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Meet Joe Sepi: Inaugural Cross-Project Council Chair

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With the merger of the Node.js Foundation and the JS Foundation complete and the newly formed OpenJS Foundation taking shape and coming into its own, there are many exciting things happening, including electing new leaders within the Foundation’s governance. Recently, Joe Sepi was elected as Chairperson of the Cross-Project Council (CPC), which is the top-level advisory and technical governance committee within the OpenJS Foundation.

As the first-ever Chair of the CPC, Joe will play an integral part in the success and progress of the council and Foundation. We caught up with him to learn more about his vision and what he hopes the CPC will accomplish. Read on to learn more about Joe, his passion for open standards and his vision for the OpenJS Foundation.

What does a day in the life as community chair look like?  What is the impact of this position?

For me, this role is all about facilitating productive conversations in our weekly meetings, forward motion in our GitHub issues and pull requests, and in general, a healthy environment for the folks working in our community. At the end of the day, I want to champion progress for the CPC, and ultimately for the community, the ecosystem, and the Foundation. Being new to this role, part of my strategy for success is to be familiar with each open issue and pull request and to know who the subject matter expert or person with the most context is, so I can ensure those folks are being heard and able to help drive the conversation. Yes, part of this job is to lead meetings, but I’m always looking to hand the mic off over. Often times, the best way to facilitate good conversation is to stay out of the way. Additionally, this role encompasses a certain level of diplomacy, efficiency, and fairness, especially making sure all voices are heard to prevent lopsided conversations.  

I’ll also add that transparency is super important in open governance — we aim to do the majority of our work through issues and pull requests. We have open meetings and publish our meeting notes and try to capture any verbal decisions in the accompanying issues or pull requests so that the community can see the work and have an easy and familiar way to get involved. This process is at the core of what we do and how we work.

While new to the particular role, you are no stranger to open source communities or open-source collaboration. In fact, you are heavily involved in the Node.js Project and community. How has that experience shaped you for this new role on the CPC?

Yes, I’ve been a software engineer working with JavaScript for many, many years, and have had extensive experience on the Node.js Community Committee (CommComm). Many of the operations adopted by the CPC were born out of Node.js Technical Steering Committee (TSC) and CommComm. These allow the council to focus on the important things such as good discussion and landing issues. What I can really appreciate about Node.js meetings is the high level of transparency and process-driven decision making. By adopting the operationalized aspects of the Node meetings, such as how to get something on the agenda, and how to capture important topics during the meetings, I feel like we have a bit of a head start. It’s great to bring these best practices to the CPC.

As CPC Chair, what do you hope to accomplish?

My main goal is to be a good steward of the council and advocate for the projects. I was elected from the Node.js Project, but I’ve been involved in other projects (within the foundation and beyond) and I feel a certain responsibility to advocate for all projects within the OpenJS Foundation and even beyond the foundation bounds.

Additionally, I believe it is critical to have a wide range of voices in the conversation and will be proactive in inviting and encouraging a more diverse group of folks to be involved in our work.

What are your goals for the Foundation, and how do you plan to accomplish them?

We have the successes of two foundations under our belt, and a great opportunity to take what’s been done, and build upon it within the OpenJS Foundation. I’m excited to leverage what’s been previously achieved to help improve the overall JavaScript ecosystem and community. An example of this is the first-ever OpenJS Collaborator Summit. Previously, it was only Node maintainers, but by opening it up, I found it to be a very positive experience. Cross-pollination within the open-source community is crucial for progress. It was inspiring to see standards bodies, browser implementers, platform and tool authors and collaborators in the same room. These broad discussions will build and strengthen our community. 

Give us a brief background of your career and how open source has impacted it.

I started my tech career as a software engineer in 1998. Currently, I am an Open Source Engineer & Advocate at IBM.  In addition to CPC chair, I am also the Node.js CommComm rep to the CPC, and a TC39 delegate from IBM. I am fascinated and inspired by the way JavaScript open-source projects have been key to the success of the web; projects like jQuery, Dojo, Backbone, CoffeeScript, Babel and of course, Node.js. Having seen a few false starts with JavaScript on the server side, it’s been incredible to watch Node take off. Even more so, it’s been an honor to have played a part in its growth. 

For folks wanting to get involved in the CPC, what’s the best first step? 

Definitely follow us on Twitter (@openjsf) to get alerted to meetings, news, and tidbits. We publish our meeting agendas as Github issues which always include a link to access the meeting — we encourage observers to join the meetings and get involved. I also suggest folks subscribe to the Youtube Channel and click the bell to get alerts when meetings are streaming. And finally, watch the GitHub repos and peruse the issues and pull requests to see what work is being done; its the best way to get involved in the conversations and to find ways to contribute to the effort! 

What else should folks know about you, and what’s the best way to get in touch?

I enjoy talking to people so please don’t hesitate to reach out! For those wanting to connect feel free to hit me up on Twitter @joe_sepi (DMs open) or in person at events or out on the streets. I’m always down to talk about everything open source, open governance, punk rock, dirt bikes or whatever. :wave:

MDN Developer and Designer Needs Survey

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Are you interested in providing your perspective on the needs of web developers and designers who write code using HTML, CSS and/or JavaScript across the world? If so, MDN Web Docs has the survey for you! 

MDN, the not-for-profit, vendor-neutral organization behind MDN Web Docs, has issued its first-ever developer needs assessment survey, specifically aimed at web developers and designers. 

