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Front-End Mastery – Blending The Worlds of Teaching and Tech with Steve Kinney

Relicans host, Lauren Lee, talks to Front-End Architect at Temporal, Steve Kinney, about being drawn toward front-end engineering and blending the two worlds of teaching and tech.

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Jonan Scheffler: Hello and welcome to Polyglot, proudly brought to you by New Relic's developer relations team, The Relicans. Polyglot is about software design. It's about looking beyond languages to the patterns and methods that we as developers use to do our best work. You can join us every week to hear from developers who have stories to share about what has worked for them and may have some opinions about how best to write quality software. We may not always agree, but we are certainly going to have fun, and we will always do our best to level up together. You can find the show notes for this episode and all of The Relicans podcasts on Thank you so much for joining us. Enjoy the show.

Lauren Lee: My guest today is a Front-End Architect at Temporal. Previously, he was the Front-End Architect at Twilio and a Principal Engineer at SendGrid. He started the Front-End Engineering Program at the Turing School of Software & Design where he taught aspiring developers. In a past life, he was a New York City teacher and taught middle school in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. His name is Steve Kinney. Steve, welcome to Polyglot.

Steve Kinney: Thank you for having me.

Lauren: I'm super excited to be chatting with you today.

Steve: I'm super excited to be here.

Lauren: I am a fellow teacher turned coder as well. So I'm excited to dive into pedagogy with you.

Steve: I'm so sorry.

Lauren: No, don't say sorry. There are a lot of skills I think that transfer over from the profession. So I would love to hear your thoughts on that. Actually, let's start there. Tell me about your career as an educator. It looks like that's what you studied in school. Was that always your first passion in life?

Steve: That's a tricky question. If I'm being honest with myself, it probably was…if you would ask 19, 20 year old me, I'm not entirely sure.

Lauren: What was his passion? What were you curious about then?

Steve: He was either going to become a software engineer or a rock star.

Lauren: [laughs] Okay.

Steve: But 19 year old me, and this is true of 37 year old me, did not have particularly good rhythm.

Lauren: Got it.

Steve: But the 19-year-old version of me was…like, I knew HTML from the time I was ten or so. I didn't learn CSS until I was in college. But I didn't actually learn how to program until I was like 26, 27. The whole, if you don't know how to code, being a software engineer is very hard. And at the time, there was no easy way to just put aside however many months of your life to learn. So I had always meant to do it and was computer adjacent. But the whole time throughout the rest of teenagers have careers? Is that a real term? Let's say my career.

Lauren: Pursuits, yeah. [laughs]

Steve: Pursuits. Pursuits. Most of my jobs that I was any good at somehow involved teaching, whether it be like a Cub Scout camp. Or, when I worked at the computer lab in college, I taught a bunch of classes. And so, my major was sociology.

Lauren: Oh, mine also. [laughs]

Steve: Oh, nice.

Lauren: It's funny.

Steve: As you know, sociologist is not a job that one can get. [laughs]

Lauren: No. I thought I was going to pursue academia for a while. And that was the only career around. [laughs]

Steve: Unless you get a master's or a Ph.D. You don't just go into Indeed or LinkedIn and type in sociologist and find that as a job. And so, both my parents became teachers later in life.

Lauren: Oh, interesting.

Steve: Yeah. My father actually went to the New York City Teaching Fellows. He went through in 2001. And so, towards the end of college, it was either get a job in an Apple Store or become a teacher through one of those programs. So basically, you join, they throw you into one of the partner schools to teach in, and they pay for your master's.

Lauren: Oh, cool. So it's not Teach For America.

Steve: It's not Teach For America. It's one of the ones that was started by one of the first Teach For America alumni. So it's like a New York City-specific version of Teach For America.

Lauren: Okay, and then you got your master's in tandem with that program?

Steve: Yes. Yes.

Lauren: That's cool.

Steve: I did that mostly because I didn't learn how to drive a car either until I was 29. So working at an Apple Store in Central New Jersey was not going to work since I was not going to be able to get to said Apple Store.

