With vast experience on the development front, Christian Münch, is one of the most experienced developer in Magento. He is a Magento certified developer and is currently working in netz98 new media GmbH as senior web developer since the past 10 years. He has the n98-magerun creation to his credit. In this interview he talks about n98-magerun, Magento 2 and also shares his advice for people looking to get certified in Magento.
Speaking about certifications, Christian says “One of the advantages of certification is that you have to deal with all parts of the system.” Christian also shared his personal experience and talks about benefits of attending Magento events like Meet Magento. He is a big fan of his local football club. I hope the readers would love this candid interview with a very experienced developer.
Cloudways: Christian, You’ve been working at netz98 since 10 years as Senior Web-Developer. How did you start your career? Share some interesting experiences and some challenging times of your career with our readers.
Christian: I started my programming career in 1997 as a delphi developer. After some years I switched to PHP to do some basic web programming. At this time everyone was happy if a website could display the current day dynamically. Later on, I created a tool to capture patient data in a clinical context. I spent most of my time to create SQL queries and validate forms. After this job, I changed to netz98 my current employer.
Cloudways: How did you choose Magento and when did you realize that you had a passion for programming? You chose the Mage life or did the Mage life choose you 🙂 ?
Christian: My passion for programming was awoken long before I started with Magento. So let’s talk how I came to Magento.
At netz98 we created many projects with the Zend Framework. After some times a colleague (Daniel Nitz) found a new e-commerce system which depends on Zend Framework and looks very promising. This e-commerce system was Magento. We were both excited by the new concepts and the sophisticated module architecture. So we established Magento at netz98. The current version was 0.8 Beta. And our first created shop used this beta version. That wasn’t a problem because the beta version was much better than every other open source software of that time.
Cloudways: Christian, You are the creator of n98-magerun. What is the story behind starting n98-magerun?
Christian: If I’m honest, the tool was not really planned. Someday, I tried out the symfony console library. If you program anything, it’s better to have a goal instead of writing some example “hello world” code. One idea was to bootstrap Magento and run some code inside a command. The first useful thing was “cache:flush“. I used my command at netz98. After some time my colleague who was sitting next to me started to use the tool.
He also had some good ideas to extend the command list. Many of the commands solved some daily problems.
One command was programmed during a live deployment. We must know which setup scripts were already processed. That day the sys:setup:compare-version command was added.
After we open sourced the tool many people started using it. That gives the tool a big boost. We recognized that n98-magerun filled a tool gap. Today we are proud that many ideas of n98-magerun are implemented in Magento 2.
Cloudways: You have multiple Magento certificates (MCSS, MCD+, MCFD). What’s your recommended learning platform for Magento certification? What are the advantages of being a certified Magento Developer or Developer plus?
Christian: I don’t know if I can answer the question for other people. As I started to learn for the MCD+ exam I had only a study guide. There was no real learning platform.
After that, I trained many other developers at netz98. My tip for all developers is simple: look inside the Magento code. It’s the best training to develop some modules. Investigate the study guide and the exercises. If you have the chance you could also book one of the fundamental courses to learn from the best trainers. One of the advantages of certification is that you have to deal with all parts of the system.
Cloudways: Magento is one of the most popular Content Management System (CMS) for developing ecommerce websites. What functionality improvements in Magento are more competitive today: Frontend features for customers or Backend refinements?
Christian: My experience is that in very large systems, the Magento backend is sparsely used for data capturing. In the most cases we integrate other specialized systems like an external CMS. For smaller shops a better integrated CMS solution would be very nice. I’m sure that Magento is working on better CMS solution. Content marketing is an important component for a successful e-commerce.
Cloudways: As a Magento Certified Solution Specialist, what are the most common queries you encounter with Magento store owners? How much is the influence of these queries towards the development of the platform?
Christian: That depends on the prior knowledge of the customer. Most the time i talk about the integration of other systems like i.e. SAP or a PIM. Most of our customers are B2B store owners. So we have huge amount of customer specific changes like a complete different price logic. Before any development it’s important to clarify all requirements. All this changes influences the module development.
Cloudways: Magento 2 is now on the market, but a stable version is still awaited. What are your thoughts about Magento 2? What further features are you excited to see in Magento 2? What are your expectations of Magento 2 in 2016?
Christian: I had the honor to participate in a project of Magento 2 merchant beta program. We published the first Magento 2 Enterprise Edition shop in Europe. During the shop development we worked with the beta branch of the software. Like with every beta software we had to deal with many bugs and problems.
Magento 2 is a big step forward for all developers. The complete PHP stack is now up to date (Namespaces, Composer, Dependency Injection, PHP7, etc.). It’s much easier for new developers to learn Magento 2. Another big advantages of Magento 2 is that a developer can profit from the build-in test framework.
My expectation for 2016 is a bigger list of quality proved (and automatically tested) Magento 2 extensions. The next Magento versions will bring new long awaited features to the platform. Stay tuned.
Cloudways: Christian, in your opinion, what are the advantages of attending the Meet Magento conference for amateurs who want to involve themselves in the Magento Community? How has your experience been so far with the community members :)?
Christian: One of the main reasons to visit the Meet Magento is to meet many very good developers in real life. My experience with Magento Community is really positive. I really like all the nice people.
The Magento Community is also known for the good parties. If you have never attended a meeting, then you’ve missed a lot. All new Magento programmers are warmly welcome.
Cloudways: Let’s put Magento aside and talk about your personal interests. I follow you on Twitter and I see you are a fan of Wormatia Worms (football club). Share with our readers any experience of watching the team live. And how do you spend your time besides work? 🙂
Christian: I’m a big fan of my local football club. Since 2001 I support the club by some IT jobs like creating the website. The last year I started to work inside the marketing team of the football club. As a young boy I played football manager on my computer. The engagement in the club is like “football manager in real life”.
Currently the club plays in the 4th division in Germany which is a semi professional league with some former Bundesliga clubs. Some of the matches can be very emotionally charged!
Cloudways: We all have some influencers, who inspire us with their work or their quotes. Name some people from the Magento community who have inspired you the most?
Christian: I have a long list of people. Some of them are Vinai Kopp, Alan Kent, Alan Storm, Ben Marks, Fabrizio Branca (he grew up only 15 kilometers from me), Kalen Jordan, Phillip Jackson, Brent W. Peterson, Matthias Walter, Colin Mollenhour.
Cloudways: Cloudways offers 1-click Magento installation. With blazing fast speed and optimized Cloud performance, you get a fabulous experience of hosting your Magento websites on Cloudways Cloud Platform. I would like you to check it yourself and share your opinion about the platform. What can we do to further improve the outlook and performance of the platform? Any feedback would be welcome.
Christian: The tool is really amazing and intuitive for me as a developer to bootstrap a test environment. One thing I found missing is a pre installed n98-magerun in the Magento instance.
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