#001: Debug Like a Pro with Open-Source Communities

Apr 10, 2022

It's an unfortunate reality that you'll probably spend 50% of your time as a developer de-bugging something.

But there's a sneaky way to drastically cut that down.

In the days of old, if you hit an error message you'd be lucky if one of your co-workers could help.

But today we not only have forums and blog posts, but real-time interactive communities. 

These are often built around a particular tool - usually open source ones.

For example dbt or Airbyte.

Some of these now have 10,000s of users and give you direct access to real-time working developers.

Across the world, 24-7. Always chatting. Tackling the same problems.

And to top it off, they can be completely free to join.

One of the most common platforms to host these communities is Slack.

While not all products have communities, many already do.

As an example, here is a screenshot of the previously-mentioned dbt community on Slack:

Notice there are currently 26,000+ members (at the time of writing) and channels for particular topics. 

Have a specific error? Just search for it.

In this example I had a very unique installation error (or so I thought).

I could simply search, find older posts/threads and eventually one had an answer.

All of this is done without having to say anything myself.

Not able to find it through search? Post about it and somebody will likely help you out.

Worst case, you don't get your answer and you're back to old-school Google-ing.

But leveraging these communities can save you countless hours and make you look like an expert to your co-workers.

Here are some (but certainly not all) other great examples of free communities:

As time goes on I expect to see more and more of these pop up.

It's a great trend in the data development world and one that I'd strongly encourage you to take advantage of.

So next time you (or a co-worker) runs into an error - see if there is a community and show them how it's done.



PS - I also happen to run a free Slack community and would love to have you. Click here to join.

Get clarity on common tools & components of a modern data stack

Get started with The Starter Guide for Modern Data to help you cut through the noise & better understand common "modern" architectures.

You'll also get free weekly emails with helpful tips & tutorials.