Lauren: [laughs] Yeah. Got it. Okay. And so, how did you find teaching? Were there joys in that? I mean, you were doing it for a while. And I love that you…it seems like, according to LinkedIn, you dabbled in special ed, science, technology. That's a really cool spread of curriculum to cover. I'm impressed by that.

Steve: I got the Master's in Special Education, which is what I started out doing. Towards the end, I was teaching JavaScript. And there's a joke in there somewhere.

Lauren: [laughs]

Steve: But yes, I did that as I bounced around different schools, taught science for a year. As a special ed teacher, I taught basically every subject. I taught middle school predominantly. So usually, you specialize in a subject, but a lot of times, I would rotate around depending on the year.

Lauren: The need. Yeah, for sure. So then you started teaching JavaScript. To make the career switch is a huge thing, right?

Steve: Mm-hmm.

Lauren: That's a massive leap of faith and a journey in itself. So talk to me about where you were in life when you decided to make that switch, if you will.

Steve: So I was teaching it a little bit in the seventh-grade classrooms towards the end. I hadn't gotten a job where I was teaching technology. At that time, I had started to teach myself how to program because it was the era of No Child Left Behind. And there was a lot of different data analytics for figuring out which kids were at risk of not passing their state test.

Lauren: Interesting.

Steve: And so what they had a lot of teachers do is they had all of these CSV files, and they would have all these teachers spend their free time or after school time --

Lauren: Parsing. [laughs]

Steve: Going through parsing and cutting, and pasting columns to tabulate all this data. And as I mentioned before, I had been computer adjacent for a decade at that point. And I'm like, I don't know how to write SQL, but I'm pretty sure I'm a SQL database right now. So I told a little fib. And the fib was…I was like, "Listen, if you give me a month of not doing this, I will write you a Ruby on Rails app that can do it."

Lauren: Oh my gosh, good for you. [laughs]

Steve: Well, it was a Sinatra app at the end of the day. And I was tailing the Heroku logs as the 500s were occurring and hot patching it. There was no CSV upload. It was me FTP-ing them in. And it was a lot of chewing gum and duct tape.

Lauren: I mean, yeah, if you're not mortified by your first app that you write --

Steve: Yeah. I went looking for the code. I can't find it. I can't find it anywhere.

Lauren: That would be so fun. [laughs]

Steve: But I went looking for it. I can't find it anywhere. So I ended up doing that. And I was teaching seventh graders, and the school was in Rockaway Beach, Queens. And in 2012, Sandy hit and basically wiped out the school and my house two blocks from the school.

Lauren: Oh my God.

Steve: And my kid was five weeks old. So that was fun.

Lauren: Oh my gosh. I'm smiling, but that's so much trauma. Oh my gosh.

Steve: Yeah. I had done the thing where you pay a little extra into your pension so you can retire early. This was going to be the plan, right?

Lauren: Yeah, of course.

Steve: But all of a sudden, I had moved to Jersey City Heights, emphasis on the word Heights because it was on top of a cliff away from the water. I was taking two boats and a bus to get to work.

Lauren: Oh.

Steve: So when you said, "Oh, that must have been a brave leap," I was like, it's not so brave if you get shoved off. The ebbs there.

Lauren: Wow.

Steve: I ended up working at a non-profit. The thing was making lesson plans for personal finance and economics. And so my job was to be more like a product manager. And they had taken this money for this grant to make, I think, 20 real-time interactive apps. And they had taken maybe like $100,000, which is not enough money to make 20 apps.

Lauren: That's a lot of apps. [laughs]

Steve: And it was data visualizations kind of stuff. And we had hired a great consultancy, but they were only able to…they were like, we can build n number. And we scoped it and stuff along those lines. And I being younger and stupider, decided that I was going to just try to help build all the rest of them.

Lauren: Like, I'll do it. [laughs] Learning on the job and all those opportunities.

Steve: Exactly.

Lauren: Sure. But a fast way I'm sure to burn out.

Steve: So that was kind of starting education. And now we're quasi into education and some amount of tech. And then at the time, the Turing School of Software & Design was getting started up in Denver, Colorado.

