How any dev team can build like Google | Summary and Q&A

July 19, 2022
Garry Tan
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How any dev team can build like Google


Trunk aims to bring Google-quality developer experience to small teams, providing powerful tools that increase productivity and efficiency.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How does Trunk Actions help developers save time and money?

Trunk Actions automates tasks like running commands and scripts, reducing the time wasted on manual actions and preventing costly errors.

Q: How does Trunk handle conflicts and merge requests?

Trunk's Merge Queues protect the main codebase from conflicting changes and automatically resolve logical conflicts, saving developers from spending valuable time on conflict resolution.

Q: Is Trunk free for small teams and open source projects?

Yes, Trunk is available for free for small teams of up to 10 engineers and open source projects of any size.

Q: How does Trunk improve developer experience and productivity?

Trunk provides tools and prompts that help developers stay focused, eliminate the need to look up information or ask for help, and streamline common development tasks, resulting in increased productivity and better code quality.

Q: How does Trunk support different dependency managers?

Trunk supports popular dependency managers like Yarn and npm, automatically detecting changes in dependencies and providing prompts to run installations or updates, ensuring smooth development workflows.

Q: How does Trunk prevent costly mistakes caused by conflicting code changes?

Trunk's Merge Queues detect logical conflicts between code changes and prevent them from being merged, protecting the main codebase and saving developers from wasted time and effort trying to resolve complex conflicts.

Q: How can Trunk benefit small startups or teams with limited resources?

Trunk allows small teams to access powerful developer tools that are typically available only to large companies, reducing development costs, improving efficiency, and enabling faster delivery of high-quality code.

Q: How can Trunk Actions help streamline documentation and testing processes?

Trunk Actions can be configured to trigger specific actions based on changes in documentation or code, automating tasks like running tests, updating documentation, or deploying websites, saving developers time and effort.


In this video, the co-founder of Trunk, Ellie Schleifer, discusses the importance of developer experience and how tooling can greatly enhance productivity and efficiency for engineering teams. Companies like Facebook and Google invest heavily in developer experience, but Ellie believes that all engineering teams, regardless of size, should have access to the same level of tooling. Trunk aims to bring Google-quality developer experience to everyone by providing tools and actions that automate and simplify common development tasks.

Questions & Answers

Q: Why are giant companies like Facebook, Google, and Uber able to build such good products?

Giant companies like Facebook, Google, and Uber have thousands of world-class engineers and invest hundreds of millions of dollars per year into developer experience. They have people dedicated to building tools that make developers super productive. These tools help to streamline workflows and enable engineers to work at their full potential.

Q: What happens when you add more people to a development team?

When you add more people to a development team, everything starts to slow down. This phenomenon is often referred to as the "mythical man month." Coordinating tasks and managing dependencies becomes more challenging, leading to decreased productivity. However, with good tooling in place, some of this lost time can be regained, and teams can maintain their efficiency.

Q: How does trunk aim to bring Google-quality developer experience to everyone?

Trunk aims to bring Google-quality developer experience to everyone by providing a library of tools that can keep engineering teams on track. While companies like Google and Facebook have invested heavily in tooling, many other companies are still scrapping along. Trunk wants to level the playing field by offering high-quality tools that automate common development tasks and keep engineers focused and productive.

Q: How does Trunk's "trunk actions" feature work?

Trunk actions allow developers to encode specific actions and workflows directly into their codebase. For example, when a developer makes changes to certain files, they can trigger a specific action that guides them on what command to run or what action to take. This eliminates the need to look up documentation or seek help from other engineers, enabling developers to stay in flow and be more productive.

Q: How can Trunk actions prevent wasted developer time?

Often, when developers encounter issues or errors in their code, they turn to communication channels like Slack to seek help. However, the time spent waiting for assistance and resolving issues adds up and can cost startups significant amounts of money. Trunk actions can help prevent this by automating common tasks and providing clear instructions on how to resolve specific issues, reducing the need for manual troubleshooting and saving valuable developer time.

Q: How does Trunk handle dependencies in a codebase?

Trunk integrates with dependency managers like yarn and npm to automate the management of project dependencies. When a developer makes changes to a dependency file, Trunk's system detects the change and performs a dry run of the installation command. If there are new dependencies to be installed or updated, Trunk provides a pop-up notification with instructions on how to run the necessary installation command. This eliminates the manual effort of managing dependencies and ensures that all team members stay in sync.

Q: What is the benefit of using Trunk actions for dependency management?

Using Trunk actions for dependency management eliminates the need for developers to remember when to manually update their dependencies. This is especially useful when working on a team where dependencies may be updated frequently. By automating the process and providing clear instructions, Trunk actions save developers from wasting time and effort troubleshooting dependency-related issues.

Q: What is the significance of merge queues in development teams?

Merge queues are a critical tool for managing code merging in development teams, especially as the team size grows. Merge conflicts occur when multiple developers make changes to the same codebase, resulting in logical conflicts that can break the final code. Trunk introduces merge queues, which allow developers to queue their code changes and automatically test for conflicts before merging into the main codebase. By doing so, it prevents broken code from being deployed and saves valuable time that would otherwise be spent resolving conflicts.

Q: How does Trunk's merge queue feature work?

Trunk's merge queue feature works by listening to comments on pull requests. When developers add a specific command, such as "trunk queue," Trunk queues the pull request and tests it against other queued pull requests. It checks for logical conflicts and ensures that conflicting code changes do not get merged into the main codebase. This prevents unnecessary troubleshooting and wasted time and keeps the main codebase clean and reliable.

Q: What can happen if logical conflicts are not properly managed in code merging?

If logical conflicts are not properly managed in code merging, it can lead to broken code being merged into the main codebase. This can result in failing tests and errors that are difficult to debug. As a result, developers waste time trying to identify the cause of the issues, delaying progress and creating frustration. By using Trunk's merge queue feature, logical conflicts can be detected and resolved before merging, saving developers from spending unnecessary time and effort.


Trunk believes that developer experience is crucial for maximizing productivity and efficiency in engineering teams. By providing a library of powerful tools, such as Trunk actions and merge queues, Trunk aims to bring Google-quality developer experience to all teams, regardless of size. These tools automate common development tasks, prevent wasted time on manual troubleshooting, and ensure that code merging is efficient and conflict-free. By focusing on developer experience, Trunk helps engineering teams unleash their full potential and build better code faster.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Trunk is a platform that aims to provide small teams with the same quality of developer experience that big companies like Google and Facebook have.

  • Trunk's tools help developers stay productive and in flow by automating tasks and providing helpful prompts and suggestions.

  • With features like Trunk Actions, Merge Queues, and conflict resolution, Trunk saves developers time, money, and frustration.

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