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Interview With The Amazing Magentician Damian Luszczymak

October 18, 2021

8 Min Read

Damian is currently working as a Consultant + Software Developer at Maxcluster. He has vast years of experience with Magento & freelance development. His journey with Magento started with Magento 0.8x beta version and since then he got much more about Magento under the hood.

Interview with Damian Luszczymak

In his free time, he likes swimming and playing Badminton. He is a family guy and loves his wife a lot. You can find him at multiple Magento events. He loves Magento Community a lot and always tries to put his best efforts into it.

Cloudways: Damian, you are currently working in Maxcluster as a Consultant + Software Developer, you have 6+ years of experience with Magento. Also, you are a famous freelance developer. For the few who do not or not know you enough, we want you to introduce yourself here briefly.

Damian: My coding ventures date back to Magento 0.8x beta and since then much has been happening under the hood. Many people know me under the nickname daim2k5 in multiple social interaction podiums such as IRC/Slack/Github/Twitter. It’s easy to start up a conversation with me on Magento related topics since I am quite an open personality. Some of my hobbies may include swimming (diving) and playing Badminton, which I am lucky to share with my wife. One can find me at multiple Magento events in EU including Imagine as per the condition that it moves out of Las Vegas. My love for the community keeps increasing because of the project ideas being shared as open source. Hence, I also started Magento hackathon which is a composer installer module for Magento.

Cloudways: You’ve been active in the field of Ecommerce since relatively long, namely since the beta version of Magento 1. Since your career started, until so far, what challenges did you face? How did you manage your social and professional life?

Damian: In the beginning, we had nothing 🙂 Only code, forums, and a small German IRC channel. I was lucky to find Vinay in the IRC, and his help was commendable to face the oncoming initial challenges. He helped me to create my first valid config.xml for a router controller through which we can avail great documentation, books and stack overflow. I was lucky to find a girlfriend who is now my wife that supports me in everything; with time/chocolade, travel planning, etc. We follow a fast and shared calendar for almost all our meetups which include Magento meetups and Magento Imagine meetups. With commendable coding during my night hours, I can give more time and dedication to the Magento community. My journey starts with traveling through different parts of the Europe and the USA and meets a large number of brilliant experts which benefited me in variable ways. Such a person was Rhonda, known by her vehicular pseudo, Rhonda, and her Van. Her expertise in the field was beyond expectations. Furthermore, I learned about the benefits of debugging (beyond var_dump, print_r) using xdebug. This piece of information helped me a lot to curtail down bugs faster. Now I work at Maxcluster even deeper with strace, gdb, xhprof to profiler even CRON jobs and find bottlenecks on our or customer configuration/code which become a bit challenging at times. My Magento venture has been quite remarkable by far; however, a problem that I still encounter is remembering names of the people I meet. I hope I will overcome this problem in the coming years 🙂

Cloudways: Magento 2 is now in a better position, and it is trying to capture the big chunk of the industry. In your opinion, does it make sense to prioritize developing and redesigning stores with Magento 2 over Magento 1? How would you see the future of Magento?

Damian:

Merchant View:
For the German market, we have a big problem. We all need to wait for the service providers to provide a better Magento 2 version. Without this, many shops fail to go online or even initiate their businesses. Also, certain necessary, useful extensions couldn’t be migrated to your Magento back-end. So you need to decide if you are willing to create some ($$$) or waiting for the company/developer to upgrade your Magento Platform.

Developer View:
As a developer, you need to start right now with Magento 2. You can purchase relevant books and learn fast about the pattern/concepts that Magento 2 use. As a PHP Developer, you would love to work with Magento and its related composers. The best part is however you can make a pull request to the Magento 2 codebase and make Magento even better.

This weekend Magento finally releases the new marketplace, another important step for the future of the ecosystem. Some parts of Magento Platform still requires refactoring and the Magento community is well aware of it. They are working hard to catch up. The best part for us is the open communication like Github, dev docs, community team and the release plan. With this combination together with Ben (Evangelist) and Sherrie (CM), I’m very optimistic that Magento 2 is a big step for the ecommerce market.

Cloudways: What are the major differences you observed between Magento 1 and Magento 2? In your opinion, what improvements can Magento 2 adopt? What would be your top three pieces of advice for Magento 2 Developers?

Damian: The difference between Magento 1 and Magento 2 is its modern concept, composer, unit testing plugin compatibility and it is finally on GitHub.

My top three pieces of advice to improve Magento 2 experiences would be:

  1. Learn the pattern
  2. Use forums to ask the people why something is required to be implemented in “this” way
  3. Meet other M2 Devs and share knowledge on hackathons/meet up’s/conferences

Cloudways: PHP powers Magento 2. With the introduction of PHP7, the latest version, what improvements do you expect in the performance and security of the websites developed on Magento 2 with PHP 7?

Damian: It’s not a secret that PHP 7 is a significant speed improvement. So if you can run Magento 2 with PHP7 do it. At the beginning, PHP 7 had some Memcached and missing extension issues but now it’s quite stable and with a version higher than 7.0.2, it is much safer to explore. Also, you can try the “patchz” from Inchoo and run Magento 1.9.2.x. We have customers that use this “patch” and run without problems. I would also like to add that being a part of the Magento 2 community, big thanks to facebook for HHVM. IMHO that was the start point for the performance optimization on the PHP core competition is always good, and everyone wins.