Lauren: So that's a big switch, though, from New York to Denver. Did you move to Colorado for Turing?

Steve: Yes, yes.

Lauren: Okay. Okay, got it. And so what drew you to Turing? Let's tell listeners also. We have some Turing grads on our team at New Relic. So maybe some listeners are familiar but give me the 101 of that.

Steve: So I was kind of on the original team.

Lauren: How cool.

Steve: Jeff Casimir, who started Turing, was also a former teacher. He was a D.C. teacher. He went to Teach For America.

Lauren: Love it.

Steve: And hilariously, I started out writing Ruby. And he had done a course for I think it was Code School. They had done Rails for Zombies and a few other ones. And he, at the time, was running this company called Jumpstart Lab where they would come into your company and do a Rails training and whatever.

And he had wanted to do a free course; I think to promote his business at that point. And they were like, "Well, we have one in Rails." And they're like, "Would you like to do one on jQuery?" He's like, "No, but I'll do it." So he did this intro course on jQuery. And it was made free. And I was a Pro*C teacher at the time. And I was like, oh okay, yeah, I'll take this.

Lauren: Love that price, yeah.

Steve: Yeah, free. Yeah, it's great. The moment that I had made something change in the UI after an AJAX call, I was like, I don't ever need to see a database again.

Lauren: Yeah. Bye.

Steve: Yeah, I want to do this front-end piece. And this is like 2011. So this was not a popular perspective at the time. And so I had switched to doing that. But I also saw that he was a teacher and all those things. And hilariously, somebody asked me, "Oh, if you had a dream job, what would it be?" I'm like, "Well, this guy Jeff is starting this thing called Turing in Denver. And one day, I would love to work there."

And so he was in New York one day. And I slid into his DMs, and I was like, "Hey, do you want to grab a beer?" And he's like, "Well, I'm flying out in the morning. Do you want to do a Google Hangout instead?" And I was like, "That's not the same as a beer." What am I going to say, no?

Lauren: [laughs] But fine.

Steve: Yeah, but fine. And so I show up for this thing prepared for it like it was a podcast interview. I'd done my research. I had a series of questions that I was going to ask. And it's like a minute 28 of this call. And then he's eventually like, "So I guess the next step for you is to fly out to Denver and see if it's a good fit."

Lauren: [laughs]

Steve: So I live in Denver now. And I've been here for seven years.

Lauren: Oh my goodness. So you flew out. Did you love it? I mean, you were like, this is it. This is my spot. And I want to teach here.

Steve: I definitely wanted to teach there. Since I got offered the job, I was going to take it.

Lauren: That was it. Oh my goodness.

Steve: In the same way that I had put extra money into my pension to retire early, I was that kind of person who was never going to leave New York City ever.

Lauren: It's such a big switch. [laughs]

Steve: Yeah. So I liked Denver. It's great. It wasn't the I need to escape New York in so far that I need to follow this opportunity. And it's great out here. I have no complaints.

Lauren: Yeah, of course. Sure. Wow. Okay. So you went on after working as an instructor to become the co-director of academics and then eventually the director of the Front-End Engineering Program. And so that's so cool that you founded their front-end program. How did you know that there was the need to carve out that particular career route or option or opportunity for students that were interested in Turing?

Steve: It definitely happened somewhat organically. When Jeff hired me, he said something along those lines of "You're not that good at Ruby.

Lauren: [laughs]

Steve: But you know JavaScript." And I'm not that good at JavaScript. The joke there is obviously how I had first basically learned JavaScript was watching him teach a course but decided to keep that comment to myself at that moment and just take the victory as it was presented to me. So Turing is broken up into four modules in seven-week segments. Number one is here's how to code at all, and it's just pure Ruby. There was never any Rails.

Lauren: Getting started, sure.

Steve: Yeah. Module two is beginning Rails and Sinatra and web applications. And so Jeff had done Jumpstart Lab with LivingSocial, and then he had run gSchool with Galvanize. And those were just five or six-month programs the whole way through. It was only with Turing that we just had to break it up that way. If you needed to repeat a section, you could, so on and so forth.

