Behind the React Documentary

Transcript from Friday February 17th, 2023


Carl Vitullo: I'm here with Ida Bechtle, a documentary filmmaker from the European job board site Honeypot, and vjeux, or Christopher Chedeau, who has deep roots with the React ecosystem and just absolutely incredible contributions to the JavaScript ecosystem at large. [00:00:18]

We're really excited to have both of them on to talk about the recent React documentary that just launched on February 10th. Yeah, I've been thinking about this as a behind the scenes, DVD commentary type of conversation. But yeah, let's just see where the conversation takes us. [00:00:33]

So Ida, could you talk a little bit about your role and your responsibilities with producing these documentaries? [00:00:40]

Ida Bechtle: Yes. First of all, hi to everybody in the audience, I'm Ida. I've been working at Honeypot for the last three years as a filmmaker, so I'm just making these developer portraits and tech documentaries full-time, which is pretty cool. And I've been working on the React documentary for the last year or so. [00:00:59]

So I'm super excited for it to finally be out. It's been a lot of work, so I'm really happy about the response so far. [00:01:06]

Ida on being a 1-person production team

Carl Vitullo: You said when we were talking in preparation for this event that you are a one person show. You do all of it, you do the cinematography, the directing, and the editing. Is that right? [00:01:17]

Ida Bechtle: Yeah, exactly. This is all me from start to finish. Except for the title animation basically. So that's why it was so much work. But it's also cool, you know, to see the result in the end when it came from my hands. [00:01:30]

Carl Vitullo: Right. It's really very much a product of you. You really own it from start to finish. That's very cool. I feel like that would require a very entrepreneurial mindset , you can't just do one part of this work over and over again. You have to really think about the entire project from ideation to conclusion. I'd love to get into that with you later on. [00:01:50]

Christopher Chedeau as a driving force

Carl Vitullo: Vjeux, Ida had told me that you were one of the, really the driving force behind getting this event to come together. What was that like to getting corporate comms to approve an event talking about things that happened 10 years ago? [00:02:03]

Christopher Chedeau: Yeah, of course. So the first thing so, in the React community I've been always trying to build the community. And so I was wondering like, early React, doing like the community roundup and also organize like the first React Conf for. And so if you watch the documentary, you can see like how it happened and how it went. [00:02:20]

And so, early last year in I think January a lot like Ida reached out to a lot of people from the early days of React saying, Hey, I'm working on this doc. I want to build this documentary. Are you interested in participating? But the issue is like nobody replies. [00:02:36]

And when she finally was able to reach out to me, I was like, oh my God, this is so amazing. We're going to be having a documentary about it. And so I started basically taking ownership of the project from the React team's perspective. And I started convincing every single person that you can see in the cast, hey, you should be participating, this is going to be good. [00:02:53]

And as you mentioned, we also needed to convince like Facebook/Meta to participate. And this was like a bit of an awkward dance because this is not coming from like the company. It's coming from Honeypot which is like a European job search company. And so I had to convince people that it was worth like taking the chance on this. Great thing is they've already done a documentary on GraphQL, which is from Meta, and also one on Vue. [00:03:22]

So what I did was this, some background research, ask Evan You from Vue and ask Daniel Schafer and Byron from like the GraphQL one. And I asked them, Hey, how did the experience go? How did it feel? And I watch the two and. Everybody told me like, yeah, the experience was fantastic. And the end result was like, really positive, uplifting, and really like told the story they wanted to tell. [00:03:43]

And so based on this, I talked to the head of open source Dave Viner, and that put me in touch with all of the right, people from like Comms and Legal to make sure that hey, we like it makes sense and we can do it. And so it took I think like a month or two to convince people, like, Hey, let's do it. And then it was about like actually doing the recording. And so Ida like, took on this parts. [00:04:07]

Carl Vitullo: I guess it makes sense that Lee Byron had done one of these before, since there was one on GraphQL, but I hadn't put that together when I was watching. Okay. Very nice. [00:04:15]

Why Honeypot makes these documentaries

Carl Vitullo: Ida, could you talk about why Honeypot makes these documentaries and why the timing felt right to try and make one about React? [00:04:24]

