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


  • 213: Admins Matter Too

    September 10th, 2019  |  35 mins 18 secs

    On this week's episode, Steph discusses a mini design sprint she led to help validate an internal admin tool while Chris muses on the merits of net negative lines of code on a project. They dig into the idea that while code can certainly be an asset, it may also be a liability. They investigate ActiveSupport::MessageVerifier for secure time-sensitive tokens. Steph shares details about her recent visit to the Ruby on Rails Podcast and Chris shares the recording for a talk he gave on understanding technology choices. Lastly, they round out the conversation with a listener question about build times and lock files and how to organize and split up our tests.

  • 212: Award Winning Sheds

    September 4th, 2019  |  37 mins 17 secs

    On this week's episode, Steph and Chris share the news that The Bike Shed won the Best Dev Podcast on the Hackernoon Noonies awards! After a bit of celebration, they get back to their normal adventures with a discussion around onboarding covering the importance, approach, and pitfalls that they've seen in their time joining countless teams. They also touch on the relevance and increasing ease of SSL everywhere, and they answer a listener question about technical debt and rewriting applications.

  • 211: I'm Not a Lawyer, But...

    August 27th, 2019  |  36 mins 28 secs

    On this week's episode, Chris and Steph discuss their preferred strategy when building an admin portal (spoiler: it's not using a client-side technology), separating our identity from our preferred technology, coding styles that require greater mental effort, and answer a listener's question about deleting migrations.

  • 210: Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen

    August 20th, 2019  |  34 mins 46 secs

    On this week's episode, Steph and Chris discuss mechanical keyboards, combating error fatigue, the joy of admin features and respond to two listener questions about typed vs dynamic languages and various ways to "speed up" third-party API calls.

  • 209: We Will Never Know Enough (Michael Chan)

    August 13th, 2019  |  39 mins 15 secs

    On this week's episode Chris is joined by Michael Chan aka @chantastic, host of the React Podcast and prolific maker and sharer throughout the internets. They discuss Micheal's work on the React Podcast and themes in open source in general, Michael's focus on communication and delivering value, and the honest take that no one has all the answers or a silver bullet.

  • 208: Goldilocks and the Three Monitors

    August 6th, 2019  |  33 mins 30 secs

    On this week's episode, Chris and Steph weigh-in on curved monitors, discuss how pairing improves productivity and team morale, and respond to two listener questions inquiring what makes Rails successful and new project nerves.

  • 207: Very-Bad, Or Just Normal-Bad?

    July 30th, 2019  |  39 mins 46 secs

    On this week's episode, Steph and Chris discuss a handful of utilities that help with their workflows and GitHub, and then dive into a handful of ActiveRecord, SQL, and postgres-related topics. They discuss safe vs unsafe migrations when dealing with larger volumes of data, adding an index safely in migration without downtime, and bringing postgres enums into Rails.

  • 206: No-One Wants to be the Canary

    July 23rd, 2019  |  38 mins 8 secs

    On this week's episode, Steph and Chris discuss working with Django, Angular, and explore the new features released in Ruby 2.7.0-preview1! They also respond to a listener's question regarding the trade-offs of using client state management tools like NgRx and Redux.

  • 205: Won't Somebody Think of The Jokes (Aaron Patterson)

    July 9th, 2019  |  45 mins 29 secs

    On this week's episode, Chris is joined in a live recording from RailsConf by the one and only Aaron Patterson. They discuss Aaron's many RailsConf keynotes, his recent work on Rails view rendering and his three-year-long effort to bring more advanced garbage collection to Ruby which will finally be seeing the light of day. And of course, plenty of puns.

  • 204: I Don't Like Rest

    July 2nd, 2019  |  45 mins 52 secs

    In this week's episode, Steph and Chris discuss ways to unplug and protect personal downtime, RESTful sorting, altering production data within a Rails migration vs a rake task, adopting Unicode characters, and respond to a listener's question about how they approach client relationships and share thoughtbot's Agile-like process.

  • 203: A Blessed Monkeypatch (Eileen M. Uchitelle)

    June 25th, 2019  |  40 mins 46 secs

    On this week's episode, we revisit RailsConf 2019 for another live recording, this time with Eileen M. Uchitelle, GitHubber and rails core team member. Eileen joins Chris to discuss her RailsConf talk on how GitHub maintained a custom fork of Rails for years, how they finally moved off it, and what lessons we can take away from their experience. They also discussed Eileen's recent work on automatic database switching coming in Rails 6, microservices and monoliths, and getting into working on Rails.

  • 202: I Left it All on The Dance Floor

    June 18th, 2019  |  32 mins 21 secs

    In this week's episode, Chris and Steph discuss how working with typed-languages influences their work with dynamic languages. They also chat about the benefits of pair programming, tracking performance events using Rails' Instrumentation API and respond to a listener's question about how to structure code that doesn't fit neatly within the default Rails' structure.

  • 201: Artisanally Indented Code (Kevin Deisz)

    June 11th, 2019  |  45 mins 39 secs

    On this week's episode, Chris is joined by Kevin Deisz, CTO of CultureHQ, live from RailsConf. They discuss Kevin's RailsConf talk on preevalution in Ruby, but dig further into Kevin's core philosophies that drive his work on tools like preval. They round out the discussion with Kevin's work on prettier-plugin Ruby, an automated code formatter to finally tame the wild west of Ruby syntax, and the hopeful path to a v1.0 in the not too distant future.

  • 200: FOMO for Hallway Track (200th Episode!)

    May 29th, 2019  |  53 mins 51 secs

    On this very special Bike Shed, Steph and Chris celebrate reaching the 200th episode. They discuss the origins of the show and thank some of the wonderful folks who helped make it happen (thanks Derek, Sean, Amanda, Laila, and of course Thom!). They discuss Chris's recent trip to RailsConf and some strategies for making the most of conference attendance. Also, Steph's recent work hosting an intro to web development course. They wrap things up with a series of questions captured live from RailsConf at the community meetup covering career growth, naming, graphql, joy, and more.

  • 199: Pave That Path

    May 21st, 2019  |  45 mins 16 secs

    On this week's episode, Steph and Chris talk about PR sizing, load testing (the weird way), and ponder the merits and pitfalls of personal style in code. They also discuss Hertz suing Accenture for undelivered software and the belief that engineers should talk to users! This one truly has something for everyone.

  • 198: In Terms of Tradeoffs (Glenn Vanderburg)

    May 14th, 2019  |  41 mins 22 secs

    On this week's episode, Chris is joined by Glenn Vanderburg, VP of Engineering at, live from RailsConf. They discuss Glenn's RailsConf talk, "The 30-Month Migration", covering distributed data models, refactoring, and the wonders of postgres. They also discuss Glenn's famous talk, "Real Software Engineering", and what the term "software engineering" means within our communities.