Lauren: Oh, I see. Okay, cool. So you can really stay in a module if that was an area of interest or need.

Steve: Need or interest, yeah.

Lauren: Cool.

Steve: But as we were breaking it up, the first module was pretty easy to figure out what should be in that one.

Lauren: Totally.

Steve: We got to module three, and Jeff took his favorite parts from the second half of the program, and that was module three. And then, I eventually started teaching module four, which is kind of the stuff that was leftover. So module three was kind of production analyzing. How do you do a Rails app at scale? How do you cache? How do you worry about databases? And so on and so forth.

Lauren: Oh, that's important.

Steve: And so just kind of playing with that part, I put in a little bit of JavaScript, and then a little bit more. This is like 2014. At the time, it wasn't clear that thick client-side front-end applications were really a thing yet. And React had not too long ago been laughed off the stage at JSConf or something along those lines.

Lauren: [laughs]

Steve: It was definitely kind of hit or miss. We were kind of doing a little bit as an experiment. And what we had found it wasn't necessarily we had a back-end and a front-end program there. We only had a back-end program. We had a program. And what we had found is that more and more of our graduates were getting hired as front-end engineers.

Lauren: So wanting to prepare them, I see.

Steve: Exactly. My hypothesis around this was that the front-end engineering area at that point didn't have people with 20 years of experience because it was so new. So it was a lot easier to get hired as a junior at the time.

Lauren: Break in.

Steve: Break in. And so we had more and more engineers get hired as front-end engineers. So we decided to take it seriously. And we started an entire second program with the whole rotating modules, cohorts starting every seven weeks even though it's a seven-month program, so on and so forth.

Lauren: Wow. Good for you for seeing the need for that and pivoting the program also based on your prior grads and then providing that opportunity for them. That's incredible.

Then tell me about when you made the transition to SendGrid and deciding to go into a fully engineering role away from…I imagine at Turing you're designing curriculum, you're teaching. You're blending those two worlds of teaching and tech. But then to SendGrid, you pivot again to a fully engineering role, it seems like.

Steve: Yeah, and so that was part of the reason for it as well. Also, after helping start the first program and then running the team to start the second, I was tired, and change was due at that point. So I started SendGrid originally as a senior engineer. But I was promoted to principal in six months or something like that.

Lauren: Nice.

Steve: And so yeah, that was kind of running the team that built SendGrid’s, at that time, marketing campaigns editor, which is kind of like a drag and drop editor for making emails and stuff along those lines. So I worked on that and led the technical part of the team doing that. And it's super interesting because…and I'm sure you can relate to this. It's kind of the ability to…the teaching skills have managed to benefit me greatly in my technical career.

Lauren: Absolutely.

Steve: The ability to boil things down to simple principles, whether you're trying to make change within your engineering team in and of itself, whether you're trying to mentor and raise the overall abilities of your team, or if you're trying to convince product or leadership of something. Some of those skills tend to actually come in handy in ways that I don't think I initially expected.

Lauren: Absolutely. I think it took me a long time to recognize that that's what it was personally, that that cross-team collaboration was coming because I was doing that with the history department, and with the parents, and the admin, and my department. It was all of those different things that took me years to finesse. And yeah, I'm super grateful for it, of course. Making the leap then into a management track made a lot of sense for me also. It just felt almost intuitive.

And so I was at Vonage, just some backstory on myself when Twilio acquired SendGrid, and everyone freaked out. And so I imagine that's how you then ended up at Twilio?

Steve: Yep.

Lauren: We reacted…well, I mean, I wasn't a part of those big decisions, of course, but yeah, that was quaky. [laughs] I remember industry-wise; it was a big shake-up. Did things shift for you when you were at Twilio, or what was that like to be there?

Steve: So it all happened at an interesting part in my career. So I had gotten promoted to principal. We shipped the new version of the editor and stuff along those lines. And I think my first or second week at SendGrid, I met J.R. Jasperson, who was the Chief Architect at SendGrid, eventually the CTO of SendGrid, and then was the Chief Architect at Twilio. And I was like, wow, you are the smartest person I have ever met.