Ida Bechtle: Sure. So Honeypot is like just a small company here in Germany and we built a lot of our product on using open source software. We try to be more visible in the community and give back a bit. I think that's why it started. One of our co-founders was also a journalist, so I think she had a different approach to both to marketing, but also to storytelling and connecting the audience what you can say. [00:04:48]

So I think that's how it started. I think our first documentary was about Elixir and I think it was kind of an experiment really. And we just put it on YouTube four years ago or something, and I think it got like a thousand views or something. The team back then was super excited. [00:05:03]

And then it just grew from there. Since the early days people have been asking about React. So, if you look at like any other documentary on our channel, you will always find a viewer being like, "ah, let's do, can you do React?" So now was just finally the moment to do it. Also, after Covid, it was a bit tough to produce documentaries then. So after that we were ah let's get one of the big ones out now. So that's how it started on my side. [00:05:31]

Carl Vitullo: That's really nice. Coming from a job board and remembering that the companies, the projects, the people who you're placing at jobs have these stories that their careers are anchored around, and then really trying to tell those stories. I think that's a really excellent way to give back to the community. I'm really happy that somebody is making these. [00:05:49]

Getting trapped in a park while filming

Carl Vitullo: Are there any stories about the production of this that you think might be fun to share? Any bloopers? I know there was one scene in the documentary where Andrew Clark gets a little self complimentary. Like, "oh, we really nailed that, didn't we?" Any other bits like that as production happened, that would be fun to share? [00:06:07]

Ida Bechtle: Most of these shoots, I just go in and out pretty fast, spend a few hours with the people I'm interviewing. I think actually Christopher was one of the ones I like hung out with the most because we were filming in London I think we were basically had three days or something so we could like also get to know each other a bit better. But otherwise it's, sometimes it's a bit like professional almost, you know, I just go in, I set up all the gear and try to get to know the people a bit more in person. [00:06:34]

Christopher Chedeau: There was one thing that, so we were in London and we wanted to get like a shot at the sunset, and so went into a park, And they actually closed the gates of the park behind us. And so we had to basically walk around or like walk on top of the like fence and everything. And it was super cool, like there was people like drunk, passing by and cheering. Yeah. Go. So yeah, didn't make it into the movie, but this was pretty fun. [00:07:00]

Ida Bechtle: Yeah, true. I forgot about that part. Getting locked in the park. [00:07:03]

Carl Vitullo: That's pretty good. [00:07:04]

Jordan Walke's participation

Carl Vitullo: I noticed that you got so many of the major players in the early days of React involved in this as interview subjects. Obviously a major player who was not represented was Jordan Walke. Could you talk about why he didn't want to be involved in this, or, did he not want to be involved? Could you just not get scheduling right? [00:07:24]

Christopher Chedeau: Yeah. So in practice Jordan is a very like, private person. And he has always been, and so this is not really the thing, like he enjoys. And so I worked with him super closely and the way he like, works best is in one-on-one with people. And so even internally, at the time, like he's never done like any all hands or any major events. He's always been convincing people like one by one. And you can see in the documentary like how he was able to convince Lee Byron, how he was able to convince me. [00:07:53]

And so this is like in his personality to like actually be behind the scenes. And the one thing I want to mention is he's been involved like since day one. He was like receptive. Like he was actually like happy that the documentary existed and like he's been watching it with us. Like he was commenting during the live q and a on the comments. So, and this is like something like we have to respect like his wishes. [00:08:18]

And in the documentary you can also see like his experience, like actually being on stage was not a good one. So I can also understand like that's he's not like particularly looking forward to be like more exposed than he is. [00:08:32]

Carl Vitullo: Yeah, that makes sense. He's already a private person. He had a pretty bad experience with being in the limelight and just is very happy to help make things happen, but not be the center of attention. That makes sense. [00:08:44]

About the focus on the early days of React

Carl Vitullo: I noticed that the documentary really focused a lot on the earlier days of the React ecosystem, how it came to be and how it grew. Was that a editorial decision? [00:08:56]

Ida Bechtle: I think for me, when I first started looking into React, I think that was like the story that really stood out for me and I think especially before the open source release, that part of the story I think has not really been told, about how it was created at Facebook. And I just found I really wanted to credit the team also, like it's such a big technology now. [00:09:15]

And back then they had this massive backlash. So I think it's cool to just share that story and how they came out victorious. And I think also maybe the storyline is a bit easier from like a maybe a bit more simple storyline or like, The events are pretty clear in what happened where maybe, I don't know, it might be a bit tougher for more recent events, but I don't know, maybe Christopher has a different opinion. [00:09:41]

