devRant Developer

A devRant Update! (January 3, 2017)

Hey everyone,

Happy New Year! We thought now would be a great time for an end-of-year update and to talk about what we have in the works.

Highlights since our last update:

  • We added a "stories" feature! Stories is a simple way to see long-form rants (lots of awesome stories!) in one section. These rants are auto-curated from rants that are 70 or more words and can be sorted by the standard feed sort methods. Stories is accessible from the menu in the top left of the apps.
  • We released the second episode of our podcast, featuring DHH!
  • Fun new swag store items! We added custom avatar stickers and devRant baseball caps.
  • Ability to post images and gifs in comments!
  • Thanks to a suggestion from @Yankeesrule, we added a "viewed" list to every user's profile where you can see all of the rants you've recently viewed so you can easily get back to them. Only you can see your list of viewed rants.
  • The community embarked an on awesome group project aiming at sending a bottle with a devRant stress ball in it on a transatlantic journey. (original rant, update, update)
  • You can now longpress on an image within the rant view screen to have the option to download it.
  • The app now automatically saves your rant/comment text if you close the window without posting it, so you can easily come back to it to finish it later.
  • We added functionality so you can mute in-app notifs in addition to push notifs on a per-rant basis.

What's next?

  • Collabs: We're extremely excited about this new feature which will be our first major content-based feature since we launched. Collabs will be a new devRant section within the app where you can post a listing to help find collaborators for your open source project, side project idea, startup, etc. To make sure we maintain high-quality listing from organizers who are serious about their projects, there will be a small fee for listing a project. However, we will be rewarding users who have a certain amount of points with a free listing. Keep an eye out for this feature in the next few weeks!
  • Navigation overhaul: To make the app easier to navigate, we've decided to move to a tabbed interface and get rid of the hamburger menu. We think this will make it much easier to navigate the app. Like collabs, this will be launched within the next few weeks.
  • New podcast episode: We apologize for the long wait, but we're finally wrapping up production on a new episode of the podcast! Our featured interview is with Yevgeniy Brikman, author of Hello, Startup, and we talk about startup and side-projected related advice.
  • A new cartoon! We know everyone wants more so Tim is working hard to make that happen.

It was a great 2016 for devRant and we're so excited to see what 2017 will bring. We really appreciate everyone of you who makes up an important part of the devRant community. We've learned so much from our userbase and we greatly appreciated the positive feedback and constructive feedback that helps us improve devRant. Please keep it coming and feel free to contact us at any time with suggestions or problems!

Happy ranting,
~David and Tim (Team devRant)
@dfox @trogus


A devRant Update! (October 11, 2016)

Hey everyone,

It's time for another devRant update! So much has happened since the last one.

First, here's some quick highlights of a few things that were launched since our last update:

What's next?

  • devRant Stories: This new feature will allow you to easily go through longer text rants that are more in-depth and story-like. We think it will be an awesome way to highlight older rants that tell awesome/hilarious stories as well as new, captivating rants.
  • Next podcast episode: This new episode will include an awesome interview with David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) and some more fun devRant community member rant reads & interviews.
  • Images in comments: Pretty self-explanatory and should be a lot of fun and also has a lot of utility when looking to share insights through images in rant comments.
  • Some other fun goodies that we think everyone will enjoy :)

As always, we've been thrilled with the growth of the devRant community and we're doing our best to keep up with everything. We process a ton of sticker requests and feature suggestions, so if you ever don't get a response after a week or so, please don't hesitate to contact us again (info@devrant.io). Occasionally things get lost in the shuffle so please remind us if we forget :)

We're also continuing to make it our top priority to maintain the expectation of excellent, quality content on devRant and we're always developing new features with that goal in mind. And as we've always said, we developed devRant with the important goal of giving everyone's content (rants, comments) as much exposure as we possibly can to an audience who will love it.

