“When REST API finally gets implemented, it’s really going to revolutionize what we can do with WordPress” – Dave Clements

by Mustaasam Saleem  September 23, 2016

Dave was born in a town called Shoreham-by-Sea, near Brighton, in the UK. he completed his education as civil engineer. After becoming a WordPress Developer. He started helping community by writing good blogs, educating by his articles and tutorials. He started his own web development company named as TheUkEdge.

In this interview with Cloudways, Dave talked about how was his journey from civil engineer to WordPress Enthusiast. What were the difficulties he faced. He also talked about his contributions to WordPress core, open source and WordPress Communities.

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Let’s start conversation with Dave!

Cloudways: Dave, please let our readers know a bit about yourself. How was the journey from becoming a civil engineer to a WordPress developer ? And when did you first discover WordPress?

Dave: Well, I’m originally from England, but now I live in Florida with my wife and two children. I’ve been a civil engineer for ten years now. Since discovering WordPress back in 2008, I realized that building websites and adding new features to it is something that I really enjoyed. Therefore, WordPress development has been a side business of mine for the last six years now.

Cloudways: You’re owner of different WordPress blogs, writing tutorials. Please let our readers know how they can learn WordPress from scratch to advanced development?

Dave: For me, it has always been all about learning through practical approaches. I gained out of necessity, to begin with, but then I started to enjoy coding and learned a lot out of curiosity. Once I realized that I knew enough to start building websites for different clients, I didn’t stop and kept going on. I was often asked to create features that were new to me, so I had to learn how to do it in between catering services. Knowledge is a cup never fulfilled. Therefore, I’m still learning to this day, but my skill set is much greater than it was in the beginning.

Cloudways: Inspired by WordPress, what were the reasons you’ve decided to start your own WordPress Web Agency – TheUkEdge. What services do they offer?

Dave: Initially, after building a few sites on domestically, I started hearing that I am capable of crafting websites with flexibility. From time to time, I would help my clients with the problems they kept facing. The workflow was immense and as I realized that I could start charging clients for my services, that’s how I started my company. Since then, it’s been a lot of word-of-mouth referrals and the business continues to grow year after year.

As for the services that I provide, I do everything related to WordPress: new sites, new themes, adding a feature, securing a site, moving a site, building custom plugins, and ongoing maintenance are just a few services that click my mind at the moment.

Cloudways: WordPress is not well known for its speed. what would you suggest to speed up a WordPress site?

Dave: It depends on how advanced you want to get. If you ask me, hosting is an essential thing. I’d start by getting a good hosting service. Then I’d make sure that I was making the best use of page caching, object caching and fragment caching. For most sites, a suitable host and page caching (with a plugin like WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache) will be enough.

Cloudways: Securing a WordPress site is a bit tricky. There are lots of security plugins for WordPress. Which are your favourite?

Dave: Honestly, I don’t install security plugins too often. I prefer to get my clients to a good host who set up their environment securely. Then I educate them on best practices and point out things that could be improved on their site as I see them. However, if a client really wants a security plugin, I tend to lean towards WordFence. My choice is WordFence because it’s quite comprehensive.

Cloudways: You’ve developed plugins too. What would you suggest if someone wants to develop a plugin? What are your most recommended plugins for WordPress?

Dave: I’d start by getting your code on GitHub and develop it until it’s in a shareable state. Then, I consider if the client wants to release it for general use. Even though there’s no support requirement, there’s definitely an unspoken expectation of support for your plugins (and to an extent, it’s just the right thing to do). Finally, in order to release it, upload it to the WordPress repository.

Cloudways: Dave, you’ve attended many WordCamps. How was the experience there? What is your advice for getting recognized in the WordPress community ? Any advice for beginners and youngsters joining the WordPress ranks?

Dave: WordCamps are fantastic. I can’t recommend them enough. If there’s one in your area, buy a ticket now! They’re perfect for learning, for networking and just for having fun. As for getting recognized in the community, I’d say there’re two things to do: participate and contribute. Participate by joining in conversations on Twitter, the WordPress blogs and other people’s sites, and help contribute in whatever way suits you best. Your contributions could be helping to organize a WordCamp, providing translations, creating plugins and themes, or sharing your knowledge for others to benefit from.

Cloudways: What are your recent contributions in WordPress? WordPress 4.6 has been released. What are the features you’re excited about in latest WordPress version ?

Dave: I only just recently became a core contributor. I’ve tried for a few years but finally two of my patches went in. One was simply language-based, standardizing on a couple of terms and another was making sure that the WordPress logo is used in the embed template introduced in 4.4. It was publicly accessible so that it showed up even when sites were blocking access to the wp-admin directory for security reasons.

Outside of core, I have 4 or 5 plugins that I maintain and support and then there are articles that I wrote and knowledge that I shared through various channels.

Cloudways: Where do you see WordPress in the next few years?

Dave: It’s all about the REST API. When it finally gets implemented, it’s really going to revolutionize what we can do with WordPress and how we can use it to build better things. I definitely agree with Matt’s vision of WordPress becoming an application framework. Can’t wait to see when the REST API is opening up a world of possibilities.

Cloudways: Dave, you’ve got a beautiful family. How do you want your kids “Ellie” and “Jack” to impact the world ? What values would you like to instill in them?

Dave: I want them to be true to themselves and do what they love. I don’t want them to overdo anything out of need, obligation or expectations. I want them to pursue their passions and to become beacons of love and joy for those around them. So as long as they do what they love, treat others with respect and seek to make the world a better place, I’ll be an incredibly proud father, even if they decide that they’d like to sweep floors for a living.

Cloudways: Who are your best buddies in WordPress Community?

Dave: I’ve been so busy during the last year or so that I’ve quite actually not been able to actively take part in the community as I was aiming to, but I still chat with Tom McFarlin, Pippin Williamson, Andrew Norcross, Jesse Petersen, David Parsons and Brad Touesnard.

Cloudways: We know it’s hard to take out time from a busy schedule. What do you want to unwind and relax?

Dave: Haha, indeed. I hardly find time for myself, but when I do, I usually just get together with a friend for dinner or for an activity like a bike ride. Being an introvert, I’m just as happy sitting at home by myself watching a film or a TV show to wind down.

Cloudways: How important is a Hosting Provider for best performance of a WordPress website ? Do developers prefer a Managed Cloud WordPress Hosting Provider like Cloudways, over a traditional hosting ?

Dave: Like I’ve already mentioned, getting a good host is critical. I always encourage my clients to use a managed WordPress host, not least for security and speed. Budget hosts are good for simple, unimportant sites, but once your site starts to earn you money or become more mission-critical, I’d definitely suggest getting on to a managed hosting platform.

Just to humor our readers, can you please send us an image what does your desk or workspace look like? 🙂

My desk is very versatile. Throughout the day, i have about 3 or 4 different desks. Currently, as I write this, I’m sitting in Starbucks sipping away on green tea before heading to my engineering job.

Thank you Dave for your time!
Follow Dave on Twitter.

Dave Clements - Workplace

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About Mustaasam Saleem

Mustaasam is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed WordPress Hosting Platform, where he actively works and loves sharing his knowledge with the WordPress Community. When he is not working, you can find him playing squash with his friends, or defending in Football, and listening to music. You can email him at mustaasam.saleem@cloudways.com

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