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WordPress Developer Ilya Zolotov Shares His Thoughts on Codeable and WordPress Community

Updated on December 6, 2022

7 Min Read
Ilya Zolotov

Danish: Hi Ilya, thank you for joining us. Let’s start with getting to know you a bit. When and how did you start your career with WordPress? And any insights you’d like to share about your professional career?

Ilya: I started my career as a developer in 2004; I saw an ad of a PR agency, and they invited me to be an intern. In a couple of months, I developed the first site for an artist on PHP. I was inspired and decided to continue my career in this area. Perspectives of JavaScript were bewitching, and I started to use it intensively. Some developers might remember IE6 and using AJAX instead of Iframes.

When I began working with WordPress in 2013, I had completed many ERP/CRP and sites using PHP and JavaScript. I noticed the growing popularity of WordPress and decided to try myself in the development of plugins and themes.

I already had developed more than 30 plugins and extensions and over 5000 sales, which helped me understand the community needs, like who uses it, and my clients’ needs. Three years ago, I started helping different clients on Codeable to bring their ideas to life since working with people and various projects is very interesting.

I’ve launched my new personal site recently, and I am going to publish my projects there. I’ve released a JavaScript library – Christmas Snow 3D, which adds a Christmas mood and falling snowflakes with a unique and smooth experience and realistic animation. It’s absolutely free, and I hope you will enjoy it.

Danish: You are a web developer with more than 17 years of experience and have completed over 400 projects on Codeable. What motivates you to continue on WordPress projects?

Ilya: During all these years, I’ve had different projects on Codeable: from websites and applications to production ERP in different frameworks and languages for large and small companies.

Every business has different needs, requests, and requirements. It is often necessary to look for solutions, and WordPress provides a wide range of ready-made solutions, which I can adapt and optimize to match the client’s needs. Usually, it’s faster and cheaper for the client.

I enjoy working with WordPress because I have a choice. I can use a third-party plugin or develop my special feature to meet all the requirements.

It’s noteworthy that WordPress is open to edge technologies and libraries, such as React, and is rapidly evolving. I like writing React-based apps, and I am happy to see this direction of WordPress’ evolution. For example, Gutenberg fostered the development of effective sites, and it was convenient for the editor and the site owner.

Danish: As a freelance WordPress developer at Codeable, which projects do you usually like to work on? How do you manage those projects, and what is your development workflow?

Ilya: Usually, I develop components for the client’s unique needs; for example, if the client needs to have the feature to add many products to the cart in one click or they need a catalog with unique navigation according to their business case.

Also, I like to simplify routine tasks by developing plugins that allow my clients to save time. For example, you have to update images daily. To do this, you need to find each product, update its image, and save an updated entry. Besides, you have to repeat the same actions many times every day. The plugin can automatically update hundreds of products from the uploaded archive and save a lot of time. There are manual processes on any site that can be automated.

My area of expertise is wide, and I like optimizing speed, different integrations, theme or plugin development, and site maintenance.

I spend more time planning before writing the code’s first line. You must understand how the project will look and be developed soon. If you don’t have that vision, you must break it down to the point where everything is crystal clear. My key approach is to keep it simple. When something looks too complicated, it means that something is not going the right way.

As for planning the next day’s tasks, it’s very helpful to add emotional context to the personal task. For example, “[Urgent] Gather all the necessary data from 10 repositories, and send the report to John”. It looks more motivating than: “Send repository data to John” or “Urgent task from John, details in the email.” You should feel the scope of the task at first glance. This sets up the task better on one line and reflects the complexity of the text; it allows you to choose the right tasks for the right time throughout the day.

When I go from the beginning to the end of the task, I usually make notes to notice critical things or suggestions, which you have to discuss, and be sure that I will return later without distraction.

Danish: What challenges did you face working with top WordPress Enterprise Agencies and clients, and how did you tackle them?

Ilya: Well, fast reaction, providing support, and proper solutions are required in any urgent situation. It’s essential to figure out the problem as deeply as possible because an Enterprise site has many connected parts, and I found the core reason for the issue; only in this case, I can be satisfied.

Commenting on the code is very important for any project because it will be easier to maintain shortly. It’s essential to check that the backups are actual and not damaged. Providing recommendations for future improvements and planned maintenance is a way to avoid unexpected challenges.