Happy ranting,
~David and Tim (Team devRant)
@dfox @trogus


A devRant Update! (August 19, 2016)

Hey everyone,

We have a lot of exciting stuff happening with devRant so we thought it was time for another update.

First, here's some quick highlights of a few things that were launched since our last update:

  • Notifications on devRant desktop web app.
  • Double tap on a rant/comment to ++ it
  • Sharing improvements
  • Downloadable images
  • Lots of behind the scenes stability work to make sure our systems can handle more growth
  • @dfox was interviewed by a cool emag for devs.
  • We put together a data story that was featured on Forbes Tech, fossBytes, ADTmag, ARC
  • Major algo sort overhaul (please read more details about this below)

As mentioned above, we just finished pushing out by far the biggest overhaul of our main feed algorithm to-date. We began testing it last week as a 50% test. This means that 50% of users on iOS and Android who use the "algo" sorting method have already been exposed to the new algo sort. Today, we pushed it live for the other 50%. (you can read an article dfox wrote about the A/B test on the Sumo Logic blog)

Here is everything the new algo sort offers:

  • Only rants you haven't seen yet - the new algo automatically shows you only rants you haven't yet "viewed." It marks a rant viewed when you vote on it, open it, or just scroll past it. Rants are also marked read if you see the same set 5 times without scrolling at all. (ex. refreshing the feed without doing anything) If it does run out of content you haven't seen yet, it will fall back to top rants from the last week. So if you're seeing the same top rants that you already viewed/votes on, then it probably means there is no new algo-recommended content.
  • Personalized to your tastes - we're really excited about this one. We have implemented an intelligent recommendation system to figure out what rants you are more likely to enjoy and bubble those up in the algo feed. This means that we are now also sprinkling in some slightly older rants that you haven't seen yet that our recommendation engine scored highly for you. Right now, personalization is based on 3 main criteria, with all data coming from which rants you upvote. Criteria #1 is rants that other users with similar tastes to you have upvoted that you haven't seen yet. Basically we calculate which users have similar voting patterns to you, give them a "similarity" score, and use that to add more weight to rants they liked when looking for ones to recommend to you. Criteria #2 is simply your favorite ranters. If you are consistently enjoying rants created by a specific member of the community, the algo sort will try to make sure you never miss any of their rants. Criteria #3 is your favorite tags. The algo determines which tags you frequently enjoy, and adds weight to rants you haven't seen that have those tags.
  • Much more powerful but also much faster - due to the complex nature of the new algorithm, we had to write it from the ground up as a Neo4j server extension, which means it's written in the lowest-level Neo4j Java API, making it super fast and even faster than the old, non-intelligent algorithim.
  • A few misc. notes: Everything listed above only applies to the "algo" sort setting. Recent and top are not affected by these changes. However, when you "view" a rant on recent (vote, open, scroll past), it counts as the rant being read and therefore it is automatically hidden from algo. If you want to check any of this out, you need to select the algo sorting option. To be clear, this is not meant to replace recent or top sort. They both have distinct purposes and do things that the new algo does not do. If you want to always see the latest content and everything that's happening, recent is your best bet. But if you ever are away from devRant for a few days (sad thought, we know!) algo is perfect for catching up and seeing all the good content you missed. Even if you always use recent sort, you can still check out algo at any time to see some gems you might have overlooked.
  • Availability the new algo sort is only available to registered users (since we have to save your preferences and everything is based on voting) and right now is only available on iOS and Android apps.
  • Lots of benefits for the community we think that this new way of sorting content on algo will help the community as a whole, and our A/B test indicated that should be the case. Remember, the more content you enjoy that you give a ++ to, the better the algorithm will get at recommending content to you. Additionally, we're really excited about this change because it gives a chance for lots of slightly older rants that might have been overlooked to now get more exposure specifically to people who are likely to enjoy them.

What's next?

