Meet the Developer Community

Meet the contributors who help Reaction grow. In our ongoing series on community, we share what’s new with our GitHub repo, profile a developer, and shed some light onto what it’s like contributing to Reaction. For this month's community spotlight, we spoke with James Scaggs and Philip Nuzhnyi, who shared with us their experiences building an on-demand furniture and installation service on Reaction.

Community Pulse

Here’s what's new with our repo:

  • v1.4.0 is now live! Our latest release heralds in Meteor 1.5, ESLint 4, updates to translations, and more. For a full list of changes, check out the release notes here.
  • In the last 30 days, 418 commits were made to all branches by 21 authors. Lots of activity going on here.
  • Shoutout to @dhonig and @lcampanis for all the help they've been providing in the Gitter chatrooms.
  • As of today, over 5,100 stargazers have starred our repo on GitHub! Huge thanks to the developer community for their continued contributions and support. If you haven’t had a chance to do so, please take the time to star us on GitHub.

Meet the Developers

James is a front-end developer with a background in business intelligence and custom analytics. He and his brother Cody run Habanero Studios, a data-driven digital agency based outside of Dallas, TX.

With the ever-evolving landscape of Node.js, Meteor, and React, James and Cody found a demand for custom web and mobile apps. When it was time to set up shop for It Furniture, they enlisted the help of Ryan Glover from The Meteor Chef, who in turn introduced them to Philip Nuzhnyi, a regular Reaction contributor. We asked both James and Philip to share their insights on the client project.

Tell me a little about your background.

James: I started Habanero Studios in 2008 as a Google Partner focused on providing Adwords & Google Analytics. I’ve been doing data-driven digital marketing for 15 years now and that’s our core focus. Data is at the core of everything we do, which includes a lot of custom Google Analytics implementations, such as offline purchase tracking with measurement hit protocol, enhanced ecommerce, and custom Google Tag Manager setups. That’s what lead me to start learning JavaScript in early 2016.

I personally started in JS/Node/Meteor/React as a complete beginner. I started getting up at 3AM every morning and learning to code using tons of different resources, like CodeAcademy, Wes Bos, The Meteor Chef, and many more. Of course, that lead to React and Meteor, and now here we are today.

Philip: My colleague Mark and I run an agency called The Bakery. We specialize in building software for various clients and travel the world in the process. Our current pit stop is Lisbon, Portugal.

How did you come across Reaction, and why did you ultimately choose us for your client site?

JS: I think we came across you guys when we began looking into Meteor, React, and JavaScipt ecommerce platforms. It was either you or Moltin, but we wanted more than just an API. Reaction came with more built-in functionality straight out of the box, which was really great. Couple that with the fact that the dev timeline for future releases looked great as well, and we felt we were looking in the right direction.

As if that wasn’t enough to seal the deal already, the cherry on top of the full-stack sundae had to be the customizability—the ability to build on top of Node.js and React, as well as the prospect of real-time. We knew from the outset that we didn’t want to build anything on PHP. Too much code, too monolithic. I didn’t want to get my client into something that was so antiquated, and in all honesty, on the way out.

PN: I heard about RC a while ago as a part of exploring the Meteor ecosystem. We then came back to it recently when James approached us to help him with It Furniture. I was impressed by the amount of progress you guys had made and how ambitious the project looked. As far as contributing to the codebase, it was a natural thing to do. Since we benefit from all the work put into the OS project, we might as well share a commit or two when we run across something that could use some help.

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Tell us a little more about the client project. We’d love to learn more about the custom plugins your team has developed.

PN: A lot of the customizations we did were focused around analytics and marketing automation. James is very data-driven, so we are tracking practically all of the behaviors on the site using Google Tag Manager data layer API and Google Analytics.

We added a complete GA Enhanced Ecommerce implementation, checkout funnel tracking, call tracking, live chat tracking, and a lot more. We also built an integration to the Zoho CRM, leveraging the Zapier API to push quotes directly in the CRM, where their sales team can manage the lead and we can track revenue back to its original source/medium.

What was your experience like building and then implementing something custom onto the Reaction platform?

JS: The experience was as smooth as expected before v1.0.0 was released. The support from the dev team in Gitter has been responsive, and we were able to raise tickets and get good feedback really quickly. The documentation is very strong as well, something that makes a world of difference when working on a project as ambitious as It Furniture Store.

How long have you been contributing to the ecosystem?

PN: I have been contributing to the Reaction project for almost a year now.

What projects/concepts/technologies are you looking forward to tackling for the remainder of the year?

JS: We are currently converting our Powersports Auction Meteor/React app into a progressive web app with an API to Meteor. The auction app is probably the perfect use case for Meteor’s real-time DDP technology. We’re also developing a marketing automation platform using React, and tying that into the Meteor DB from our other app.

Aside from that, we’re building on the Facebook Marketing API—our next goal is to get into the Facebook Marketing API Accelerator.

We’re always looking toward the horizon, so we’re currently pretty excited about GraphQL, Flow, and Apollo.

What’s something you’d like to see in a platform moving forward? What would make your life easier?

JS: I think the RC Marketplace is going to be a unique spin. We’re looking for the right opportunity to take advantage of it.

How to Contribute to Reaction

New contributors, regardless of who they are or what their experience level may be, are always welcome to our community (see also: our Diversity Statement!). If you're new to open source, here is a super helpful, beginner-friendly guide to making contributions on GitHub.

Ready to join our repo? First, read our Code of Conduct. Then, scope out our Issues page, and if you find something you want to work on, let us know. If you're interested in a particular project and you aren’t sure where to begin, feel free to ask. Start small!

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