I am Brian Holt. Ask me anything.

Brian is currently working as a senior cloud developer advocate at Microsoft and he's all about developers, developers, developers. Previously he was a JavaScript engineer at Netflix, LinkedIn and Reddit. When not working, Brian finds time to teach on Frontend Masters, run his mouth on Front End Happy Hour, travel all over the world, and play with his adorable dog. Brian is currently a resident of Seattle, WA.

Ask Brian Holt about:

  • Cloud Infrastructure
  • Cloud Computing
  • JavaScript advice
  • Working at Microsoft
  • Getting started with programming
  • Open Source Ecosystem

This was super fun!! Thanks for all the great questions, hopefully I was able to answer the questions burning your mind! Feel free as always to reach out to me on Twitter!

Comments (69)

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Sarah Drasner's photo

Hey Brian!

Long time listener, first time caller. Big fan. Hey so something I always wanted to know: when Luna licks you all over your face when you come home, and Niki makes you wash it, are you sad? Do you wish you could keep the Luna slobber around as a token of affection? You can tell us the truth.

Keep up the great work! -Drazzo

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Syed Fazle Rahman's photo

Co-founder & CEO, Hashnode

Sarah Drasner, there was a UI rendering bug, it's fixed now. :)

jalpesh vadgama's photo

Hello Brian,

I love your work related to front end part. So what your daily day like as Cloud Advocate at Microsoft. How much coding you do everyday?

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jalpesh vadgama's photo

Co-Founder, FutureStack Solution, Full Stack developer having more than 13+ years of experience in web technologies.

Thanks for your time. You inspired me to do a lot. But I can't manage sometimes I do procrastinate so what is your advice to be productive?

Marco Alka's photo

Hi Brian,

great to have you here! Thanks for doing this AMA! As a cloud advocate at Microsoft, one of the top cloud providers, how do you actually see the current situation

  1. at Microsoft - do new projects try to get into the cloud, or value a more traditional approach?
  2. at other companies - in what direction do you think the server landscape will develop? Will everyone create their own cloud? Will a few cloud-providers become the center of the internet? Might everything develop in a whole different direction?
  3. in the world of free developers - I, for one, quit my server contracts last month in favor of using Zeit for free as my testing ground, but I also know that some of my personal customers want to use Azure instead of other hosting providers (which is welcome by me, because I prefer my NodeJS server)

The Cloud is very amazing for us developers, we can deploy a server without thinking about the infrastructure at all. What, in your experience, is the type of application which has benefitted the most from the Cloud, yet, and which other applications will probably benefit a whole lot if they transition to the Cloud?

Just today, I read about Microsoft's Project Mu, the latest OpenSource contribution by Microsoft. What do you think about Microsoft going OpenSource in a such an aggressive manner? Do you see any problems, especially for other companies who don't follow this trend? Will people in the future pay for services instead of software? What's your personal opinion: would a world, in which closed source software is prohibited globally, be ideal?

And for the most important questions: Is it already snowing in Seattle? What will you do over New Year's?

Again thank you for taking time for an AMA!

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Brian Holt's photo

cloud advocate @ Microsoft

  1. At Microsoft we're all in on Azure. We dogfood constantly so if something is painful for you it's painful for us too. So everything we're doing is going into the cloud. We think it's a good approach because individual teams at Microsoft don't have to worry about data centers and just to focus on product.

  2. I think most companies will host most of the infra in the cloud. I think we'll see the three top players continue to grow (Amazon, Microsoft, Google) because all three are doing a good job of focusing on innovative ways to serve their clients. I don't imagine many companies will create their own cloud but will continue to use public clouds like Azure. I imagine hybrid clouds where things like HIPAA-sensitive data (or any data that must be hosted on-premise) are hosted on-premise and app code is run in the public cloud will continue to thrive too.

  3. Any team that doesn't want to worry about power, outages, physical access, temperature, hardware upgrades, etc. stands to gain a lot from hosting in the cloud. Managing your own metal is expensive and hard. Some companies have the human capital to manage it but most of us just want to write our code and focus on that. Anyone like that is going to benefit from hosting in the cloud.

  4. I love open source. I'm stoked Microsoft is leaning into that. We all get to learn and improve together. I hope to see companies like MongoDB continue to thrive where their product is open source but they're a commercial entity backing it up. I think those that don't open source their products are missing out on the power of people who want to solve their own problems. What if I need a feature in your product that you don't have yet? I can build it for you, I get what I want and you get free features.

  5. I don't think we should prohibit closed source software. I don't see a compelling reason to do that.

  6. It's raining a lot! But no snow. I'm heading to Salt Lake City on Sunday though and I'll be snowboarding up at Snowbird! For NYE we'll find some fun bar in Capitol Hill in Seattle to ring in the new year.

Mahaveer's photo

Hi Brian, I'm a huge fan of your Comp Science in 4 hours book! It was the truly amazing with no BS. :D

> My Background:

I'm mainly a JS dev, been a Junior dev for an year now, I've completed YDKJS Series, JS Allonge, Will Senatnce and your JS Courses (all of them) on FrontEnd Masters.

> My Goal:

I wanna be an OS Contributor but am having a really really hard time making sense of code that i havent written

> My Question:

How can someone get familiar with new/complex codebase like that of React, Webpack? Or more like, how can someone get advanced Javascript knowledge to able to understand complex code?

I've heard people saying i lack practice but how do i even practice something like that? i just cant find anything anymore that can help me.

Thanks a lot for reading, have a great day :)

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Mahaveer's photo

Web dev wannabe :D

I did try to read tests but, still couldn't make sense of the code :sweat_smile: , but ill try again, one piece at a time :) Thank you so much, always wanted to have an AMA with you :D

Shreyansh Pandey's photo

Hey, Brian; another Seattleite here! Cheers from U-District and thanks a lot for the AMA!

I am going to digress here from the core topics and ask something about Microsoft's recent involvement in the Linux Foundation and the patent infringement claims made by Microsoft against TomTom for using GNU and Linux. While I am aware that this happened a while back, I want to know why did this happen in the first place. Linux is something for the community and by the community so what's the need to file for IPR violations in lieu of just supporting the development (which is happening right now, after oh-so-many lawsuits.)

And do you think that the announcement of the Sphere OS means anything to the Linux community? The reason why I am asking this is because unlike other Linux-based operating systems, Sphere OS requires Visual Studio for development; this tightly-coupled architecture is one, I would say, bad in taste.

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Shreyansh Pandey's photo

node, coffee and everything in between

Oh, alright! I can understand!

Yeah, we have seen some improvements when it comes to Satya Nadella; Microsoft has really started taking the Open Source community seriously and that is a step in the right direction.

One thing for which I really respect Microsoft is this: their development tools are available for everyone to use and contain all the features you might require (VS Community is honestly more than enough for most, if not all, developers). So, with the recent GitHub acquisition, let's hope we see free private repositories and a bunch of other cool stuff!