How I Navigated the Open Source World: Matteo Collina
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How I Navigated the Open Source World: Matteo Collina
How I Navigated the Open Source World: Matteo Collina

Italian-born Matteo is the master of open-source. He is currently a Technical Director at nearForm and serves on the Technical Steering Committee of the Node.js project, consulting for some of the biggest businesses in the world.

Italian-born Matteo is the master of open-source. He is currently a Technical Director at nearForm and serves on the Technical Steering Committee of the Node.js project, consulting for some of the biggest businesses in the world. Matteo is also the Co-Founder and CTO of - a platform that provides backend developers with the best user experience possible.

You may find Matteo's most recent talk here. He gives speeches all around the world.

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Matteo for our Guest Speaker series on How I Got Into Open Source World. This series interviews different folks of various expertise on their personal as well as professional experience once becoming a developer.


Ah, okay. Matt Colina. Hi . And, uh, my role, uh, this is actually a very good question, which I can probably take all this time and I will probably shorten it up for, for you for a bit. So, um, as I have announced, uh, just a few days ago, I am starting a new company. Called, uh, platform do, uh, called Matic. You can find us at Platform Dev and you know, subscribe to the form box because that's all, all of what we have.

Um, but stay tuned because we will be announcing more and more things soon. Uh, I am going to be the or I am the CTO of Matic now. Awesome. And could you give us a quick pitch about Platform? Um, we are, uh, our goal is to make, uh, all, uh, backend API as, uh, uh, development as frictionless as possible. Almost back and less if you pass me that term.

So. Awesome. And I know you're a big fan of Open Source and you've been involved quite a bit in the open source community. Could you tell us a little bit more about your involvement, your introduction to it and uh, what you're doing now in that space as. Um, so yeah, it's, uh,

you know, I, open source has been, is always part of, uh, of what I've, I do and what I've done in the last maybe, uh, uh, 10 plus years, probably more probably like 50, the last 15 years I've started, you know, um, Uh, I'm, I, I've started working public publishing staff on GAB since 2007, something like that. So it took, it's a, Yeah, I have an old profile on, on uh, on, uh, on Gabs, on GitHub.

So it's has been, I've been around for, for a bit of time. I, one of those people now that Gab gives them the pro account for free or something like that, that is, that is this good, this group of people, um, that have contributed. So anyway, that's the, uh, I've been around, uh, for a bit of time and I, the reason why I keep staying in the open, so I, the open source community essentially was the way in which I could get out of my, I call it the.

Uh, Italian mud because the, the Italian, you know, the taxi in Italy, it's, it's like, um, it's like a mixed slice of mud, you know, Or a swamp you could think of. Mud Swamp, or, you know, all things on pleasant. It's, uh, um, essentially it's really hard to, uh, uh, to jump and work. Top level in the produced technologies that is actually topnotch and uh, um, it's thanks to open source.

And, you know, the n bandwagon I was able to, to, to pull up and uh, or they pull me up and so that I could, uh, Uh, um, you know, uh, start working on top, top tier technology and, and so on and so forth. But it was, you know, I, Open source was my way to get, to get out of the, it was my outj card essentially, and I recommend everybody that it worked great for me.

Awesome. I don't think anyone would say like, first impression of Italy is the Italy mud. Yeah. It's a second. Sorry. Uh, yeah. Uh, it's, uh, no, Italy is not, It is not, It's, it's, the tax scene is mud. Okay. The tax scene is, is is totally mud. I can't. Okay. My dog is passed around, so that's okay. My dog is passing around the dog.

You, you see the dog moving around? It's so Google. So cute. The little tale. Yeah. Uh, so yeah, no, Italy is like, the talent scene is not, is not great. Okay. It's, well, it was not great at when I, you know, uh, joined the, uh, giant starters working. Okay. It's, um, My first contract was, um, my first job. I was dev, working as a software developer and, and, uh, my title or whatever, my job description in my contract was, uh, um, specialized factory worker, which it's, um, yeah, still stings, so, yeah.

Yeah, still stings. So, yeah, just to keep, to give you a hint, when I call it the mud, it's uh, um, It's, uh, uh, it is not easy to get to get out of, of that because essentially they, to some extent, the environment tried to, uh, tell people to not follow the ambition, not to, um, go and think outside the box, go outside.

