I had the pleasure of talking with Roland Krüger, a software engineer who works at a consulting company (Orientation in Objects) in Mannheim, Germany. His job includes working in Java-related customer projects, consulting (sometimes Vaadin-related), and trainings in different technical areas.
Hello, Roland! Thanks for accepting the invitation. So, how long have you been using Vaadin?
Thanks for the invitation! I discovered Vaadin back in 2010 when I was helping some friends of mine from the university to develop the software for their start-up. The start-up is defunct now, but Vaadin is still strong with me. Back then, I was really impressed by the features Vaadin had to offer and the framework made it possible to get going quickly.
That sounds great! I bet you have the chance to “play” with many technologies, right?
Yes, that's one of the great advantages of working for my employer. We're given much time to play with new technologies. This is even required here. I took my knowledge of Vaadin with me in this company when I started here in 2011 and I was asked to create a new training for our curriculum, so I'm the Vaadin Trainer here in this company.
Awesome! Now I understand why you are so active in the community! You have a couple of Vaadin add-ons right?
Yes, currently I have two add-ons. The most recent one of them recycles code from the start-up. I wish I had time to be more active in the community because it's a lot of fun. But my free time is rare, unfortunately, and there are other members who are a lot more active than me. I try to answer questions on StackOverflow as well from time to time. I'm also trying to regularly write blog posts about Vaadin. Even though I recently have lacked the time to do so. But there are lots of topics on my to do list.
Developers around the world for sure value that. What have been the most popular posts you have written?
It's these three, the first one being the most active:
As you can see, blogging is encouraged by my employer!
Glad it is! So, what would you say is the “killer” feature of Vaadin?
Hard to say since there are quite a lot! But what I like most is the data binding concept. And more on a meta level is the well thought-out API which on the one hand offers a simple default implementation (such as the Navigator and all related interfaces) but on the other hand allows pretty complex setups, such as with my new add-on. Vaadin never limits the developer too much — but doesn't do that at the expense of simplicity.
How about other aspects of Vaadin, such as the commercial offer and community-related stuff?
Regarding the commercial offerings: I think these are great and come at a fair price as far as I can judge. And they are an important pillar to keep Vaadin as FOSS alive in the future (which is important for customers to know in order for them to commit to Vaadin in the long term). I think, providing some commercial add-ons helps to keep the quality of these add-ons extremely high.
As for the free stuff, the quality of Vaadin's documentation has always been extremely high which cannot be assumed from many other open source projects. This is maybe another killer feature of Vaadin: You will never get stuck with the API since you always find extensive Javadocs to help you along. Not to mention the Book of Vaadin, which is another great enabler to learn the framework. I haven't been that active in the forums recently, but as far as I can see they are very much alive, as are the relevant Vaadin tags on StackOverflow.
Regarding meet-ups, I have only once attended one of them in Frankfurt, which was quite nice.
Alright, anything else you’d like to say?
A nice coincidence I discovered when I first saw the new design of the Vaadin t-shirts: they show a similar polygon reindeer design that I chose for the cover of the Vaadin beginner's book I'm currently writing on a self-publishing platform. So, this is something I took away from my Vaadin trainings: The idea to start writing a Vaadin book in German.
Awesome! Best wishes with your book and your other projects. Keep the good vibes, Roland!
It was a pleasure for me! Thank you for having me.