Speaker interview: Rich Harris
What project have you worked on recently that has really excited you?
I’ve been working on a couple of side projects that I’m looking forward to sharing more widely. Gobble is a build tool designed for ease-of-use and debuggability, which frankly haven’t had the attention they deserve. Esperanto is an insanely fast ES6 module bundler/transpiler. Both projects have worked wonders for my own productivity.
What piece of advice do you wish you’d received when you first started out in development?
It wouldn’t have mattered, I would still have done everything wrong. For example you can tell someone ‘Don’t Repeat Yourself’, but until they’ve developed the right mental tools – from experience, the only true teacher – writing DRY code is hard. I guess ‘don’t be a hero – ask for help before you drive yourself crazy’ would have been useful.
What’s your favourite underrated tool/piece of software/resource for development?
Pen and paper, or a whiteboard if it’s a really tough one. Other things that consistently help me solve hard problems: showers, long walks and sleep.
What new technology are you most interested in learning?
I have an Oculus DK2 which has so far mostly gathered dust. In some parallel universe, where I have infinite free time, I’ve already written a bunch of games that use the WebVR APIs.
How do you balance work and life, with so many new FE dev tools coming out all the time?
What new/upcoming browser features do you think will most change the future of web development?
For me it’s all about features that will close the gap between web and native – ServiceWorker, push notifications, payments. I’m less interested in features that incrementally improve things we’re already doing, which is sadly where a lot of the energy and focus seems to be.
What do you think is missing from browser APIs?
I mentioned WebVR earlier – I really hope that VR on the web takes off, and we don’t have a re-run of native apps vs web apps. Vlad Vukicevic at Mozilla and Brandon Jones at Google have done some incredible early work – in an ideal world browser vendors would be able to throw more resources at them. Also, we can’t get to the future without cross-browser speech-to-text and text-to-speech APIs.