Welcome to the 15th edition of the interview series “I contribute to Ember” , presented by the folks at The Ember Times .
Thank you for your contributions to the Ember community, Isaac and Jared!
What have you been working on recently?
- Ember.js Octane vs Classic Cheat Sheet
- EmberATX (co-led by Michael Swanson and Chris Bonser)
- The Ember Times
Jared: Currently, I’m working as part of Ember’s website re-design strike team that’s focused on implementing the re-design across the Ember.js web properties.
What made you interested in working on that particular project?
Isaac: I stumble upon ideas for blog posts and open-source contributions through work and active learning. A mix of chance and determinism, you could say.
Jared: I got interested in the redesign efforts after I saw how fantastic the new main Ember.js website looked. The design of main page looked so great that I really wanted to assist in bringing that revitalized experience to the rest of the Ember sites.
I started by helping out with implementing a partial redesign of the deprecations app, and the strike team is currently focused on updating the Ember blog.
And do you remember your first contribution to the community - what was it?
Isaac: In 2018, a few months into Ember, I gave a talk on using D3 with Ember. For the demo, I remade Lights Out, a handheld game from the 90s.
The talk went okay for the most part. I learned that live coding’s not easy.
Jared: If I recall correctly, I think I started attending the Learning Team meetings back in 2017, and participated in the conversations going on there.
The Learning Team meetings are open to the public, very welcoming to all levels of experience and community participation is highly encouraged, which I think is great.
That openness really helped me get involved in contributing back to the Ember community.
What’s your biggest motivation to contribute to Ember?
Isaac: I find Ember to be antithetical to what I experienced in graduate school.
There—at least, in my field of study—people seemed to be against each other because publishing in top journals is a high priority. Code was seldom shared. Even in my research group, there must have been several implementations of the same underlying theory. Of course, I made the mistake to write my own, which led to delays and failure to complete (start?) my thesis.
In short, I like shared solutions and a battery-included framework to launch me into solving the problems that I care about. It’s a boon to work with a community that shares these beliefs.
Jared: I just think in general that true open sourced software is so important, and Ember is a great example of how an open source project can thrive through its community. The Ember community has helped me learn and grow as a developer and it is super rewarding to be able to contribute back to the community at some level.
What has been your most important learning from contributing to Ember so far?
Isaac: In general, it’s good to work on interpersonal skills and mental health. Code is a small part to solving problems. Collaboration and wellness form larger parts.
If you are an addon author, I ask that you document your addon (e.g. write a clear readme, keep a changelog, explain your solution in PRs), write tests, and set up continuous integration. Lower the barrier of entry as much as you can for first-time contributors.
I think, by investing extra time in documentation early, you can spend much less in maintenance and onboarding later. People can install your addon and upgrade confidently. They can also know how to carry on your work when you need to take a break.
Jared: That our community is what we make of it and that anyone can have an impact.
For a long while I had a sense that I had to be at a certain stage of my software development career to meaningfully contribute to a project like Ember.
Breaking down that mental barrier, and doing some work in the community, helped me with my confidence and skills as a developer.
There are a lot of different ways to help the community.
Is there any piece of advice you can lend to first-time contributors?
Isaac: You can be a contributor in many ways. Proactively find (or create) opportunities where you can leverage existing skills and work on one skill that you lack currently. Feel free to ask people for help with ideas on Discord.
Jared: We need your help! Also, there are no requirements for contributing to our community other than following our guidelines. Bring an open mind and and I think you’ll find that there a lot of people involved in Ember who will be excited to help you on your journey into open source.