The Bike Shed

About the show

On The Bike Shed, hosts Joël Quenneville and Stephanie Minn discuss development experiences 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


  • 354: The History of Computing

    September 13th, 2022  |  31 mins 16 secs

    Why does the history of computing matter? Joël and Developer at thoughtbot Sara Jackson, ponder this and share some cool stories (and trivia!!) behind the tools we use in the industry.

  • 353: Mental Models

    September 6th, 2022  |  38 mins 22 secs

    Mental models are metaphors that help us understand complex problems we work on. They can be a simplified roadmap over an infinite area of complexity.

    How does one come up with mental models? How are they useful? Are they primarily a solo thing, or can they be used to communicate with the team? What happens when your model is inaccurate? Today, Joël is joined by Eebs Kobeissi, a Developer and Dev Manager at You Need a Budget, to discuss.

  • 352: Case Expressions

    August 30th, 2022  |  32 mins 23 secs

    As developers, we care a lot about code quality. How do we know how good is good enough? When do we stop improving code? Alternatively, when working on code that's really bad, how much do you improve it before calling it a day? thoughtbot's Stephanie Minn joins Joël to chat about this and case expressions: We recently discussed these as part of thoughtbot's RubyScience reading group. Are case expressions bad? Are they equivalent to multi-way conditionals? When do you use polymorphism?

  • 351: Learning in Public

    August 23rd, 2022  |  37 mins 7 secs

    It's Joël's first episode as host of The Bike Shed! 👋

    Joël has fellow thoughtbotter Steve Polito join him to talk about the benefits and drawbacks of "learning in public" and how there are many, many different ways to do it.

  • 350: 21 Bell Salute

    August 16th, 2022  |  52 mins 9 secs

    It's Steph and Chris' last show. Steph found a game, and if you've been following the journey, all of the Test::Unit test files are now live in RSpec. JWTs really grind Chris' gears.

    They wrap up with things they've learned, takeaways they've had, and their proudest podcasting moments. They also thank all the folks who've helped make The Bike Shed happen.

  • 349: Unpopular Opinions

    August 9th, 2022  |  40 mins 16 secs

    Steph and Chris announce Joël Quenneville as the new host of the show! 🎉 Joël talks about his grand plans for where The Bike Shed is going to go from here. (Okay, maybe not grand plans...!)

    Together, the group chats about unpopular opinions and hot programming takes.

  • 348: Breaking News

    August 2nd, 2022  |  32 mins 13 secs

    Steph and Chris share some big news about the future of The Bike Shed.

    Steph shares an update about integrating with Knapsack Pro. Chris is excited for larger projects that will begin in the next few weeks. They answer a listener's question on keeping backlogs connected to the product vision.

  • 347: Tracking Velocity

    July 26th, 2022  |  38 mins 50 secs

    Chris talks about a small toy app he maintains on the side and working with a project called capybara_table. Steph is getting ready for maternity leave and wonders how you track velocity and know if you're working quickly enough?

    They answer a listener's question about where to get started testing a legacy app.

  • 346: Occasional Biscuits

    July 19th, 2022  |  37 mins 13 secs

    Natural disaster movies, anyone? It's what Steph's been into, and Chris has THOUGHTS on the drilling in Armageddon.

    Additionally, a chat around RuboCop RSpec rules happens, and they answer a listener's question, "how do you get acquainted with a new code base?"

  • 345: Fire Drill

    July 12th, 2022  |  49 mins 22 secs

    Chris is getting ready to travel, and of course, Sagewell started the day with an incident, a situation, if you will...

    Steph talks books perfect for vacations and feels sufficiently scarred regarding still working with moving fixtures over to FactoryBot.

  • 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!