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The Launch of Kentik’s First Open Source Project: Mobx Form

Michelle Kincaid

ProductOpen Source


We just published our first open source project on GitHub and npm. Called Mobx Form, in this blog post we look at how the project helps developers with coding complex forms.

Today we’re excited to announce we published our first open source project on GitHub and npm. So what is the project? And what does it do?

If you’ve ever signed up for or purchased anything online, there’s a chance you’ve completed a series of tedious forms. The underlying technology behind those forms has not significantly changed in the last decade. However, with browsers becoming more interactive, libraries have been created to help developers implement robust, nontrivial forms.

While a form often looks simple enough to an end user who completes it, for developers the code for that form can actually encompass a lot more work behind the scenes. ReactJS and Mobx are popular libraries for building highly interactive applications, but offer only low-level building blocks to handle complex data entry needs. Without a form-specific library, the very basics of forms — setup, validation, and submission — require significant boilerplate code.

At Kentik, our network analytics platform requires dozens of complex forms (see image at right). Network and security teams enter everything from IP addresses to complex regular expressions, tackling everything from peering and capacity planning, to performance monitoring, and anomaly detection and alerting. When we started building our platform, Kentik Detect®, we went through an exercise of evaluating open source form libraries to see if they would fit our use cases. Our engineering team wanted a declarative solution to avoid boilerplate code and create consistent user experiences and code patterns, but knew they would need lots of imperative hooks to deal with special cases.

Yet, as we continued to evolve our product and scale our user base to include the top enterprises and service providers internationally, it became clear that we’d need our own solution for forms. At the end of the day (actually 24/7), a great deal of work from our developers goes into ensuring our customers avoid any value errors from our forms and, ultimately, the users gain fast insights into what is happening on their networks. That’s why we created Mobx Form — and we’re putting it up on GitHub and npm because we know other developers in our community might also need help tackling the complexity of these types of forms.

Leading our Mobx Form project, Aaron Smith, Kentik’s engineering manager and one of the brains behind our sleek UI (see below), notes: “Our Mobx Form code was quickly incorporated into our product, and over the course of a year, we’ve been focused on adding to it and fixing bugs. It’s now meeting the needs of developers here at Kentik. And while it’s our first open source project, we’re looking forward to sharing more with the community as we continue to build upon our easy-to-use UI and fast network analytics.”

To start using Kentik’s new Mobx Form library, check out the project on GitHub or on npm. If you’d like to see what our powerful network analytics platform can do for your network and your business, schedule a demo> or sign up for a free trial.

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