who is it for?
We’re looking for people who already have a good amount of experience with full-stack software development. You don’t need to know Rust (that’s the first part of the course) but you should be competent at writing and reading well-structured code.
Aside from that, the biggest thing we’re looking for is a willingness to dedicate yourself to learning and supporting your peers’ learning in an immersive context.
It’s not meant to be for everyone, nor can it be. As I mentioned, it’s an on-site course with a pretty intensive schedule, which will allow us to iterate rapidly towards an ideal curriculum for you and future participants. So you’ll be taking the course and helping us design it at the same time. As such, there will be a screening process to determine whether this programme is right for you.
But this iterative approach means you’ll also be well-supported at every step of the way; Marcus and Liz come from a school with a long and acclaimed history of not letting a single person slip through the cracks.
If you’d prefer taking an online course with others or at your own pace, those are coming soon too. In fact, we plan to use the insights we gain from this course to help construct them as well as future in-person courses.
A note on the tuition fees
We know this programme costs a lot, and you may not be able to afford it. And the intensity might not be appropriate for everyone. But we don’t want anyone to be shut out simply because they can’t afford it. We all know the tech world suffers from a lack of diversity, and I think it’s a loss for everyone — the valuable everyday experiences and perspectives of women, indigenous people, people of colour, trans people, residents of the global south, and many others are largely missing. I know we can’t change such a complex problem by ourselves, but we do want to do what’s in our power.
If you’re in a position to take two weeks to travel to this course, please know that scholarships are available. If you don’t see yourself in the criteria, look a little harder. Maybe you’re like me and don’t see yourself as an ‘exceptional’ candidate. I urge you to set that voice aside; you’re more exceptional than you think!
What happens once I get back home?
Of course, we can’t promise that you’ll get a job with a dev shop or create a wildly successful hApp as soon as you leave the course, but the instructors are dedicated to skilling you up so that your prospects will be high. A growing number of people and companies are adopting Holochain as the toolkit for their applications, and it’s not just crypto stuff. Holochain is good for regular, everyday apps that happen to not need the cloud (although we think it’ll be used for some pretty ground-breaking apps too). Here are some examples:
- Ethelo, who create collective decision-making and civic engagement software, is planning on moving their machine-learning back-end to Holochain. They’ve already had experience in the crypto world, having helped GitCoin manage the project screening process.
- Sensorica, a pioneer open value network (like a pre-crypto DAO) that builds scientific instruments, intends to rebuild their management software on Holochain using the hREA economic toolkit.
- Kizuna is a new private messenger app from scratch using Holochain, and they have a usable demo you can download in the Holochain Launcher.
- Flux is a ‘community in a box’, a way for clubs, teams, DAOs, and other groups to spin up communication and knowledge sharing software. They have an installable early release you can try; it feels a lot like Discord or Slack.
- Sprillow is a small dev shop focused entirely on building hApps. Their flagship product is Acorn, a beautiful app for planning goals together, and they’re also taking on stewardship of hREA.
- Lightning Rod Labs is a coalition of developers and designers (some of them Holo alumni) who build interesting local-first hApps and experiments for self-hosted email, group self-awareness, and collaborative document editing.
- IOEN is using Holochain to build cooperative management software for micro-grids powered by renewable electricity.
This course will probably look good on a resume too. And even if you don’t end up creating hApps, Rust is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the DWeb and web3 world, and knowledge of distributed systems is now in demand whether you’re working in decentralised or traditional cloud.
Can you see yourself becoming a part of this ecosystem? If so, it’s time to get skilled up.
Don’t miss the next AMA!
AMA #51, coming up on Wednesday, June 8th at 16:30 UTC, is going to be all about the Developer Education Initiative. The special guest will be Marcus Phillips, along with Mary Camacho (Holo CEO), Arthur Brock (co-founder of Holochain), and David Atkinson (Holo Commercial Director). So bring your questions about this course and learn about our future plans!
Holochain compatibility: 0.0.122 and up
HDK compatibility: 0.0.118 and up
Tryorama, the Node.JS-based testing tool for Holochain, has gone through a significant rewrite. Most of this has been simplification under the hood, but the API has seen some breaking changes too. Here are the highlights:
- New: More complete typedefs for the parts of Tryorama that you interact with.
