Open source software has become an integral part of the tech industry, powering countless applications and frameworks that developers rely on daily. In a recent episode, Tracy Lee chatted with Misko Hevery, known for his work on Qwik and Angular, about his insights into open source development.
The episode began with a discussion of Qwik, a framework designed to simplify lazy loading and enhance performance. Misko highlighted the problem developers face when optimizing large applications and emphasized the importance of frameworks taking the responsibility of making applications faster. Qwik aims to do just that by providing a seamless lazy loading experience for developers, eliminating the need for extensive optimization efforts. They also touched on the challenge of convincing stakeholders to prioritize performance improvements over new features, a common struggle for developers.
Misko shared valuable advice for aspiring open source contributors, emphasizing the significance of deeply caring about the problems you aim to solve. He also stressed the importance of aligning the mental model of a framework with developers, making it easier for them to get started and be productive from day one. This aligns with the success of popular frameworks like React, which are known for their straightforward mental models.
The conversation shifted into the evolving landscape of open source sustainability. Misko pointed out that open source is not entirely free and that contributors need to be compensated for their time and effort. While there has been progress in this area, with platforms like Patreon and GitHub Sponsors enabling developers to receive funding, the culture surrounding financial support for open source projects is still evolving.
Vue.js, a framework backed by a strong community and creator Evan You, was mentioned as a standout example of open source success. Misko highlighted that Vue.js is unique because it is not backed by a corporation, unlike many other frameworks. This independence has allowed Vue.js to thrive and become a leading framework in the front-end world.
The episode wrapped up with a call to action for the industry to better support sustainable open source projects. Misko encouraged companies benefiting from open source projects to find ways to contribute back to the community. He expressed the need for the ecosystem to mature and develop a culture of financial support for open source maintainers.