I am Sean Larkin. Ask me anything.

Sean is the Technical Program Manager at Microsoft for Microsoft Edge. He is also a member of the Webpack core team, Angular team and Angular-CLI core team. You can find him giving talks on JavaScript, DAMP programming, AngularJS, and Webpack.

Ask Sean Larkin about:

  • webpack
  • JavaScript
  • Angular
  • Contributing to OSS
  • General Programming advice
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64 discussions

Do Microsoft's devs get mad at Internet Explorer? It is Allowed? :P

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What's the best career advice you've ever received? And by whom?

"No matter what you do, if you work your ass off, wear your mistakes on your sleeves, and learn from them, there is nothing you can't do in this world." - Wendy Larkin (my mom)

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Hey there Sean! Thanks for the AMA. What motivated you to join Microsoft and what are some of the big challenges at your current job?

Most of this I lay out here in my blog post! https://medium.com/@TheLarkInn/leaving-for-microsoft-4f386c458693

However here is a quote I think sum's up the shift in Microsoft's culture, open source, and why I decided to work at MS.

"When you focus on Developers, your platform succeeds."

My biggest challenges now is continuing to learn how to do PM Work as well as Understand all the nuances behind the scenes with how, why, and when we ship features. Everything we do is for a reason. So if some feature is delayed, ask yourselfs "why would it be delayed", "are they working on underlying foundation for something more also?", etc.

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Hi Sean, Thanks for doing this AMA.

Why webpack? How would you explain webpack to a beginner JavaScripter?

We love using and writing JavaScript modules right? The NodeJs ecosystem even came a long with CommonJS to adopt as the canonical module standard. Now we even have ECMAScript Module (Harmony Module Spec.). But sadly none of these work in the browser completely.

The main and original premesis was two things:

  • Let's you write modules, that get bundled into browser runnable code (as a build step).
  • Let's you split your code into multiple [a]sync bundles at build time to prevent overhead.

In a beginner JavaScripter's world, they probably don't know about:

  • Modules,
  • npm, history of its purpose
  • How we used to build code
  • Why it matters (perf, user experience).

So typically I'd try and shy away from teaching a beginner JavaScripter about webpack at first until they understand a bit more about the language and the importance of shipping minimal code to the browser.

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Do you have any tips for someone that wants to start contribute on OSS project, especially on Webpack?

Yes absolutely!!!!!

My first recommendation is to take a look at an article series that I wrote just for this question.


webpack has 100 repo's across two github orgs and we have so much to offer for anyone from a Technical Writer, to someone who wants to tweak graph traversal algorythms, even to someone who wants to rework some design on webpack.js.org.

So read the contributors guide, and then pick something that interests you! Then, as always you can ping me on Twitter/DM, or Tag me in a github issue and we can help answer any questions along the way.

In the end, Open Source is about people who share the same love for working on things they enjoy, and making it better for the greater good. If you can't find something you like with webpack, then we have lots of connections to other maintainers like Henry Zhu of babel who also would love to have you contribute to Babel as well.


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