When, on July 10th, Chinedu Daniel launched Overhaul, a Google Chrome extension he built, which automatically updates the look and feel of Nairaland.com – Nigeria’s premier online forum, the reception was near euphoric.
Anyone who frequents Nairaland – and millions do so daily, has probably either wondered why the site’s user interface hasn’t got a facelift in the 13 years it’s been in existence or stumbled into someone who has asked the same question. The site is the 8th most visited in Nigeria, according to stats on Alexa. According to Wikipedia, the site grossed over 200 million page views in March 2018. According to one of the reviews on the Overhaul download page, “There are so many threads on Nairaland asking for a UI revamp that were dismissed by the admins, but someone actually took matters in their own hands and did the thing.”
Chinedu literally took matters into his own hands and did the thing.
Overhaul further buttresses the points made in our previous post on the culture of open source and how it fosters innovation and pushes everyone forward. Overhaul is in its beta phase right now, and because it is open source, other developers can dive right in and collaborate on the project and work out the current kinks. There’s no telling what other not-yet-considered application might come off of it.
I sat down with Chinedu and we spoke about the project and what led him to it.
Sol: Why have you built this Chrome extension? What inspired you to do it?
Chinedu: Nairaland is actually quite dear to my heart as it was by frequenting the programming section of Nairaland that I piqued my curiosity and became interested in writing software for a living. That’s just an aside.
Chinedu: As a long time member of Nairaland, I’ve had the same wish as many other members of the forum that the user interface be revamped and updated to make it more modern and more visually appealing but it was never a priority for the owner/administrators of the forum.
I wanted this change to take place and realising it would probably never be done, I decided to put in the effort and do the work myself and that is how Overhaul came to life; first as an idea and now something tangible that other people with the same needs as me can use and interact with.
Sol: What are your thoughts on Open Source culture?
Chinedu: Open source software is everywhere, the open source culture is something to be fully embraced and accepted as it encourages innovation, collaboration, and transparency in the development of software.
The vast majority of software out in the wild today depend on open source libraries from developers who put in countless hours fine-tuning and improving their work to make it useful and usable; the best part of all this is everything is free!
Sol: How often do you contribute to Open Source?
Chinedu: At the very least, once a week.
Sol: Are you building or working on any other Open Source projects right now?
Chinedu: I have ideas for other things I can work on but they have not been fully fleshed out yet.
Chinedu is a software developer at Andela building usable products for Andela’s partners. Overhaul’s source code is available on his GitHub.
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