DEV Community πŸ‘©β€πŸ’»πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

Cover image for What is DevRel and how can you start doing it today?
Jakub Andrzejewski
Jakub Andrzejewski

Posted on

What is DevRel and how can you start doing it today?

When I first heard the term "DevRel" I was not sure what it means exactly. Before I joined Vue Storefront, I was working as a developer building e-commerce website for a big Polish commerce company and before it in a big corporation building television software with Vue.js (yes, it is possible πŸ˜„). So, my experience with the developer tools and software was mainly googling stuff that could help me work more efficiently, in other words, using open-source software but not giving anything in return (not even a GitHub star). Joining VSF showed me that you can build open-source software that everyone can use. Not only that, you can create community updates for your community, meet with contributors to build projects with them, organize events, and many many more. And then I first heard the term DevRel and instantly felt that it is a great place for me to grow!

Gif with @filrakowski, CTO of Vue Storefront, just because it fits here perfectly πŸ˜‰

Filip Rakowski

In this article, I would like to dive deeper into the concept and aspects of DevRel, share with you my story with it and help you start doing DevRel even today!

What is DevRel?

DevRel is short for Developer Relations and it is an approach that prioritizes relationships with developers that are using the product or project.

Lee Robinson believes that DevRel is about helping educate developers and grow communities and with this sentence I can fully agree.

DevRel is the marketing technique used to ensure that one's company, products, and developers establish a good, continuous relationship with external developers through mutual communication.

Depending on the company, DevRel can have several different forms, but in general can be grouped into the following three areas:

DevRel Types

source: https://www.swyx.io/measuring-devrel

Going a bit deeper, a DevRel can focus on:

  • Documentation
  • Events
  • Developer Experience
  • Creating Sales Demo's
  • Video tutorials
  • Articles
  • Courses
  • and probably much more

What I am trying to say here is that the meaning of term DevRel is really broad. I am more than sure, that if you decide to go with DevRel, you will be doing a bit of each of these topics on your daily basis. For people who wants to focus on one thing only, this can be a disadvantage, however for those seeking for multiple different challenges, DevRel might be the perfect fit.

As in all business areas, it is important to keep track of metrics so that both you and your supervisors knows the direction where the DevRel is going.

Metrics of DevRel

source: https://blog.bitergia.com/2019/05/28/kpis-and-metrics-for-devrel-programs/

There are many good DevRel's out there doing their work, but some of them deserve a special appreciation for what and how they do. The first person will be none other than Mr. Storyblok himself, Samuel Snopko.

Samuel is a Head of DevRel at Storyblok, and I have been following his activities for some time already. Actually, I searched my tweets history and my interest in DevRel started after watching one of his talk recordings at famous Vue.js related events. We had several talks with Samuel about DevRel and I could easily call him my mentor in this area πŸ˜‰

Samuel is not only a good DevRel, but also a great Leader. He assembled an experienced and involved DevRel's for his team which results in growing community, many event appearances, and most importantly, an expert in all modern frontend technologies. What I mean by that is that no matter what frontend technology you are using, Storyblok DevRel team has an expert that can help you instantly.

Following tweet sums it up pretty nicely.

Twitter DevRel

My story with DevRel

First of all, I am not a DevRel. My work title and position is not related to it (I am a Senior Fullstack Developer) but this does not stop me from doing DevRel activities to help my company, product, and the community grow. I believe that Vue Storefront has potential to become #1 Open-Source E-Commerce framework and I will happily help it achieve.

So, my DevRel activities started when I joined Vue Storefront and was a member of Storefront UI team. If you are not familiar with SFUI, I highly recommend you to try it out. It is a great UI Components library built specifically for E-Commerce -> https://vuestorefront.io/storefront-ui. Fixing bugs, adding new features, updating docs, was a part of a regular everyday work. We have been receiving more and more requests to create better tutorials for the concepts that were relatively simple. At this time, I had no experience in video creation so I asked Aditya Patel (https://twitter.com/heyadityapatel) for help. Aditya has been one of the most involved contributors in both Storefront UI and Vue Storefront. And because of his dedication, I decided to made him Storefront UI Core Team Member even though he was not part of the Vue Storefront company.

Aditya as a core team member of Storefront UI

Aditya helped in creating the Storefront UI tutorial series that has thousands of views today that you can check out here -> https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpQiZSIKSZHz5STRqOkVTwkb0Wm-L7nNp

Some time later, I decided to start writing articles for dev.to and Vue Storefront blog and I am doing it until today! You can check the blogs here:

I really enjoy writing articles as it is relatively simple while can deliver a true value. I am writing about Vue.js, Nuxt.js, Vue Storefront, and many more!

After recording video tutorials for Storefront UI, me and Aditya also started to record video interviews with popular people from Vue.js community that you can check out here -> https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpQiZSIKSZHz7QecpDTIeVP9cvjd4jLYb

As I really enjoyed developing Vue Storefront, I decided to contribute to the integration with Vendure that shares many similarities. Vendure is an open-source e-commerce platform built using Nest.js. I have not stopped at contributing only, but I basically took over the maintenance over the integration and till this day, I am the main man behind it πŸ˜„ It was great to see that with each new pull request, the integration was taking shape and eventually reached a stable 1.0.0 version. You can check it out here -> https://github.com/vuestorefront-community/vendure. Till this day, the Vendure integration for Vue Storefront is the most popular Open-Source integration created by community.

