Advice for front-end developers from a UI Architect

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Teradata is essentially a data company. They are leaders in data analytics platforms, applications, and related services.

Key components for such a business is the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). With users across the globe, it's important that the UI and UX make it easy to use the software instead of complicating things further.

Prior to the All Things Open conference in Raleigh this year, I asked Adrian Pomilio, UI Architect at Teradata, a few questions about the session he'll deliver, his favorite open source tools, and recent trends in UI/UX technology relevant to open source world.

What are you planning to discuss at All Things Open this year?

My topic is JavaScript the stack and beyond. It's a talk that focuses on JavaScript throughout the entire development ecosystem. If you are a hardcore JavaScript fan then it's not for you, but rather for people looking to learn what and where the pieces of the JavaScript can fit into their ecosystem. Plus there will be some fun things at the end demonstrating JavaScript capabilities with the physical world.

How do you use open source in your daily life?

There are so many tools that I use, some of which are crucial to my daily work. Many of them center on frameworks and libraries as well as build tools and task runners. There is not a day that goes by that I am not dealing with NPM and running Grunt and Bower tasks. Basically Node and V8 are my lifeblood.

How is open source evolving with respect to UI/UX technology? Do you find enough tools and frameworks that you can use professionally?

I see plenty of tools in the UI development arena, but for UX it's more commercial tools at this point. I think it's important that people understand that when I am talking about UX I am not talking about "design only" but rather the whole field. There are times when we can leverage open source projects to help build UX tools that we need (e.g. AB testing, user behavior tracking, etc).

View the complete All Things Open speaker interview series

From the UI development arena open source is exactly why JavaScript is rising in usage and value with engineers. Just look at the battle that took place between Flash and JavaScript years ago. The open source community pushed JavaScript far ahead. We can thank the HTML5 hype train for some help there, but in the end great libraries were being developed to do things that a closed platform, like the flash player, could do. Hence, pushing browser developers to incorporate all those new standards and ideas.

Any advice you'd like to give to young front-end engineers?

Take your time, and build something you enjoy.

There are so many frameworks and libraries that it can be overwhelming. Don't get all caught up in that, instead pull back and build something with the core technologies. Get into JavaScript and use CSS to bend the interface to your will. After you have those core skills then any framework will be just icing on the cake. If all you know is a framework you are going to end up in trouble.

So take your time, and build something you enjoy. Open source it, and work with others to learn from them.

See the full series of All Things Open 2014 speaker interviews.

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Nitish is interested at the intersection of open source, system software and startups. He loves to read and explore anything open source. In his free time, he likes to read motivational books. He is currently working on building Parseable - an open source object storage, log storage, management and observability platform.

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