Wallaby.js Blog
Integrated Continuous Testing Tool for JavaScript

The story of one inner hipster, part one.

Chapter one. Our sick industry.

About a year and a half ago, my career path took a bit unexpected turn. After spending 10 years in product teams and custom development, doing .NET consulting and web programming - everything has suddenly changed. I have caught the virus of developing ‘my own thing’.

From what I see around - it’s a pretty common ‘disease’ in our industry. One day you get bored working in the bloody enterprise software business and your inner hipster demands some revolutionary changes.

My next personal project

The virus symptoms may be different - some are seeking financial freedom and wealth, some just want to do what they want to and not what they are being told to. Your idea may be different - an indie game, next social network beyond geo-location based photo-sharing, PaaS, IDE or another software development tool.

Chapter two. My case history first record.

And I wasn’t an exception. Historically, I have always been concerned that JavaScript, while being so popular, doesn’t have enough good tools comparing to other languages that I worked with. More than enough frameworks, but not enough tools. So my inner hipster made me write a software development tool. It was JavaScript tracing tool, called spy-js.

The success of the tool was quick and even before I had a chance to digest it and make my inner hipster less hungry, spy-js was acquired by JetBrains. I have been offered to join WebStorm team to work on it full time as an independent contractor from home on the warm and sunny Gold Coast, Australia.

Life after spy-js acquisition

Chapter three. Changes and challenges.

The change was huge for me. Regular shaving and pants wearing ceremonies quickly became a forgotten past. My top notch Lenovo ThinkPad was quickly and happily replaced by MacBook Pro, Windows by OSX, Ctrl by Cmd, cmd by terminal, Visual Studio by IntelliJ IDEA, and my long lasting love C# was replaced with at first supercilious Java.

Heading to MacDonald’s in my home outfit

Anyway, not just my inner hipster, but the inner hipster of my inner hipster and his inner hipster were happy. A Russian doll of happy hipsters. Or even a fractal of happy hipsters.

Surely, big changes never come without some challenges. Not everyone can work from home. It takes discipline, concentration, motivation, dedication, and a few other words that end with “-tion”. I always knew I could do it and had some successful experience in past of working remotely. But during the first few months it was very unusual to get used to communicate with your team in realtime only within a tiny couple of hours frame allowed by our time zones.

Thankfully, the majority of the challenges are easy to overcome when your relationship with your company is based on the mutual trust, and JetBrains is one of those awesome companies where many people working from different offices and homes all around the world, doing it happily and efficiently.

Chapter four. When it all not just ends but also begins

Another pleasant challenge was the nature of my new work. I have never been feeling comfortable strictly within the formal boundaries of a software developer duties. Apart from hacking together awesome stuff, I have always had a variety of interests in software development marketing, development process management, supporting users and advocating/evangelising certain things I strongly believe in, such as some software design and testing practices.

With spy-js in WebStorm I had and totally used the great chance to do what covers the majority of my interests. I was able fully implement my ideas in the product, to write blog posts about it, to tweet about new features, to help users adopt it. I have been given a full trust and freedom to do whatever I think is good and bring it to the world with two (and upcoming third) major releases of WebStorm.

Always enjoyed growth hacking

Of course, it took more than one person to make spy-js a successful, reliable and useful tool. I’d like to use the opportunity and thank everyone in my team who has participated in the tool ideas generation, development, testing, marketing, evangelising. And also you - software developers and users of spy-js for your kind words, help and feedback.

The story could end here. Great idea, successful acquisition, nice product, joyful tears and everyone lived happily ever after. Not in my story. My inner hipster didn’t want to rest on his laurels. He woke up again and he’s hungry. But something has changed in him…

To be continued in part two.