What project or projects do you maintain and what was your motivation for creating those projects and releasing them as open source software?
I maintain a few small projects here and there, including youmightnotneedjs.com, and SVG icon system, and a gulp starter environment, but my most popular project is called CSSgram—a CSS library recreating Instagram filters. I always think of open source by default, so the majority of my projects are on Github. It’s definitely helped in building community around the projects and getting more eyes on them, providing better code quality and alternative solutions. With CSSgram in particular, its meant that there are many more filters contributed from the community than I would have had time to build myself.
If you created any of those projects, were they meant to solve a specific problem you faced, or were they born out of a larger opportunity you saw?
Most of them were inspired by my day-to-day work, but all of them were not particularly based on a specific problem I solved. There are the more practical repos, like my systems for SVG icons and gulp developer environment, but there are also the repos I built for fun, such as CSSgram. This one was built more to foster community and get some more designers onboarded into open source.
How has the project evolved since you first got involved or first released it?
I’ll answer the rest of the questions here with CSSgram in mind, since it has the largest development community surrounding it. The number of filters has definitely grown and the usage has changed a bit based on feedback and contributions. I even recently merged a pull request to alter the repo’s build process and prevent merge conflicts. So a lot has evolved (for the better) through contributions.
How do you spend your time on those projects? (i.e. Developing, managing the community, triaging issues, etc.)
Initially I was the main developer on the project, but now I’ve taken a back seat and triage the issues,review PRs and suggest solutions, as well as manage the releases. The allows for other developers to get involved and contribute more to the project while I focus on maintenance. It’s been working pretty well so far.
How would you describe the community around projects you participate in? What are your favorite and least favorite aspects?
The community has mostly been very open and welcoming. My favorite part is the encouragement of newer developers to get involved and having multiple people iterating on a problem. The worst part of open source, however, is when there are few maintainers and a lot of need for attention (whether that be issues or PRs). There is only so much time in the day and a lot of these open source projects are voluntary by people with full time jobs. So managing time is difficult.
What keeps you involved in those projects? Do you have long term plans for maintaining your involvement?
I love the project itself and the community. There aren’t a lot of projects that are welcoming to people with visual front-end skills (as opposed to back-end/full-stack developers), so I like having proving an entry-point per-se for this skill set in open source. Its definitely one that is lacking and needed.
What is the most important thing someone submitting an issue or patch should know?
Please read the contribution documentation! <3 :) It makes a maintainers life so much easier. And honestly, we’re so happy for your time and contribution, so don’t get nervous about submitting an issue or PR.
What’s your development environment right now?
I’ve recently gotten into Visual Studio Code and love it for front-end development. (Even did a recent podcast episode on it for my podcast, Toolsday. I also spend a lot of time in Google Chrome’s developer tools to fine-tune, test, and debug. We also did an episode about our favorite Chrome Extensions recently.
What was your first development environment? Do you miss anything from it?
My “real” first dev environment, I suppose, was Dreamweaver. I learned how to code using Adobe Dreamweaver as a text editor, but didn’t really learn any of its GUI features. I definitely don’t miss it :P
Where do you see the open source software community headed?
I really hope the open source community is headed to a more global, inclusive place. And this means inclusive of not only cultural background and gender, but also of different mindsets. I hope to see designers participating, and architects, and electrical engineers. With the advent of Node.js expanding to support multiple systems, I hope more people will see how valuable code is and get involved (and this is happening in school curriculums now). So I think open source will really begin to expand its horizons. I certainly think it’s beginning to happen, and hope it will continue to happen.