DiscoverSustainEpisode 172: Maintainer Month 2023 with Sarah Boyce & David Blass
Episode 172: Maintainer Month 2023 with Sarah Boyce & David Blass

Episode 172: Maintainer Month 2023 with Sarah Boyce & David Blass

Update: 2023-05-02



Sarah Boyce | David Blass


Richard Littauer

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source for the long haul. This is a special podcast and one of several in this series for GitHub’s Maintainer Month. We’re interviewing actual maintainers of open source code to talk about what they do, how they like it, and what they need to keep going. Today, we’re very excited to have two guests joining us. Our first guest is Sarah Boyce, who’s a Backend Developer at CheMondis and member of Django’s review and triage team. She talks about her role, her contributions to Django, her experiences on the review and triage team, and shares advice for those contemplating becoming a maintainer. Our second guest is David Blass, who’s a full-time JavaScript open source developer and Founder of ArkType, which is a TypeScript validation system. David discusses community feedback, improvements in the new release, the potential monetization of the project, and the TypeScript market and potential for growth of ArkType. Press download to hear more!


[00:01:13 ] Sarah tells us about her work with Django, ways it overlaps with her work at CheMondis, and her journey doing open source work and getting involved in Django.

[00:03:04 ] Sarah talks about her contributions to Django and the Python ecosystem, as well as her experiences being on the triage and review team.

[00:04:35 ] We hear about the supportive and friendly community of Django.

[00:07:07 ] Despite being unpaid, Sarah explains how her open source work has helped her gain personal and professional benefits.

[00:09:54 ] We learn how Sarah manages her time effectively with all the extra volunteer work, badminton, painting, and work.

[00:11:34 ] Why Django? Sarah fills us in on why Django was interesting to her.

[00:12:26 ] Sarah tells us what she’s looking forward to, such as meeting other contributors and maintainers of Django.

[00:13:26 ] The hardest thing for Sarah was the anxiety around doing the first jump and raising the first PR. Also, dealing with people who disagree and get contentious can be challenging.

[00:15:09 ] Her advice to someone contemplating becoming a maintainer is to do some research first, double-check that the repository has a code of conduct, and check the vibe of the conversation before jumping in.

[00:16:59 ] Find out where you can follow Sarah on the web.


[00:19:07 ] Joining us now is David Blass. He tells us about ArkType, which is a validator for runtime data that mirrors TypeScript’s syntax for defining types.

[00:20:50 ] David explains TypeScript and how it offers a developer experience.

[00:24:51 ] We learn about David’s passion with ArkType and his community of contributors.

[00:26:50 ] David discusses the funding model, how he’s looking for VC funding and is open to other funding models that allow the project to continue as a purely open source project if that’s viable.

[00:27:52 ] David has another core maintainer that work with him, and he tells us what he does.

[00:29:10 ] ArkType is still at the alpha stage and has not been broadly adopted in production yet, but David plans to make a push in the next couple of months.

[00:32:26 ] What is the goal of ArkType?

[00:34:09 ] Richard and David discuss the TypeScript market and the potential for growth of ArkType.

[00:35:58 ] David shares some final thoughts about the potential monetization of the project, such as using the validation system for instrumented code that checks code that checks code execution for validity and suggests that investors could contact him if interested.

[00:37:34 ] Find out where you can follow David on the web.



[00:05:26 ] “Everything we do is very much in the open and we want to keep it as much in the open as possible, so we don’t have a group of people who have access to information that other people don’t have access to.”

[00:11:39 ] “Django found me; I didn’t find Django.”

[00:15:25 ] “Before you make your first PR, double check that they have a Code of Conduct. It’s a good sign if it is there.”

[00:15:46 ] “[Before contributing], I would look on a couple of the issues or PR’s and check the vibe of the conversation.”


[00:21:37 ] “The more you scale a project the more important it is to have static types and clean interfaces.”

[00:26:10 ] “Just to have people who are so deeply engaged with what you’re doing and invested has been such a rewarding thing for me.”

[00:26:23 ] “It’s one thing to know that something’s theoretically important, but it’s another to just have the day-to-day sustenance and engagement you need to feel like you can give it your all.”



Special Guests: David Blass and Sarah Boyce.

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Episode 172: Maintainer Month 2023 with Sarah Boyce & David Blass

Episode 172: Maintainer Month 2023 with Sarah Boyce & David Blass