It's, uh, very, it's a little bit of a bubble, but it's in a bad sense. So it's now it's, you know, it was hard to get. Um, to jump out of the ecosystem to, to jump out of the, uh, of, uh, job or some, um, not even the current job, because your third job will probably not be great anywhere. Okay. So it's not, that's not the problem.

But the pro long term prospects, uh, were, you know, uh, not great and, uh, I had to do something to change my. Uh, life outcome to some extent. That's awesome. And was it node that you first found, Like was there a big break into the open source while, or was it Yeah, it was basically, I am essentially a second generation node person.

If you, if you pass me the term in, uh, in the sense that there were a few people that, you know, created the first version of no JS and so on and so forth, and no JS and PM and so on. That was the core part of the community. Maybe a few hundred people or something like that. Then, uh, those people are mostly out of the community now for one reason or another.

And then there was a good chunk of other per people that, uh, started using Node when there was 0 1, 0 2, and then started building a lot of things on mpm. I am, like, right now, I'm on the top 100, uh, authors phone MPM in term of download numbers or, you know, Blast Radio. . So from time to time I receive interesting emails from MPM saying, um, that my account is, is they want me, they want to protect my account.

Uh, because it's, it's, it's, uh, uh, it's a liability to some extent for the ecosystem. So it's, uh, it's, it's true, right? It's, uh, it's, it is not that, that many people that have a, um, Uh, 12 billion the lots a year or something that like, it's Wow. Yeah. Some, something like that. Yeah. . That's, that's crazy. I could see, I could see why they wanna protect the account, but that makes sense.

Yeah. Yeah. It's top, the top. Uh, I maintain three or four of the top 500, uh, modules on mpm. And then, yeah, and this just points and one of the probably top four most downloaded module on mpm, something like something approaches is like , you know, I'm getting 1 million per, per per day or something. Oh, okay.

it's uh, oh, I'm pushing annual release. So, Now everybody will need to update that . How many buys are going to be just transferred over the world? What would be the footprint maybe, should I now do the, Sorry, this is some, some crazy thoughts that passed through my head. That's amazing. And so when you were, you know, labeled unfortunately, like, you know, something factory worker, did you think that you could have this much impact?

Did you, did you know, did you have a sense. How, how big is, I wanted to have the impact. Okay. I truly wanted to have the impact. I just didn't know, uh, if I could have, so, uh, yeah. Uh, just a second. No worries. Okay. We so. Awesome. And, uh, um, so yeah, that's, I wanted to have the impact and the question was how I could, how could I, Okay.

And, uh, you know, it's, uh, I've been, you know, there is, I, I am as a lot of other people, I have a little bit of imposter syndrome and people will basically tell you, Oh, you'll never do it, or You think you'll never do it. And um, yeah. Maybe, I dunno, everybody told me, Oh, there's no space for another, for a web API framework for node pacify is still up and running.

Yeah. And, uh, it's gaining adoption every day. Lot of people talking about it now is becoming a reality, you know, and, uh, versus something that, uh, it, uh, you know, oh, it's just, yeah, Java framework. Okay. Uh, but now this actually became actually a. So it's, uh, it's great. That's amazing. Now, I guess that gives us some room to talk more about Fify.

What is it and involved is, is a framework for, uh, uh, building, uh, Web API is, uh, serving your front end content, whatever, like it serves the back, it serves the backend part of the, of the ecosystem. And it's, it's great, uh, because it's, um, it provides a lot out of the box. For example, it has automatic validation, logging a lot of things that are, that are needed.

It has a very good plugin architecture, so there are maybe a few hundred plugins now. Available that you can just install. They all were great. Most of them, at least we maintain 60, 70 or something on, on the Fast five main organization. And then others are just community. So, and uh, I dunno, there are right now 17 people actively working on the project.

And which was to be, to be honest, the success of, uh, the reason why it was so successful. And, uh, you know, it's, you know, it's, you know, it's very hard to attract collaborators. And, uh, the reason why all of this was possible is because, uh, it'll always be defined. That project was also be defined as, um, Uh, open, open source so they could, everybody that basically, uh, uh, started using it and contributing for it.

I just swb them in, invited in the, in the repo and said, Oh, you are okay. You're a collaborator now. Good luck. Okay. And keep adding. Yeah, that's how you do it. And the other bit is if you report a bug, it's your bug, not my bug. So you go to fix it, which is a completely different in virtual relationship, essentially.

