My JS Story 023 Laurie Voss

This week we have another My JavaScript story. This week’s guest is Laurie Voss. Laurie has worked with NPM from the start and has been a vital piece to getting it off the ground. Hear how Laurie got interested in computers, how Laurie got started with NPM, as well as a few things about the newly released NPM 5.

How did you get into programming?

Laurie started by going into a computer camp, at the time Laurie hadn’t spent time around computers, and it wouldn’t be until the second time that he went to the computer camp that he would see a computer again. Laurie grew up in Trinidad where not many people could afford computers. He started making his first website in Angelfire using HTML before CSS became a thing.

How did you go from web development to hardcore Javascript?

Laurie had been writing JavaScript since it was invented. Laurie started a web development company in high school using JavaScript. Laurie met Issac while working at Yahoo and he introduced Laurie to Node which was a starting point to taking JavaScript more seriously for Laurie. When Node was ready in 2013, NPM Inc was on it’s way.

What do you do at NPM Inc?

IN the beginning of 2014, Laurie was doing a lot of the JavaScript and was the CTO. Laurie says that part of his strategy has always been to hire JavaScript developers that are better at writing JavaScript that he is. Making him the worst JavaScript programmer at NPM. Laurie’s main job was doing what was needed to get NPM happen, including talking to layers and the business side of things. There are many companies that don’t understand how open source works, and in many cases it leads to run ins with lawyers. Many times NPM acts as an umbrella for open source tools that aren’t able to fight overzealous corporations.

What do you think is your biggest contributions to NPM?

Laurie expresses that it has changed over the years. A year ago he would say that he would have to say it leans towards the piece of software that is the registry. It’s very scalable and has worked great for small scale up to very large scale. Laurie works hard to gather funds and help make NPM grow as well as be scalable. He says that he is very proud that he build something that let’s others build things.

How did you get involved?

Laurie has been with NPM since the beginning. He tells us how Issac had been running NPM on donated hardware in spare time while working with Node. NPM would break a lot and be down due to the borrowed equipment. They decided that they needed to create a business model around NPM to help it grow. Laurie had just finished working on a startup and knew how to get funding and got their first round in 2014.

How did you get to being profitable?

Laurie talks about making sure that their plan is in line with their customers. NPM could easily charge for many parts of NPM but they would rather charge for things that make sense to charge, so in this case the private packages. Enough people are using the private package to getting NPM to profitability. Laurie says that even if money stopped coming in they would have to git rid of a few employees but would be able to keep a small team and sustain the NPM registry, but would never build anything new. It’s always between being profitable or using money to build new things.

What are you working on now?

NPM 5 was just released and it’s much faster, five times faster. Laurie talks about being excited about the team and what they are putting into it. Things like making deployments easier. Many developers use NPM to put code together as well as to deploy it. If you didn’t have a lock file, it’s possible that it would change. But the lock file can take a long time, and you already know what needs to go there so they are adding npm store and npm fetch making deploys much faster. Additionally they will be adding a feature called insights. They are able to see information about different users packages, security information, performance information, etc. They can use that information to help developers with suggestions based off of data gathered by what other people are doing. Charles adds that it would be great for coming up with topics for the podcast.

Anything else?

Laurie reminds everyone about NPM Organizations as well as NPM Enterprise. NPM Organizations is a way to organize packaging as well as teams of developers and helps you to collaborate. NPM Enterprise allows for single sign on support, license auditing, and features that corporations care about.



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NPM Organizations
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