OpenLampTech - Developer Interview with Igor Benić
WordPress and WooCommerce developer Igor Benić shares his developer story, discovering WordPress, and working with PHP in this OpenLampTech interview.
Hi and welcome to this OpenLampTech developer interview exclusive.
I was first introduced (in the digital sense) to Igor Benić through his helpful and informative Twitter tweets and threads. Many of Igor’s tweets about WordPress and WooCommerce-specific content definitely caught my eye as I have an interest in learning more about this space.
As a self-taught PHP developer, I know it is a good idea to pay attention to those already doing the thing(s) you want to be doing yourself. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from others who are farther along in the journey than me.
After reading Igor’s newsletter and a great deal of his blog content, I signed up for one of his courses on WordPress development on Teachable (which is fantastic btw).
Needless to say, I am super excited to share this text-based interview with Igor in the OpenLampTech publication.
And now without any further adieu, on to the interview.
Q: Please tell us about yourself, and what you currently do for a living.
I do a lot of work with WordPress, that is, custom solutions for shops running on WooCommerce.
I live in Croatia and trying various things to generate income and maybe, retire early :P I’ve yet to even get close to it, though :D
Q: With the wide range of programming languages, CMSs, and frameworks out there, why choose WordPress and PHP? What do you like about working with these technologies?
Well, there is a story behind this :P
I always wanted to be a developer, but some of my first interactions with coding were with Turbo C. I did not understand anything and I dropped my dream of being a programmer.
So I started playing around with Photoshop and image manipulation. While learning and working on that, I saw a “Slice for Web…” option
When I tried it, Photoshop generated a folder with an index.html that consisted of images (of the web/image you’ve done in PS). But I didn’t believe the web was working like that.
It seemed crazy that websites are just images that load. So I started learning HTML & CSS.
Once I learned that, I learned about FTP as well. But then, I couldn’t believe blogs are done by constantly updating HTML and uploading it through FTP.
That’s when I learned about backend/frontend. Learned that blogs need a database to read or insert content into.
I stumbled upon a few courses (pirated as I did not have any money at that time) about PHP & MySQL. So I went with that.
Once I went through all the courses, I created a blog as a fun project. It was just simple listing of articles. And for inserting, a simple input for title and textarea for content was used.
So, next step was to learn how those blogs work. I found out about Joomla and WordPress. Tried both and really liked WordPress (or really disliked Joomla).
The rest is history 😛
I like working with PHP and how it allows you to write it as you want. It gives you a lot of freedom.
That’s good and bad of course, but it makes you fast when developing which I really like.
Even though, my first web development job was working with C# so I know how it is to work with restrictive languages and frameworks as well :D
Q: What about WooCommerce-related work and custom email solutions for WooCommerce do you like the most?
I like how WooCommerce is extensible to every little detail. With the WordPress system of hooks (filters and actions), you can change pretty much everything.
And WooCommerce is done with that in mind. So, you can change the whole ecommerce behaviour as per your client needs.
As for custom email solutions, I have only worked on our own emails. I like how you can easily replace their email content with your own and also add new.
Q: WordPress is changing so rapidly with Gutenburg, the Site Editor, and page builders all in a constant flux of updates. Do you prefer one of these methods over the other and if so, why?
For now, when it comes to page builders, I like using Elementor. I tried several, but I liked Elementor from a developer perspective.
The code is well written and it’s also extensible so developers can add their own stuff there.
Q: Do you think it is important for developers to learn SQL? Why or why not?
Yes, in my opinion, developers should know SQL (or a different type of database). It helps you think differently when architecturing a project even before a single line of code is written.
You don’t have to be a complete expert with it, I am certainly not. But you should understand SQL when you see it.
Q: What's your favorite text editor or IDE and why?
I am using PhpStorm. I moved to it from Sublime Text.
Since I work mainly with PHP, it’s the perfect IDE and in the last 2 years, the updates made it work great with React/Vue and JS in general. So I don’t need any other editor.
I have tried Visual Studio as well, but can’t compare to PhpStorm when it comes to intellisense and such (might have changed now though).
Q: Do you have a blog, newsletter, book, podcast, or another resource you would recommend to other developers that you find valuable? (Can be non-programming related)
Arvid Kahl - https://thebootstrappedfounder.com/ check everything from him. I liked his books and course as well as his podcast.
He is someone who built a SaaS with his partner. Made it to about $50k MRR and sold it.
A great developer story 🙂
Q: What advice, shortcuts, or tips would you give to developers who are just starting out in their programming journey?
You’ll never stop learning. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Try stuff as much as you need to.
Nobody knows everything and Google is your best friend :)
Also, if you can, start a blog immediately and write about what you’ve learned, did or trying to do. You might think it doesn’t make sense, but in 2-3 years, people will hire you because of skills you’ve shown there. They won’t need a CV.
Q: Any hobbies or other interests outside of programming and development?
Not really. Programming was a hobby that became a career :)
Recently, started playing some offline games as well. So that could be a hobby? Liking “Stranded Deep”. It’s a fun game if you like grinding for resources.
Q: Where can readers go to learn more about your work, projects, and courses?
My main site is https://ibenic.com where I write about WordPress and programming/freelancing.
From there, you can see my eBooks, courses, and also plugins.
And if you’re on Twitter, follow me on there as well @igorbenic
Please take a moment and share this amazing interview with others 👇
Thank you Igor for participating in the interview and sharing your knowledge with the OpenLampTech audience!
Thank you for reading. I hope you have a great rest of your week.
Visit my developer blog, Digital Owl’s Prose, where I write regularly on CodeIgniter, PHP, WordPress, and SQL.
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