Christopher Chedeau: Yeah, and I think the documentary is already an hour and 20 minutes. I'm pretty sure we could do another like full hour or two on the like more recent events. So I don't know if either you have anything planned for the next year, but. [00:09:53]

Ida Bechtle: Yeah, true. Next one. [00:09:56]

Carl Vitullo: Yeah, sure. And I guess, it feels like the last maybe two or three years of React has been marked by a lot of really grand plans that have not yet fully shaken out. So, I could also see how, you know, it's still it's maybe less of a documentary for the time since the release of Hooks, as you know, it's still under active exploration, active investigation. So, it's less of a documentary and more of a, I don't know, industry event. [00:10:24]

Deciding where to focus your attention

Carl Vitullo: So Christopher, you've been involved in so many hugely impactful projects in the JavaScript ecosystem. Can you talk a little bit about how these ideas cross your radar and how you decide which ones you're going to dedicate your attention to? [00:10:44]

Christopher Chedeau: So, to give some context, so I helped like popularize React and I also co-created with Jordan, Ashwin, and Lynn, React Native. And I also worked like with James Long on Prettier. And so I dunno if you think, like right now I'm working on Excalidraw, and so for me, like the way I think about like this big project is it always starts with like, there's a problem. [00:11:08]

And so, for example, I can talk about Prettier I've always felt like code reviews were like super annoying. So when I joined Facebook I was like, outta new grad, like super, super excited. Okay, I'm going to do big things. And then uh, my first uh, deep review was like 20 comments around "Hey, you should put a space here, and the parenthesis there, and like, put a new line here." And to me, it felt bad because I felt like it was nitpicky and not as useful. And I was talking to this amazing engineer and she spent our time doing this, just like nit picking on my thing. [00:11:41]

And then I realized that later, I think a year or two after I was in the reverse position. Where like, oh, there was new people in the team. And I was like, okay, I need to be doing this work. I'm telling them, because otherwise, like the code-based quality is not going to be as good and we won't be able to move as fast. [00:11:58]

And so, I've been really shaped by go and go fmt. And this was a way to automatically reformat the codebase. and the very interesting thing about this is I saw this could actually solve all of the issues I've had like in the code review process. [00:12:15]

But now the challenge is, go fmt, like a lot of people were crediting it due to the fact that like they created the language with it. And so it was possible to have adoption with this. And in the JavaScript ecosystem, there's been a lot of attempt at building like an automatic format, but they all failed. So now that I have the problem that I want to solve, that was a solution. And so now my process is around, okay, so if I I need to convince myself that this solution can actually work. And so the first step is to look at all of the existing, if nobody tried it, like, I mean, like it's not a real problem. [00:12:52]

And so I started contacting all of the people that built JavaScript formatters in the past, and I've asked them, "Hey, why did it fail? Why did you stop working on it and everything?" And they give me a lot of reasons. One of the cool thing is like, the programming scene is actually like, people are interested and excited about talking about this kind of things. [00:13:10]

So you can actually like private message somebody and they're going to likely answer you if you are excited about the idea. And the thing that I realized is this is a problem where, like, this is not the usual, like 80%/20%. What I mean by this is, most projects, you can have an 80% version working and then this is going to really like work and you can grow from there, and like the last 20% you can spend a lot of time on. Now for pretty printing a language; it needs to actually be rock solid because if you pretty print something and like the code doesn't work or like, has a different meaning at the end, people are just going to stop using it. [00:13:50]

So the same time of correctness. And then if the code looks bad or looks weird, people are also not going to use it. And so for this it was a project where like, you need to actually get it like 99.9% good before it can actually like, take off and be successful. And so now this is basically like shaped for this one, how I went about it. [00:14:10]

Going in a submarine and ignoring your manager

Christopher Chedeau: And it was like, I'm going to be in a submarine for like six months and I'm just going to code code, code, code, code, get it like 99.9% correct. And then I'm going to start like, getting the adoption going and everything. And so this was like, okay, me, myself, convincing that I can work and like I have a plan that I feel is going to work. [00:14:27]

