Cowboys and Consultants Don’t Need Unit Tests

As a developer, my understanding and respect for software testing has been slow coming because in my previous work I have been an engineer and a consultant, and in these roles it wasn’t yet obvious how important testing really is. But over the past year I have finally gained an appropriate respect and appreciation for testing; and it’s even improving the way I write code. In this post I will explain where I’ve come from and how far I’ve traveled in my testing practices. I’ll then list out some of the more important principles I’ve picked up along the way.

Engineers are cowboys … and cowboys don’t need no stinkin’ tests.
I got my start as an Aerospace engineer. And as an engineer, if you do any programming at all, testing is probably not part of it. Why? Because engineers are cowboy coders. As engineering students, we are taught just enough to implement whatever algorithm we have in mind, make some pretty graphs, and then we graduate.

It wasn’t much better at my first job. I had shown an interest in software development and so, in one particular project, I was given the task or reworking and improving the project codebase. We were developing autonomous aircraft control algorithms and it soon became apparent that after months of work, no one had thought to run the simulation using different starting conditions. After finally trying different starting conditions we found that our control system was generally better at crashing the plane rather than flying it. This should have been the biggest hint in my early career that testing might be important. But it would still be quite a while before I learned that lesson.

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Isomorphic React Sans Node

React is JavaScript library for building user interfaces that has taken the web development industry by storm. Its declarative syntax and DOM abstraction for components not only make client-side development simple, but also enables server-side rendering of those same components, which enables improved SEO and initial browser load time. But how do you render JavaScript React components server-side if your backend doesn’t run on Node? Learn how Eventbrite successfully integrated React with their Python/Django backend so that you can do the same in yours.

React + = ❤

JavaScript is evolving quickly. The ES6 specification was released in 2015 and is quickly being implemented by modern browsers. New versions of ECMAScript will now be released on a yearly basis. We can leverage ES6 and functionality slated for future versions right now to write even clearer and more concise React code.

Experience with React will help you get the most out of this session, but you don’t have to have a JavaScript black belt to leave feeling confident in using ES6 with React. Senior Front-End Engineer Ben Ilegbodu covers how to write cleaner code using the new spread operator, classes, modules, destructuring, and other tasty syntactic sugar features being introduced into ECMAScript. Oh, and don’t worry if you don’t understand all of those terms — you soon will after this video.

The Elevator Pitch from a Data Strategist

When people asked what I do for a living at conferences or parties, I told them I run data strategy. Their first response was “oh, that’s cool”. Then they paused for a moment and asked “what do you do exactly?”

After spending fifteen minutes explaining all the aspects of my job, I either totally confused my audience or bored them to death.

So I set out to develop an elevator pitch, something as punchy as “I am a photographer who specializes in marine life”. I thought I could get some help from online job postings. Searching “data strategy” on LinkedIn returned 84 listings. Few of them described what I do. By contrast, the search on “data scientist” returned 40 times more results.

I was not hired per a job description. I was lucky to convince Eventbrite to create the role for me.

My argument was pretty simple: think of all the data-related challenges the company faces, how many of them are technical, how many are organizational?

Most data-driven organizations have the following data pipeline.
Data Pipeline

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Engineering + Accounting for Marketplace Businesses

Eventbrite Principal Product Manager Ryan D’Silva and Chief Architect Adam Sussman cover how there’s a deep product need where engineering and finance meet, particularly if you’re a marketplace. While there are solutions available, none do the job particularly well and most marketplaces have built their own solutions at great cost. We’d like to shed some light on the problem and share what we’ve learned so far.

Learning ES6: Generators as Iterators


I feel like all the articles in the Learning ES6 series have been leading up to generators. They really are the feature most JavaScript developers are excited about in ECMAScript 6. They very well may be the future of asynchronous programming in JavaScript. That’s definitely something to get excited about!

Generators can be used both as data producers and data consumers. In this post, we’re going to look at how generator functions are a much more convenient way to produce data and and create iterators. It’s the simpler way to use generators. In the last article we covered iterators & iterables, so you may need to familiarize yourself with that before looking at generators as iterators.


A generator function is a special type of function that when invoked automatically generates a special iterator, called a generator object. Generator functions are indicated by function* and make use of the yield operator to indicate the value to return for each successive call to .next() on the generator.

function* range(start, count) {
    for (let delta = 0; delta < count; delta++) {
        yield start + delta;

for (let teenageYear of range(13, 7)) {
    console.log(`Teenage angst @ ${teenageYear}!`);

Feel free to clone the Learning ES6 Github repo and take a look at the generators code examples page showing them off in greater detail.

With out further ado, let’s keep reading.

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Learning ES6: Iterators & iterables


We’ve talked about promises and new collection APIs, so now we’re finally going to talk about iterators & iterables. They’ve come up in passing in the last couple of posts, so it’s about time we talk about them deeply.


Iterators provide a simple way to return a (potentially unbounded) sequence of values. The @@iterator symbol is used to define default iterators for objects, making them an iterable.

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Learning ES6: New Collections


Let’s continue focusing on the new functionality introduced with ES6 in the Learning ES6 series. The main focus in the next few articles will be all about asynchronous programming. We’ll ultimately talk about generators, but there are a few building blocks we need to get through first. The new collections we’ll talk about now aren’t really building blocks for generators, but I feel that they are important to learn. In addition, they are types of iterables which we’ll deep dive into in the next article.


ES6 introduces four new efficient collection data structures to mitigate our ab-use of object and array literals.

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The Lifecycle of an Eventbrite Webhook

At Eventbrite, we have a feature called webhooks.  Webhooks can be thought of as the opposite of an API call.  When using our API, developers either ask us for information, or hand us information.  Both of these are initiated by you.  In a webhook, we proactively notify developers (via an HTTP POST with JSON content) when actions happen on our site.  The actions we currently support are as follows:

  • Attendee data is updated
  • An attendee is checked in via barcode scan
  • And attendee is checked out via barcode scan
  • An event is created
  • And event is published
  • An event is unpublished
  • Event data is updated
  • Venue data is updated
  • Organizer data is updated
  • An order is placed
  • An order is refunded
  • Order data is updated

Webhooks are relatively simple to create.  You can create/delete them in our admin web interface.

Screenshot 2016-07-28 10.22.49

Screenshot 2016-07-28 10.25.46

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Eventbrite and SEO: How does Google find our pages?

One thing that took me by surprise when I started researching SEO was that when a user enters a search term, the results are gathered from Google’s representation of the web not the entire web. For a page to be included in its index, Google must have already parsed, and stored the page’s contents in its databases.

To do this, automated robots known as spiders or crawlers scan the internet for links leading to pages they can index. These crawlers will begin scanning one page, then follow the links they find to then scan and index those pages.


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