I sat down to write about a rendering technique I use to quickly wrap random D3 code in React components. I call them "blackbox components" because they're a black box.
Then I thought, ”This is dumb. People shouldn't keep rewriting this. It should be an npm module.”
So I started making a library.
So I went to copy config files from an old transition library I did. But the files were old and out of date. Possibly copied from a 0.2.x version of
So I looked for a
create-react-lib because the
-app version creates too much stuff that libraries don't need. Like all the setup for
index.html and assets and webpack dev and webpack prod and eslint and jest and a default app page and…
Couldn't find one. Used
create-react-app, ejected, copied config files, removed the parts I don't need.
30 minutes in: no post, no library, but I’ve got the config I need to get started.
So I copied the code from CodePen and cleaned it up and added some imports and exports. Made it Real Code™.
Then I thought, "You know, this technique can work for things that aren't SVG. There's plenty of stuff people might wanna use."
So I added a version that uses
<div> instead of
Then I compiled.
node_modules/babel-cli/bin/babel.js src --out-dir lib. It worked! ?
Now, how do I test this? ?
So I started writing an example project. Create react app and all of that.
npm link to use unpublished library. Neat trick, that.
I started with the same axis example from CodePen.
import BlackboxSvgHOC, use it to make an
Axis component, render in an
Error. Files not found.
Investigate, find a typo in the filename, fix, reload, renders default React app.
Waitaminute! Where's my example axis? How am I gonna add more awesome examples if I can't even load an axis?
Sigh. There's a nasty error in the console. Pretty sure I've never seen that one before.
How do you even debug that? ?
So I went to play Dirt3 for 20 minutes. To regain focus, ya know.
Then I wrote this story. And I wish I was kidding, but it took me an hour. Twitter is distracting.
3 hours after I started: no article, no library, no working code, no example project.
This is yak shaving. Don't do this.
I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
Subscribe below 👇
Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.
"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"
Senior Mindset Book
Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companiesLearn more
Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev
Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization
Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog
By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️