Cloudways: As a famous Magento Extension / Module Developer, what do you think are the most important steps to take if you want to start working on Magento extension from scratch? Share some tips & tricks with our readers.

Damian: Some of the important steps to take when you start working on Magento extensions from scratch is:

  1. You need good PHP Knowledge if you like to make extensions for Magento
  2. Know your tools and your IDE (because you can win a lot of time with them)
  3. NOT optional are knowledge about Git, composer and xdebug
  4. Read first then Code (Documentations or the new Books, so the start is not soo hard)
  5. Ask your question IRC/Slack/Stack Overflow
  6. Visit a Hackathon and code in a team (you learn quickly from the advanced people)

Don’t be too hard on yourself the first steps are not easy. 🙁

Cloudways: You have developed a well-known extension SolrGento. What is SolrGento? Tell our readers more about it. How does it work and why was there a need of SolrGento in Magento? Are you planning to migrate it to Magento 2? If yes or no, why is that so?

Damian: Solrgento is a drop-in solution to replace the Magento search with Apache Solr as the search engine. This means you install the Extension run once a full catalog search reindex and your data is exported to your Apache Solr server. The benefits are better to autocomplete and of course better search results. Also, the performance is better because the search doesn’t hit your database. If you like, you can also activate the standard category view from the Solr, and not only optimize the speed but also the speed up multi-value filter incredibly fast. I created the extension before Magento Enterprise got it, but the EE Solution was not good. Henceforth, I made a full rewrite so one can get the best performance and integration for Magento 2 because Magento 2 EE only support Elasticsearch (for the moment). Many people ask me why I didn’t make the extension open source and the people are right about it! I love open source. But search is a complicated topic and my sad experience scholar me that the people don’t like to pay for support (for an open source project).

Cloudways: What are your remarks on the Magento Community? Since you are a very engaged person in the Magento Community, do you think that every individual in Magento Community is working enough to cover each and every Magento related topic and news? What would be your suggestions to improve the Magento Community all around the world?

Damian: I think we all are working well enough to support somebody that can work for the community and create such community projects like magento.stackexchange.com, MageTalk, Kata and Meetup to share our Magento knowledge. Many people in the community pick different topics and share them via a blog post. One effective way of sharing it is through code/images that can help everyone. If you look closely, you can find the DevOps, unit test and the frontend guys hopefully promising unique concept in Magento 2.

So I think we covered many important topics to start working with Magento. I only have one significant improvement and that one isn’t quite easy to resolve. 🙁

To see what Magento Inc. get done and how they learn from the past.

I tweeted a while ago:

The last sentence is essential. You can now help in many ways:

  1. Write good issues in GitHub (please don’t put only one link inside to your blog post)
  2. If you feel that you can solve the problem create a PR
  3. Or if the documentation is wrong or outdated make a PR
  4. If you complain about a pattern or concept, please think about a better approach and be open for a discussion.
  5. Don’t be mad if a PR needs more time in this massive project.

And if you don’t attend any Meetup, Hackathon so far change that attitude immediately. 😉

Cloudways: What are your roles as a Consultant + Software Developer in Maxcluster?

Damian: I’m at the moment more of a Consultant then a Software Developer. Observing that role I try to help customers to get the best cluster architecture and resources. We further try to find out if the client has some hidden wishes like the integration of IPSec-Tunnel. In many cases, I conduct deep analysis from the customers about the Magento shop if our great support team can’t help the customers the right way. Most of the time the solution is clear so the client can resolve it by themselves. But there are also some crazy sessions containing some lost issues where the fun begins. I’m also happy that the Maxcluster offers me one day each the month to organize/attend meetups or create the slides for my next talk. On the other hand, I learn a lot about Magento hosting/monitoring/backups. I would also like to add that we are hiring; the site is in German only, but we can also adjust people who can write and speak English.

Cloudways: You have attended many events held by different Magento Community Handles & Agencies and also you were the speaker in Meet Magento Switzerland 2015, covering the topic about Magento 2 – New Challenges. In your opinion, what is the importance of attending these type of events? Where can we meet you and find you in the future speaking about Magento and its development?

Damian: If you don’t attend any Magento event then surely you missed an important part of the community engagement. Entering the Magento community is easy because we all are really nice and don’t bite you. 😉 If you attend some events you also get more details how project runs. This can help individuals to avoid pitfalls that you don’t want to be repetitive. Also, you can get the hot news from Magento community; here you can ask any question, and you can get alternative answers for it. I would also like to mention the Pre/After Show Parties that we hold as a community which helps in effective socializing within the community. You can meet me the next time on the Developer Paradise in Croatia as Hackathon Shaman 😉 or find an Event on our Maxcluster tour dates site.

Cloudways: We all have many inspirational stories. Which are the most inspiring individuals in your personal and professional life? Tell us a little about them.

Damian: I have so many, and I can’t choose which one specifically as it can result in favoritism. However, if there is something that I can promise is that you or any of the readers can join me over a few drinks and spend a whole evening in my company where we can share stories and experiences and then I can disclose some of my personal and professional individuals.

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Fayyaz Khattak

Fayyaz, a passionate Motorbike tourist, works as a Team Lead — Magento Community at Cloudways - A Managed Magento Hosting Platform. His objective is to learn & share about PHP & Magento Development in Community. You can contact him at [email protected]

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