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Meet the Developer Community

Our contributors do a lot for us. In fact, many of our core features, like Shipping and SMS Notifications, simply would not exist today if it wasn’t for the helping hand of our open source community. That’s why we’re bringing back our Meet the Developer series, where we highlight the general pulse of the community through interesting facts and unique stories. Each month, we’ll share what’s new with our GitHub repo, profile a developer, and shed some light into what it’s like contributing to Reaction.

Community Pulse

Here’s a by-the-numbers look at our repo from March 10 to April 10:

  • 18 authors made 198 commits to all branches
  • Clocking in at 49 commits, @joykare was our top contributor for the month!
  • 315 files were changed on our master branch
  • 8,164 additions were made (along with 3,396 deletions)
  • 111 issues are currently active in our repo

In the future, we’d like to learn more about the most commonly used i18n languages across our repo, as well as everyone’s preferred coding language. We’re sure JavaScript is up there, but it’d be interesting to see where people are migrating from (PHP and Ruby, maybe?).

For now, we do know that about 33% of last month’s site traffic came from North America, and another 30% from all over Europe. Commonly used languages include English, Russian, French, German, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese. Interestingly enough, the remainder of our visitors are coming from some truly far-reaching regions of the world, from Kazakhstan to Vietnam. Also interesting to note that after the US and the UK, India is a top source of traffic.

Meet the Developer

This time around, we spoke with Michael Jenny (@prinzdezibel), a long-time contributor and freelance developer based in Freiburg (Germany’s sunniest region!). Michael’s client project, Easy Wine, is currently running on Reaction’s open source codebase.


Tell me about a little about yourself. How did you get into coding?

I’ve been influenced by computer science since the Commodore 64 era and it still has been fascinating me after I got my Bachelor’s Degree from university. I once had that dream to combine both engineering fields and be involved in programming some fluid dynamics simulation software. But there was no company in my hometown doing stuff like that. So I applied as a volunteer at a company that was doing financial software. It was supposed to be a short-term engagement where I could pick up speed with learning programming in Win32/C++. Somehow, I got caught in that company for almost 10 years. Then I decided to work self-employed as a freelancer. Over the last few years, I’ve switched from C++ over C# to Python and JavaScript. In the same time frame, my focus moved from desktop applications to web applications. Nowadays, I would consider Python and JavaScript as my main field of expertise.

How did you hear about Reaction?

I was looking for a full-stack, mobile-first JavaScript shop. Reaction Commerce was the project that looked most promising (even if it only was in Alpha at that time).

Easy Wine should become my first JavaScript project, because I was hungry to learn more about JavaScript as serious programming language. Also, I wanted to take a step beyond my day-by-day Python programming. That was the time when I first came into contact with Reaction as a project. If I remember correctly, the Gitter chat was really helpful, because everything was new for me. I didn’t know anything about Meteor, Node.js, npm, all that stuff. I had to learn the whole dev stack and that took quite a bit of time. I was really thankful when Brent or Aaron supported me. Reaction looked quite promising to me, even during that early stage.

What were you able to do with Reaction that you couldn’t do with other ecommerce solutions?

From a developer perspective, the most attractive reasons are: 1) I get to play around with latest and hottest technology stuff, and 2) no more mental context switch because of different frontend and backend programming languages. This may not be a big deal in a big company where you have specialists for each area, but it is a big thing for a company like projekt & partner, where one person (me) is programming with tight budget constraints. In this situation, it is important to not feel interrupted by different language paradigma all the time.

What else are you working on at the moment?

Most work I’m doing nowadays is contract work with a customer who doesn’t publicly release the code. It’s a proprietary content management system that covers legal judgments released from German courts. This project is pretty interesting, as it’s completely AWS-based and Dockerized. We mixed in Kubernetes and used a microservice approach. The part I’m involved with is mostly a Meteor application with React as a UI library. I actively promoted Meteor after my experience with Easy-Wine. :)


Contributing to Reaction

New to open source? Read this super helpful, beginner-friendly guide to making contributions on GitHub.

We are committed to ensuring that the channels that make up our community, from the chatroom to in-person meetups, are inclusive safe spaces for everyone who participates. That's why last year, we revamped our Community Guidelines to include a Code of Conduct committee and Diversity Statement. New contributors, regardless of their location, experience, or knowledge of JavaScript, are always welcome to our community.

Interested in joining our project? 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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