EVC #4: One identity to rule them all, Edge Slice Re-Rendering, and how to speed up your GTA Online loading

Founder Bolt: Brian Anderson of Nacelle

Literally as I opened my text editor, Okta announced the acquisition of Auth0 for $6.5B. Auth0 has definitely made a lot of devs lives easier over the years, allowing them to seamlessly add authentication to products, which has always been a pain to roll out securely at scale. As an employer, Okta has made it easy to distribute and revoke credentials to employees. As an individual my experience hasn’t really gotten easier though. I still have to input my email in every single product, use 1Password to generate a secure password, then setup yet-another 2FA code on my Auth app (it’s getting hard to scroll at this point).

OAuth is a decent solution, but as a user you don’t have granular control over the permissions, and some of the accounts you’d use, like Google, have a lot of sensitive data I’d rather not share. Making this process easier would increase conversion for a lot of websites, which is why Fast.co and similar products are getting more popular. It’s going to be interesting to see how this space evolves, and whether or not Okta will support individual users more in the future. In my ideal world, every website has a “Sign In With Apple”-like feature where you are not giving up any data, and you have the option to obfuscate your email when you want to. You can then log into an app, keep track of all of them, revoke them, etc. As a developer, I could set this up and not have to worry about any headache related to GDPR, CCPA, etc since I never get that data in the first place unless the user opts in. Congrats to the Auth0 team, and looking forward to seeing how their product grows over the next few years!

Fun Reads

  1. Introducing Edge Slice Re-Rendering: Recording of Jay Phelps (of RxJS fame) talk at NextJS Conf. ESR is a very cool technology that lets you override certain pieces (slices) of the DOM at the edge by passing custom props on the fly. Since it happens at the CDN level, there’s almost no performance impact.

  2. How I cut GTA Online loading times by 70%: If you’ve played GTA V before, you know how long it takes to load the multiplayer. T0st decided to use a disassembler to figure out why that was. My favorite quote on the article is from an HN comment: “Even if you don't have the source, you can make a change if you are annoyed enough.”

  3. What is open source, and why do I feel so guilty?: This is a bit off-topic, but I recently watched this talk for the first time (thanks @mikermcneil!), and it was interesting to hear the perspective of a prominent OSS maintainer like Fat (creator of Bootstrap and more). Always good to keep in mind the toll that maintenance puts on open source creators.

  4. How Netflix scales its API with GraphQL Federation: We talked about content federation on the last issue, and this is one of the pieces I ran across when doing more research. It also gives some insight into Netflix’s tech stack at the movie-producing level, rather than just the streaming service. Very cool.

Founder Bolt

Brian Anderson is the Founder, CEO and Product Architect of Nacelle, a next-generation Headless Commerce platform. He has been writing backend code and designing database systems for over 14 years. Nacelle helps D2C eCommerce brands leverage headless functionality while keeping a best-of-breed tech stack. Nacelle’s headless architecture is designed for flexibility to allow for customization and the opportunity for merchants to embrace their best options across the board, from their ideal eCommerce agency partner to their preferred CMS system, third party applications and eCommerce platform at the core for their business. Nacelle acts as the glue between systems while providing ultra-fast headless PWA functionality aimed at improving site performance and profitability.

What’s one productivity hack that you really love? (Automation, dotfiles tweaks, etc)

Every day you’re bombarded with 100+ things. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and stall trying to process it all. Every single day, I make a list, stack rank it, and focus on the top item. Once I’ve done that, I move down the one below it, and so on. I don’t think about any other task on the list. I picked this up from Extreme Ownership, where this method is called “Prioritize and Execute,” and I preach it at Nacelle.

What’s the latest product your engineering team has adopted at work?

CodeClimate is phenomenal. If your team is into the book Accelerate, there are certain metrics that you really want to track. This is a great tool to create a strong culture around your engineering team’s productivity.

What technology/architecture are you the most excited about trying? What about getting rid of?

We are a Javascript organization through and through at Nacelle, running 100% on NodeJS. Other than frontend and backend, there’s a third piece of the puzzle which is infrastructure as code. We use a system called Pulumi to deploy infrastructure using Javascript, which is super cool and replaces Terraform for us.

What’s one side project you started but never finished?

A better calculator to measure page load speeds. What drives average order amount higher is not the first load, but the page transition speed. Page load is covered by tools like Google Lighthouse, but the tool hasn’t changed since we moved to single page applications. It's not about the first page load anymore, but what the interaction speed is when you click a link or image. Someone should build this!