In the series of Cloudways interviews, today we have Irene Iaccio with us. With more than 6+ years of experience in Front-end Development and Magento, Irene is one of the most experienced individuals in the Magento Community. Currently, she is working at Bitbull as a Front-end Developer. In this interview, Irene talks about Magento and her personal life. She also shares her experience about how she got involved with Magento. So, without further ado, let’s start.
Cloudways: Irene, you have 6+ years of experience as a Front-end Developer, and you are also engaged with Magento since more than 4 years. How did you start your career? How did you come across Magento? Share some of your career’s interesting stories with our readers.
Irene: I have always looked at the internet as a powerful tool to support different business and experiences.
Many years ago I created a group of videomakers with some of my friends. At night, we affixed flyers around the city looking for customers for our videos.
Because I’m lazy, and at night I want to sleep I thought there had to be a better way to sell services: I discovered web, SEO, and, finally, web development. When, years later, I met Magento it was love at first sight! I finally had an entire framework for the sale of products and services. They were no longer my services, but I had acquired a skill that I could make available to others.
Cloudways: Currently, you are working as a Front-end Developer at Bitbull. What challenges and problems did you face initially as a Magento front-end developer and how did you tackle them?
Irene: The biggest challenge was (and still is) that of the performances. We must ensure that the frontend contains the largest number of possible interactions without slowing down the browser, and without overloading the server.
It is possible by following the best practices as much as possible, by concatenating and minifying code, by limiting calls to the database from the template and taking advantage of the cache.
It is never an only advice that will increase the speed of the site, but a set of practices. Often a well-structured project from start generating good performance.
Cloudways: What are the key points on which every Magento front-end developer should focus? Share a few of responsive web design tips with our readers?
Irene: Mobile first, performances (again) and user experience.
Cloudways: With the release of Magento 2, there are a lot of changes in the platform as compared to Magento 1. What would you recommend for those developers who want to upgrade their skills from Magento 1 to the Magento 2?
Irene: The best way to learn Magento 2 it is to try it. Although at first it may seem a little more complicated than Magento 1 don’t be afraid, many tools now integrated in the software were already standard practice for many developers, such as Composer, preprocessors and task runners.
Cloudways: In your opinion, what improvements in Magento 2 are more competitive today: Frontend catchy views for visitors or Backend refinements? What are some useful features you have noticed in Magento 2 on the front-end?
Irene: Surely the administration panel has improved a lot. For store managers, it will be easier to enter products, add configurations and customize the pages; this could contribute to the spread of the platform.
The frontend finally has a responsive default theme, and this is good for visitors but also has a big problem for developers. The workflow that Magento envisioned is too slow. It takes a few seconds to fill out less and deploy static asset. Too much, compared to the times we were used to.
We currently have a temporary but effective solution, proposed by Alan Kent. You can build your gruntfile (or gulpfile, or whatever you prefer) that compile directly into the pub folder or use the frontools of SnowdogApps.
Cloudways: What are your comments and views about the Magento Community? How do you connect yourself with the community? How was your experience every time you met someone from the Magento Community?
Irene: The community is what keeps up the Magento ecosystem. Those who make the disclosure, those who develop extensions, those who moderate the forums. I participate in the life of the community through forums, social, the network debates and Italians events.
Cloudways: What are your suggestions for people who want to connect themselves with the great Magento community, how can they become a part of it? How do you see Magento growth in the upcoming years?
Irene: My suggestion is to write a lot and participate in the events. The best channels to get in touch with other members of the community, in addition to forums, are Twitter and Github.
The growth of Magento in the upcoming years is a great question. Everything will depend on the evolution of Magento 2 and how the news will be addressed by companies and developers. If one manages to deal with the initial learning curve there will probably be a qualitative leap. Right now many developers are discouraged and are likely to abandon the platform, thus right now it is very important that the community is active in supporting developers during the transition to version 2.
Cloudways: Did you participate in any Magento based events like Meet Magento, Magento Imagine, Developers Paradise, etc.? If yes, what was the best moment you would like to share with our readers? Where can we find you and meet you in upcoming events? In your opinion, what are the advantages of such events for new attendees in the Magento Community?
Irene: I participated in all Italian Meet Magento. Bitbull in February organized the first Mage Titans Italian that went very well. On stage, there was Vinai Kopp, Daniel Sloof, Ivan Chepurnyi, Anna Völkl (and others). It was a great experience, and I hope we can do it again.
Cloudways: What is your suggestion and advice for newbies and students who are trying to become good front-end developers?
Irene: It is a very good time to choose to become a frontend developer. Every day new frameworks are released (someone say too many) and technologies are advancing rapidly. My advice is to keep up with the times, do not stop at the theory, try to do things, deal with others on forums and groups.
Cloudways: Let’s put the Magento things away and speak about your interests. How do you spend your free time after work? How do you manage your personal life? What are your hobbies and which sports do you like the most? 🙂
Irene: After work? Who has a life after work? 😛 I like swimming and cycling, cooking bad, bad dinners for friends and family and I make illustrations.
Although I do not mind more videos in my spare time, I develop small applications for video makers recently I did this for the massive import of subtitles. Now I’m doing another one for the round trip from Final Cut to Motion.
Cloudways: Everyone has some inspiration behind their success. Name some people from the Magento Community who have inspired you the most?
Irene: Of course Alan Storm, for his accurate technical posts, the Inchoo team for their precious practical tips, Ben Marks, for being an ultimate guide for the whole community.
Cloudways: Cloudways provides 1-click Magento installation with awesome speed & great cloud infrastructures embedded within the platform. Would you prefer shared hosting or managed cloud hosting for Magento stores, like Cloudways offers?
Irene: No doubt: a cloud environment.
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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]