Like I, Right. It's way, at the beginning, at least at the beginning at least, I wanted to create a community of maintainers. Okay. And not just, uh, uh, I wanted to create a community of maintainers. So That's awesome. And it's your, you, you're one of the co-creators, right? Yeah. One of the two, uh, uh, Fasti was born when myself and.

Um, Thomas del co-creator met, I was delivering a training in Bologna, in to another training in Bologna in 2016. And, uh, I, he reached a, he was one of the, my students, and he asked me how I get involved into open-source. And I says, Well, you know, I, I'm actually thinking of building a new, um, web nel. Uh, do we want to help?

Oh, I had a little product, but it was, yeah, it had a different name. It, it, it, it completely different story and so, and forth. And then from there on that, that's where we started working. It took a few years for us to get to the one do release and then another few years to get two. Then we have, we had three for a long time and now we are at version visual version.

So it's been, you know, it's solid enough, like battle tested. Um, a few big, big companies are using Fify now, so happy days. That's so awesome. And congrats on the journey. Um, I'm curious what now, what the, um, old name from was? What was one of the contenders? , Uh, actually the first name, the first name that it was called, it was b.

Be open, straightforward, and uh, uh, because it was, um, uh, a lot of the development of the other framework was not so open at the time. So, uh, the reason for be open was, uh, in, in welcoming everybody as, uh, a maintainers of this. Okay. It's, uh, Sweet message. Maybe someone else is gonna take this now, so if, if this goes live Oh, will be tight.

Please do take the name. Please do. That's the point, right? . But it's still like the first commits are still on, on that name. Like you can track down the history of the project. Nice. And I guess now as a super experienced maintainer, co-creator, uh, and core contributor, how do you like, decide on what issues to work on?

What, what things to build? Like, Oh, but you know, it's funny, it's super funny. I, I, It's super funny. First, what issues to work? I don't, I ask you to fix them. So I just review what other people got it, send me like I'm not, you know, uh, when I receive an issue I have, it's basically, um, if I believe it's something that somebody else can fix, I'm asking them to fix it.

If it's super hard and I know that it will be impossible for somebody else. To know what to do because typically I screwed up. Um, it's because if it's too hard, I, it means I did, I didn't do a good job, or the other collaborator didn't do a good job anyway. Uh, uh, uh, so we, uh, basically at that point, or maybe it requires a redesign of some of the features of some of the internals and so on, um, we typically take it on, uh, myself or some other of the other collaborators.

Most of the time though, it's just like, Hey, you have a bug, you can fix it. Uh, that's the gist. Uh, in term of long term features and planning, uh, typically we, we have a few key, major issues that are being reported and says, Well, next major, we want to fix three or four of those. And that's where, uh, but most of the time it is literally just.

Uh, fixing the box. Okay. And, uh, um, yeah, that's the TLDR of it. And, uh, basically, you know, um, fixing a bug in a certain way that will make things fine. Awesome. And I guess, um, I'm curious, you know, today is a lot different from when you first contributed in the open source community. So what are some training projects or libraries that people out, uh, you know, here?

A few. Mm-hmm. So, uh, I would recommend people to check out and ask, Do Dev. It's a new, uh, web ring for Java based on html. Uh, very fun, very interesting stuff going around. They have a FFI adapter, so that's why they get mentioned. Uh, also they, uh, astronaut build the team has been working on a FFI adapter, so both check out both of them because, you know, it's, uh, uh, uh, they are pretty interesting.

New take on the full stack development story. I would say those are the things that just came out in the last couple of weeks, so, It's launch time. Everybody's launching new stuff, including me, so you will probably ear on on what we are. I'm launching in a few weeks from now, so stay tune. I am preparing something new too, so please.

Exciting. Well, we'll check on the website. We'll put the, the Twitter as well so people can follow you and hear more about it. That's awesome. Yeah. And, um, I guess, uh, last thing, last thing from my end actually, just for my own personal notes. Uh, one is, um, your, your new product, is it, is it closed sourced or is it, or is it open sourced?

It's going to be open source, so everything will be open sourced. Okay. Everything will be open-sourced in a few, in a few weeks or something like that. That's exciting. So something will be, will come out in, in a few weeks from now. Awesome. I'm very excited on, on, uh, on being able, finally able to share this.

I've been working on this stuff for a bit now, so I'm very, very excited for what you're doing.

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Last Updated • Oct 17, 2022