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Why I'm going to work on Storybook full-time

Bright and exciting future for Storybook

Norbert de Langen
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I was drawn to Storybook because it made developing beautiful UIs organized, repeatable, and efficient.

Over the past year I helped maintain Storybook in my spare moments. During that time the project has seen tremendous growth. More and more developers are realizing the benefits of building UI components in isolation!

Growth came with more feature requests and issue reports than I could handle on nights and weekends. I soon realized that accomplishing Storybook’s goals would take dedicated effort.

So I looked for a team that shared my passion for Storybook and would enable me to work on Storybook more. Today, I’m super excited to share that I’m joining Chroma to work on Storybook full-time!

Maintenance takes time

Storybook development in a nutshell is 450 contributors creating 1.8k pull requests and filing 2k issues. By the numbers it’s larger than most commercial software projects.

Yet some feature requests and roadmap items have been open in the backlog for a long time. In reality, open source happens in contributors’ spare time. That means there are PRs, issues, features, and great ideas that the community just can’t get to (especially the larger features!).

As you may have noticed in other open source projects like Babel, Webpack, and Gatsby, the project moves a lot faster when there’s a full time maintainer. I think Storybook also deserves the same dedicated effort –especially if the community is going to reach its goals.

Open source is a community

One of the core strengths of open source is community. The idea is practical: it’s easier to accomplish big things together than apart.

I love working on Storybook because of the community. It’s awesome to collaborate with hundreds of people around the world who share the same values and work toward the same goal (even if our use cases are sometimes wildly different!).

I now consider collaborators like Filipp Riabchun🇷🇺, Michael Shilman 🇺🇸, Igor Davydkin🇮🇱, and Tom Coleman 🇦🇺 good friends.

Let’s build a thriving community together

In any software project collaboration tends to get harder as the project size grows. Storybook is no exception. Open source has plenty of passionate developers which means it’s tough to get everyone on the same page.

I’m going to focus on building a collaborative and thriving open source community. Here’s how:

  • Create processes that better support users, contributors, and maintainers
  • Work on the community’s most-requested features
  • Promote Storybook at meetups & conferences

I intend to post my progress every day in Storybook’s Slack #maintenance. That way everyone can see what I’m working on and collaborate!

What’s next for Storybook

My goal is to make Storybook the best tool for UI component development. The good news is that Storybook is already on its way there. With over 26k GitHub stars and 450 contributors, it’s now being used by cutting-edge software teams at Dropbox, Microsoft, Airbnb, and many more. My top maintenance priorities are:

📝 Storybook for styleguides

First is implementing a documentation-view inside Storybook. That is, allowing you to write markdown and embed component-stories on pages. Storybook users already document component variants, so it’s natural that Storybook offers a way to write longer-form documentation as well.

⚡️ Make Storybook faster

If you create UIs for a living, you probably spend a lot of time in Storybook. But as you build more and more components in Storybook it tends to slow down. I’m focussing on performance and extensibility so that developers always get a snappy user experience.

🎛 Learn and customize Storybook

A major factor in Storybook’s success is customisability. Intrepid developers are using it as a component explorer, workbench, documentation, demo environment, and much more. There are so many use cases it’s hard to know where to start. I’m going to help people learn Storybook from the ground up and discover how to customise it to their needs.

🌏 Hosted and versioned Storybook

One of the most requested features is the ability to get a versioned, hosted Storybook. I’ll be diving into how to make this simple and easy for every Storybook user. The good news is that the goal is not far off thanks to the expertise from my new teammates at Chroma (who created Chromatic).

In short

I truly believe there’s a bright and exciting future for Storybook as the #1 tool for UI component developers. I’m excited to work on Storybook full-time but I’m not contributing alone.

With the full support from my friends at Chroma, I get the opportunity to collaborate with a global community of like-minded developers building an amazing dev tool.

If you have ideas or feedback don’t hesitate to contact me!

p.s., I’ll be around to answer questions at the Storybook AMA on Thursday July 26 2pm ET. Hosted by The Practical Dev (

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