ReactEurope interview #13: Ben Gotow

Our 13th ReactEurope interview’s in. Meet Ben, an incurable builder, front-end product engineer. Ben will be presenting with Evan Morikawa on How React & Flux Turn Applications Into Extensible Platforms. Read on to know more about Ben:

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

I live in San Francisco, and work at a startup called Nylas. We’re building a new email platform on top of React and Atom Shell, along with a powerful set of APIs for email, contact and calendar. I grew up on the east coast and lived in Nashville, TN before I moved out to the bay area. There, I ran a small consulting agency doing mobile and web development for clients all over the US. In my spare time, I enjoy rock climbing and road biking in California.

What were you using before React?

Before React, I worked on a few large Javascript projects in Angular and Backbone, including a kids programming environment called Codako (https://github.com/bengotow/Codako). but I was first and foremost an iOS developer. I’ve built more than 20 iOS apps, including Netsketch and Layers, which received a lot of press (and were even featured in an Apple commercial!) back in the early days of the App Store. More recently, I wrote the Spark Inspector, a tool for inspecting iOS view hierarchies. As I got into web development, I was impressed by the depth of the Chrome Inspector Tools and wanted something similar for iOS.

What made you switch to React?

Early on, I was really intrigued by React’s virtual DOM, as well as the speed improvements it offered over Angular. Writing React components also feels natural moving from iOS, and I feel that Flux codifies many best practices of application development, like loose coupling between components and one-way data flow — things that I worked hard to apply in iOS apps over the years!

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

At Nylas, we’re working on a full-fledged mail client built on React. It’s not open-source, but I’m excited to share a bit more information at the conference!

What do you expect from the conf?

The React community is moving fast — I feel like there’s something new coming out every week. I’m excited to hear about what other companies are doing with React, and learn more about frameworks people are using in conjunction with React. I expect Flux frameworks will still be battling it out this summer, and I’m curious to see what advances are being made there.

Anything else you want to tell future attendees?

Can’t wait to meet everyone!

There you go, you now know a bit more about Ben 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.