Lauren: It's a wild feeling, yeah.

Steve: Yeah. And he gave me a bunch of books to read on distributed systems and architecture. And I would read them and then go pick his brain with questions and stuff along those lines because I was like, I would like to be on the architecture team.

Lauren: Awesome.

Steve: And now, at the time at SendGrid, I think there were only two or three people who…there were two or three senior principal engineers who were on that team. And they both had decades of experience. And so not only –-

Lauren: So not intimidating at all for you to venture into.

Steve: Yeah, not only was that not really in the near future for me but also this idea, especially API companies, you have to solve two things. One, we need a front-end architect, and then two, I should be the said front-end architect.

Lauren: Yeah, but that's me. Before we even go on, tell me about what drew you to front-end architect work in the first place. And why is that compelling other than knowing him and being in awe of his brilliance? What was it that made your heart flutter and be like, this is what I want to pursue?

Steve: It's tricky because I think one of the things I think a lot about is on the back end; there’s a big push towards microservices. You break these things up into these small pieces that are each managed by these individual teams. Great, cool. I think that, as we've seen, that is a good pattern for managing a bunch of back-end services. But at the end of the day, when a user signs into whether it's the SendGrid dashboard or Tulio's console or what have you, they should never know any of that is happening.

Lauren: They don't care.

Steve: Yeah. Conway's law is shipping the org chart. It's like, at the end of the day, the front-end's job is to hide that fact from customers.

Lauren: Yes, absolutely. I like the way you put that.

Steve: And so they're structuring a codebase and all of the architecture parts that come to a codebase. But what also slowly happened was very few teams live in isolation. There's a team that manages the sign-in and account pieces, the dashboard for your emails, and then also, how does that play in? You don't want to reinvent the wheel across all these teams. So figuring out some of the structures and pieces around that, I think, kind of came naturally with that education background of like, how do we coordinate and sequence all these things? How do I build a consensus?

Lauren: And to see it broadly.

Steve: Yeah. What's the curriculum, right?

Lauren: Totally. I mean, yeah, it translates. [laughs]

Steve: And deploy that. So I found myself doing more and more of that across a whole bunch of different teams. So around that overlap between when Twilio had acquired SendGrid and when SendGrid was inside of Twilio, I had joined that team. And then J.R. had actually become, like I mentioned, the chief architect for all of Twilio, which meant I had only been SendGrid’s's front-end architect for two, three months. And I really felt like, yes, this was like…there was some imposter syndrome moving into this new role.

Lauren: That's wild.

Steve: But I had mostly been practicing that. It was one of those things where you do the next job before you get promoted into it.

Lauren: For sure.

Steve: But things had escalated quickly. [laughter] I was like, I don't know if I necessarily signed up for this, but there was no takesy backsies at that point.

Lauren: Nope.

Steve: So there I was.

Lauren: This is you now. Oh my gosh, that's hilarious. Wow. Good for you, though. Because I mean, first off, it's doing exactly what you were interested in, which is exciting in itself but then at an incredible company. And doing it on such a large platform that has so many different touchpoints, I imagine, is really interesting too. What then drew to Temporal? Why leave? Tell me about Temporal; what's exciting about it and what you're doing there?

Steve: Totally, totally. What drew me to leave Twilio was nothing really particularly wrong with Twilio. But yeah, SendGrid was, I think, 350-400 people when I started there, and that was the…I guess technically, the New York City Department of Education is 80,000 people, sure, but a given school is not.

Lauren: [laughs] But a school…yeah, yeah. Okay. Sighs. Because Temporal is still --

Steve: 40-ish people if I'm --

Lauren: Oh, I love it.

Steve: We're hiring fast enough.

Lauren: Okay, I got you.

Steve: But yeah, SendGrid was about 400. Twilio when they acquired SendGrid, was about 1200 but then had hired another 400 in the time between when they announced the acquisition and when it went through. And so that was 2019. And I believe Twilio is at 7,500 people now.

Lauren: Bonkers.

