Hello, Handmade Network! We’ve got big plans for 2023 and it’s about time we shared them with you all. So let’s get into it!

Education: diving deep on networking

Last year we launched a new education initiative. Our goal is to cover topics that no one else is covering. And we’re not just making material for beginners - we want to dive deep into each topic and provide a rich understanding that can only come from real experts in the domain.

You see, we’re taking a different approach from most programmer education. We recognize that there are tons of great resources on the internet for a variety of topics. But if you’re new to a particular domain, there’s still an important question: where do I start?

We want to be your guide. We’ll point you to the best books, the best articles, the best resources that will help you gain real understanding. We’ll teach you the jargon and give you the context you need to understand each piece. We’re not just teaching you, we’re equipping you with the knowledge to learn for yourself.

We launched the education initiative with a focus on three topics: networking, compilers, and time. The compiler series will come eventually, but this year we want to laser-focus on one topic: networking.

There is almost no good networking education out there in the world. If you want to learn about TCP, your best bet is an O’Reilly book, Wikipedia, or the RFCs. The space is dominated by Cisco and other companies with expensive certifications. The end result is that almost all programmers are dependent on the network stack, and use it every day, but no one actually knows how it works. This is insane.

We’ve already started the series with an article taking you all the way from HTTP down to the Ethernet protocol, visiting TCP and IP along the way. This year we’ll be expanding the series with two more articles covering NATs, firewalls, internet infrastructure, and many other networking topics that affect programmers every day. We’re very excited to dig into these topics with you!

Time Machine: reminding ourselves how things used to be

The core of the Handmade philosophy is the idea that software has been getting worse faster than hardware is getting better. Despite the incredible advances in computer hardware, the user experience of computing today is worse than it was a decade or two ago.

We believe this. But many people don’t. So let’s prove it.

This summer we’ll be launching a project called Time Machine. We’ll be asking you, the community, to dig out your old devices and share video of yourself using them. We want to go back in time and remind ourselves what it was actually like to use these old devices. We’ll be tracking the specs of these devices too, so we have an idea of how computing resources were used.

We hope this will be a fun project for the community and will inspire you all to take advantage of the amazing hardware we have today. We’ll share more details later, but in the meantime, get your hands on some old devices!

Also, if you have installers for old versions of popular software, please ping us on Discord or contact us at [email protected]. When the project rolls around, we’d love to test out old versions of operating systems, browsers, office software, and anything else that represents the day-to-day experience of computing.

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We have an ambitious technical project in the works. It brings together all aspects of the Handmade community, from low-level systems programming to forward-thinking developer experiences, all designed to give real users a computing experience hundreds of times better than what’s on the market today.

This project reaches far beyond what a single developer can do. It will only be possible through the concentrated effort of a talented community of low-level programmers, with a common goal, and an inherent desire to make things better. I believe we are that community!

I’m excited to share more this summer. Until then, be intrigued >:)

Community events

These are our new flagship initiatives for 2023, but of course we’re still going strong with events for the community. The Visibility Jam starts tomorrow, and we’re going to do our third Wheel Reinvention Jam this fall. Abner has expanded Handmade Seattle into a new initiative called Handmade Cities, with conferences in both Boston and Seattle this year. And we’re still doing weekly Discord coffee chats, real-life meetups, fishbowls on various topics, and more.

I’m so excited for what this year will bring! Now let’s go jam 😁