I was working in a team and I basically told my manager, Hey, look, I'm going to do this for the next six months. So it didn't work out super well in the beginning because , I was supposed to do other things, but I went ahead and did it. And then the plan actually worked, okay, it's successful and everything. And later I got credited as part of the work within the company. [00:14:47]

So there's three steps around, like finding the problem, convincing yourself it'll work, and then actually going and like all in onto this. So this has been my process around getting into this kind of like crazy ambitious projects. [00:15:01]

Carl Vitullo: That makes a lot of sense. As you were talking about getting something to 99.9%, I immediately jumped to the difficult challenge of trying to make everyone happy enough with what the output looks like. [00:15:15]

Making Prettier pretty through data

Carl Vitullo: I didn't even think about correctness issues. I, I immediately went to, everyone has their own personal bike shed about whether or not to use semicolons at the end of the line or things like that. And that's something that I've always thought was one of the very subtle brilliances of Prettier, is how it managed to have an extremely minimal configuration that let you know 99% of developers use it and go, "oh yeah, okay. I'm happy with how that looks." [00:15:45]

I think getting developers to agree that some that code is pretty, is an incredible challenge. It's entirely separate from the technical challenge of actually making that happen. [00:15:55]

Christopher Chedeau: For this was very data driven. So what I did was, I had access to the Facebook code base. And so what I would do is every time there's needed to like, have a decision on how to print it, what I would do is actually look in the Facebook database and get statistics around like, how many people are using this formatting or this other formatting. [00:16:14]

And then I would basically pick the one that is most used. And so at the time, at Facebook, there was convention and everything, but this is still an organic system. And so because we had , I don't probably like millions of lines of code, this was big enough to be representative of like, what reasonable code looks like. [00:16:30]

And so I basically just followed the wisdom of the crowds and ended up being like, good looking or like acceptable by people. [00:16:41]

Carl Vitullo: Right, right. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So you have a lot of data to draw on by virtue of the enormous code bases you work with, and I imagine it wasn't terribly difficult to get other developers to solicit feedback on code. Commenting on code style is a favorite developer pastime. [00:16:58]

Ida's documentary process

Carl Vitullo: Ida, I'd love to jump back to you. So I mentioned at the start of this that I feel like there is a lot of entrepreneurial spirit involved in your role and really owning these projects from start to finish. How do you think about that? How do you think about bringing a project from idea, to production, to completion? [00:17:19]

Ida Bechtle: I never really thought about it like that, but I think you're right in that definition. I think that's what I really like about my position here at Honeypot actually, because we do get ownership of these projects from beginning to end, all the way through. And I really like being a part of the whole process. [00:17:37]

Like, I'm the one reaching out to the people. I do the interviews before we go filming. I shape this storyline and then I meet the people see them live and film with them. And you can already like, Build your interviews off of the relation you had in those earlier calls. And while I'm filming, I'll already be thinking about editing it all together. [00:17:57]

So I think it's a lot of work, but I think it's really beneficial also because you can really like link every part of the production process to each other in a sense. Yeah, I really like it [00:18:10]

Carl Vitullo: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. As you're doing the prep work for the interviews, then actually doing the interviews, then doing the editing. You've now done so many separate passes of thinking through these conversations that you're having, that I imagine that lets you flow from one to the next pretty well, especially now that you've been doing this for a number of years and really have a lot of practice doing it. [00:18:32]

Ida Bechtle: Yeah, for sure. You definitely learn from each project. I will say this is the biggest one I've done. An hour and 20 minutes. So that was also a cool challenge. [00:18:42]

Carl Vitullo: Biggest only by length or is it bigger by other metrics as well? Like number of people involved or, [00:18:48]

Ida Bechtle: yeah, also a number of in interviews. I would say length, amount of hours. I had to edit. I had like 25 hours of just interview footage, so, yeah, that's why it turned a bit long. [00:19:02]

Carl Vitullo: Yeah that's a lot of footage. And you do all of the cinematography as well, right? [00:19:07]

Ida Bechtle: Yes. Yeah. So for this one, I brought two cameras. Normally, actually at Honeypot we have a pretty simple setup. We don't have that advanced equipment or anything, but I think we can still looks pretty good even with our simple setup and being one filmmaker [00:19:21]

Carl Vitullo: Yeah. No. Just from watching the trailer, I assumed that there was a whole team behind making this happen. So when you told me that , nope, it's all you, you do all the prep recording and editing. I was blown away. You do an absolutely phenomenal job. [00:19:33]

