How-To

Man, ‘splained: 40-Plus Years of Man Page History

Man, ‘splained: 40-Plus Years of Man Page History

A man page is the most common form of Unix and Linux documentation. Despite the name, they’re not exactly what modern engineers expect from more typical product documentation - and they’re also definitely not tutorials. However, with their own particular format, they’ve become a vital part of regular learning and work for most developers, perhaps the most common “M” in the admonishment to RTM. With something so omnipresent, it’s easy to take it for granted - there’s a utility, so the utility has a man page. Of course.

But the history of man pages is tied inextricably to the history of Unix (in fact, they share a birthday) and is threaded through a certain formative era of computer science. Man pages go back to Bell Labs, back to Jerry Saltzer’s doctoral thesis proposal in 1964, back to decisions that were made without the intention of determining the way certain areas of programming would work for decades. And maybe that’s the biggest lesson of this whole story: never treat a solution as a stopgap or a prototype (particularly if you’re working in Bell Labs in the late 60s or early 70s). Your “This’ll do for today” could become the standard for the generations to follow.

There’s Method to the Mentoring: Advice from a Teacher Turned Developer

There’s Method to the Mentoring: Advice from a Teacher Turned Developer

Whether you’re interested in becoming a mentor, have been mentoring for years, or are curious about teaching practices in the context of software development, Truss engineer Andrea Mitchell discusses five pieces of advice that should give you a general idea of what to aim for and expect from the mentor-mentee relationship.

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting at a Developer Bootcamp

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting at a Developer Bootcamp

Just two years ago I made the decision to change the course of my career and attend Ironhack Bootcamp to become a software engineer. After four years of working in the tech industry as a QA Engineer, becoming a coder felt like an inevitability. I was ready for the challenge, and fortunate that my experience provided me with an arsenal of skills that would help me succeed at bootcamp.

Many of my colleagues were not so lucky. Despite the hours they had already spent studying, the majority seemed technically underprepared for the coursework. Many were lacking basic computer skills and as a result, struggled to keep up with the intense pace of the class. I ended up spending a significant portion of my time teaching and coaching other students, and it got me thinking about what our program could have done differently to better prepare incoming students. What skills can students learn at home with relative ease so that, during their program, they can focus on developing the skills where bootcamps provide the most value?