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Scaling TypeScript with Bazel at Asana with Eric Rafalovsky

In this conversation, Eric from Asana discusses the importance of understanding the product engineer experience and the value of shadowing them to identify pain points.

About Eric Rafalovsky, Technical Lead at Asana:

Eric is a Tech Lead at Asana, where they focus on developer tools, build systems, and infrastructure. Eric is passionate about helping developers thrive through fast and delightful development workflows, and has a background in developer platforms at both startups and large companies.

Eric on LinkedIn



00:00 Introduction and Overview of Platform Engineering at Asana
02:38 Key Metrics for Roadmap Planning
06:47 Adopting Bazel and TypeScript
10:24 Challenges and Maturity of Bazel at Asana
16:52 Maintenance and evolution of Bazel
20:58 Considerations when Evaluating Bazel or Similar Tools
25:55 Rapid fire

In this conversation, Eric from Asana discusses the importance of understanding the product engineer experience and the value of shadowing to identify pain points. He explains how Asana thinks about platform engineering and the challenges they face in maintaining state with tools like Bazel. Eric also shares the key metrics they focus on for developer experience, such as cycle time and local iteration time. The adoption of Bazel and TypeScript at Asana and the benefits are discussed, as well as their roadmap and future plans. Eric emphasizes the importance of empathy and continuous learning for a good platform engineer and recommends the book 'The Design of Everyday Things' by Don Norman.

Product engineer experience, shadowing, platform engineering, pain points, Bazel, TypeScript, developer experience metrics, cycle time, local iteration time, adoption, roadmap, empathy, continuous learning.


  • Shadowing product engineers is a valuable exercise to understand their experience and identify pain points.

  • Platform engineering at Asana encompasses a wide scope, including design systems, code writing, observability, and code management.

  • Maintaining state with tools like Bazel can be challenging, especially when using incremental modes.

  • Key metrics for developer experience include cycle time, local iteration time, and crash rate.

  • Adopting Bazel and TypeScript has brought benefits in terms of performance, correctness, and unified tooling.

  • A good platform engineer needs empathy and a continuous learning mindset.

  • The book 'The Design of Everyday Things' by Don Norman is recommended for understanding design and user experience.

Hangar DX
Hangar DX Podcast
The Hangar DX podcast focuses on developer experience and learning how different companies solve developer productivity challenges at scale.