Well... We are extremely excited to announce that we have made significant progress on what will be the most significant new devRant feature since launch. It's top secret right now but we are very exicited about it and we think it will add a whole new dimension to the devRant community. At this point the initial launch of this feature is probably a few weeks away, but trust us, we think it's worth the wait :) As always, we're continuing to fix bugs and routinely make improvements to the apps. We're not only concentrating on new features - we are big advocates for balancing feature work and general app improvement/bug squashing.

A note on community etiquette

Our single biggest goal with devRant is to make it a really fun and stress-free place where developers can be themselves. We've always tried to keep moderation to a minimum because we think it's important to allow different view-points to shine through. With that said, we do have a policy that has long existed but will start to be enforced much more as the community continues to grow. The main policy is, if you don't like a rant, feel free to downvote it (and select the proper downvote reason), but it is not acceptable to comment on a rant with things like "this is stupid", "don't post this", "this doesn't belong here", etc. The simple logic behind this is while all of those might very well be true - rarely, if ever, do those types of comments do anything to solve problems. On any community people rarely respond well from being told what to do by random users who aren't moderators. Civil debate is perfectly fine, but just commenting that something is stupid or not to post it is not. That's what downvoting is for, that's what reporting is for, and that's what emailing info@devrant.io is for. With all those avenues available, this policy will be strictly enforced and violators will be banned. We haven't seen much of this at all, but we want to keep it that way so everyone continues to have a good time.

That's all we really have for now. Thank you again, and we really appreciate all of you who make up this dev community so much. It's been a thrill getting to interact with all of the awesome developers who are a part of devRant, and we are very excited for the coming weeks and months. As always, our lines are always open, and if you ever have any issues, suggestions, feedback, etc, don't hesitate to send us an email (info@devrant.io). That address delivers to both me and Tim. Thanks again everyone!

Happy ranting,
~David and Tim (Team devRant)
@dfox @trogus


A devRant Update! (July 13, 2016)

Hey everyone,

Since our last official update a lot has happened, so we thought it was time for another one! Below you'll see some highlights and what's coming in the near future, but we also wanted to take a chance to talk about the devRant community in general.

First, we want to thank each and every member of the community for contributing and making devRant a place that we like to think is pretty fun! We appreciate everything the community has done to make devRant successful so far. Your generous and hilarious rant contributions, your awesome comments, your voting, your help spreading the word about devRant by telling your friends and followers, your frequent feedback/feature ideas/bug reports, your quick embrace of the new devRant Swag Store, your willingness to create awesome plugins/apps on the devRant platform, your Google Play Store devRant reviews (there's a few iOS reviews, but our Android users have been incredibly awesome with their reviews. Give them some competition, iOS :) ) - none of it has gone unnoticed and though we're busy, we want everyone to know that we see everything that goes on and we really, really appreciate it.

A few highlights since our last update:

  • We hit some cool milestones: 11,000 registered users, 18,000 rants, 50,000 comments and 350,000 votes!
  • The community wanted the vote buttons to be ++ and -- so that's what they became!
  • We released the first devRant cartoon based on one of your rants!
  • We opened a devRant Swag Store where you can get cool stuff (t-shirts, new stickers, squishy balls) and help support devRant at the same time!
  • We greatly improved rant sharing on Facebook by making the image display either the image attached to the rant; or in the case of a textual rant, we convert the text, or a subsection of it to the image. Try it out if you haven't - we think it's pretty cool!
  • We added fully customizable push notification settings
  • @localhost become the first devRanter ever to hit 5,000 points!
  • We added "favorite" functionality so you have a list to keep your favorite rants on
  • We overhauled profiles and made them infinitely scrollable and collapsible
  • We added downvote reasons and functionality to hide reposts
  • Many more!

