Making Permanent Pretty and Performant

Amanda Meeks

August 18, 2022

We’re taking a moment to shine a spotlight on Natalie Martin, our Front-End Engineer. This post is co-written by Cecilia Krum, our Director of Engineering, and Natalie.

Cecilia: Natalie Martin joined Permanent almost a year and a half ago with the intent to make the part of the app that you see in your web browser ( better. In that time she has improved the security and reliability of Permanent, added new features, and open sourced the web application. When Natalie and I first talked about her joining Permanent, it was clear that she had strong front-end development skills and would be a phenomenal addition to the team. She had already been thinking about preservation in a digital context and was a fan of the Internet Archive in particular.

Major user-visible updates to Permanent that Natalie has led include our new onboarding flow, the manage tags modal, and, coming soon, our gallery of public archives. Her careful work on these features has made them complete and reliable.

Less visible but critical to our internal work have been Natalie’s work on automated tests so we know when we accidentally break something, her coordination with our mobile team, and her support for our internal pledge dashboard. She is always a team player who is glad to learn new skills or share her experience as we’re working to solve problems.

Aside from her development work, Natalie is learning to play the accordion and has been generous in sharing her newfound knowledge and skills with us in this area, too. We’ve only had one accordion serenade so far, but we’re looking forward to many more.

Open sourcing the web app was a major effort. Happily, it fits into Natalie’s long-time interest in open source software and the open web. I’ll let her talk more about that below.

Natalie: Permanent’s focus on open source was one of the things that drew me to Permanent in the first place. I’ve been interested in open source software for many years now, and it’s always surprised me how critical open source tech is to modern software development. I believe that more things should be open source because it’s important to be able to trust the software you’re running, even if it’s just a web app running in your browser. So it makes me happy that we were able to open source Permanent’s web app, as it’s the main thing I work on here.

Of course, I also believe in Permanent’s overall mission. I think preservation of people’s personal digital legacies is so important in a world full of things like data loss and link rot. It’s exciting to work on a platform that’s focused on this kind of preservation. I hope that Permanent’s mission and open source tech can help create a more trustworthy and accessible platform to help preserve everyone’s digital legacy.

And yes, I love playing the accordion, it’s such a fun musical instrument!