Ida Bechtle: Thanks. [00:19:34]

Christopher Chedeau: I think Ida you are really underselling yourself, like this movie feels like a real Hollywood movie and yeah, you did an amazing job with this. [00:19:42]

Ida Bechtle: Thank you. That's nice to hear. [00:19:45]

Carl Vitullo: Hearing you talk about the independence you have and just owning these projects, that's something I've always aspired to and thought out. Over the last year I've been working independently and really trying to make this community be my job. That's kind of what I'm trying to do with these events. And so just getting a little tiny taste of, like, I've been doing these events, I've been getting interesting guests to come talk about cool things they're doing and then editing it and publishing it all up so it, you know, I have seen how much work that is for me. And so seeing an hour and 20 minute long video documentary done by one person I'm blown away. You do a really great job. [00:20:22]

Ida Bechtle: Thanks. [00:20:23]

Christopher Chedeau: One thing that was you told me I was interesting. So all of the cameras and different lightning conditions look different, and so you spend literally hours changing the color grading for every single scene that you have, so that they all look consistent. When you told me this, I was like, "oh my God, this is a lot of work," but you can see it in the result like, yeah, it looks coherent. [00:20:43]

Ida Bechtle: Yeah, I mean, we both do color balance, but also like the look you have to make it look alike or the same colors getting brought out. There's a lot of little details that people don't really think about for sure. Like also weird sound effects and many layers on everything that it's only visible when you see my whole timeline. [00:21:01]

I try to put it on our Twitter for people to get like a glimpse of the whole thing, but I don't know if it's easy to tell all the different layers that are actually in it. [00:21:11]

Carl Vitullo: I've dabbled in film and video stuff through high school videos or whatever, I, I know just enough to appreciate how much detail work went into all of that. [00:21:20]

Christopher's involvement in the early days of Reactiflux

Carl Vitullo: Christopher I'll throw it back over to you. You mentioned a couple of the major projects you've worked on. And I realized actually while doing some of the prep work for this, that you have the first message in the Reactiflux server. You've done all of these huge, enormously impactful projects, and also you were actively involved in the discussion of where Reactiflux should move after Slack decided that we had too many active members back in 2015. How did Reactiflux cross your radar so long ago? [00:21:49]

Christopher Chedeau: Yeah. So as I mentioned like early days in React, my biggest contribution was around building the community. And so at that time, we were very big on the IRC channel. And I forgot who, but we decided, hey, we should have a user Slack, because this was the the big thing at the time, and I was like, yep, this is a good idea. Let's have like a channel where people can like geek about React on Slack. And so this is where like, Reactiflux first started. And like, oh, it took off. [00:22:17]

And at some point it took off so much that we basically got bullied off Slack, and they were like, oh, either you like start paying, or find something else. But Slack was priced on a per user basis and so it would've cost like hundreds of thousands of dollars like a month to like, maintain the community. [00:22:34]

Because I really cared about having a place for the community to like be chatting and everything. So what I did was to start a process of looking at all of the available options at the time. And one of the thing is, they almost all like, were really bad. [00:22:49]

And so, Slack was actually like much better than anything else and all of the open source versions were bad. But there was one tool that I was using not for anything open source rated, but for like gaming, which was Discord. Discord was one of the earliest adopters of React. And the mobile apps are fully using React Native on both iOS and Android. And I was like, oh, but this is the perfect thing for Reactiflux, really solid chats and you can have like channels and like good notification system and everything. [00:23:18]

And this was designed for community. Whereas Slack was designed for work, but the biggest challenge at the time was Discord was fully focused on gaming. I chatted with the CTO that I've been working on with React and React Native and, like, I was convincing him, Hey, please we have been booted off Slack this is the best service and everything and let us use it. And he was like, yep, that, sure, go for it. [00:23:42]

The one thing that we wanted was to have like, code blocks that was in Slack and not in Discord. And I think it was the next day they implemented it, the velocity of Discord is amazing. And so now we are like, oh, we had everything we need, so we started migrating, and a few years later Discord actually changed their whole strategy to be not only for gaming, but for everything else. [00:24:04]

