Damián Culotta is a famous Magento Developer and also a Magento Certified Frontend Developer, a Magento Certified Developer, and a Magento Certified Solution Specialist who loves his job as a Developer more than anything. He is a part of Magento Community since many years. Besides development, he also writes Magento technical blogs in the Spanish language. He enjoys hang outs with friends and loves to eat asado.
Cloudways: You have vast years of experience in Web Development. Since 2000, you worked in different organizations and currently you are working as a Magento Senior Developer at Onestic. On the off-chance if someone from Magento Community doesn’t know, please introduce yourself and share your career history.
Damián: I’ve been working with Magento for 8 years. Since then I’ve been part of teams in different countries.
Habitually, I collaborate in forums, as long as I write in my blog. And I also publish some code on GitHub which I think can be useful.
Cloudways: When and how did you get involved with Magento? What is the reason for connecting yourself with Magento? You are also interested in core Magento development. What challenges did you face initially? How did you tackle your problems and difficulties?
Damián: Like most of us, by chance. I was told in a job interview: “We want to explore a new Ecommerce platform called Magento”. My answer was that I didn’t know but I would accept the challenge.
Until then, my brief contact with the Ecommerce world had been Comersus. Later, I passed through osCommerce and custom solutions. All in all, that was the way I started my relationship with the platform, in March 2008.
My first real project was with version 1.0.19870. It was extremely frustrating trying to understand how complex things could be solved in such little time and some silly things like adding new input text into the checkout form could be so stressful.
Cloudways: You are a person who loves to write about Magento since we can find your well-known blog i.e. http://www.damianculotta.com.ar/ Who inspired you for blogging? What are the main points you keep in mind while writing technical blogs?
Damián: My blog was the result of an initial personal frustration. We didn’t have any documentation, we have just had the old official forums and for LATAM and Spain, foros.mgnt.es.
In that time, I spent my day between the office and my home, but most of the day I worked with Magento. There was a time when I felt I should start keeping records related to code samples, tips, configurations, etc.
Initially, I started to write it for myself to keep that information in some accessible place from everywhere.
Nowadays, the reason remains the same: keeping records of things I think they would be useful in the future. Normally, realizing that other people read them, I write them in the clearest way.
I strongly believe on shared knowledge.
Cloudways: In your opinion, what are the 3 major benefits of Technical Blogging? As an experienced Magento Blogger and Developer, what are your tips for someone who needs to start blogging on Magento from scratch?
Damián: In my opinion, it has to be with a shared learning.
Sometimes you write about something new, and sometimes you can be wrong or make mistakes. When there’s someone from the other side who can correct you is when the learning and exchanging process begins.
If you’re going to write, you have to be original. Even when you are going to develop a well-known idea you have to do it with your own examples. It makes you keep on learning and maybe, your approach, as I said, will permit someone to compare and improve.
Cloudways: You are a Magento Certified Frontend Developer, a Magento Certified Developer, and a Magento Certified Solution Specialist. What do you think are the major issues for Magento and what would be your suggestions on it?
Damián: Technically, Magento 1 has overcome most of the difficulties we were used to (i.e. performance). It is a reliable platform (criticism is logically expected) but it works.
For Merchants Magento isn’t an unknown. This led us to find Merchants who are more experienced in facilitating the process of developing projects. Maybe, our actual challenge is to adapt and interpret that Merchant, who is now more experienced, in the best way.
I think the biggest challenge is related to the service quality. The main difference is not only the platform. It isn’t just about writing code. I also believe there’s an extra challenge for Magento (as a company) which resides in supporting the ecosystem, that is, basically, who will help to consolidate this new era of the platform.
Cloudways: You have the great experience with Magento 1 so far. Have you found any common difficulties that developers will need to prepare for during Magento 2 development?
Damián: I think the most important is to have patience, a lot of it. We came from a well-known platform. With Magento2, we are in that first stage in which we are all waiting for the first ones who accept the challenge of trying without dying in the effort.
As developers, we need to think about M2 as a new and different platform, to avoid M1 wrong practices.
Cloudways: If I say, “5 things you like about Magento 2”, what would be your answer? How would you differentiate between Magento 2 and other latest Ecommerce Platforms?
Damián: I’m not sure if I can list 5 things. I don’t know if I can make a list.
I really appreciate the use of Composer.
I also like the new modules structure (which is easier to maintain for extensions developers).
The Dependency Injection is great!
I don’t feel so comfortable yet with the new changes on the frontend but we have to evolve. We are able to change the code if we don’t like it.
According to other platforms, I can’t be fair. I spend all my time with Magento. Based on what I can habitually see or hear in talks with Merchants that used the platform, I see there was a spread out of Magento SaaS solutions.
There are no other open source platforms so powerful and flexible (with such a strong ecosystem) as Magento. This is why the comparison is unfair.
Cloudways: What major changes have you personally observed between Magento 2 and Magento 1? Do you think that Magento 2 is a much better option for Ecommerce stores and why? How will Magento 2 impact the Ecommerce industry?
Damián: There are two aspects since the launch of Magento2.
Technically, we have arrived in 2016, with new tools, new practices, standards, etc. That is good. Magento as a company has had an opening to the community not known so far.
Now we can see the code on GitHub and collaborate. This is a great achievement. We mustn’t forget that thanks to people like Sherrie Rohde or Ben Marks, Magento is accessible. It doesn’t matter where you are, you can reach them and you can surely obtain an answer (or they will contact someone to help you). Definitely, this is a huge change.
Magento offers a high starting point to any business. It’s harder to compete with it. Imagine most of the SaaS solutions nowadays and try to think if Magento and some extensions wouldn’t offer a similar result.
Which free and open platform allows you to do that? 10 years ago it was a normal to develop custom Ecommerce solutions. Today is not. I think Magento had a lot of responsibility.
I can’t tell you how will impact. If Magento as a platform could push the Ecommerce so far, now that evolves, it should keep pushing in the same way (or even better).
Cloudways: What would be your suggestions for a newbie who is thinking about Magento and its Development? Please share your motivational words and bits of advice with students and future Developers?
Damián: Read, Read, Try, Error, Read, Try, Error, Read (and Patience). Luckily, there are several people working with the official documentation of Magento2 (we were lacking it in Magento 1) and it helps. Use it and help to correct.
Then participate in forums and GitHub issues, at least as watchers. You can learn a lot from another person’s questions and problems. It is fundamental to learn about and from the Magento core code.
And finally, share and compare your code to improve your code and skills.
Cloudways: How do you spend your free time? Do you like playing games, watching movies and hangouts with friends, like I do?
Damián: When I’m not working, I’m a father and hang around with friends enjoying an Asado (BBQ).
If I have spare time I probably will be sitting on my computer chair because I really enjoy being a developer.
Cloudways: We all have some inspirations, who impress us with their quality work or great quotes. Name some people who impressed you a lot.
Damián: There are a lot of people teaching us daily. I don’t think I could make only one list. Again, there are many developers sharing their experiences with M2.
Only reading or listening to Vinai Kopp, Alan Storm and Fabrizio Branca you’ll spend hours and hours.
I was pleased to share a lot of time with Pedro García, one of the best Magento Frontend Developers to whom I had worked with.
Every time I visit Ebizmarts I always talk to Gonzalo Dominguez about technical insights of Magento.
I’m in touch with a lot of people from the community and you are always learning something new.
Just only one list is not enough.
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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]