Steve: I think for a lot of people, they do an ebb and flow of like, I'm going to work at a startup.

Lauren: Big, small.

Steve: Now I'm going to work for a big company, right?

Lauren: Yeah, sure.

Steve: And so a little bit of me wanted to see what that was like. The other part of it was when the Temporal people initially reached out; I was like, okay, fine. We all get lots of emails all the time, right?

Lauren: Sure.

Steve: But then as I started looking at it more and more, I'm like, oh, this is really cool. It's one of those things where it's like, the more you think about it, you're like, oh, and I would also use it for…oh, I could do that with it as well, which I'm sure begs the question that you're about to ask me. So, what is Temporal?

Lauren: [laughs] Yes, tell me all about it.

Steve: That's a really tricky question to answer. And so I'm going to do the best that I can.

Lauren: Sure.

Steve: Shawn, who runs DevRel, will probably have a better version of this to tell me afterwards, but I'm going to do the best I can.

Lauren: I love it. Sure.

Steve: So Temporal comes out of an open-source project at Uber called Cadence. And the idea is when I was sitting on the architecture in Twilio, we did this thing called the blueprint process where the whole idea was like, before we build a thing, maybe we write out the plan first and have a bunch of people peer review it. It seems really --

Lauren: Wild.

Steve: Wild, right? And so we looked at a whole bunch of these super complicated distributed systems and all the things you have to do if any given piece of that architecture goes down. How do you pick up where you left off? How do you failover to a different component? So on and so forth.

What Temporal does is effectively find a way to generalize that for you. So now you can have a distributed system and just basically go about it as if failure didn't happen. If any piece goes down, when the system comes back up, you're able to replay all the events and pick up exactly where you left off.

Lauren: Cool.

Steve: And so it solves a lot of the problems around distributed systems. The whole idea is around workflows. You have all these different things that need to happen. And it's not really just limited to distributed systems. That's just one use case. But you think about anything you have and okay, step one needs to happen. And then we bring that over to step two. But what happens if step two goes down? What happens if step two sometimes doesn't work? Or so on and so forth.

Temporal is a series of queues and timers that basically you say, hey, I have this workflow. It has 4 or 5, 1,000 activities. Any one of those affects state and could go down, and even the workflow manages where you were along that way and figures out how to recover from it. And so there's a distributed systems case, but then there's also the case of hmm, that sounds like a thing that humans do too.

If I am ordering delivery, well, there's a bunch of steps that need to happen in there where there's a lot of waiting. So I might place the order through whatever service. Well, that has to go to the restaurant. The restaurant has to accept it. Once the restaurant accepts it, then we have to go find a driver to pick it up. Well, then the driver has to accept it. And then the food has to be ready, so on and so forth. So the ability to orchestrate all of these different events that could have a whole bunch of different outcomes, and how do you deal with that?

And then the thing that Temporal brings to the table is there are other services that do a similar thing, but a lot of them you write this weird JSON file or a weird YAML file where it's like not a programming language. But there's still all of a sudden; you’re putting like an if in a string. And they have their own kind of weird DSL. And so what Temporal brings to the table is like, what if you just wrote Go or JavaScript and just wrote your code, and we'll take care of the pieces that could fail?

Lauren: That's awesome. That's so cool.

Steve: So you become like, I'm going to write code, and I'm going to get the benefits of all this recovery and processes around distributed systems and just not worry about it. I guess it depends on your temperament as a person. But have a lot of it at least covered for you and dealt with as part of the technology.

Lauren: Oh, that's awesome. So yeah, so I'm looking at it. The SDKs you have Go, Java, TypeScript, and PHP. And I'll include links in the show notes for folks to check it out if you're curious to learn more and you want to play around. That sounds so fun. It sounds really interesting. And yeah, the use cases are kind of endless. So it's probably pretty imaginative. And yeah, just pushing boundaries in that regard, I bet.

Steve: Yeah. It's one of those things you're like; there are so many problems that we could solve that are right now bespoke solutions for every given system that we build.

Lauren: Everyone's doing their own version of it. Oh my gosh.