And now because of the Reactiflux success, a lot of the other open source projects and everything started using Discord, and it works really well. And so I'm really glad that now, Discord is working well for the open source and it helped. And Reactiflux was the like driver for changing the strategy of like Discord as a whole. So it's been like a pretty good success story. So, [00:24:26]

Carl Vitullo: Yeah. That's incredible. I didn't realize that you were one of the driving forces behind creating this community as well. [00:24:32]

Actually that's when I got involved, is I raised my hand to volunteer to help out however I could, right, I think a month before Slack closed signups So, yeah I very intimately remember that whole conversation and discussing like, oh, will matrix chat work? What about Gitter? What about, you know, all of those. That's fascinating. That's awesome. [00:24:54]

Christopher Chedeau: Yeah, and I don't want to take a lot of the credit, all of you are the ones actually running it day to day. The help I gave here was to actually like, make decisions. And this is one of the things that I found to be the hardest with communities growing, is like nobody feels empowered to make decisions. [00:25:10]

So one of my strengths is to be able to like, Hey, we are doing this, and let's go. And this is the same thing I've done for the documentary. I was like, yep, we're doing this documentary. And I basically tell everybody we're doing this documentary and like, it happened, but Ida did all of the work of actually making it happen. [00:25:28]

So yeah, this is my contribution. [00:25:30]

Ida Bechtle: Very important contribution though [00:25:33]

Carl Vitullo: Yeah, now that I've been trying to, you know, run this community less as a hobby and more as, with some of the professionalism that I think it deserves, given its place in the React ecosystem I, I'm running into those same kind of problems as, nobody feels comfortable being the one to say, I think we should do this. I think it is important that, we make this decision and being willing to put your hand up and take accountability and take a risk. I think being comfortable taking risks is, it's a real skill and I think the projects you've taken on really show how good you are at identifying good risks and then going all in on them. [00:26:14]

Christopher Chedeau: I'm trying to. [00:26:15]

Christopher's largest human-centered accomplishment

Carl Vitullo: Let's back up a little bit on some of your other major projects. So you had major contributions to React Native. I know that you wrote the algorithm that did the flex box layout for React Native, and Docusaurus, Prettier. Any other major omissions there? [00:26:32]

Christopher Chedeau: I was the one that's made this infamous slide deck around CSS in js. [00:26:38]

So that's got like a bunch of drama, but also a bunch of exciting projects. So, yeah. [00:26:44]

Carl Vitullo: What contribution holds the fondest place in your heart? [00:26:47]

Christopher Chedeau: I think the biggest one for me was React for sure, being able to create this community of incredible people. And like, yeah, we had the documentary and this has been so good to go back to memory lane and like actually reflect on all of the people that really helped make this happen. [00:27:03]

And this is one of the thing is I found like super good about the documentary. Like it showed that it was not a one person thing. So yes, Jordan, started it and created it. But then you can see in the documentary, like a lot of people actually were energized and were pushing for it and everything. [00:27:16]

So it was really like a community effort. And I loved how there's been so many tweets written along the documentary and each behind each of those tweets is one person, that spends a lot of time and a lot of effort and building something in the ecosystem. So for me, this is not about me, but about how all of those folks came together and all of you in the audience that are coming together to actually like build something bigger and like move the industry forward. So this is my proudest accomplishment. [00:27:45]

Carl Vitullo: Yeah. That's both a large accomplishment and just a very, human-centered accomplishment. You got a bunch of people excited about something and then they did so many cool things with it. [00:27:55]

Ida, now that you've spent a year working on this React documentary, what do you think is next for you? [00:28:01]

Ida Bechtle: I actually already know my next project. I'm not sure I can say it out loud yet, but I'm gonna go straight to making another, not, probably not as big as React . Maybe no more like our usual time, like 30 minutes or so. I'll try to limit myself a bit more this time. But yeah, so hopefully our next bigger production will be out in the fall, I think is the plan so far. [00:28:24]

Christopher Chedeau: Nice. [00:28:25]

Ida Bechtle: Yes. [00:28:25]

Carl Vitullo: Can you give us any hints as to what it will be about? Is it a, an it's another open source documentary. [00:28:31]

Ida Bechtle: Yeah, it's another open source. Actually, I don't know, I should probably have cleared this, if I can even tease it now. I'm not sure. [00:28:38]

Carl Vitullo: Fair enough. Okay. But we'll keep an eye out for something in the fall. [00:28:40]