At the OpenJS Foundation, our mission is to support the healthy growth of JavaScript and web technologies. Understanding the needs of web developers and designers aligns with our mission, as these insights could provide key information in understanding the very ecosystem we support.

Who should take the survey and what can they expect?

This survey is geared toward developers and designers and only take about 20 minutes to complete. 

What comes next?

The fine folks at Mozilla will make the survey results available to everyone later this year. These results will help inform decisions made around improving resources for learning and understanding web technologies, as well as provide valid data on developer needs, and how they change year over year.

Interested in learning more and taking the survey? Check it out  here.

OpenJS Foundation Welcomes Michael Dawson to the Board of Directors!

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The OpenJS Board is delighted to welcome Michael Dawson to the Board of Directors as the Node.js Project Representative!

Chosen by the Node.js Project, Michael brings a wealth of experience to the board having acted as the Node.js Project TSC Chair, a member of the Node.js Community Committee as well as being an active contributor to the Node.js Project. Michael sees this appointment as a growth opportunity and is excited to build his experience serving open source communities at the board level. 

Michael Dawson

In a statement provided to the community via GitHub, Michael says, “I’m interested in representing the Node.js project on the Board and think I’m well positioned to be able to do that effectively. I’m on both the TSC and Community Committee which will make reporting and gathering requests easier. I’m also active across a good number of the teams and working groups which will make it easier for me to reflect the needs of those teams as well.”

In addition, as a Board Member, Michael has a number of commendable goals including to ensure the needs of the Node.js project are considered in decisions that are made, to help the board understand and incorporate any issues raised within the Node.js project and to champion the broader and longer-term initiatives that are important to the success of the project in the long run.

As the Node.js rep to the board, Michael is committed to fully understanding the needs of the Node.js Project and representing those at the board level. His top priorities as a Node.js community member are centered around technical innovation, the continued growth of a diverse community, broader involvement in those supporting CI infrastructure and leveraging end-user feedback to steer the future direction of the Node.js project. 

Michael also looks forward to working to help further the future of the wider JS community and OpenJS Foundation. He is excited by the greater focus and opportunities for collaboration that the OpenJS Foundation puts on the table. Michael says “I see good opportunities to share some of the lessons we’ve learned on in the Node.js Project and vice versa so that all projects end up better off. I think we’ll see advantages from having a single Foundation where JavaScript wide issues can be discussed and addressed.”

Michael is IBM’s community lead for Node.js, where he works to coordinate and lead the work of IBM’s teams that contribute to the Node.js community.  He also works to support IBM’s many initiatives to provide great deployment options (public and private) for Node.js, ensuring the tools and products IBM delivers provide a first class experience for Node.js developers and supporting IBM’s internal and customer Node.js deployments.

Outside of the office he enjoys playing badminton and softball as well as kayaking and paddle boarding.  Extracurriculars also include building things with 3d printers, cnc machines, soldering irons, and building apps to make daily life more fun.

That’s a Wrap! Inaugural OpenJS Foundation Collab Summit Comes to a Close

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The OpenJS Foundation recently held its first-ever OpenJS Collaborator Summit. Formerly known as Node.js Collaborator Summit, this was the first OpenJS wide Summit bringing together participants from across the foundation’s 32 projects! In all, more than 95 people came together to learn, collaborate and grow.

The purpose of this event was to bring together many of the contributors and maintainers working across all OpenJS Foundation projects and provide them a chance to collaborate in person, share, learn, and get to know each other. With the majority of this community being distributed, these moments are important for peer-to-peer relationship building, which can be harder to do online. It also provides a space for working groups to hash out topics or issues that are harder to get traction on when the collaboration is scheduled over multiple one-hour meetings throughout the year.

Across the two day event, the community came together for more than 20 collaborative sessions ranging from i18n, Modules, the Release Working Group. transpilers, MDN docs and frameworks, standards and more. The full list of session playbacks can be found on the OpenJS FoundationYouTube Channel.

The OpenJS Collaborator Summit isn’t your typical conference. It’s meant to provide time for in-person collaboration for regular contributors to OpenJSF projects and people who are proficient users of these projects who want to get involved or contribute more. The summit isn’t always an ideal setting for newer developers or those brand new to projects, because the subject matter tends to focus on areas that can require more context. The best way to know if one should attend the summit is by checking out the proposals on the summit repo. 

Also, unlike a traditional conference, where there are formal presentations or workshops, the focus at the summit is about collaboration, so proposals that involve a lot of dialogue and engagement with the ‘audience’ are encouraged. For example, things like Ask Me Anythings (AMAs), or “how should this work?” go over really well. Also, there is no formal talk submission/ acceptance process. When someone submits a proposal and it’s relevant to the OpenJS Foundation projects, it will be included on the agenda. 

Even though this Collab Summit is over, organizers will start planning the next one shortly. The next Collab Summit will be held in December in Montreal, Canada. Go watch the /summit repo for more info on all the past summits and to start getting notifications about the next one. If you want to facilitate a session, help organize, or anything else, please file an issue and jump in. Something really unique about this event is that the organization all happens on Github so many people all over the world can chip in and help make it happen.

Special thanks to the amazing organizers who made this event such a success: Jory Burson, Manil Chowdhury, Eva Howe, Waleed Ashraf, Onur Laru, Matteo Collina, Tracy Hinds, Christian Bromann and so many more.  Also, cheers to the amazing sponsors, including IBM, Twilio, and Sauce Labs who know how to throw a party ( and know a thing or two about cake!)

Awesome cake from the Collab Summit Sponors!