Cloudways: Gerasimos, it’s an honor to have you for this interview. Could you please tell our readers about yourself? What’s your motivation to start your career as a frontend developer? What were the challenges you faced in the beginning?
Gerasimos: Thanks for having me! 🙂
My name is Gerasimos Tsiamalos and I’m a designer/frontend dev and the co-founder at cssigniter.com where we design & develop premium WordPress products, mostly themes but lately also blocks for the new block editor.
Cloudways: WordPress has become the most-used CMS on the Internet. How did you come across it? What were the features or any other things that attracted you to work with WordPress? Could you tell us a bit about it?
Gerasimos: My first interaction with WordPress was back in 2006 when I was looking for a CMS for my client projects. I was using CMS Made Simple which was great but rather limited for bigger projects. When I saw, even back then, the templating system of WordPress I knew that I could count on it. Also while the community was way smaller than it is today you could easily find documentation and examples out there. Making custom plugins was very easy as well and I think it was another major factor for choosing it as my main CMS.
Cloudways: You’ve been working with WordPress for more than 14 years. What do you think is one of the reasons for the success of WordPress? What are the core improvements you’d like to see in the upcoming version of WordPress?
Gerasimos: It’s very easy to build things (themes, plugins, and blocks) with WordPress. Compared to other platforms, you need a good knowledge of HTML, CSS, JS, and PHP which isn’t the hardest stack of technologies out there.
Overall I’m quite happy with the experience but I would like to see some improvements in the way we use blocks in the new editor. It’s a rather nice and enjoyable experience but I think there is room for improvements.
Cloudways: Since 2012, CSSIgniter has been making great products. What was your idea behind co-founding it? Could you please tell us about your working experience and learning so far?
Gerasimos: After almost 10 years working with clients I wanted to build a product. I was really comfortable with most of the technologies that someone needs to build WordPress products so I thought it’d be a good idea to try and put something out there. It seems that some people like what we did and the rest is history. 🙂
My main lesson from this journey is the fact that I have to keep an open mind and adjust to any changes introduced to WordPress. For example, when I first saw the new block editor I knew that themes will be a thing of the past in a few years from now. It’s my duty to find our new position in this new reality which is really a really stressful process but rather exciting too.
Cloudways: Commitment and timely delivery are two of the crucial aspects when it comes to executing a project for your client. How do you manage your team and projects? Which is one of the best projects you’re proud of?
Gerasimos: I’m really proud of our small collection of custom blocks for the new block editor called GutenBee. We started building it two years ago. Project Gutenberg is still a work in progress so we have to adjust our codebase all the time. Things have become very stable lately so now our users enjoy a nice collection of complementary blocks that we also enjoy building.
Cloudways: You’ve made great products that are helping WordPress users to make their website smoothly. What do you think are the greatest strengths of your products? How are they different from your competitors?
Gerasimos: We’ve always built simple niche themes for WordPress. You won’t find endless options in our themes and this is the main difference from our competitors. After eight years in this market, I can say that there is a large pool of users who prefer this kind of theme. Now we are moving to blocks and we have kept the same philosophy. Simple blocks, simple options.
Cloudways: More and more users are starting their projects with WordPress on a daily basis. Would you like to share a few tips and tricks on how to get started with WordPress? Could you please also share your favorite tools?
Gerasimos: Download a free theme and hack away. Break it, change it. Heck, even change things in core. You will get your lesson. 🙂 There are so many approaches out there that I think experimentation is the only way to get familiar with WordPress. Also, ask away, there are so many great places out there to get help.
Cloudways: Hosting providers have also played their roles when it comes to the success of WordPress. What are your thoughts about WordPress hosting providers, specifically managed hosting like Cloudways?
Gerasimos: I haven’t used Cloudways so I can’t comment on that. Feedback from our users who use Cloudways is generally positive.
Cloudways: It’s also important to balance your personal and professional life. How do you manage it while keeping your business running smoothly? Would you like to tell us about your hobbies? What do you do when you’re not on your desk?
Gerasimos: Collecting old computers and gaming consoles is mainly what I do when not in front of a screen. This and driving (in a pre-pandemic world) are the only things that can take my mind away from my daily business obligations.
Cloudways: Thanks once again for this interview, Gerasimos.
Gerasimos: Thanks to you, too! 🙂
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Passionate about technology, entrepreneurship, and marketing, Mansoor Ahmed Khan is in computing since he knows how to type on a keyboard. His daily life is rocked by his family, projects, and his screen. Probably in this order, he likes to be convinced at least. You can reach out to him at [email protected]