Feb. 17, 2022

Work-Life Balance, React, and Why Accessibility Is Everything with Melanie Sumner

In this episode, Robbie and Chuck talk with Melanie Sumner, web developer and member of the Ember Core Team. 

As a graduation gift from her Uncle, Melanie was handed a computer and told, “learn to write code,” because the future is tech. So that’s what she did. With a love of language and puzzles, writing code became her thrill and, after years in the Navy, her profession. Today, Melanie is active in the Ember community, serving on the Ember Core Team and advocating for veterans entering web development.

Melanie talks with Robbie and Chuck about the value of empty days, intentional productivity, Ember’s evolution, React, and tips for making websites accessible. 

Key Takeaways

  • [00:27] - A quick introduction to Melanie and her role in the Ember community. 
  • [01:38] - A whiskey review.
  • [08:13] - Web dev “would you rather”.
  • [12:36] - Why Melanie started learning to write code and her thoughts on work-life balance. 
  • [20:02] - The philosophy Melanie lives by and why she tracks the domains she buys. 
  • [24:25] - Robbie’s tipping point with Ember and some shiny new toys. 
  • [29:05] - Why Ember shouldn’t try to be React and the importance of accessibility. 
  • [32:29] - How to make a website more accessible. 
  • [35:54] - Today’s gaming-themed whatnot. 
  • [43:07] - How Melanie survived the pandemic and news on the next EmberConf. 
  • [48:10] - What Melanie cares about outside of web development. 


[01:06] - “It’s my philosophy to at least Buy A Coffee for people who work on open source projects that I use. I think if we all did that, the world would be a better place.” ~ @melaniersumner 

[14:13] - “I don’t know why my brain has made this connection, but it has. I’m good at learning foreign languages and that kind of translated into me believing I was good at writing code and learning new code languages. Because it’s all about learning what are you trying to say and how you want to say it.” ~ @melaniersumner 

[17:11] - “We develop this very unhealthy culture in web, in tech where it’s like, ‘oh I have to be rockstar ninja core person who can do all the commits on all the days.’ And it’s like no, show me your empty days actually. I want to see where you took time off.” ~ @melaniersumner 


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