A New Beginning: Chris McCord as Technical Advisor

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Estelle DeBlois

Director of Engineering

Estelle DeBlois

2015 was a major turning point in DockYard’s evolution as a digital product consultancy.

It was then that we decided to go all in on Elixir. After exploring this functional programming language for several months, we were sold by its simplicity and how well it let companies build reliable, fault-tolerant, distributed systems. We left Rails behind and committed to helping evolve the Elixir ecosystem from there on out.

2015 was also the year we welcomed Chris McCord onto the team. Chris had just released version 1.0 of Phoenix, Elixir’s most promising web framework, and we were excited to sponsor its development by allowing Chris to work entirely on it as part of his employment when he wasn’t consulting for clients.

Fast forward to today, we couldn’t be more thrilled with the growth that Elixir has seen, and we’re proud to have been able to support the development of Phoenix through numerous releases, including Phoenix Presence, LiveView, and LiveDashboard. The rapidly increasing number of clients that we’ve seen turn to Elixir is also a testament to the community’s efforts to drive adoption and help businesses large and small reap the benefits of all that Elixir has to offer.

Recently, Chris has decided to start a new chapter by taking on an exciting new challenge outside of DockYard. With this change, he will be transitioning into a technical advisory role at DockYard, where he will continue to stay engaged with the team.

Read on to get Chris’s perspective as he reflects on the past six years and talks about what’s next for him:

What made you decide to join DockYard?

When DockYard reached out, I had just released version 1.0 of Phoenix. My hope then was the same as it is today: to help Elixir developers build rich, interactive web applications quickly, with less code and fewer moving parts.

The trouble was, I couldn’t convince my company at the time to try Elixir. Brian Cardarella (DockYard founder), was already publicly showing support for the Elixir ecosystem. When he asked me to join the team, it was easy to see how my plans for the future of Phoenix lined up with DockYard’s commitment to investing in the Elixir community.

What have you enjoyed most about working with DockYard?

It’s been great to see how different companies are using Elixir and Phoenix. Working with DockYard clients has given me insight into how Phoenix functions in different environments and the types of problems companies are still trying to solve for today.

A few years ago, we had a client approach DockYard due to challenges using Phoenix Presence. In just one day, we worked through a solution to optimize it and helped them reach their goal of scaling to one million concurrent users. The solution we made for them ended up being generalized into Phoenix Presence, making it better for everyone. It was a true open-source feedback loop and a great example of why it’s important for companies to invest back into the tools they believe in.

What accomplishments are you most proud of when you reflect back on the past several years with DockYard?

Lots of Phoenix milestones. I mean, every major release after 1.0 took place while working at DockYard. Phoenix Presence, which tracks processes and channels, took a year to develop. LiveView, a library designed to enable real-time user experiences with server-rendered HTML, was the result of another two years of work.

And DockYard was a major supporter all along the way—not just for me and Phoenix, but for the entire Elixir community—investing millions of dollars and thousands of hours contributing to tooling and libraries and participating in events that helped to unite and grow the community. I’d probably be living in the woods with burnout without DockYard’s support!

What are you most excited about as you transition into this new Technical Advisor role with DockYard?

I’m looking forward to maintaining a close relationship with the team and continuing to serve as a resource as they help companies realize the benefits of Elixir and Phoenix.

Developing in a vacuum is no way to grow and this continued partnership with DockYard—in addition to my new role, which also supports my open source work—will allow me to add new features and functionality to Phoenix.

Anything you can share about what’s new or next for Phoenix?

It’s been a busy few weeks as I wrapped up the Phoenix 1.6 release and LiveView 0.16. I’ve got a lot more in the works and am eager to continue my work on Phoenix as I take on my new role, while also remaining a part of the DockYard community.

Chris’s impact has been profound, and we’re thankful for his contributions over the years. We wish him all the best on this next phase of his own evolution! And we look forward to continuing our investments in Elixir and its ecosystem.


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