Vladimir Kharlampidi has been involved in Open Source for more than 13 years and has been working in the field of web development.
During this time, his Open Source projects have become very popular in the niches and have facilitated the work of tens of thousands of developers.
Initially, the main activity of Vladimir was Front-end development of websites and mobile applications, and Open Source used to be just a hobby.
He collaborated with such companies as ADV and Disney, so he had the opportunity to develop websites for the following clients: Disney, Sony, the banking sector (websites and corporate portals for such banks as VTB, Sberbank), various online stores, etc.
As a result, he has built himself a reputation as a talented and professional Front-end developer. Today he is fully engaged in his own projects.
We had a chance to discuss with Vladimir why he decided to work on Open Source (open source applications, i.e. available for revision by third parties without infringing the developer’s copyrights), how it helped his career advancement, as well as his major projects, monetization, and plans for the near future.
— Vladimir, you have had a successful career almost from the very beginning, and you have worked on interesting projects with large and world-known clients. Why did you decide to start working in Open Source?
— Each specialist has his own reasons for starting work with Open Source. Personally for me, it is the opportunity to share my best practices that may be useful to others.
This is a community of like-minded people, professionals, who can provide feedback on your work.
Also now more and more companies use open source software. The number of developers who are engaged in similar projects is gradually growing. So, 100 million active developers registered on the web service for hosting IT projects and their joint development GitHub just in 2023. It means that interest in this niche keeps on growing, and there is a potential to continue working on it even deeper.
— In 2012, you posted your first Open Source project called Swiper on GitHub. Swiper received great recognition from the target audience, and developers from all over the world started using it. Will you please tell us, what is the peculiarity of this project and what is such a rapid growth in popularity linked to?
— Today we can say for sure that the Swiper gallery script or library is one of the most popular Open Source projects in its niche. It is a slider or carousel, which allows you to scroll through images, videos, or blocks of information on websites and applications.
Since many developers and designers are often faced with the need to add such carousels to websites, the popularity is quite justified. The project solved the problems and made the work of many developers easier by becoming a universal tool for them, which is easy to configure, as well as to install, which adapts to various formats and browsers, and also has many additional effects (3D Cards, Fade. or 3D Coverflow).
Today, this script is used by more than 600 thousand websites, including such large companies as Samsung, Sony, TikTok, Asus, Ikea, Zoom, Slack, McDonalds, Burger King, Porsche, Lamborghini, Mercedes Benz, etc. And the official website of Swiper is visited by more than 400 thousand developers every month, and one of the largest percent of visits are from the United States (according to the Google Analytics data).
— There is another popular Open Source project of yours, which you have been developing since 2014, called Framework7. Will you tell us more about it?
— Framework7 is a free tool for creating web applications and so-called “hybrid” mobile applications (applications, which you can use simultaneously in different products) using web technologies. It is a set of specific style and logic files that is widely used in IOS, Android products, and is also widely used by Intel; today it is most widely welcomed by the global community of developers.
At the time of Framework7 creation, it was a revolutionary solution, which changed the approach to developing “hybrid” applications. It permits you to create applications for iOS and Android without knowledge of the Swift and Java programming languages. Just basic knowledge of web programming is enough for a full-fledged work.
As it happened with Swiper, I still continue working on improving and modernizing Framework7. Modern web standards get constantly updated and changed, the visual style of iOS and Android systems is changing as well, so you need to regularly update the tools to ensure that they comply with the latest design guidelines from Apple and Google.
Despite the fact that the projects have gained significant popularity, they remain free of charge and available to everyone.
— One of the most interesting questions for many readers is how it is possible to make a transition from Open Source development as a hobby to a full-time job. Despite the fact that the projects are free of charge, you have completely switched to Open Source since 2021. How did you manage to monetize them?
— The first way to earn money is technical support and consultations. Developers or companies can easily request a paid consultation from me on any of my projects or sign up for a monthly subscription via the Patreon service. For example, if a developer or a company using my projects encounters an issue, for example, they have implemented Swiper on their site and something does not work properly, or they have found an error in the work of Swiper with a certain configuration, they can personally contact me asking for help in order to fix the issue and find the fastest solution.
The second way to earn money is sponsorship. Any company which uses my projects is able to provide financial support and become a sponsor.
And the third way to earn money is related products. I launched my own digital goods store called UI Initiative, where you can buy related scripts, plugins, and templates for Swiper and Framework7 projects.
— You have already gained a lot. Career growth, recognition among professionals, and your own projects. What are your future plans?
— My primary goal is to make mobile development more accessible all over the world, to help beginners implement their projects faster and easier. That is why, I plan to participate more often in various thematic IT conferences, as well as promote the use of Framework7 in educational institutions and among novice developers.
I also plan to create a mobile app builder with a no-code solution. It means that you do not need to know how to code in order to be able to work with it.
Also I have firm plans to continue developing my own Open Source projects. Working on large Open Source projects is very exciting and motivating, especially when you see that your work is used on such large websites as samsung.com.