Introducing Adele — the Open Source Repository of Design Systems & The Story of Why This Crazy CEO Still Builds Stuff?!
Building things was always my passion. As a kid I spent countless hours playing with weird Russian metal construction sets (I guess only kids from the former Eastern bloc know what I’m talking about), wooden blocks, LEGO… I was the kind of kid that disappeared into his own world for hours, completely consumed by creating the next great thing.
And while over the years plenty of things about me have changed (there’s barely a cell in my body that remained untouched, for an interesting discussion check this reddit thread), the passion of building has not changed a bit.
The task of creation fascinates me so much that over 7 years ago I co-founded a startup focused on helping designers and engineers create products together. A tiny side project at first, UXPin, grew to be a real business helping the world leading companies scale their design and development. Thanks to our design, prototyping and design systems tools companies can build better products faster.
The irony is that while tens of thousands of people use UXPin to create great digital products every day, the fast growth of UXPin, elevated me into the full-time CEO position. And while there are a lot of gratifying aspects of growing and managing a serious business with a great team of over 50 professionals, I was always itching to get back to the creation side of things. So… I just did it.
There’s probably a million reasons why the CEO of a startup that has outgrown its infancy, shouldn’t build things anymore. And, in my humble opinion, non of them matter.
If 32 years on this gorgeous planet taught me anything, it’s that to be happy one has to follow the one, defining, passion that focuses the mind and makes the heart beat faster. Following this passion makes us stay true to ourselves. It makes us authentic. And, in my opinion, the only worthy path to be a great leader leads through a relentless authenticity.
The only path to be a great leader leads through a relentless authenticity.
With that in my mind, I decided to spent every hour I can, on creating projects, from start to finish, that can help others build great products.
And today, I’m ready to launch the very first of these projects.
Please give a warm welcome to Adele 💥.
The ever growing complexity of web and mobile products have outgrown our product development processes. What used to work in the early days of the web, started to produce diminishing returns. To get a hold of the chaos of digital creation, companies started to invest into design systems and pattern libraries.
Creation of a design system or a pattern library is no easy feat. It’s a long, if not infinite, process that requires a lot of decisions. Some of these decisions are about the structure and technology. All, are complex and have a huge impact on the future of design and development in our organizations.
That’s why, while working on a design system, we tend to constantly check how others have solved particular problems. Diving into github repositories and documentation, while extremely valuable, takes a lot of time and effort. Both could be channeled towards the actual creation of new components in the system.
And this is exactly why Adele is here.
Adele is an open source repository of publicly available design systems and pattern libraries. In no time you can get a list of systems that use a particular technology, data structure or have a part of the system that you’re interested in. Whether you’re looking for react components, css-in-js, accessibility guidelines or color palettes — Adele has you covered. Learn, explore, enjoy and build better systems!
We’re starting with 43 systems analyzed in 30 categories. You can conveniently browse them on Adele’s website. But… there’s going to be more. From the grounds up Adele has been created as an open source tool for the community of design systems builders and maintainers.
Adele is on the mission to collect information about all the publicly available design systems. And this is exactly why Adele is open source.
All the data about systems is available as individual JSONs. Anybody can contribute by refining the data or adding new systems.
If you don’t see your system in Adele, you found some missing data, or you’re willing to add another category of data — by all means, do it! Only together we can make this repository complete.
Check readme in Adele’s repository for details about contribution.
I hope you like Adele.
I know I do. This project allowed me to get back to the roots of my passion. I had a lot of fun trying up new technologies and playing with the concepts that I’ve never explored before. And I’ve definitely learnt a ton by analyzing 43 systems 🙃.
That leaves us with the final question: why Adele?
Surprise. Adele — Design Systems Repository, has not been named after Adele — the singer. Adele is a tribute to one of the most important computer scientists focused on graphic user interfaces, design patterns and object-oriented programming — Adele Goldeberg.
Adele Goldberg worked at XEROX PARC in the 70s and managed the System Concepts Laboratory where together with Alan Kay and others she developed Smalltalk-80 — object-oriented, dynamically typed, programming language that was meant to power the “human-computer symbiosis”.
Needless to say, SmallTalk also pioneered many concepts important to all modern design systems. Objects in Smalltalk were easily transferable between applications and customizable. Smalltalk also served as the foundation of PARC’s work on graphically based user interfaces (many GUI concepts has been developed by Adele Goldberg and her group!).
Remember Adele. She’s the icon.