Evan Morikawa

ReactEurope interview #12: Evan Morikawa

Patrick Aljord


Our 12th ReactEurope interview’s in. Meet Evan, currently a frontend application engineer at Nylas. Evan will be presenting with Ben Gotow on How React & Flux Turn Applications Into Extensible Platforms. Read on to know more about Evan:

Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from, what do you do?

I’m originally from San Diego but left the warmth to go to a new experimental engineering school just west of Boston called Olin College of Engineering. With a CS degree in hand and a hankering for startup-life, I first spent time as a developer in residence at TechStars while living at MIT, then started my own company called Proximate with a close Harvard friend in Cambridge. We grew Proximate to customer-funded profitability, and in late 2014 I joined Nylas. At Nylas I sling (Coffee|Java)script & React with our small team of 10 in San Francisco and am working to build a better email platform.

What were you using before React?

TI-86 Basic (my 5th grade-self was so proud)! I’ve done PHP & Rails-style static rendering, made jQuery spaghetti-code, tried to write my own View rendering I called “Cell”, and have even tried full Flash sites! (Macromedia Flash MX anyone??)

My last company, Proximate, started as a “simple” Backbone app before years of features turned good old `$(“#foo”).html(“all the things”)` into a large custom Marionette-like nested view rendering system. Toy Angular & Meteor apps definitely helped inspire better ways to improve Proximate’s Backbone-based infrastructure, but then I discovered React…

What made you switch to React?

One day a friend of mine hooked up a Spark Core to his computer and pulled up a live sensor dashboard updating at a buttery-smooth 60fps. “Canvas?” I ask. “No. React” he proudly says. After years of Proximate’s Backbone-based view system being slow to render, impossible to test, and difficult to componentize, I was quickly sold.

At Nylas we thought long and hard about what set of technologies would enable us to build a super extensible platform. There was simply nothing else that got close to matching React.

What’s your greatest react projects, open source or not that you’d like to tell the world about?

A full-featured, highly extensible email client. At Nylas I’ve been working on building an email client that lets people build React-based plugins to customize the email experience of your dreams. It has a lot of cool parts to it, but one I’ve been recently proud about is a fully React-compatible WYSIWYG text editor (email composer). No more `shouldComponentUpdate: -> false`!

What do you expect from the conf?

It’s hard to shake hands with Twitter handles! I’m looking forward to putting names to faces IRL.

Anything else you want to tell future attendees?

Live long and prosper

There you go, you now know a bit more about Evan and hopefully you will be able to meet him personally at the conf.

If you haven’t done so, make sure to grab your ticket to the conference before they’re all gone and see you there!

Make sure to follow @ReactEurope on Twitter to get the latest news about the conference and interviews.