Interview with Matt Morgan

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Matt Morgan is one of the authors of The TypeScript Workshop, 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)?

Matt : I have more than 20 years of experience, mostly working in EdTech. I was an early adopter to the NodeJS ecosystem and have used full-stack TypeScript since 2016. I focus on cloud-native and serverless technologies.

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

Matt : I started blogging on dev.to a few years back and found I really enjoyed it. I connected through Packt via LinkedIn and it seemed like a good fit to put my writing through a more rigorous editorial process.

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

Matt: I can clearly recall the early days of JavaScript, wondering what to do with this language that seemed simple and complex at the same time. I led teams that really struggled with loose typing and the tricky bugs it could cause. A lot of my research was just living through the evolution of JavaScript and TypeScript and experiencing first-hand the problems TypeScript is intended to solve. It’s fair to say I spent 20 years researching the book. When it came to working on the book, I spent a few hours reviewing my understanding the of the subject prior to starting a chapter.

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

Matt: I’m very bad at coming up with example code and applications. I can feel extremely comfortable with the subject, but then I just draw a blank when I try to think of a function to write or an application that might make use of it. To break this block, I actually just read a bunch of blog posts on different subjects and studied what they used for examples. This eventually brought me to the airline booking example in chapter 3, which is probably a pretty obvious example to use, but it’s funny where blocks strike.

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

Matt: TypeScript is popular for a reason. It takes away some of the sharp edges from JavaScript without hurting the good parts. I’ve had a lot of success working with TypeScript across large and distributed teams and I’ve watched the community and adoption grow. In addition to increased support in popular libraries and frameworks, we’ve seen TypeScript show up in some surprising places such as AWS CDK and the new Deno runtime. The application and utility of TypeScript is only going to grow.

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

Matt : This book is comprehensive, weighing in at over 700 pages, but it’s also very focused on the practical. Examples in the book use popular frameworks and show real-world use of the language. The focus is on full-stack development with sections on classes and functional program. The book is modern and should stay relevant for quite a while.

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

Matt : The best way to learn any language is to write as much of it as you can. Today we have wonderful productivity tools and lots of great communities to share and learn with. I hope readers are empowered to take the steps to achieve their goals.

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

Matt : I have quite a few thoughts on the subject, but I’ll just share a few: Don’t be afraid to ask questions or make mistakes. Care about what you do. Quality matters. Give yourself a break. Balance your life.

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

Matt: I’ve contributed to a few blogs. Everything is linked from my personal site, https://mattmorgan.cloud/

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

Matt: I find that nothing comes as fast and furious as tech twitter. It’s sometimes exhausting to keep up with everything, but everything is there if you have the time for it.

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

Matt :  The TypeScript team maintains their own blog at https://devblogs.microsoft.com/typescript/.

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

Matt : Writing for Packt sure didn’t have the quick gratification of sketching out a blog post on Saturday and publishing it by Monday, but with patience came a lot of great feedback that really improved my writing. I’m not somebody with a big social following, so it would be challenging for me to reach as broad of an audience as I can with Packt. I’m glad I signed onto the project, so yeah I recommend it.

Q.Do you belong to any tech community groups?

Matt: I’m part of the AWS Community Builders program, I also hang out in the slack at cdk.dev and have been part of the typeorm community for years.

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

Matt: I started each chapter by just thinking about the subject and my experiences with it. I turned that into an outline, then went through and filled out the sections. I did most of my writing in marathon sessions to really get into the “zone”. I need a little bit of pressure to really get the ideas flowing.

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

Matt : It’s important to be able to speak to those who may not share my background, experiences or biases. This can mean being extra careful about assumptions made and the language used to describe things.

You can find Matt’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here