Steve: And the opportunity felt incredible. So I was like, yeah, I can't not do this. And it wasn't an easy choice.

Lauren: No. Oh my gosh, yeah.

Steve: Because there were financial reasons to choose the easy path. But definitely felt like a thing that I couldn't not do.

Lauren: Yeah, I think that there's a theme throughout this conversation today of taking those risks and leaps of faith and trusting your gut that your curiosities are going to take you into a really interesting place. And, I don't know, that's what life's all about. I love it. I think listeners will absolutely be able to connect to your story. Thank you for sharing that.

I guess maybe to wrap up today, what's something that you're excited to be learning next? We're recording this at the end of 2021. What's on deck for you next year? What are you just stoked to dive into?

Steve: I guess it is a two-part question. I can answer it both ways, right?

Lauren: Sure.

Steve: Like, what am I personally excited about, or what am I excited about in the general technology space.

Lauren: Yeah, let's do both, sure.

Steve: For me personally, I started at Temporal in June. Some of that is just ramping up and understanding how everything works. We are building the Temporal version of the UI for the open-source project and getting that off the ground. We want to have a beta ready by the end of this year now.

Lauren: Okay, so launching that

Steve: It's December.

Lauren: [laughs]

Steve: Asterisks. Caveat, caveat, caveat.

Lauren: No, for sure.

Steve: We're getting a basic version that was built uniquely for this. We're building it on Svelte, which I'm very excited about as well, and so getting that. Step one is getting that initial piece in place, but then all the places we can take this product. Like, could you theoretically work on your workflows and integrate the TypeScript SDK into our UI? And what are all the possibilities of user interfaces that we can build on top of this technology? I think that for us that's the really, really exciting part. Step one is to get to a parity with a foundation that we feel really comfortable iterating on. And then next year, I think, is the year that we start to iterate on that and add a lot of features.

Lauren: It's going to be so fun.

Steve: Yeah. For the industry at large, I am somewhat tired of the joke that there's a new front-end framework every three months because that slowed down for the second half of 2018. React kind of won in a jQuery-like way. And things slowed down. The joke didn't go away.

Lauren: No, it's definitely there still.

Steve: But now there's a lot of stuff happening in WebAssembly. And a lot of the companies like what Netlify and Vercel, and Cloudflare are doing around developer ergonomics pieces like the actual abilities of the web platform. After taking a whole bunch of quantum leaps over the last ten years, I think it's ready to take a whole nother set of quantum leaps that I'm really, really excited for opening up a whole new set of possibilities as well.

Lauren: Yeah, I love that. It'll be so fun to see how that plays out, too. So yeah, thanks for sharing. I love it. Well, Steve, thank you so much for chatting with me today, sharing your story with listeners. And I think it's so interesting to hear about your career trajectory and your journey to the world of…I don't want to say the world of architecture.

Steve: [laughs]

Lauren: Like, front-end architecture. But that is…I love to learn about it. And I'm sure listeners will as well.

Steve: Awesome. Thank you for having me.

Lauren: Before we wrap up, where can people find you?

Steve: So there are a few places. I'm stevekinney on Twitter and GitHub. I teach a bunch of workshops for Frontend Masters. So if you want to hear me talk about TypeScript and React for six hours, you can go watch that.

Lauren: I'm sure they will love that. [laughs]

Steve: Yeah. Who doesn't want to talk about TypeScript for six hours?

Lauren: Sign me up.

Steve: Yeah, we all have a holiday right coming up. Avoid your family and learn about Redux.

Lauren: Okay, so that's Frontend Masters.

Steve: Frontend Masters. And then my name at GitHub, Twitter, Instagram, and what have you.

Lauren: Perfect. Incredible. Well, folks, go check him out. And also, be sure to go to his Twitter and thank him for sharing all of his wisdom with listeners today. We so, so appreciate it. Okay, Steve, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. Thank you so much again.

Steve: Thank you.

Jonan: Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. You can find the show notes for this episode along with all of the rest of The Relicans podcasts on In fact, most anything The Relicans get up to online will be on that site. We'll see you next week. Take care.

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