December 13, 2016 - Interviews

Meet Álvaro Trigo – creator of fullPage.js

Álvaro Trigo

Last week I caught up with UK-based developer, Álvaro Trigo.

Álvaro is the man behind the awesome fullPage.js plugin that helps developers create One Pagers that scroll easily between (100% browser height) sections. We have featured several Singe Page sites using fullPage.js in the past.

He has also built pagePiling.js and multiScroll.js – both instrumental in One Page website development.

We talk about his intro into the web game, fireworks, contributing to the community, One Page websites, freemium monetization and his go-to development tools. Hope you enjoy the interview!

Hi Álvaro! To start can you please tell our readers where you are from and what keeps you busy?

I’m working currently as a full stack web developer in Cambridge, UK. Front and back-end. Mainly building web applications from scratch. (Javascript and PHP – using node.js, knockout.js, cakephp, laravel… the typical stuff)

I’m originally from Spain, but came to England after finishing my degree/master in Computer Science. I had a good experience with an internship in PA, USA and wanted to try something similar again. I’ve been here ever since then.

So when did your journey online begin?

Álvaro Trigo

I got interested in web developing at the age of 16. When a teacher at high school taught us how to create websites using Microsoft Word. I then created a website about firecrackers & fireworks and I continued working on it for around 7 more years with my small brother’s help.

After a few years it became the biggest community in the topic in Spanish language, it was named in a fireworks book and in a magazine, we got interviewed by some radio channel and we were making some money by having deals with fireworks companies.

Unfortunately due to the nature of the website, its public and the difficulties to maintain it active and obtain more benefits from it, I haven’t worked on it for the last 4-5 years.

Nevertheless, the process of building the website allowed me to gain knowledge and interest on the web developing area which was not taught at uni. This was what made me look for a web developing position after finishing my studies.

What a story and interesting entry into the online world! So your libraries are powering so many One Page websites and have probably saved millions of combined hours for developers around the globe. Do you feel all warm inside because of this or is this your contribution back to the community?

I love seeing my work being used as much as a chef enjoys having a fully booked restaurant of people enjoying the food he prepared. It is a way to validate your effort and your knowledge.

I consider myself a normal web developer with no greater skills than others. A bit of luck and a lot of passion for one thing is what I believe can make interesting results come out. Seeing people using your site/libraries is something that can be very powerful. Like the trainer who keeps pushing you to improve!

It served me as a way to keep learning Javascript and all an open source project requires. I actually wrote an article about the benefits of it here.

At what moment did you know you created something special?

To be honest I created fullPage.js because I wanted to learn more about jQuery plugins. I had no big expectations. I had to do a website with that functionality and afterwards I though the idea would be great for a plugin.

fullPage-js

After a couple of weeks I started getting some mails asking questions, reporting bugs and requesting new features.

Magazine FeatureThen without realising I noticed around 400 stars at Github. Within just a few months it reached thousands of stars, in a year a friend saw me in the list of trending developers at GitHub and in two years the project reached the top 50 most starred and forked projects on GitHub on JavaScript language.

By that time companies like Google, Sony, Facebook, EA and British Airways were using my own scripts and even printed magazines such as Web Designer (UK) had articles about them – not precisely what I had anticipated when I initially decided to upload my small project!

By that time companies like Google, Sony, Facebook, EA and British Airways were using my own scripts and even printed magazines.

Your main three libraries are all One Page website related. Did you always have a fascination for Singe Page websites?

Not really. I would say it was the other way around. I started getting interested in them after creating a website with such effect as well as the library.

Do you thing One Page websites are a fad or here to stay?

I believe they are here to stay. Some websites don’t have much to say and it makes no sense to drive the user crazy with menus and links everywhere to just show a couple of paragraphs and a picture in each.

Also, it allows us to create something without CMSs of any kind or any backend technology. This might not always be desirable but in many other cases we can be perfectly fine with plain HTML, having a faster and self contained website removing any backend delays.

All your products are free, is it difficult monetizing it all? Or is this more a contribution?

fullPage-js extentionsIt isn’t easy to monetize Open Source projects. At least, not as easy as it is to monetize back-end technology such as WordPress themes and components.

There’s usually a conflict between how popular you want your libraries to become and how much you want to gain from them.

Unless we are talking about quite a big library, it is going to be easy for other people to try their own version of your library. They’ll also probably give it away for free and take potential customers from you.

Nevertheless, it is not unusual to see Javascript projects under the GPL license or the “non commercial” one. This way they are Open Source but you’ll have to pay for them for commercial purposes. There’s no way we can assure the right usage and perhaps that’s why prices tend to be cheap for medium size projects.

Personally I opted to provide non Open Source extensions and might consider using a “non commercial” one for future projects. I’m usually also available for customization and custom support. But again, as I said, there’s other things you can gain from it besides money, such as knowledge, contacts, or even have it as a project to be proud of in your CV.

There’s usually a conflict between how popular you want your libraries to become and how much you want to gain from them.

So what are the top 5 (not in order) dev tools you can’t live without?

  1. Chrome inspector
  2. Sublime text
  3. Stack Overflow
  4. BrowserStack
  5. Gulp

Ahh good ‘ol Stack Overflow! Working on anything new you care to share with the One Page community?

Always! I have a new library to make public soon – also ideal for One Pagers. I haven’t worked on it for a few months due to other projects, but I promise this one will see the light of day soon!

I’ve also been working for a few months on a One Page editor online. But it probably needs a few more iterations before I can release it. Hopefully I’ll end up with something useful for the One Page community!

Excellent – the editor sounds interesting! Thanks so much for chatting with us Álvaro but a bigger thank you for your contribution to the One Page website world. Where can our readers follow your new freebies and work online?

Thanks to you Rob! You have created an amazing resource to get lots of inspiration! My email and phone number are on my personal website (a One Pager of course!) and my Twitter is @imac2.