Episode 45: Using Code as a Tool for Creative Expression with Pine Wu (Part 1)

Enjoy the Vue

Programming is not just about creating enterprise-level apps but can be put to work to help people express themselves creatively in many different ways. This is just one of a few profound takeaways from today’s show, where we got a chance to sit down with Pine Wu, former Visual Studio Code developer at Microsoft who built Vetur, a language server that enhances the Vue editing experience. We talk to Pine about Vetur’s background and functionality, his current nomadic pursuits, and his approach to programming as an art or a means to art more than anything else. On the subject of Vetur, Pine explains the context behind the name, and what led him to build the project in the first place. He speaks about how he built out early versions of Vetur by leveraging open source code from other platforms, how the project blew up overnight, its current abilities, and what the future holds. From there, we move on to discuss Pine’s thoughts about what coding means to him. We touch on ideas about the value of exploring content outside of one's discipline, the line between learning and building, and how the tools we create and use structure the way we think about what we work on as well as what we build. Pine also shares a bunch of cool resources today – creative projects using Vue and other frameworks, as well as key texts and talks that have influenced his ideas about art, perception, tools, and computer science. For a wide-reaching conversation about creativity, learning, and writing software that is useful to the world outside of corporations, be sure to tune in!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • An intro into Pine, his experiences at Microsoft, and the work he does in Visual Studio Code.
  • What leading a nomadic life means to Pine, and the things he enjoys learning as a freelancer.
  • Pine’s ideas about not only being a programmer but wanting to study graphic design too.
  • An intro into Vetur, Pine’s project that provides autocomplete functionality for Vue files.
  • How Pine has expanded Vetur’s functionality beyond autocomplete and diagnostic errors.
  • The beginnings of Vetur: Pine’s love of Vue which wasn’t compatible with VS Code.
  • How Pine developed early Vetur versions by copy-pasting and modifying parts of existing support from other platforms.
  • The story of Vetur’s huge early success after the creator of Repl tweeted about it.
  • Humor in Pine’s talks and how his non-sugarcoated approach plays into this.Pine’s rapid prototyping tool and how it fits in with his passion for enabling expressive coding.
  • Perspectives on the idea that tools shape how we think and what we build.
  • Pine’s thoughts on future Vetur upgrades: A type renaming tool and more.


  • “If you are editing a TypeScript or JavaScript file in your Visual Studio Code, you see that after you press a dot you see a lot of autocompletions. Those are powered by what is called a language server and a language server basically analyzes the whole code base, breaks your code into abstract syntax trees, analyzes them, and then gives you autocompletion and diagnostic errors. Vetur basically does that for Vue files.” — @octref [0:07:34]
  • “As a programmer, my passion is not writing enterprise-level or large scale Vue apps. My interest is more in the expressive side of coding.” — @octref [0:17:01]
  • “Without a microscope, you are unable to work with bacteria. Without a telescope, you are unable to work with galaxies. It’s only with these tools that you can perceive certain things.” — @octref [0:22:10]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Special Guest: Pine Wu.

Audio Player