handmade.network » Forums » How did this start?
113 posts

Code hacker/developer

#11591 How did this start?
1 year, 8 months ago

I've been curious. How did Handmade Network actually start and how did the folks who started it know each other beforehand? Was it literally conceived of inside the HH Twitch chat? Did you guys know each other at all beforehand, and did Casey play any role in any of it other than hosting HH to begin with?

I'm the smartest man in Athens because I know that I know nothing. ~ Socrates
Abner Coimbre
285 posts / 2 projects


#11594 How did this start?
1 year, 8 months ago Edited by Abner Coimbre on July 5, 2017, 10:31 p.m.


The first episode of the Handmade Dev Show is actually all about how the Handmade Dev initiative founded Handmade Network (HMN), and Casey even joins in the conversation! I'm sorry the show has been inaccessible for a while, but it will be back this month (as discussed in the latest monthly news). Once available I'll edit this post with the link to it.

EDIT: Handmade | Ep 1

I usually also link this KillScreen as an alternative.. Anyway, it all started** roughly two years ago with my making a request for people to post their software projects inspired by Handmade Hero (HMH). This snowballed into many projects flooding in as part of the listing, much more than I had ever imagined. Shortly after, I brought up the idea to make handmadeheroes.org to the community in one of the HMH streams, and it also snowballed into an exciting prospect. I contacted Casey, who gave me his blessing to get this party started. The team, known as the Handmade Dev Team, was formed (and it's the best people I've ever worked with), and we set out to grow this community not only by creating the website (which is the most important work, done by the team), but by my performing interviews on the HMD Show, having hundreds of one-on-one conversations with users and just general outreach in my own quirky but hopefully useful way.

Most important however, is how this community have given us the support, whether financial or moral, to succeed. And we hope it continues as we work hard to make Handmade Network the strongest software development / education network we envision it to be.

I know I glossed over some details, but hope this small history lesson helps!

** I stay "started" because all of this starts from earlier, with each individual's desire to make software well. The mood by some individuals to look at software development practices more critically, and less dogmatically, was coming even a bit before Handmade Hero began proper.

Working on Jai
Jeroen van Rijn
256 posts / 3 projects

A big ball of Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey _stuff_

#11595 How did this start?
1 year, 8 months ago Edited by Jeroen van Rijn on April 5, 2017, 12:46 p.m.

A long time ago, on a Twitch channel far away, The Casey was fighting the evil forces of software mediocrity.

Alright, enough of that :).

So… I was big into the demoscene when I was younger and I was looking what some of the Farbrausch guys were up to ~2 years ago, and between that and the JAI streams by Jon I became aware of the Handmade Hero show. Finally, a place the discussion around programming wasn't about the latest shiny in web development.

It turned out I wasn't the last sane programmer alive after all (for some values of sane). Through this chat I'd met Abner and Andrew and a lot of other fine people. Meanwhile, Abner had started a thread of Handmade projects on the old Handmade Hero forums and floated the idea of a site dedicated to software craftsmanship.

At this point I'd already retired from web development and was looking to seriously pick up low-level programming again (my second computer language was x86 asm), but a site needed developing and one I very much wanted to exist. So, "just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in".

We started brainstorming about what form this site should take and what features we should offer and whatnot, even tentatively coming to the conclusion that web development didn't have to suck (as much) as long as you first forget everything you know about it and rethink things from first principles. Long story short, we spent a reasonable amount of time engineering a backend platform from scratch.

That ended up eating up more time than we'd hoped, so in the interest of actually getting a site up and running, we shelved that "reinvent things from scratch" project and started building the site in the least sucky way possible on top of the least amount of Django we could get away with. It's a very unDjango Django site, basically. The latest vulnerability for example is one we weren't susceptible to because we don't use their standard login view.

Anyway, I digress…

To answer your question: Abner, Andrew and I met in the Handmade Hero chat on Twitch. So in that sense Casey mostly acted as a catalyst by bringing a couple of like-minded people together. I'd like to think that each of us would've built something like HMN without that impetus and eventually work together as a result, but that's a supposition we'll never be able to test…
Anton Swifton
30 posts / 1 project

PhD Student in Math at the University of South Carolina.

#11603 How did this start?
1 year, 8 months ago

Are you planning to come back to the developing the site from scratch idea at some point?
Jeroen van Rijn
256 posts / 3 projects

A big ball of Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey _stuff_

#11607 How did this start?
1 year, 8 months ago

Are you planning to come back to the developing the site from scratch idea at some point?

Almost certainly, indeed. We tentatively call the milestone in which we switch to a new backend 'version 2.0'. There are no definite plans when work on that will start, but given other commitments it'll probably start near the end of the year. Until then, the existing codebase will gain some new features and be maintained as long as it needs to be.