- New: Complete documentation for the entire Tryorama API. This is exciting! Check it out.
- New: Use the
hccommand to manage conductors.
- Breaking: Removed middleware feature (previously supported
- Breaking: Conductor config files are no longer generated and stored; the config is passed to the
- Breaking: Removed implicit usage of
- Maintenance: Greatly expanded test coverage, and tests run on both Linux and macOS to check for OS-specific failures.
You can get it from NPM by installing
@holochain/tryorama in your test project.
Holochain Launcher 0.4.7
Compatible Holochain versions: 0.0.127, 0.0.131, 0.0.136
Lair keystore version: 0.1.3
The three releases since I made a big noise about Launcher in the last Dev Pulse have been mostly bug fixes — no new conductor versions are included.
- Bugfix: Don’t overwrite local RPC and keystore interface settings when saving new config file.
- Bugfix: Fix incorrect compatible HDK version for Holochain 0.0.131.
On a side note, there are now a few more applications for you to download and try from the built-in DevHub, including the Kizuna messenger!
Holochain 0.0.140, 0.0.141, and 0.0.142: Maintenance releases
HDK compatibility (all three releases): 0.0.129 to 0.0.135
Holochain in Action videos
Launcher + DevHub demo
A recent Holochain in Action meeting unpacked the newest Holochain Launcher with the built-in DevHub. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can experience it through other people’s eyes here.
Yesterday’s meeting involved a pair programming session on integrating the Profiles module into a basic hApp. Member profiles are of course an important part of almost any app with a social component, so I’m guessing this video will be useful to most of you.
Neighbourhoods in the news
Neighbourhoods, a sister project building tools for reputation and shared social sense-making, has been getting public lately. Everything they’re sharing is a good window of what they’re planning, and will give you nutritious food for thought in designing your app to foster healthy social interactions. Here are a couple recent things:
Articles: Distributed Social Sensemaking, Parts 1 and 2
I’ve been loving this series of articles about ‘distributed social sensemaking’. If that term is unfamiliar to you, it simply means how we make sense of the things we see and hear about, together, without top-down management. There are dysfunctional and healthy ways to do social sensemaking, and in this series Dr Emaline Friedman, Pablo Somonte Ruano, and the rest of the Neighbourhoods team unpack their vision of how tech could help facilitate the healthy kind. Read part 1 and part 2 (parts 3 and 4 still to come).
Presentation: Social Sensemaking and Governance
Two weeks ago the Metagovernance Project hosted Dr Emaline Friedman and Michael Hueschen from Neighbourhoods. They got the chance to share their plans to build tools for ‘soft’ governance via social norms expressed in day-to-day activities. In other words, the ways our group’s members express themselves in normal interactions shapes the way we make decisions together, and can reduce the need for more formal governance structures like voting, moderation, penalties, token engineering, etc, and can also reduce the need for a “march on city hall” when governance goes wrong, as Emaline says. Sounds like a much gentler approach than much of what’s being explored in the crypto-governance space, although it does seem to be moving rapidly towards this sort of soft governance as it grows up.
DWeb Camp returns in August
After a long absence, DWeb Camp is back again, August 24th to 28th in Camp Navarro, CA, US! This weekend event is hosted by the Internet Archive and attracts people who are involved in a lot of different DWeb and web3 people, representing everything from traditional HTTP-based approaches like Solid and ActivityPub, to cryptographic protocols like IPFS and Holochain (and yes, even a bit of blockchain), to social initiatives like Centre for Humane Tech and COMPOST magazine. It’s a wonderful mashup of ideas, projects, and personalities; I thoroughly enjoyed the first (and so far only) one back in 2019.
It’d be great if you could come, and I’d love to meet you in person. I’m not saying we should dominate DWeb Camp or anything, but if Holochain had a visible presence there, would that be a bad thing?
There are scholarships available if you’d love to go but can’t afford it, and you can also volunteer to help with camp setup, facilitation, and tear-down. If you love giving presentations, you can sign up to give a lightning talk, and if you love hosting workshops, you can do that too. Learn more and sign up here.