Ida Bechtle: And I mean, we are also open to suggestions. Like people can always contact us and we'll see what we can do with all the ideas. They can write us on Twitter, it's @honeypotio. They can contact our email, or even on YouTube like writing comments. A bit like people requested also the React documentary. If we see it enough times we normally try to do it. [00:29:03]

Carl Vitullo: Christopher, Ida, anything else you'd like to get into? Any other topics you think we haven't covered yet? [00:29:09]

Christopher Chedeau: We have a lot of people in the audience, if you have any questions please like put them in the chat. One question I'm seeing is Motorhead saying, Hey, how do you feel about VueJS? Are there idea s or inspiration you get from it. [00:29:19]

So, one of the thing that a lot of people don't realize is that, they feel that the React team is like in competition, like, dear Enemy with the Vue team or like the Angular team and you, and like people are trying to pit us against each other. But actually we are working very closely with all of them. So during the early days of React, we had many meetings at the Google campus between the Angular team and the React team, and for Evan You personally, like I've been playing Hades with him trying to speed around the game. And so we are all working well together. [00:29:50]

And so for a few, like one of the biggest thing it's did for the React, like on the React team was the quality of the documentation. Vue's documentation is amazing. And so when I was managing the React team I actually pushed to rewrite the documentation and using Vue as basically the guideline. [00:30:09]

And so it's been one of the thing that like really helped. And right now the other thing coming from the Vue ecosystem is Vite, like the bundler, which is way faster than anything else. And this is something that now a lot of people in the React ecosystem are using. [00:30:24]

So like two things that have directly influenced, there's a lot of myriad of details have happened. And so I'm really excited that we're like, well, like my goal. and and the React team's goal is not to actually like, make React better, but this is like make the entire ecosystem better. [00:30:41]

And so we actually want to encourage people to try out Vue and like, oh, if there are something that's better in there, oh, are there any ways we can bring into React or vice versa, so. [00:30:51]

or. [00:30:54]

Carl Vitullo: Yeah, definitely. So thinking of it as we're all in the web and JavaScript ecosystem, rather than carving out little fiefdoms of, this is a React ecosystem and this is the Vue ecosystem. Really collaborating to grow the space. I didn't realize that Vue's documentation was an inspiration for the revamped React documentation. [00:31:13]

I know that the beta docs have been beta for a very long time now and are now being released. Do you have any involvement in that documentation project? [00:31:22]

Christopher Chedeau: I've been out of the React team for like, more than five years now, so I've been superficially looking at it. And so my involvement for this was again of convincing like Dan Abramov to actually push for it. And so he is always been a really good writer and he wasn't really sure like, "Hey, does it make sense for me as an engineer at the company to work on docs almost full-time?" [00:31:43]

And I was like, Nope. This is how you have impact. Like your writing is why, what gets you in the company and everything. So this thing you should be really pushing. And so I'm really glad that he was able to like, yep, actually like, work on this. And so it's been in beta for a long time because , One of the thing is at this point, React is not, this small project, it's used by literary the entire industry. [00:32:03]

And so, one of the thing around this is any smaller decision that's been made in the project is going to have long-lasting consequences. And so one of the thing that the React team has always been really good at is really making sure every single decision is thought out and is going to last for another, like 10, 20 years. [00:32:21]

And this is really hard to do, but this is how the team is operating. And so this is why it feels like the team is moving slower. You mentioned like, oh, all of the concurrency and everything has not still , yet been fully shipped and the docs are still in beta, but this is how you actually steward such a big and important project. [00:32:38]

And so I think they're doing the right thing to actually get feedback and iterate and, like convincing themselves that this is the right direction. Because if they are wrong, then this is going to be really bad and incur a lot of costs in the entire community. And so for this, it's all about making sure you, you are right and it's still time to back out. [00:32:58]

And this is one thing, I feel like a lot of people don't do a lot is, they work on something and they get feedback, it's not going to work out. And then they're basically still pushing because of the sunk cost fallacy, but the React team is like, oh, let's actually convince ourselves, convince the, the rest of the team, the rest of the world that this is working. And then let's do it. [00:33:16]

Carl Vitullo: Yeah. And I think that. That intentionality that the React team has brought to developing the api, developing the library, that's something that I've always really tremendously respected and thought was really one of the biggest selling points. And I think you're absolutely correct about the level of impact that React has had and how that raises the stakes. [00:33:36]

