Episode 29

EMx 029: JWT Auth in Phoenix with Joken with Sophie DeBenedetto


November 27th, 2018

43 mins 32 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guest

About this Episode


  • Mark Ericksen
  • Nathan (Nate) Hopkins
  • Charles Max Wood

Special Guest: Sophie DeBenedetto

In this episode of Elixir Mix, the panel talks with Sophie DeBenedetto who is a teacher at the Flatiron School, a software engineer, and creator of Break In. The panelists and Sophie talk about her blog, the Flatiron School, and her background. Check it out!

Show Topics:

0:00 – Advertisement: Get A Coder Job! 

0:50 – Chuck: Welcome! Our panel is Mark, Nate, and myself. Our special guest, today, is Sophie! Please introduce yourself!

1:32 – Guest: Hi! I am Sophie and I am an engineer who works at the Flatiron School. We are growing and fast and offer a lot of different courses. We are an international school working with Elixir and Phoenix.

2:10 – Chuck: You gave us multiple topics: Joken and Elixir Packages. Give us please some background there.

2:33 – Guest: I will talk about the problems we were trying to resolve with Joken.

The Guest goes into detail about this topic. Sophie mentions Rails, Joken, Guardian, Phoenix, and Erlang-Jose.

4:41 – Guest: We found this nice little library that we needed and that was Joken. Initially, we were trying to hit the nail with a racket and all we needed was a hammer.

6:48 – Guest: I am telling the whole Internet our problem we had, and how we resolved it. That’s why I am here today, because you all found my blog.

9:04 – Panel: There is a lot there! Some terms that you mentioned: JWT is referred to as a JOT – for those listeners who don’t know.

Panelist asks question.

9:43 – Guest answers the question.

10:52 – Panel: When I used Joken before I did use it with the HMAC algorithm. You are on the fringe of what is mainstream and you can come across those rough spots. You are doing this service of saying yes I found this problem and I will try to help you with this problem.

11:25 – Guest: It’s an interesting feeling to say we solved this problem and then realizing we were wrong about it. I’m glad that happened because it’s real. As a teacher I saw students being reluctant to blog b/c they didn’t want to be wrong, but that’s how you grow!

12:22 – Chuck: We talked about the JWT and the dots.

How is this different than Ruby gems and other things?

12:44 – Guest: I think anyone would have thoughts on this. There’s not a lot of resources, and look into the Ruby community. From the Flatiron School our focus has been Ruby, and we ask our students to contribute. We want to find an answer to any problem we are facing through Ruby and Rails. More or less you will find a solution from somebody through the Internet. Elixir is definitely different from this because it’s a newer framework. 

14:26 – Panelist asks about the curriculum through the Flatiron School.

14:48 – Guest answers the question.

16:08 – Panel: We have had Kate Travers from Flatiron Schools on our podcast before. What has your path been?

16:30 – Guest: We graduated at the same time and I went to the educational-side, which I did for a year to about a year and a half. I thought I needed to get my hands dirty, though, to be a better teacher. I went to this company...and I recently rejoined the Flatiron School’s faculty.

17:40 – Panel: That’s great. I was with a company for 3 years, left for 2 years, and then I came back. It’s a testament to not burning bridges. There is value to leaving and going to get new and different experiences. You grow in the process, and that’s what happened for me. I like your path and thanks for sharing your story!

18:50 – Fresh Books!

20:00 – Chuck: Do you have any policies on how students (at Flatiron School) need to contribute?

20:06 – Guest: Not so much HOW but we encourage it.

The guest goes into detail and mentions Elixir School (see links below).

21:33 – Panel: That is a good suggestion if a newbie wants to contribute and they are afraid to contribute. You can get involved and your suggestion will be reviewed.

22:10 – Guest: Yes! There is a team member, Matt, and he contributed to the code base. He was new to the Elixir community, and showed his thought-process.

Contributing to open source is great because it helps the community, and opens a pathway for great feedback and conversation.

23:30 – Panel: I think that’s a healthy way to look at pole requests. I have worked with folks that don’t view it that way, though. They hold their code a little close to their chest and that’s it. I like the dialogue.

24:00 – Chuck: This stuff isn’t staying still b/c the Elixir community is constantly growing. I cannot recommend highly enough to learn something new. It can be just 20-30 minutes a day. If you aren’t doing that then you will fall behind.

24:57 – Panel: Question for Sophie. How did you get involved with Elixir School?

25:18 – Guest: I am definitely not an expert. It’s a group of people who thought that Elixir should be more accessible. I like it because it’s beginner-friendly. Find something to contribute to b/c there are tons of different levels to find what’s good for you.

27:09 – Panel: Has it be re-skinned/re-themed?

27:15 – Guest: Yeah, I think so. Along with the theme-related they have been putting high priority into different languages.

27:38 – Panelist comments about natural languages and translations.

27:52 – Chuck: Was this a project through the school or something else?

28:06 – Guest: It’s not through the school.

28:36 – Chuck: Any other projects through the school?

28:46 – Guest: Yes, the school has a lab and it’s neat to see it grow!

29:38 – Panel: Have you tried those other technologies before (and they didn’t work) or did you just anticipate it was a problem that you couldn’t solve without the Beam.

30:02 – Guest answers.

32:33 – Panel: That makes sense. You were reaching for Erlang when you were on the Ruby Stack.

32:49 – Guest refers to tooling and Rabbit.

33:00 – Chuck: You mentioned Rabbit – what does your typical stack look like? Are you running Phoenix? Or here is a job so here is Elixir? What is your process like?

33:23 – Guest: A Ruby on Rails app it has all the ups-and-downs and it’s kind of old.

As we are growing and partnering with new companies/schools we are updating and seeing a need to grow even more.

34:49 – Panel.

34:54 – Guest: The video that Chris McCord put out!

35:03 – Chuck: Check the show notes’ links!

35:15 – Chuck: Picks!

35:23 – Ad: Lootcrate.com

END – CacheFly!






  • Racquetball
  • Getting out and doing something