Below, you can see a picture of me, Michael (founder of Vendure), and Samuel and Sebastien from Storyblok discussing the integration between Vue Storefront&Vendure and Storyblok.

VSF&Vendure and Storyblok

I thought that I was doing quite a good job already, so I wanted to start sharing what I learned for a bigger audience. And what is the better opportunity than giving an on site talk at a big Vue.js conference. So I applied for Vue.js London and managed to get it!

Vue.js London

After that, I started contributing more into the ecosystems of Nuxt, Storyblok, and Algolia, and this resulted in me being an ambassador for these three organizations. I am really happy about it as it proves that my work is noticed and rewarded :)

I created an Algolia module for Nuxt 3 which is quite useful if you want to integrate Algolia with your Nuxt app. It provides features like vue-instansearch, recommend API, indexer, DocSearch, and many more out of the box.

Algolia module for Nuxt

For Nuxt, I created a new command for new Nuxi CLI that allows to easily generate new components, pages, layouts and many more.

Nuxi

While for Storyblok, I have written several blog posts, code examples, talks, and many more.

I also started attending more conferences where I was able to talk about the Vue Storefront, and the organizations where I was an ambassador.

Vue Storefront Hackathon where I was talking about Developer Experience in Nuxt 3

Vue Storefront Conference where I was talking about Building Headless Commerce in Minutes with Vue Storefront, Shopify, and Storyblok.

I recently was also invited to talk about the Algolia module for Nuxt 3 to Paris by the Algolia DevRel team, and especially Chuck Meyer.

Algolia Search Party

I recently also started my own YouTube channel that you can check out here -> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW6UqQL88mtamj3wi7s0tLQ. I am regularly releasing videos about Vue Storefront, Nuxt, and Headless Commerce. More interesting topics will be released soon.

To sum it up, I just wanted to show you that you can do DevRel while not actually being a DevRel. And I can assure you that you will be happy about the results. I am happy and I am just getting started πŸ˜‰

How can you start doing it today?

As I explained in the previous section, you dont have to be a DevRel to do DevRel even today. If you feel that in your company you are building a great product and you would like to get involved a bit more so that more people would be able to check and use it, this is the first step to be doing DevRel.

Let's say that you are developing an enterprise product in your company and you would like to create community around it. It is much easier for open-source products like Vue Storefront or Strapi to build such a community because the core product is openly available for the contributors. But there are examples such as Storyblok or Algolia where the core product is enterprise and developed only by the company, but they still have a good DevRel and community. How?

What you could do is you could start writing articles and blog posts about your product. How to start using it, what common pitfalls users can encounter, how you can use certain functionality, etc. It may sound like a thing that should be placed in the documentation (and in several cases it is) but developers usually search for articles where they can easily solve the issue. And the articles like "How to integrate X with Y" are the best source for that. The usual articles I create take between 30mins - 1 hour.

Another example. You notice that certain framework or tool is getting popular. Why dont create a simple Github repository about how you can integrate your product with this framework? You will learn something new, and probably someone else will be able to use your example to build their new application with your product.

Furthermore, why dont create a short video where you are explaining the product in very simple words? I used to record such videos that are 1 min short and they go step by step with a tool to show how easy it is to build one. Community loves short video tutorials. It allows them to setup the product very easily and start going with it.

There are many more approaches that you can utilize to start doing DevRel today even if you are not a DevRel and I highly encourage you to try it out. In my case, it helped a lot both me and Vue Storefront, and I think it can be a similar case for you too! πŸ˜‰

Bonus

Below, I am listing some useful links that you can check out if you are interested in the concept of DevRel

And also, some people worth following for DevRel:

Top comments (13)

Collapse
codenameone profile image
Shai Almog

Also @blackgirlbytes writes great DevRel content. I'm a developer advocate but I don't write about that much.

Collapse
blackgirlbytes profile image
Rizèl Scarlett

Thank you for the mention!

Collapse
jacobandrewsky profile image
Jakub Andrzejewski Author

Hey! Great to see you there! Let’s connect!

Thread Thread
blackgirlbytes profile image
Rizèl Scarlett

sure I would love to! I seen you followed me on Twitter. I'll follow back!

Collapse
jacobandrewsky profile image
Jakub Andrzejewski Author

Hi, thanks for mentioning. I will make sure to check him out!

Collapse
samuelsnopko profile image
Samuel Snopko

Thank you for all the praise. You wrote it down very nicely and I woudln't do it better.

Collapse
jacobandrewsky profile image
Jakub Andrzejewski Author

Reading this makes me really happy! Thank you! πŸ’™

Collapse
yuridevat profile image
π•π•¦π•π•šπ•’ πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’»

Really good article about DevRel. I struggled with the term for quite a bit myself and wished that kind of article would have exist back then.

Collapse
jacobandrewsky profile image
Jakub Andrzejewski Author

Thanks! I plan to revisit this article from time to time to update it with new stories and ideas :)

Collapse
michlbrmly profile image
Michael Bromley

Hi Jakub! Really cool to read about your journey so far. I'm very thankful for your leadership of the Vendure/VSF integration, you're doing a great job!

Collapse
jacobandrewsky profile image
Jakub Andrzejewski Author

I am really happy to be doing it! And it wouldnt work without your help!

Collapse
chandmohammad profile image
Chand Mohammad S

Amazing article!

Collapse
jacobandrewsky profile image
Jakub Andrzejewski Author

Thank you! I really appreciate it!

🌚 Life is too short to browse without dark mode