What project or projects do you maintain and what was your motivation for creating those projects and releasing them as open source software?
My most popular project is HTTP Prompt. The motivation was to save my own time. There was a period of time at my work where I have to fiddle around with HTTP APIs all day long. It becomes time-consuming and tedious pretty soon if you don’t have a good tool. So I created HTTP Prompt and released it as an open source software in the hope that others would find it useful. Check out the story if you’d like to learn more.
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?
Yes, HTTP Prompt is a just tool that solves one problem - allow people to easily interact with an HTTP server in terminal. I’m not a fan of GUI. I like to do things in terminal, as much as I can. HTTPie was the HTTP client I used most of the time. The author of HTTPie, Jakub Roztocil, did a really good job designing its user interface. But it’s still too bare bones for me when comparing to full fledged tools such as Postman and Paw. HTTP Prompt is designed to enhance HTTPie just like the way people make Vim an IDE with plugins.
How has the project evolved since you first got involved or first released it?
As of this writing, HTTP Prompt has eight major releases and 10 contributors. The project is still young. A frequent contributor @fogine and I implemented quite a few features which I think are very valuable to the users. But in overall, the project doesn’t change much since I first released it in May, 2016. I’m still the main maintainer in charge of the direction of the project.
How do you spend your time on those projects? (i.e. Developing, managing the community, triaging issues, etc.)
How would you describe the community around projects you participate in? What are your favorite and least favorite aspects?
HTTP Prompt doesn’t really have a community - yet. The main reason is that I know little about how people are using HTTP Prompt as we can’t track users for such a developer tool. So it’s either we have a small number of users or we have many silent users. And I’ve been trying to grow the community. As mentioned above, I set up a chat channel to encourage user feedback. I also wrote up a welcoming contributor guide to make contribution easier.
What keeps you involved in those projects? Do you have long-term plans for maintaining your involvement?
I like to build things that I would actually use for myself. Normally I would maintain my involvement until my requirements for that project are accomplished. And if the project happens to be popular, endorsement from the community can really keep my involvement longer.
What is the most important thing someone submitting an issue or patch should know?
Read the docs and the contributor guide if there’s any.
What’s your development environment right now?
MacOS, iTerm2, Zsh, Neovim and Tmux.
What was your first development environment? Do you miss anything from it?
I think it was Windows, UltraEdit, and Dreamweaver. I use them to write PHP websites. And no, I don’t miss it.
Where do you see the open source software community headed?
I really don’t know. But recently I have read a book titled Social Archtecture by Pieter Hintjens. The author describes how building a community for a product is more important than building the product itself. And many successful companies already realize that. The best example is Docker, who open sourced their product and build a community all around it. I think there will be more and more companies following this model.