Here's some things we have on our roadmap:

  • Improvements to the devRant web version (desktop): adding notifications and other missing features.
  • Improvements to both mobile apps. Specifically, we're trying to address a number of Android issues around notifications and app startup. On both apps we're aware of a long-standing notification flicker/incorrect count issue that we're also working on fixing.
  • Algo sorting improvements and a brand new sort method for discovering content our algo thinks you'd like but missed. This also comes with the ability for us to mark off rants that you've read so we don't keep showing them to you.
  • Double tap on a rant/comment to ++ it
  • "Rants you might also like" in rants that don't have any comments yet
  • Sharing improvements
  • Another cartoon!
  • Downloadable images
  • Post/comment editing
  • Images/gifs in comments
  • A better and more efficient system to tag your rants
  • A better way to keep track of community feedback and bugs reported by devRant users
  • Many more!

Beyond just features, we're working very hard to continue to improve the sense of community on devRant while also growing our userbase and awareness in the larger developer community that devRant exists. If you have any ideas on any of this, as always, we love your feedback. Feel free to email us at info@devrant.io.

As the community grows, there's bound to be some arguments here and there. While we think it's important to be very light on actually moderating content, we think there's a few things we can all do to keep devRant fun and free of conflict. First, if you see a post you don't like, think is out of place, is offensive, etc., you are welcome to downvote is per the downvote reasons. In general though, if someone is trolling or being outright offensive, from our experience we've found that commenting and engaging with them sometimes just puts fuel on the fire, so it's better to just downvote and move on. Remember that you can downvote, report rants for being offensive, and if you think something needs immediate attention, always feel free to email info@devrant.io and we'll get right on it.

Anyway, that's all we really have for now. Like we said before, thank you again, and we really appreciate all of you who make up this dev community so much. As always, our lines are always open, and if you ever have any issues, suggestions, feedback, etc, don't hesitate to send us an email (info@devrant.io). That address delivers to both me and Tim. Thanks again everyone!

Happy ranting,
~David and Tim (Team devRant)
@dfox @trogus


A devRant Update! (May 29, 2016)

Hey everyone,

Since our official launch about 2.5 months ago, it's been a pretty wild and exciting ride! So many things have happened and the community has started to blossom so nicely, and we've really enjoyed seeing this happen.

Here are just a few highlights:

So now that we've given some highlights, we also want to talk about what the future holds for devRant. Here's what we have on our roadmap:

  • Algo feed personalization - we've heard a lot of feedback about what people want to see on their feed and what kind of content they like the best, and we've come to realize that a 1-solution-fits-all for the feed just won't work. That's why we're working on intelligently crafting everyone's feed based on many factors including user's who have similar tastes to you, users you frequently like the content of, etc.
  • Fully customizable push notification settings
  • A devRant shop - you'll soon be able to purchase some devRant t-shirt, squishy balls, new stickers designs, etc. If you have any ideas or would like to see anything specific, feel free to email us some feedback (info@devrant.io)
  • Post editing - we're not sure exactly how this will work yet, but once we figure it out, we'll add it
  • Many more smaller app enhancements and general improvements, and of course bug fixes of the remaining bugs (with a focus on Android since it is a little less stable than the iOS app)
  • A super awesome top secret project that Tim has been working on. We can't reveal exactly what yet, but we think everyone will love it and it will create a chance for a very cool kind of exposure for rants that get posted

The main thing that has made the last 2.5 months so rewarding for us is the community itself and the amazing community members that are a part of it. We truly appreciate everyone's contributions and we are striving to make sure all the devs on devRant have as much fun as possible. We really, really appreciate all the positive and constructive feedback we've been receiving. Please note that if you have sent us feedback we have definitely considered it and discussed it. We're only a two person team right now so sometimes we don't get a chance to respond personally to the feedback. Know that we really appreciate though and it is not going unheard.

Our lines are always open, and if you ever have any issues, suggestions, feedback, etc, don't hesitate to send us an email (info@devrant.io). That address delivers to both me and Tim. Thanks again everyone!

Happy ranting,
~David and Tim (Team devRant)
@dfox @trogus