Elm Town 54 – Aloha with Kevin Yank

Hey folks! Elm Town is back on the map with a brand-new episode. We’re visiting with Kevin Yank about the decision to retire Elm at Culture Amp.

It might seem bittersweet, but I hope it creates positive conversation and action in the community. The silver lining? More new episodes are coming soon! Same format, new host. :wave:



I will listen to the podcast soon (already downloaded), but I have already read the blog post about the decision to retire Elm at Culture Amp: On Endings: Why & How We Retired Elm at Culture Amp
In short, React wins again because of its unique advantage: everyone uses it :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

That’s a bit of irony because a guy from the React core team recently tweeted (I can’t find the tweet back) that if you want a full React experience you should use ReScript, a functional language based on OCaml. Not that different from Elm…


What’s the irony here? Because from my perspective Rescript is very different from Elm. And those differences enable Rescript to embrace React style of building applications but limits Elm in doing so.

Moving from Elm to React because Elm is too “niche” whereas React creators say you should use an even more “niche” language with it sounds a bit ironic to me… :wink:

Sounds like trying to draw a conclusion from two, disconnected, out of context statements.

This was a great episode! Thank you both for making it!


Nice one Kevin! Such a great speaker and leader.

I was working at Culture Amp when this happened and it was personally a massive bummer for me.

I wished Culture Amp drew a line in the sand and doubled down on Elm but the circumstances Kevin mentioned, plus the multiplication of React teams due to massive company growth was just too much.

Culture Amp was and is such an awesome place to work, but boy gosh was I heart broken.


I finally finished listening to this. It was a great episode. I was surprised by how much I missed listening to Kevin Yank’s voice. :slight_smile: I’m looking forward to more episodes of Elm Town though, even sans Yank.

Even though I read the accompanying blog post, I’m glad y’all made this podcast episode, for some reason it all helped me understand things better.

I work on a team where we use Elm and web components, and legacy JavaScript… and Rails also playing a big role in HTML rendering. We’ve been quite happy with Elm not controlling the whole page. Not that wouldn’t be happier if it did, but it hasn’t been much a problem.

There were a lot of similarities between Culture Amp and what I’m working on but after listening to podcast episode I see there are interesting difference that make Culture Amp’s decision to leave Elm make more sense.

Also… not to Monday morning QB what went down. But it was interesting how the experiment Culture Amp ran with web components was to make the most complicated web component they had. Which makes sense… as general rule. However what I’ve learned, is that when making web components that are designed to be shared with Elm and something else (I haven’t tried this with React). What works best is keeping things simple and composable And when I say “simple”, it’s not that the web component can’t do anything interesting or complex. It’s that the API for the web component needs to stay simple. Most of the time this means, it’s going to be simple “inside and out” but not always. When you can encapsulate something in a web component that has a simple API but is doing something complicated that’s web components at their best.


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