Doubling Down on Open Source Software
Hello there, long time I don’t post on this site and I’d like to write what is quite possibly my last post here.
I won’t name anyone or anything ‘cause there’s no point. It’s a little window of my recent life probably worth sharing with you, in case you’re interested.
Goodbye WebReflection Ltd
When I’ve decided to dedicate myself to train people, avoiding usual online channels and having instead face2face sessions, I couldn’t imagine how badly competitive it could’ve been here.
In London, to rent an office in an easy to reach location costs crazy-money, like £4.5K per month crazy and just a desk and an internet connection.
Of course if you have to spend that much you need to charge more, so I’ve contacted those few companies with big buildings and all it’s needed to do conferences, presentations, and training: not a single one came back, and none of them had already the kind of courses I was proposing. Disappointing to say the least.
Regardless, I’ve had few awesome customers that believed in me and, hopefully, learned something too.
One of them is the one that gave me the idea about my book, a book not for techie, for a change, but for people that know pretty much nothing about programming, and it’s structured in a very different way from other books.
However, nowadays nobody becomes rich with a book, or at least nobody in the programming field.
In the best case scenario you pay back yourself the time you spent to finally publish it, but that’s way too optimistic already, and the bill for your training room knocks every month.
After few months of investments I’ve started doing what everyone does here in London: consulting.
I’ve collaborated with few cool startups and companies from both UK and Italy too.
Enterprise … Once Again
Without really looking for a full-time position, I’ve been contacted regardless by one of the many #1 companies “in something“ you can find here in London.
They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and after a year of investments in my losing-activity I’ve told myself “why not“!
I’ve found an incredible place full of more or less tech people of all kind, gender, skills, origins and age, and I’ve enjoyed my time there way more than I could expect, but the tail of the “corporate“ and “enterprise software“ (cough … legacy, cough) slowly ruined my initial enthusiasm and made me feel sad every day a little bit more.
I could bring some little innovation in there, and I did, but most of the time I had to deal with either the old-style, in-house, slightly over-engineered framework, or just React which even if I’ve had the honor to work with the guys at Facebook that created its core and before it was public, it’s not something I’m too interested in working with, ‘cause I’ve always bet on Web standards and standard driven technologies.
South America, Here I Come!
At this point, it didn’t take me much time to resign from such job and follow my wife for few months in South America: she had the opportunity to manage a project from Argentina, Brazil, or Chile, and for one that works in a no-profit, you don’t have many chances in life like this one so when she asked me “would you like to follow me in South America and…“ “shut up and take my money!!!“.
Actually, her money, ‘cause right now I don’t have an income, I’m still solving a lot of bureaucracy related to this trip which also supposed to be by the end of July and instead it’ll be at the end of September.
Open Source is my passion
I’ve start coding thanks to Open Source, I’ve learned a lot thanks to Open Source, I’ve written Open Source before GitHub was a thing, and I’ve contributed to an enormous amount of Open Source Software I use, companies I’ve worked with use, and everyone else out there too.
I’m an Open Source Enthusiast and that’s the thing that makes me happy the most, even unpaid, but at this time in my life I’d like to give it a try: I’d like to dedicate 100% of my time to most valuable, recognized, useful, and approved Open Source projects I’ve produced.
My most recent successful project, already loved by many and able to collect most GitHub stars, is hyperHTML and viperHTML.
This is the project I’d like to put more focus on, but there also other relevants:
- Custom Elements alternative polyfill, the one used by Google AMP HTML
- dom4 or URLSearchParams and other polyfills
- B.E.N.J.A., the Web Kiosk based on Electron and Node JS on ArchLinux
- twemoji, the JS library used to bring Emoji in every platform
Actually, I could go on and on mentioning basicHTML or nativeHTML, CircularJSON and it’s 6 million downloads per month, reactive objects via Introspected and again, much more.
Trying with Patreon and PayPal
Sustainable Open Source needs to pay monthly bills too:
- a website to show documentation and examples (reliable and scalable backend)
- time to fix urgent issues
- time to add and test features (my recent libraries are all with 100% code coverage, what about the one you use?)
- time to write documentation, keep it updated, and explain by examples
- time to collaborate with the rest of the community
- time to file bugs to 3rd parts software too
- … etcetera, you know the routine
I’m super happy to do all of the above, in fact, I’ve been doing it on extra time, over the week ends, while I was sleeping, but I don’t want to burn out.
For this reason I’m now on Patreon, hoping some company that uses my software wouldn’t mind helping me sustaining such software too or, whenever it’s possible, improve it.
For one time tip, I’ve also created my very first PayPal.me page: anything helps, really, and I can’t thank enough already those that donated: you are awesome people!
What’s next ?
Well, Open Source Software is next, for sure, and me learning Spanish to survive in South America for few months too but right now I’m very focused on both hyperHTML and viperHTML and I’m working on a bootstrap project to start making lightweight, easy, standard, and fast PWA in a click: are you with me?
Would you or your company like to support any of this?
P.S. for every other blog post, I’m writing on Medium and I’ll keep doing so. It’s a great platform and it’s not strictly related to this site and my previous training activity.