Andrew will be presenting during the eCommerce for Developers session, which you can watch LIVE on April 19. I invited Andrew to speak about building add-ons for Easy Digital Downloads because he has written over 20 of them.
Check out his interview answers below.
Where can we find you on the internet?
When and how did you get started with WordPress?
My first foray into WordPress was in 2010 when WordPress 3.0 had just been released. Up until that point I had been using ExpressionEngine (EllisLab) as my CMS of choice for client websites. I started by using the Genesis Framework (StudioPress), which was excellent, but I discovered it shielded me from knowing how a lot of things work in WordPress. Not to say it’s bad of course, but I wanted a deeper understanding of WordPress.
What resources do you turn to when you want to learn something new?
wordpress.stackexchange.com has always been immensely helpful when I’ve been either stuck or wanting to learn something new. I haven’t needed to post a question in a very long time, guess I’ve learnt a lot!
By far the best resource has been other developers’ plugins. Scouring through the code of another plugin is fascinating. Not only do you always learn something new, but you discover a more efficient way of doing something that you can then apply to your own plugin development.
What is your favorite WordPress feature/aspect?
I like to get my hands dirty so for me it’s the extensibility that WordPress provides through action hooks and filters. Provided that a plugin developer has added sufficient hooks/filters inside their plugin, they provide immense power to anyone wanting to extend the functionality of that plugin. They’re also very easy to learn!
What is your favorite Easy Digital Downloads feature/aspect?
Again, the extensibility of the plugin and the clean, well-structured code. Easy Digital Downloads recognises the need to be extensible whilst focusing on doing one thing right: selling digital downloads. It has a plethora of useful hooks and filters, and at the time of writing there are well over 200 add-ons available, all built on top of Easy Digital Downloads.
What is the most significant thing you’ve learned about ecommerce over the past 5 years?
If you intend to sell products online, be prepared to get extremely cozy with your chosen e-commerce platform. Suggest features and ideas to the developers, help other customers in the forums, contribute bug patches and write plugins if you can. I honestly believe that the strength of the e-commerce platform directly correlates to how well your online store does. The e-commerce platform is what helps you put your products in front of your customers, and ultimately how your customers will pay for your products.
What is the one tip you would give anyone considering to add ecommerce to their site?
Do your research and choose your e-commerce platform wisely. Spend time with it to make sure it can do everything that you need it to do. If it can’t, make sure it has add-ons that can, or there are developers who can build it for you. An e-commerce platform with great technical support will also be crucial to the success of your business.
What advice do you have for others looking to become WordPress experts?
Study the inner workings of your favourite WordPress plugins, the ones you trust and use for every project. Try to extend their functionality to do something unique for your purpose. If you happen to find a bug, try and fix it yourself rather than opening up a support ticket. You’ll be amazed at how fast you learn, not to mention that warm fuzzy feeling when you give something back.
What is one interesting non-WordPress-related fact about yourself?
I’m glad you didn’t ask for a “non-computer related” fact, as this answer would be empty! As much as I love to code, designing websites and logos is also a passion of mine. Being able to take a project from start to finish is exciting. I also like to dabble in 3D modelling, which I find fascinating. I even have one of those fancy 3D mice and a drawing tablet. I’m proud to say I haven’t used a standard computer mouse in 14 years.
If you want to see Andrew present on developing for Easy Digital Downloads, get your event ticket today!