Epic Web Conf '24 Speakers

Michael Chan

Web enthusiast

Watch Talk


  • Thursday, 12:30 PM1:15 PM
    DevTools.fm Live Recording
  • Thursday, 2:50 PM3:10 PM
    Snapshot-driven Development: Capture Visual Tests in Flow


chantastic (Michael Chan) is a software engineer and community leader with a passion for education. As the host of React Podcast, he has shared insights from open source luminaries and engineer-creators. His curious and engaging style has helped aspiring engineers learn React. He’s now helping teams build high quality UIs with Storybook and Chromatic.


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Hey everybody, I am so excited to be joined by my friend the chantastic Michael Chan. How are you doing? Hey, I'm doing really good. How are you? Can't doing great So for those of you who well for everybody right now You should go look up a post that I put on X on February 5th at 1027 a.m. Mountain Time

Because it was just a moments before we started recording on here and it's it's just a good You know a time capsule of what happened Right before this this recording, but anyway, that's not over here about a little behind the scenes a little behind the scene. Yeah

So what we're here about is I am super excited to have Michael coming to the Salt Lake City area, we're going to be in Park City for Anyway, epic webconf and I want folks to get to know Michael before that event So Michael, could you introduce yourself to us a bit?

Yes, so my name is Michael or Chan or chantastic whatever whatever floats your boat whatever makes you happy and Man, I am so excited to hang out with you Kent and the incredible lineup of people that that you're bringing to Park City It's gonna be amazing Yeah a little bit about me

I am just you know, I'm I feel like I'm just kind of a classic nerd like someone egghead was writing a bio for me Taylor's written a bio and said like just web enthusiast and that was it and I was like, you know what? I think that's my favorite bio that I've ever that I've ever had just I have

loved the web since like the moment my dad got me a dial-up subscription to the Internet and Just that that that sound just kind of like brings back so much joy and happiness to me the idea that you can Exist

Digitally and kind of capture your essence like for forever through these like little things called like websites like it's kind of the craziest thing and like with AI the fact that we contribute to all of that is like humanity it's Like I don't know. There's a lot of like cool fun stuff to about the web And so yeah

I'm just excited that you're building a conference that celebrates all of those aspects of the web and what makes it fun and why we love it and like what It means for humanity like over the long term like it's all very fun So I think that's probably like all you really need to know about me It's like that. I just I think this stuff is fun and I am excited to be around people who love it as much

I love that. Yeah, the web is epic and it is it's awesome. It's freeing Yeah, there's a lot of stuff in the news about Apple being like locked down and or or different app stores Just locking down what? Developers can do on those platforms and and I appreciate that. That's a nuanced conversation and all of that stuff

Yeah, but like the thing that is so cool about the web is that you know from the very beginning you could just Do whatever you want to on there. And and yeah, yeah Good or bad, right? Yeah. Yeah There's both sides to that for sure. But like you can you can put up what you want. No, nobody needs to approve it

It's just it's awesome, I love yeah, there is like the first thing that I ever Really built on the web that wasn't like, I don't know my myspace profile or something like that was a Was a registry not not a registry a

RSVP site for my own wedding and I just remember thinking it was the cool like I just had the most fun It was PHP HTML CSS like just the you know, the basics, you know back then on like a simple, you know Server somewhere that I was paying a couple bucks a month for and I just thought it was so fun I was I have this vivid

Memory of being in Singapore on a business trip with my dad and I'm just FTPing updates to this to this application pre-git free everything like for me at least and I'm gonna call with my now wife Nellie and just kind of like how does this look like is this right?

like are these the right details and like being able to update update that in real time and like Close that gap That distance gap between us online for a second. Like it's just I don't know I just really like fell in love with it Like all of those things are just so fun the way that it brings people literally brings people closer together

Is awesome dude you falling in love with the web while you fall in love with your wife, it's amazing. I know it's great Yeah, the two loves of my life at that time. That's all well so Michael we're gonna have you at the conference speaking and I think I want people to

Get super excited about your your topic and and like just prep themselves a little bit So, can you tell us a little bit what you're thinking about for your talk? Yeah, for sure, so I have my entire career worked in like design systems before they were kind of like capital

DS design systems, um, you know working in that gap between developers and designers Even when that was just like working with like, you know Photoshop Cutups, you know with this kind of like snaming strategy so they could easily go into these like web templates and whatnot

Um, and so I've been working with like component libraries design systems for a really long time and I am excited to help people understand how to capture That workflow of building a design system or a component library in real time So more of like an emerging design system or emerging component library

How to start capturing those details to improve their development experience and I think the enemy in all of this is that we work so hard to build that component one time and We often lose all of the valuable context for the decisions that we made along the way we commit that component

It works great. But then you come back to it and you're like, oh crap I I know that I remember we wanted to we wanted to make this change but then there was also this reason that we didn't or Reason that it was hard and we decided not to do that at that time Or there was a use case that we're really trying to support

It's all just kind of like if you got the cake now, but you don't have any of the you don't have the recipe anymore hmm, and so What I want to cover is just that idea of like how do you capture that recipe while you're building the cake? So that the next time you can be like, okay if we need to rebuild this cake from scratch or you know

we just need to augment it like we have the instruction manual to do it a second time and Kind of holding all of those really important pieces together for us so that's what we're going to cover is basically just how to capture your the important details of your web development process in a way that's like doesn't feel like

