Babbel Bytes

Insights from the Babbel engineering team

Why and how to choose reference user stories

Fabian Lindenberg

For many agile software engineering teams, it is common practice to estimate the complexity of the user stories that they will be working on. Estimation is not an exact science and so they choose t-shirt sizes, story points, or other non-time based scales to account for the uncertainty that is inherent to software development. Over time, a team of individual software developers gradually comes to an implicitly shared understanding of what degree of complexity each value on their chosen scale represents.

This implicitly shared understanding can easily be challenged, though, when a new joiner to the engineering team or colleagues from different disciplines (e.g. product management, product design, …) pose the supposedly simple question: “What do 5 story points mean in your team?” For the remainder of this blog post, we will use story points when describing complexity. However, what’s being said can be transferred to other complexity scales, too. Translating the implicit agreement into words is, in fact, quite challenging. Most likely, every developer on the team will phrase her or his answer differently, especially in a cross-functional team.


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If you need monitoring, just shout!

André Wendt

AWS provides a lot of low-level monitoring for Lambda functions out-of-the-box: invocations, duration, errors, throttles — you name it. But if you want to monitor aspects of your business domain in CloudWatch, you have to do this yourself.

Let’s explore how you can send metrics from Lambda to CloudWatch Logs.


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React Amsterdam Conference Highlights

Davide Ramaglietta

Davide Ramaglietta and Alexander Gudulin from the R2D2 team of the Learning Engineering Area attended the biggest React conference in the world with 1200+ attendees. Here are their impressions on the event and opinions on what they heard:

We had the feeling that nowadays the hottest topics in the React community are state management, the switch of REST architecture in favour of GraphQL and the potentiality of React 16 and further.


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I've trusted you! You promised no null pointer exceptions!

Frederico Gonçalves

So you’ve just switched to Kotlin and thought it would be great to have all your API entities written using data classes with proper nullability rules. You’ve set up your Gson objects and prepare to deserialize your API response and surprise! Your non-nullable fields are actually null…

This post explains what’s happening and why is this still an issue if you specify default values for your fields.


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Naming Colour Variants

Jayasurian Makkoth

One of the difficult things in the field of software development is naming variables as meaningful as possible. A good variable name is not only important for clean code but also to facilitate the communication across functions such as product managers, designers and developers.


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Why Babbel's Developers Make A Difference

Christian Requena

Babbel is all about empowering people to learn languages — to better communicate and have conversations all over the globe. We are passionate about our purpose, and we want to find developers who care about this too.

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Boost your engineering career with us! Join Babbel Neos!

Gábor Török –

Hi! I’m Gábor. I want to tell you about an exciting new training program I’m running at Babbel, Berlin for aspiring software engineers. It’s called Babbel Neos. But first, a bit about how I ended up in this position.

I learnt web development during high school for fun. I got my first full-time job during university but I eventually never finished my studies. I always found it easy to find a job that was meaningful to me and helped me develop professionally. I did not only have the chance to progress in my career as a software engineer, but also change my role a couple of times and explore new fields. I transitioned from web development to QA engineering to engineering management to product management. I had the option to work in San Francisco at the Bay Area tech scene.


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