Taking on Google and Facebook as a Solo Open-Source Founder with Evan You of Vue.js

Episode #078

When Evan You (@youyuxi) decided to create his own front-end JavaScript framework, there were already mega-popular competitors in the market from no other than Facebook and Google. Still, Evan forged ahead to build something that would satisfy his own tastes, and it turned out millions of people wanted the same things he did. Learn how Evan built his open-source project Vue.js into one of the most popular in the world and grew it to over $200,000 in annual revenue via Patreon.

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    Vue is amazing. We use it everyday. Thanks for making it so awesome Evan.

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    Awesome to hear Evan's story. Such a fan of Vue and hope to see it continue to grow.

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    Evan, Vue is amazing and I feel so lucky to use it. Keep doing what you're doing. IMHO it's the best JavaScript framework bar none.

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    Wow! Props to IH getting Evan here! We love you Evan, keep up the awesome work with [email protected]

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    REALLY excited to listen to this podcast because Evan’s journey (which I read about on Patreon) was one of the first to inspire me to become an indie hacker!

    Also, I’m just gonna mention that Vue has made me fall in love with front-end development. (I specifically love how straightforward and intuitive state management is with Vuex.)

    Thank you for all of your hard work, Evan, and keep it up!

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    I really like Vue.

    I minor correction, though... Gmail wasn't written in JavaScript!!! Google pretty much made hating JS a sport for many, many years. It leads to things like the Dart -> AtScript -> TypeScript debacle from when they were preparing to release Angular 2...

    No, Gmail was written in Java, of all things. Even now, over a decade later, about 2/3 of Inbox's code is GWT (a Java-based library that compiles code to run on browsers).

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    Thank you for sharing your story! That is very inspiring. Keep up the good work.

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    Vue is the wonderful framework which I am enjoying everyday. I am loving Vue framework more than any others

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    We use Vue too. It's great! And it's very simple to learn.

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    My Main Takeaways:

    • Evan started programming in middle-school.

    • Evan studied Art and Art History at college, then did a Masters of Fine Arts in college.

    • Evan would consider himself self-taught.

    • Evan started working on Vue purely as an experiment to see if he could make his own JavaScript framework.

    • Evan’s main source of income with Vue is via Patreon, generating over $16k with over 200 Patrons (at the time of this interview.)

    • Evan had a day job at Google when he started working on Vue, so he was not under pressure. He also learned a lot of useful skills that he’d apply to Vue.

    • Evan (Vue) didn’t start off trying to compete with Google (Angular) and Facebook (React).

    • Evan built Vue to cater to creatives that thought like he did, which resonated deeply with people. He says that this “niche experience targeting” with the key to Vue’s success.

    • Vue was Open-Sourced from version 1.0. He then shared it on Hacker News, and it got to the front page for a few hours with over 200 upvotes.

    • When starting Vue, Evan had no wife and kids, so he had a lot of time to devote to Vue.

    • Leverage your network: Evan knew a CTO of a company, who had a budget to support Open-Source projects. So they offered to pay him $2,000 per month for 6 months to support him if he quit his job at Google to work on Vue full time. He then started his Patreon.

    • When quitting his job, he sent out his resume to a few places just in case Vue didn’t work out in a few months.

    • Evan felt more fulfilled at Vue versus working at his day job. He was willing to take a pay cut to work on Vue. He ended up getting the best deal, because he gets to work at Vue and get paid more than he would at his day job.

    • His Patrons were mainly companies who were invested in the development of Vue because they based their company on Vue (using it as a front-end framework). So it made financial sense for them to spend money on Vue rather than let Vue die out.

    • Evan values time, he doesn’t believe in trading time for money. He was inspired by the 4-Hour Work Week.

    • Evan doesn’t spend money or time in customer out-reach.

    • Evan focuses on building a popular and valuable product, and people come.

    • Evan didn’t build Vue for-profit at first.

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    Still waiting for the transcript... :(

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    I love view it has the best of both React and Angular great job Evan

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    Awesome interview! Thanks for taking the time and reaching out to get him on the show @csallen

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    I wonder if the creator of Vue, or users of Vue, ever used Backbone, and see realize nothing innovative with Vue, and there's a reason we moved away from the paradigms that Vue uses. It's been so cool to watch the innovations of React come out of a more thoughtfully designed framework. Thank god modern engineering doesn't involve nonsense attributes like "v-model" anymore, and we've learned how to do data flow correctly.

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      First off, nobody said Vue was innovative. It's not. It's just wonderfully different and as Evan mentioned, seems to hit the programming style or tastes of a lot of developers. Sure, backbone also has a reactive system built in. Reactive UIs aren't new. But, Single File Components are new, compared to Backbone's system of Collections and Models. And, they are also a delight to work with from a programming perspective.

      I'm probably not going to change your mind, but there must be a reason why Vue is so popular. In fact, now more popular than React (if you go by Github stars) and in a shorter time period. That's something you might want to contemplate. So many developers can't be wrong.

      If Vue isn't your cup of tea. That's fine. Use React and/or Backbone. But, be a decent person and don't spread hate about anything.


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