HomeAuthor InterviewsInterview with Florian Rappl

Interview with Florian Rappl

Florian Rappl is the author of Modern Frontend Development with Node.js, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?

Florian: Distributed Web Applications

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?

Florian: In the last ten years I’ve spend most of my time on working in the Node.js ecosystem, especially building frontend applications. Initially, the frontend space was a dedicated ecosystem with its own tooling and principles, however, over time that just merged into the Node.js ecosystem for the better. While the transition and outcome made sense for me, it can be quite daunting for developers that are either at the beginning of their career or switch to frontend development. I always wanted to make this easier and understandable – to have a good reference myself, but – even more importantly – to help others. Luckily, I got approached by Packt if I want to write another book (I already published “The Art of Micro Frontends” previously), so the decision was an easy one for me.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Florian: While most of the knowledge conveyed in the book was already gained over the last ten years in the industry, I had to do quite some work to break it down into a meaningful selection of tools and principles, as well as a sound structure. In the end, I decided to also put in a section on rather new technologies such as Deno or Bun – which have also been new to me. I did not stop the time, it certainly was a lot.

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Florian: The peak of the book is a chapter on bundlers. A bundler is a tool that works a bit like a compiler – it transforms input sources (e.g., JavaScript modules, CSS files, images, etc.) into assets that can be consumed by a web browser in the most efficient way possible. Surely, bundlers are complicated tools. The chapter was difficult to write as there are many bundlers and many of these are actually worth writing about. I had to break it down into a good selection and then – and this was the hard part – limit it to a scope that is both, understandable and useful for the reader. Coming up with some example that is super easy to understand would be straight forward – but would it also help in a real world project? Besides taking an additional time for the chapter I also talked to colleagues and friends about the chosen example and the approach I’ve taken.

Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?

Florian: Frontend development will always be important and Node.js will be the glue for all these tools and principles that are used in this space – at least for the foreseeable future. In general, the tools underneath will become more complex and the developer experience will become smoother.

Q. Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?

Florian: There are many books about Node.js – but none that is focused on frontend development. There are books about a specific framework or tool, but none that give a good overview of the ecosystem. I think the book should be chosen by anyone who wants to dive into frontend development – it does not only serve as a good companion for the frontend ecosystem in general, but also teaches important concepts from Node.js that come in handy in many situations.

Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?

Florian: It’s all about tooling.

Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?

Florian: Always try to understand things in all depth. That might be challenging as you can always go deeper, but it definitely is worth it. If you only touch things on the surface then you’ll never master it – which means that once something goes sideways you are stranded.

Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?

Florian: These days I publish most of my posts on dev.to (https://dev.to/florianrappl). I also have a personal homepage that I rarely use right now (https://florian-rappl.de)

Q. Can you share any blogs, websites, and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?

Florian: Great resources are ui.dev, dev.to and changelog.com/weekly.

Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Florian: Definitely. Well, I’d say pretty overall my journey was pretty awesome. It started with a request from Packt if I want to write a book about micro frontends. Somehow somebody recognized the blog posts that I’ve written on that topic. As I anyway played around with the idea of writing a book on micro frontends I only checked if my vision could be fulfilled by going with Packt. The whole discussions and pitching was very smooth. Everything was guided very well.

Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?

Florian: I am a Microsoft MVP in the area of development tools.

Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?

Florian: I mostly read blog posts, subscribe to relevant mailing lists, and watch some relevant YouTube channels. There is no one source that beats’em all – every source is a good source by itself.

Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?

Florian: The most important part is the pitching phase. In there the whole structure of the book is determined. That has direct impact on the planning, e.g., how long each chapter of the book will take to write. I take a long time to refine and improve the structure of the book. I want to make sure that I understand the scope of every chapter; knowing – at least in crude detail – what I’ll write about in each chapter. That way I can already come up with a realistic timetable. Then, the only thing necessary is to allocate the necessary time (e.g., in the evening or on weekends) to work on the chapters.

Q. What is the one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?

Florian: Preparation is everything. The more time you spend on the initial pitch / structure of the book, the more you can focus on “just” writing the chapters. It’s like with software. First make the architecture – if that is well thought out than the whole implementation is essentially just muscle work.

You can find Florian‘s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

Modern Frontend Development with Node.js – Available on Amazon.com