A lot of extra energy. Yeah. Yeah, we don't want extra chores, but we do right want to have cleaner rooms and Yes, yeah, and so how do you clean up while you're building? Yeah, I think that's the that's the ticket there You mentioned like these emerging

Design systems and things that I think that's really the only way that a successful design system really comes about is as it emerges right because As the product is being developed you you think of these different ways that that you can represent

the interactions that your website will have and so you really do have to like build the plane while it's flying and Also update the instruction manual I guess and so I look forward to hearing about strategies for that as well Yeah, thanks. Thanks. Yeah, you know, I think it's so hard to

We we want things that are finished, right? And I think that that's you know, we talk about component libraries of design systems There's just this urgency to try to get to the end of it where it's done and it just like serves you for forever But these are that's not the nature of living things, right organic things Can there are continually?

Emerging and replacing bad cells and like growing, you know until eventually they die, right? but the quickest way to guarantee that something dies is to not continue to develop it and grow it and watch it emerge over time, so

Yeah, I think that that is an important thing that we forget sometimes and trying to build the perfect thing Yeah, well that's and it's important to remember that nothing is perfect And and like the the closest you can get to perfection is shipped Yeah, that's that's great

I'm really looking forward to chatting with you at the conference and I'm sure a lot of other people are as well and you are Looking forward to talking with people too. I think that's important for people to love it to understand like The the speakers or the people who are on stage are excited to not be on stage and still talk with people and so

When we're at the the event and talking with folks What are the sorts of things that you're hoping they come up and talk with you about or what are you hoping to talk? with other people about at the conference Yeah, I think There are two things that I'm really bullish on right now, which is Building one is building your own software

I think that you embody this really well this idea of it is always a worthwhile investment to Just build your own software and maybe that means that you decide that an abstraction or a service is still Better right like you're like you love fly dot IO, right?

That is an abstraction over like bare hardware that makes sense to you Like you don't have to build your own like deployment service, right? but Knowing how all that stuff works like not being afraid of going that deep if if it's necessary I think building your own software is such a superpower and

I think gets to the the heart and the joy of like why we do all this stuff So I think I love talking with people about the silly stuff that they're building just just for themselves. That makes me super happy and then I think you know development workflows and

Kind of just-in-time like productivity I guess is something that I'm really excited about I think that Like snap like visual Visual testing is going to be really big like this year and in the coming years I think we're only just starting to see the tools of merge to make that pretty easy

You know playwright has just been crushing it It's been absolutely amazing to see Those tools emerge and I think that we're just at the cusp of seeing how those things can actually Improve our web development workflow. Not just the like make sure that it doesn't break in the future workflow

And I think that's something I'm really excited I'm excited to hear people's experiences with that as well as kind of like what they'd like to see improved because I think Yeah, well 100% I think that those are really awesome things for folks to to think about and talk with you about at the conference

Yeah, the future is going to be very exciting and you know, I I I appreciate talking about the past and stuff, but I like being in a position where I'm not As difficult as the world is right now and there's a lot of uncertainty and everything I still feel really optimistic about the future and yeah, I think that

There's a lot to be excited about. So I'm excited. Yeah for for that yeah, I think I'm a nobody people don't listen to a lot about photos and but the World

I think that's what I'm excited about you doing this conference that I'm excited for you to put this conference on because I think that you have always embodied that energy that that hopeful optimistic Positive about the web energy and I think that as people come together with that energy in mind Man, there's gonna be a lot of people that are gonna be excited about that

So I think that's what I'm excited about. I think that's what I'm excited about With that energy in mind Man, there's gonna be a lot of really cool ideas and fun that's had over over that conference. So I can't wait I'm excited about it. Well, thank you. Yeah, I love that. It makes me think that like If if the world is going to end

Like we're concerned that it's going to then I would much rather have it end with me having an epic conference with my epic friends Then to just like sit at home and be like this is awful that the world is ending So like I'm happier and and maybe just maybe

By having a positive attitude and working toward something bigger than ourselves. We can actually prevent the world from ending. I don't know You know It's it's it's our only hope right? You're not gonna find it the other way. Yes. Um, have you seen? Uh, what is it called? Oh

What is the post Harry Potter Oh the first child no, no, oh, um, oh shoot in the cinematic universe the Ding it. Sorry. Um the the fantastic beasts and where to find. Oh, yes. Yes. Yes. Yeah. Okay. There's a scene It's one of my favorite scenes in ever any movie ever

There's this big like rhinoceros thing on the looking thing on the loose and they're trying to capture it and Newt says to the guy that he's using his bait. He's like, you know, I wouldn't worry. He's like, oh really? And he's like, yeah. Well, you know when you worry you only suffer twice. Yeah Yeah. Yeah, actually that's a that's in don't worry be happy actually

Yeah, it's it's one of the things that Like, you know, there are a couple of times in that song where he'll say like Just something really quick. Like look at me. I'm happy or he'll say Like I'll give you my number if you worry. Call me. I'll make you happy like don't know like have these phrases and one of them is

If you if you were you you'd suffer twice or something like that. I'll have yeah, but yeah So don't be happy and come to epic webcom There it is, that's it. All right. Hey, thanks so much Chan I appreciate you giving us some of your time today and looking forward to seeing you at the conference. I can't wait. Can't wait Thanks for having me Ken. Bye everyone