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Be loud and be ready - my hopes for Ember.js in 2018

Be loud and be ready - my hopes for Ember.js in 2018

In 2018, I want to see Ember grow. But how could that be done in a strategic way? In this article, I'll take stock of our current resources and suggest how we could focus our efforts.

Sometimes when I am not sure how to achieve a goal, I imagine my future, successful self. I imagine that the goal has been achieved, using the same resources I have today, and I work backwards. What would I guess that those successful people of Future-Ember did?

  1. The people of Future-Ember worked to increase public awareness so that more developers knew about it and considered it for their projects. The Core Team led by example, writing and speaking, and the rest of the community was empowered to do the same.
  2. Future-Ember provided approachable, current, convincing materials for new visitors.

They were LOUD, and they were ready for the moment that they were heard.


Before I get into details, I want to share a reflection. Ultimately, most of the people who might contribute to these efforts will do so on their free time. It's important that we temper expectations of others and ourselves accordingly. I am so thankful for anything that anybody does to help out.

Being Loud

What does it mean to be loud? It means bragging about our accomplishments to the wider JavaScript community. Being loud is a distributed effort of many people, but some organization would help build momentum:

  • Blog posts by Core, sharing the philosophy of Ember and how recent features fit in
  • Articles posted on company blogs
  • Community articles and tutorials posted by individuals
  • Shared Twitter hashtags to assist publications like Ember Weekly in finding the articles across many different platforms
  • Public talks by everyone at general JavaScript events (not necessarily about Ember, but maybe mentioning it and saying what it is)

I want to highlight the idea of articles by companies that use Ember. This is an easy place for Ember's leadership to help out - if there was a call to action, making a "special event" of it, that would make it easier for community members to convince their teams to dedicate a little time to it. "Hey, let's write about Ember" is not as powerful to convince one's boss as "Hey, there's a special event for companies to write posts, and I think we should participate." A single GitHub gist would do the trick.

Our current volume

Both before and after a major version release, there were few articles from the Core Team. Everyone has their specialties, and they are doing incredible work with RFCs and PRs, but I was personally hoping for just a little more buzz.

It might be tempting to think it's not important to cover the philosophy or basics of Ember anymore, but it's been nearly 3 years since 2.0 debuted. A few front end surveys suggest that about 30-45% of JavaScript developers have less than 5 years experience. It seems safe to say that in 2015, most of them were not in decision-making roles for selecting a framework. Has that audience heard the message that was shared in the early days? Probably not. In my opinion, we're unlikely to convince people who passed over Ember years ago, but this fresh audience might be looking for more options in the JavaScript landscape. Everything is new to so many people!

The Core Team is in a unique position to add external-facing commentary on the framework's vision. Our RFC process and release posts are awesome, and they have done great things internally, so I would like to encourage Core to look outwards next. I would propose that several people on Core make a point to do some writing that targets the larger JavaScript ecosystem. The community will back them up and write too!

Being Ready

Let's imagine that all the ideas listed above are done, and they work. Twitter is moving, Hacker News is positive (like a couple weeks ago!), more people start to pay attention... then what? The Ember.js Guides and CLI docs need a little love, and we need to better communicate the "Why" of Ember on our site. (Shout out to Mel Sumner for already making moves on this last point.)

Here are a few ways to make our materials ready for a new wave of developers:

  • A refactor of (at least) the first page of every topic within the Guides, to make them friendlier and more readable. The Learning Team can help facilitate and organize. Ember has a large group of community members who I believe are ready and willing to help out.
  • "Breaking" some of the Guides urls that have been held as canon. For example, I don't believe that Ember Object is terribly useful to a new developer when presented as a standalone topic, and I have chatted with Chris Thoburn at length about how the semantics of "Customizing Serializers" get in the way of learning.
  • Current addon authors could help lead a refactor of the CLI docs. Newer people can help with writing and making sure that the results are as helpful as possible.
  • Freshen up the look and feel of our main "marketing" resources like the home page. A lot of people are already working on this, so I mention it just to signal boost. It's incredibly important, perhaps most important, because first impressions matter.

In conclusion

A lot of the things I'm talking about here are already in motion. Amazing people are doing amazing things. Let's talk about it more, let's keep moving in the direction we're headed, and let's try to be just a bit more organized/focused on a few initiatives. It will have big returns.

Much love and many thanks <3

P.S. If you haven't contributed to Ember before and want to, let me know and I'll help you get started. Open source projects only survive when their users (individuals and companies) give back sometimes.

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jenweber commented May 1, 2018

@ef4 can you share the citation for that? I wanted to use that stat but couldn't find it.

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ef4 commented May 2, 2018

I must admit I was uncritically repeating what I heard, without checking for the reference.

The most recent source that I think put the idea in my head is and which are about NPM and not Javascript per-se, but I think that's a pretty convincing proxy.

The argument comes down to growth rates of the total industry. If it's growing at least 41% year over year, then > 50% of devs have less than two years experience.

A similar data point is that the Node.js foundation claimed 100% year-over-year growth in users in 2016 (the most recent data I can find).

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dan-ste commented May 10, 2018

Hi @jenweber and thank you for your brilliant post. I've been working with Ember for about 2.5 years now and I really want to start contribute to some part of a framework but I don't have ideas where I can help. Can you help me to start my open source journey? Thanks again :)

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@dan-ste sure, we'd love to have your help! Are you on the Ember Slack? One of the best things to do is drop into a learning team meeting and share a little about what kind of work you like to do and things you care about fixing. They are usually at 1pm EST on Thursdays.

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