The Bike Shed

About the show

On The Bike Shed, hosts Chris Toomey & Steph Viccari discuss their development experience and challenges at thoughtbot with Ruby, Rails, JavaScript, and whatever else is drawing their attention, admiration, or ire this week.

The Bike Shed on social media


  • 344: Spinner Armageddon

    June 28th, 2022  |  38 mins 50 secs

    Steph has an update and a question wrapped into one about the work that is being done to migrate the Test::Unit test over to RSpec.

    Chris got to do something exciting this week using dry-monads. Success or failure?

  • 343: Opt-In To Oversharing

    June 21st, 2022  |  30 mins 31 secs

    Chris is weathering through a slight lull, a holding period, where his team waits for new features to become available with some of the platforms they integrate with, and as they think out new facets of the platform they're building.

    Steph has been thinking recently about working in isolation. It's a topic that Joël Quenneville pointed out to her and mentioned. Can engineers work in isolation and be successful?

  • 342: Sky Icing

    June 14th, 2022  |  43 mins 42 secs

    Another toaster strudel debate?! Plus, the results are in for the most listened-to podcast in the RoR community! :: drum roll ::

    Steph has a "Dear Gerrit" message to share. Chris has a follow-up on mobile app strategy.

  • 341: Fundamentals and Weird Stuff

    June 7th, 2022  |  35 mins 27 secs

    Steph and Chris are recording together! Like, in the same room, physically together.

    Chris talks about slowly evolving the architecture in an app they're working on and settling on directory structure. Steph's still working on migrating unit tests over to RSpec.

    They answer a listener question: "As senior-level developers, how do you set goals to ensure that you keep growing?"

  • 340: Solving People Problems with Rob Whittaker

    May 31st, 2022  |  50 mins 36 secs

    Steph is joined by a very special guest and fellow thoughtbotter, Rob Whittaker.

    Rob shares how he became the Software Development Director for Launchpad II, thoughtbot's Europe, Middle East, and Africa team. They also dive into what it's like to be a Development Director, the differences between mentoring and coaching, working with GitHub Codespaces, and strategies for boosting your creativity and problem solving capabilities.

  • 339: What About Pictures?

    May 24th, 2022  |  45 mins 3 secs

    Steph has a baby update and thoughts on movies, plus a question for Chris related to migrating Test Unit tests to RSpec.

    Chris watched a video from Google I/O where Chrome devs talked about a new feature called Page Transitions. He's also been working with a tool called, an omnichannel communication whiz-bang adventure!

  • 338: Meticulously Wrong

    May 17th, 2022  |  45 mins 52 secs

    Chris switched from Trello over to Linear for product management and talks about prioritizing backlogs.

    Steph shares and discusses a tweet from Curtis Einsmann that super resonated with the work she's doing right now: "In software engineering, rabbit holes are inevitable. You will research libraries and not use them. You'll write code just to delete it. This isn't a waste; sometimes, you need to go down a few wrong paths to get to the right one."

  • 337: Oh, Henry

    May 10th, 2022  |  43 mins 46 secs

    We've got a tricycle anniversary! 🥳 Will it be ruined by a cockroach?

    Steph shares an update regarding some of the progress and discoveries that she's helped make with a client in regards to speeding up CI.

    Chris is finally getting a little bit more back into the code at work and finds himself riding another time management struggle bus. P.S.: Who even names these apps?!?!

  • 336: Million Dollar Password

    May 3rd, 2022  |  35 mins 7 secs

    Chris came up with a mnemonic device: Fn-Delete – for when he really wants to delete something and is also thinking about password complexity requirements, which leads to an exciting discussion around security theater.

    Steph talks about the upcoming RailsConf and the not-in-person option for virtual attendees. She also gives a shoutout to the Ruby Weekly newsletter for being awesome.

  • 335: Start Messy

    April 26th, 2022  |  35 mins 38 secs

    Steph has a question for Chris: When you have no idea how you're going to implement a feature, how do you write your first test?

    Chris has thoughts about hybrid teams (remote/in-person) and masked inputs.

  • 334: Name That Bike

    April 19th, 2022  |  42 mins 24 secs

    Chris got a bike. Specifically, he bought a bike to use in a triathlon he signed up to participate in. Now he needs to name the bike, and speaking of naming things, a more technical topic that he talks about is the Crispy Brussels Snack Hour.

    Steph talks about Rescue Rails projects and increasing developer acceleration.

    They answer a listener question asking, "Why do so many developers and agencies, thoughtbot included, replace the default test suite in Rails with RSpec?"

  • 333: Tapas

    April 12th, 2022  |  41 mins 53 secs

    Being pregnant is hard, but this tapas episode is good! Steph discovered and used a #yelling Slack channel and attended a remote magic show. Chris touches on TypeScript design decisions and edge cases.

    Then they answer a question captured from a client Slack channel regarding a debate about whether I18n should be used in tests and whether tests should break when localized text changes.

  • 332: Ludicrous Speed

    April 5th, 2022  |  39 mins 28 secs

    Chris is back from vacation and gives hiring and onboarding updates.

    Steph has an update about the CI slowdown and scaling CI.

    They tackle a listener question regarding having some fear around potential merge conflicts.

  • 331: Git Down

    March 22nd, 2022  |  29 mins 28 secs

    Steph celebrates Utah's adoption day and Daylight Savings Time and troubleshoots a CI build time that had suddenly spiked for a client project using TeamCity. She also shares a minor update regarding the work that thoughtbot is doing to scale horizontally and add more machines quickly and efficiently to process more RSpec tests.

    Chris was alarmed by logs and unknown-unknowns and had some fun using Git down. Git bless his heart!

  • 330: Bikeshed Baby

    March 15th, 2022  |  33 mins 50 secs

    BIG NEWS! Steph's expecting a baby boy! 🍼🎉

    Aaaand unfortunately, the rest of the show isn't nearly as exciting. Chris talks about admin pagination using Pagy, and Steph wants to delete some code and has nervousness around that she's going to break something.

    They answer a listener question from Slash, who asks, "What are the first keyboard shortcuts you teach junior devs?"

  • 329: Fire Mode

    March 8th, 2022  |  31 mins 41 secs

    Steph is excited to be headed on a retreat with her mom in the mountains, but before that, she details how she helped troubleshoot a production issue with her team and appreciated their process. She's also looking into tooling around spinning up more machines to process more RSpec tests.

    Chris had a developer start their new job at Sagewell and highlights how they involved the new person in rectifying potentially missing and/or confusing existing documentation. He also has a gripe, and that is accounts. Handling too many accounts. Additionally, he talks about triaging an error and how it was tough initially to understand if something was actually broken. And then it was even harder to understand what was broken. So he paired through it and used the power of putting two heads together.