Programming Digest #482: Supercharging A/B Testing at Uber

And more news, tutorials and articles about programming and technology in this week's issue.

#482 — July 25, 2022 View in browser

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Supercharging A/B Testing at Uber

While the statistical underpinnings of A/B testing are a century old, building a correct and reliable A/B testing platform and culture at a large scale is still a massive challenge. Mirroring Fisher’s observation above, carefully constructing the building blocks of an A/B platform and ensuring the data collected is correct is critical to guaranteeing correctness of experiment results, but it’s easy to get wrong. Uber went through a similar journey and this blog post describes why and how we rebuilt the A/B testing platform we had at Uber.

In Praise of Stacked PRs

“Stacked PRs” is the practice of breaking up a large change into smaller, individually reviewable PRs which can depend on each other, forming a DAG.

What happens when you press a key in your terminal?

This past week I was using xterm.js to display an interactive terminal in a browser and I finally thought to ask a pretty basic question: when you press a key on your keyboard in a terminal (like Delete, or Escape, or a), which bytes get sent?

Soft Deletion Probably Isn't Worth It

Anyone who’s seen a couple different production database environments is likely familiar with the “soft deletion” pattern – instead of deleting data directly via DELETE statement, tables get an extra deleted_at timestamp and deletion is performed with an update statement instead.

Is keeping dates in UTC really the best solution?

In many projects, the approach to dates is quite nonchalant. People do as they want. When on-premise systems were king, the common problem was that it was hard to know precisely when something happened. The consistency of the configuration depended on how meticulous ops people were. It wasn’t shocking to find out that the server had a different time zone, the application had a different one, and the user had a different time zone. At one point, the development community found a compromise that “maybe we would use the same time zone everywhere, for instance UTC”.

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