Now it's like anything that, any change that React makes is now closer in stature and weightiness to, like, a change to JavaScript. So, approaching it with care is absolutely incredibly appropriate, because yeah, you only get one shot. You can't put something out there and then make a subtle adjustment because, those subtle adjustments will never be fully dispersed out to the community. It just fragments. [00:34:01]

Christopher Chedeau: Another question in the chat from Tactician. Was there anyone else you wanted to interview for the documentary that you were not able to? [00:34:08]

So actually, like for me personally, there's Jing Chen, so, she actually did talk to Ida, but she doesn't want to be on camera. But Jing has been absolutely fantastic and so influential to build connection with the customers. And so a lot of the times people are thinking about React as this technical like piece of art and everything. But one of the thing now to be successful is you need to actually work with the customer actually going to use it. And Jing has been the one that build a customer relationship. [00:34:38]

And it was very hard at in many time, but she was the ball. Like you dropped, like she dropped into this relation and now all of a sudden, like everybody was excited, everybody was productive. So I want to give a huge shoutout to her around this. [00:34:52]

Carl Vitullo: Yeah, that was mentioned in the documentary, her ability to get people oriented around the topic. Do you have a sense for how she manages to do that? [00:34:59]

Christopher Chedeau: So I think for this basically always putting the needs of the other first, and really deeply understanding, hey, what is the challenges of, like for example, we're working with Instagram, Hey, what is the needs of Instagram team? What are they thinking through and everything? [00:35:14]

And then basically telling them like, Hey, we are going to be able to solve your needs. And this is something that a lot of people in engineering and tech are like, oh, I want to build my thing because I think it's going to be better, but not putting themselves into the shoes of the others, and conflict management and conflict resolution kind of things has been her superpower. [00:35:34]

Carl Vitullo: Do you think it would be accurate to say that she approaches these situations with curiosity rather than a preconceived solution? [00:35:41]

Christopher Chedeau: Yeah, that makes sense. [00:35:43]

Carl Vitullo: Ida, if there's anything else you'd like to say about how the documentary came together? [00:35:48]

Ida Bechtle: I guess not too much to say other than just to add thanks to the cast and to Christopher, so for helping me. I think he did, especially with Meta. I think he did a lot of stuff kind of behind the screen or like that I didn't really realize. He made it super easy for me to be able to film even at Meta and to feature engineers working at Meta now. [00:36:09]

So yeah, I just wanna shout out the whole cast who were amazing and we've gotten so many compliments also about just how they tell this story. It's super entertaining, what do you say? Like, storytelling throughout. So that's all them. [00:36:23]

Carl Vitullo: Yeah, you can really tell how much everyone cares about all their coworkers and about the project they're working on. Yeah, Christopher any, anyone you wanna shout out? Anything you wanna plug? [00:36:31]

Christopher Chedeau: Nothing really, go watch documentary if you haven't yet. And if you have, share it with your friends. One of the things that I found like was really good is that the documentary is done in a way, even if you're not technical, you can understand it. And so my wife, knows nothing about tech, but she was hooked from the beginning to the end. [00:36:48]

And this is very hard, like she's picky and everything. So, it's a really good testament of Ida's skills and yeah. One thing I really want is, can we get it on Netflix? So I'm trying to convince people to see if we can do it, but we'll see. [00:37:02]

Carl Vitullo: Sure. Yeah. I mean, they get a big shout out in there. Be a good marketing play for them. Well, if I see the React Documentary on Netflix I'll know who to thank. [00:37:09]

Yeah. Thanks so much for coming out, Christopher and Ida. [00:37:13]

Ida Bechtle: Thanks for having us. [00:37:14]

Christopher Chedeau: Thank you so much, Carl, for hosting. [00:37:16]

Carl Vitullo: Yeah, very glad you could make it. Yeah. Well, thanks so much for coming everyone in the audience. And make sure to join us next week. We're doing the first episode of This Month in React with Sebastien Lorber, and myself, and Mark Erickson. Really excited to try it out and keep you guys on the top of what's happening in the React ecosystem. [00:37:33]

Yeah. Thank you so much everyone. This was really fun to do. [00:37:37]

Christopher Chedeau: Bye.