How To Be a Rockstar Developer

We’ve all heard about the idea of the ‘rockstar developer’ - maybe you’ve heard your boss talk about hiring a ‘rockstar’, or maybe you’ve seen the job adverts looking for ‘rockstar developers’ on IT job boards. But what if EVERYBODY could be a rockstar developer?

In 2018, Dylan Beattie created Rockstar, an esoteric programming language designed for creating programs that are also rock song lyrics. Rockstar was initially created as a joke - a parody specification that combined features from programming languages like VBScript, Perl and Ruby with lyrical conventions from classic rock artists like Bon Jovi, Meat Loaf and Deep Purple. Then people started submitting issues. Then they started submitting pull requests. Then somebody created an implementation… and another, and another.

Before long, Rockstar was on the front page of Hacker News, the front page of Reddit, and was even featured in Classic Rock magazine. What started as a joke had become a fully fledged open source project - and so, in 2019, Dylan and a few dedicated ‘Rockstar developers’ set out to create a formal reference implementation, complete with a parser, an evaluator, a specification and change control process, and - of course - lots of awesome Rockstar swag. In this talk, Dylan will share ideas and insight from working on the Rockstar project. It’s partly a talk about programming language design; partly a talk about running an open source project - and partly the true story of what happens when you try to implement a programming language that was invented in a bar.

Other talks by Dylan Beattie