Hey there everybody and welcome back to a very special
blog by Hussey Coding
This weekend we celebrated 10 years of Hussey Coding! And to mark the occasion I once again sat down with Hussey Coding's founder and CEO Jonathan Hussey to talk about the last decade of Magento development.
Hi Jon, firstly let me congratulate you on 10 years of Hussey Coding and thank you again for taking the time to sit and chat with me.
We've talked before about how Hussey Coding came about, how you left an 8 year career of movie post production in London, you married, moved to South Wales and how you set up as a PHP freelancer under the name Hussey Coding. What does that first year look like for you?
Thank you and you are very welcome, yeah so anyone who has been their own boss knows that starting out in your chosen profession is no easy task. The bottom line is that no-one is waiting for you to suddenly burst onto the scene so you have to spend quite a lot of time proving yourself to potential clients, and before all that you just need someone to take a chance on you. Luckily that was my experience, the first Magento store back then was developed, from scratch, for a fixed price of £500. I've never calculated it, but I reckon the hourly rate probably ended up about £2p/h! So these early days are very challenging, but at the same time enjoyable and exciting because you are building something yourself.
And looking back, what would you say is the most rewarding part of what you do?
Well I'm certainly a perfectionist so I'm not happy until I know that whatever is being built has been done right and following best practices. Magento is very easy to develop badly, so for me, even though the client will likely never look at or care much about the code, as long as it does what it needs to, it's still very satisfying for me to know that what I have delivered is the best solution to achieve that functionality.
If you could go back 10 years and give yourself some advice what would it be?
Go to the Magento offices and tell them not to use Knockout.js, just go straight to PWA
haha, ok, so again thinking back, how have you seen Magento change over the last 10 years?
Magento is constantly changing with new technologies and standards which are always coming to the forefront. I started developing Magento 1.3 and even by the time the final M1 version was released the framework was in many ways incomparable to what it started out as. Obviously the largest change was moving from M1 to M2 and this was an absolutely monumental shift for the framework - and for the better. Thankfully the guys at Magento didn't try to reinvent the wheel on top of the existing M1 framework (which was becoming rather long in the tooth when considering modern web standards) and started completely from scratch to build a framework, which I believe, is way ahead of anything else out there at the moment. It's still got some oddities to be ironed out, but many already have been, also actively encouraging community contributions is a massive plus when compared to M1.
So you've listed some already but what are some of the other positive things to come from Magento?
The framework has gone from the strength to strength over the years and one of the main things which is great about it is the community which is very active, and always helpful if you have a question. Another more immediately practical thing which has now vastly improved is the official developer documentation. This was basically non existent for M1 and you really had no choice but to learn from others who had already done what you were trying to do. I guess this did help to build the community to some extent but it's nice with M2 to have official documentation to tell you the definitive 'right' way to do a lot of things.
and what about some of the negative things you've found working with the framework?
For me there is only really one down side to changes I have seen, and this is since being bought by eBay and more recently Adobe there has been a massively increased drive to bring in funds from every possible avenue. So these days there is a big drive towards things like using certified partners if you are a store owner or getting certifications if you are a developer - none of which are cheap. The flip side of that is Magento are not in any way letting the open source side drop, if anything they are putting more into this, so in the end it probably evens out. Also I would add that what is offered in Commerce and Cloud editions compared to Open Source is much greater than what was offered in M1 EE vs CE where I would argue there wasn't nearly as much incentive to move to a paid version. So yes it's generally more expensive now on most fronts, but there is value in that expenditure.
Well, it's always good to know your getting a good deal, and speaking of getting your moneys worth, what does Hussey Coding have in mind for the future?
The main project for us is Developer Connection which is a UK specific market place to connect quality clients and developers. It's a new venture but there is really a hole in the market for a service like this. You've got well established alternatives like Upwork, Freelancer, Toptal and so on but Developer Connection is aimed at the middle ground between those store owners with the money to go straight to an official partner for their development needs, and those who want a cut above what you might often find in places like Upwork. It gives you all the information you need on both the client and developer side, and it's cost effective because there's no ongoing cost for work. It's an excellent way to quickly connect with your next great client or developer without getting tied into a service which takes a cut of every hour worked.
Great, and our readers can find a lot more information on Developer Connection on our blog or by going to www.developerconnection.co.uk. Now then, when it comes to developing Magento, what are the kind of projects that excite you?
That's a tough one to answer because I genuinely enjoy development work in general, so every day is pretty good, but new ventures like Developer Connection are certainly exciting
and lastly, when a client has used Hussey Coding's services what would you like Hussey Coding to be remembered for?
There are a few things which are very important when we work on client projects. A really big one is nothing more than being available - making sure the client can get hold of you when they need to. So as the contact point for all projects we work on I always make sure the client has the contact details they need which is rarely just an email address. I'll often chat and video call on Skype, Slack is another good one, with one client I have daily scrum calls on Teams and for those few times where out of hours support might unexpectedly be needed I'll give my mobile number. Another important point is to be transparent and keep the client updated with progress regularly. This one is really about building trust in the working relationship and is aided hugely by tools like ticketing systems. If the client knows exactly what is going on with the project at any one time it makes for a great working relationship and puts them in the driving seat to steer development according to their business needs. Another one kind of along the same lines is to give the client control of as many assets as you can (i.e. the repository, staging environments etc) so they have complete ownership of the project. This shows that you are putting trust in the client by giving them the ability to direct the project as they want, even if that means using other developers in the long term. So I guess from that, what I'd like each client to experience from Hussey Coding is high levels of communication, transparency and trust.
Thank you Jon for agreeing to sit and chat some more about the last 10 years of Magento and of Hussey Coding and thank you to our readers who join us every week for new instalments of the Hussey Coding blog.
We are incredibly honoured to have served the Magento community over the last decade and are looking forward to the next 10 years! Thank you
And as always, stay safe and have a great day!
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