Open Source Spotlight: vuetify with John Leider

John Leider is the creator of Veutify, a Vue UI library with a material design component framework. It empowers developers to create amazing applications with speed and efficiency.

John served in the U.S Army as an Infantryman. He has a very large POP character collection, and loves sushi and hibachi. John now lives in Texas and describes himself as a 'father and programmer'.

What seeded the idea for Vuetify?

The original idea was to build a library for fast prototyping—but it eventually morphed into a component framework. I never intended to make it public, but a colleague suggested I should give it a shot, and here we are. Thanks McCart!

How did you grow the user base of Vuetify?

A strong emphasis on community and connection. I grew up in the days of IRC and have always loved managing chat groups and interacting with people.

In this case, it was just about providing users with an avenue of support—and the feeling of security knowing if they get stuck, help is available.

I started developing in 2014 and hated it when I reached a brick wall with software—I did not want that experience with Vuetify.

Which open source projects do you rely on (outside your own)?

With regards to Vuetify, we have a strict no-dependencies policy (with the exception of build tools). For myself, nothing in particular, at the moment.

What’s your advice to developers who are on the fence about contributing to open source? How can one 'sustain the momentum' once they’ve started?

One of the greatest aspects of OSS is that there are ways for every individual to grow professionally. Getting over the fence depends upon your reservations with contributing.

If you're not sure where to start, search for projects that are within subjects that interest you, or part of a development stack that you work with.

If your struggle comes from a lack of confidence or anxiety about others judging your code, know that everyone has to start somewhere.

It wasn't until 2019 that I finally started feeling confident enough to engage in very technical conversations publicly, sometimes even about my own framework.

Sustaining momentum would really only apply if you were the library author. Within OSS, libraries generally don't have a cadence requirement for contributing. Over time, motivation will wax and wane, so don't feel bad if you can only contribute in small increments (or sometimes not at all).

If you have a project that is taking off, I'd give the same advice that was given to me when I started this endeavor. Surround yourself with really smart people and listen to them. Library authors stand on the shoulders of the community around them. Always respect their opinions. Do not get lost in your own success.

When the going gets tough, what keeps you going?

This is a very difficult question to answer. I don't want to say that I haven't had tough times, but when you do what you love every day, tough times are mostly fun challenges.

If all else fails, I have a massive resource of developers from junior to senior that have been helping me for years.

As a last resort, we always have Kael, fellow contributor (who we honestly believe is a robot, by this point).

How important is it for you to ensure quality? How do you ensure it?

Quality is one of the most important aspects of Vuetify.

Quality is what sets us apart from other UI Libraries. Our process has advanced over the years, but it stems from an engaged development and contribution team. Everything from issue triaging, bug fixes, community engagement and development feedback, all play a role in the ecosystem.

Soon, we will be making this process completely public as we move towards version 3 of the framework (not only to receive feedback on said process, but also hopefully inspire others to adopt similar patterns).

How can new open source projects build a supportive community?

The answer is simple, engage. It doesn't matter what platform it is on—Discord, Slack, Stack Overflow, etc.

Over half of all the developers I speak to at conferences don't even know that we have a community. This tells me we need to work on discoverability, and we need to ensure that developers are able to find as much help as possible. I would never have known of this issue if I hadn't asked.

How has being involved in open source changed your life?

In terms of my day to day, I no longer have a commute to work. I get to have lunch with my son at school, which is nice.

Professionally, it's completely changed what I want out of life. I'm a firm believer that success is simply luck, and all hard work gets you is more opportunities to be lucky.

Maintainers like myself are public servants, and being in a position to help so many people is something I do not take for granted.

Do you have a ‘coding pet peeve’ that shouldn’t matter but drives you crazy?

I have this weird infatuation with making multi-line comments that have 2 less characters on each subsequent line. I totally blame Taylor Otwell for this.

Check out Vuetify on GitHub.

(Responses are edited for clarity).

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