The Brilliant Professional Programming Series

It turns out that Brilliant is built with actual people’s fingers.

Hi Brilliant Community! I am Sam, co-founder and CTO of Brilliant. Contrary to popular mythology, Calvin is not the only person who works here, and there is a lot more to making Brilliant run than ensuring that everyone has fun problems to solve. Our engineering team faces constant challenges to pave the technical frontier of delivering the uniquely interactive experience that is Brilliant.

Although we spend most of our time trying to directly make the website better for our users, we also want to make sure our team continues to improve, professionally and as individuals.

For that reason, we have started a dialogue at our company to share what we are learning and how we are improving. We would like to share this with all of you, because some of the challenges we face might be interesting to many of you. Going forward, various developers at Brilliant will be writing occasional posts describing what they've learned about being a professional programmer.

Some expected topics from our team about the general experience of being a developer include:

  • The importance of learning new technology
  • What it's like being female in the computer science/software industry
  • How to execute a large technical project from planning to implementation

We'll also have some more specific stories about how we solved tricky problems we've encountered such as:

  • How to bridge the divide between javascript functions and the html elements that use them
  • Challenges we faced while creating the scratchpad (a fancy online calculator)
  • Our take(s) on the native vs WebView-based mobile apps debate (and how we quickly launched and then steadily improved our Android app)

Please let us know what you think about these ideas and if you have any other questions about what it’s like being a professional programmer.

All new posts will be added to this set and I will also reshare them, so if you want to see them in your Community feed, follow me.

While you wait for the next real post in this series (we probably will only post once a month since there is always a lot of other work that needs to be done) I’ll be posting a quick micro-post that provides an overview of our Server infrastructure.

Note by Sam Solomon
6 years, 2 months ago

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  Easy Math Editor

This discussion board is a place to discuss our Daily Challenges and the math and science related to those challenges. Explanations are more than just a solution — they should explain the steps and thinking strategies that you used to obtain the solution. Comments should further the discussion of math and science.

When posting on Brilliant:

  • Use the emojis to react to an explanation, whether you're congratulating a job well done , or just really confused .
  • Ask specific questions about the challenge or the steps in somebody's explanation. Well-posed questions can add a lot to the discussion, but posting "I don't understand!" doesn't help anyone.
  • Try to contribute something new to the discussion, whether it is an extension, generalization or other idea related to the challenge.
  • Stay on topic — we're all here to learn more about math and science, not to hear about your favorite get-rich-quick scheme or current world events.

MarkdownAppears as
*italics* or _italics_ italics
**bold** or __bold__ bold

- bulleted
- list

  • bulleted
  • list

1. numbered
2. list

  1. numbered
  2. list
Note: you must add a full line of space before and after lists for them to show up correctly
paragraph 1

paragraph 2

paragraph 1

paragraph 2

[example link]( link
> This is a quote
This is a quote
    # I indented these lines
    # 4 spaces, and now they show
    # up as a code block.

    print "hello world"
# I indented these lines
# 4 spaces, and now they show
# up as a code block.

print "hello world"
MathAppears as
Remember to wrap math in \( ... \) or \[ ... \] to ensure proper formatting.
2 \times 3 2×3 2 \times 3
2^{34} 234 2^{34}
a_{i-1} ai1 a_{i-1}
\frac{2}{3} 23 \frac{2}{3}
\sqrt{2} 2 \sqrt{2}
\sum_{i=1}^3 i=13 \sum_{i=1}^3
\sin \theta sinθ \sin \theta
\boxed{123} 123 \boxed{123}


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You are all doing wonderful work, as well as asking important questions. Just out of curiosity, how many people work for Brilliant? The little segment about the mythological Calvin maintaining Brilliant by himself made me laugh; I actually thought that was the case for my first month here!

Ryan Tamburrino - 6 years, 2 months ago

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Since this is a series about engineering, I'll stay focused on the software side of things:

We have...

  • one person primarily doing Android development
  • one person primarily doing iOS development
  • one person who does mostly frontend development and some iOS/backend development
  • one person who does mostly frontend development and a little backend development
  • one person who does both backend and frontend development
  • one person who does backend and infrastructure work
  • and I do backend mostly with a little bit of infrastructure thrown in, along with assisting with technical planning of new features.

Sam Solomon Staff - 6 years, 2 months ago

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I salute you and your team for making Brilliant more and more user's friendly.

Without you people, Brilliant would not have been so popular and easy to use. Calvin with his team, remains the person who can guide and help us and coordinate our subject of love. He does this beautifully.

Niranjan Khanderia - 6 years, 2 months ago

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It's a Brilliant step sir !!!

A Former Brilliant Member - 6 years, 2 months ago

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the name of the site suggest the work which you all are doing.

I am curious to know why changed to a compact look from the previous one?

U Z - 6 years, 2 months ago

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It turns out that Brilliant is made with actual people's fingers.


Brock Brown - 6 years, 2 months ago

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This app is really awesome! !!

imteyazul hoda - 6 years, 2 months ago

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I would like to know something more about the Founder of the Brilliant org.

@Mr. Sam Solomon

Sunny Sharma - 6 years, 1 month ago

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Hi sir

Where's the 3rd note in the series ?? Looking forward to it \stackrel{{\Large\wedge\,\wedge}}{{\Large\smile}}

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Hi! The next post should be ready within the next week. It is being written by Kelly on what it's like being female in the computer science/software industry.

The schedule is pretty loose since all of us have a number of other responsibilities so these posts have often gotten pushed back by other priorities.

Sam Solomon Staff - 6 years ago

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No problem sir . I'll gladly wait for it :)

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Sir can you please develop brilliant app for iOS as many persons like me uses iOS so we have no direct app to move on quickly HATS OFF TO your team sir really BRILLIANT work in field of education

Mohit Kuri - 6 years ago

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congratulations and thanks for your noble service. could you please share what software do you use to create such a wonderful, user friendly and customized ?

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This is a somewhat up-to-date list of what we use:

Sam Solomon Staff - 2 years ago

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what discussions will help you make the right choice

Nick Birdsen - 8 months, 1 week ago

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