Danish: Why do you specifically choose WordPress for developing your projects? And would you defend this choice in the age of Flutter, Android, and API?

Ilya: The world of WordPress is a huge ecosystem. There are pros and cons, but you can find a way to achieve any goal with minimal effort; any startup and personal project need to succeed.

So it’s the positive aspect of WordPress. You can develop a project on Gatsby using WordPress and Gutenberg as an editing tools, use it as CRM, or generate invoices. Each unique case requires a specific solution.

WordPress is versatile and easy to learn and operate for everyone. For some areas, I will opt for a special solution or framework if it’s reasonable or critical for the result. Flutter is a good choice if you need a native application for mobiles. As a result, you have one code base for iOS and Android.

Danish: Any tips for beginner Codeable developers looking for a career in WordPress development? What tools would you recommend them?

Ilya: As for beginners, I’d recommend they learn something new every day and be open to new languages and ideas because it’s required for beginners and experienced developers.

Making backups is also important as using Git repositories for any project, from pet to commercial. It’s required to check your backups to see whether it has all the data.

I like using the TabNine assistant extension for VS Code; it uses AI to autocomplete whole-line of the code, learns your own code patterns, and suggests code completions in your style.

Danish: What makes the WordPress community so much bigger and better than the other communities in the tech industry? Any thoughts on that?

Ilya: The possibility of a quick start, the site is ready and online in 5 minutes after selecting the domain. Anyone can learn how to manage it using YouTube, articles, and documentation. The community has a lot of different people: business owners, agencies, bloggers, and developers, and they communicate with each other and have common goals and interests.

Danish: How important is the WordPress community for WordPress survival? What are your thoughts on WordPress Meetups and WordCamps in networking?

Ilya: A very good question. Many people have chosen to use WordPress; as a result, WordPress has a market share of 64%. The community includes companies, ambassadors, and other people, who help involve newbies and start their journey to the World of WordPress, and it’s impossible to stop. Everyone is important to expand the community.

I like visiting Meetups because it’s a good way to meet new people and expand your network; it is a good change from a hectic daily routine. Especially after COVID restrictions, and the community is hungry for offline events.

Danish: What are WordPress’ challenges and opportunities in the coming years? What features you’d like to see in the upcoming releases?

Ilya: Gutenberg is a significant improvement, and I hope it will become more popular.

I am waiting for updates on multilanguage support. Also, I am looking for further upgrades in using React for the backend. Popular plugins are not ready to change anything because they have their existing users, and they have to support backward capability.

New solutions are difficult to break through market leaders and not lose motivation to improve and support their plugins. The creation of funds for startups in the field of WordPress may solve this problem.

Danish: Which type of hosting would you prefer for WordPress? What are your thoughts on cloud hosting, and how do you compare it with traditional shared hosting?

Ilya: I prefer Cloud Servers and modern managed hostings. I have been using DigitalOcean droplets for different projects since 2014, and I have liked the image with the OpenLightSpeed webserver and managed MySQL. Some of my clients must place their DB in a special region, and they want to use a special preferred provider.

Cloudways gives the ability to pick the right provider and location and provides optimized hosting. In the case of budget, you can use horizontal scaling and pay as you go without vendor lock and long-term contracts. The big advantage is getting free Object Cache Pro and Cloudflare Add-on since it saves you about $100 per month.

I like using Cloudflare Workers and EDGE-cache, and I am waiting for this feature from CloudWays to test it. It will be a great addition to their hosting when it becomes available out-of-box.

Danish: Sometimes it is hard to balance work and personal life, especially when you have many responsibilities and are running startups. So what do you like to do in your free time?

Ilya: Well, I like to spend my spare time with my family and travel. I do like different styles of music. Since childhood, I have been playing the saxophone and want to get a drum set to master it.

Danish: Could you please share an image of your workstation for our readers? Thanks!

Ilya: Yes, sure. I like changing places, and sometimes I am working from cafes and coworking.

Ilya Zolotov Codeable WordPress Expert

Danish: Ilya, it was truly an honor to connect with you and get to know your insights.

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Danish Naseer

Danish Naseer is a WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways. He is passionate about designing, developing, and engaging with people to help them. He also actively participates in the community to share his knowledge. Besides that, he loves to watch documentaries, traveling and spending time with family. You can contact him at [email protected]


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