Continuing with the series of interviews, today we are honored to have Max Pronko with us. With more than 10 years of experience in software development and Magento, Max Pronko is one of the most respected individuals in the Magento industry. Currently, he is working at GiftsDirect.com as the Chief Technology Officer, which in itself is a testimony to his dedication, skills, and endeavors.
He was working in Magento inc. since March 2010, before leaving to take on a more challenging and different role. In this interview, speaking about team Magento, Max Pronko said “Magento team is the best team I have had a chance to work with. My skills and experience were improving with them from day to day. We achieved a lot during Magento 1 releases and Magento 2 development”.
Besides his love for Magento, Max likes to play guitar during his free time and has played for metal bands as well. Max also shared about Magento 2 development and his career journey with Magento. I hope the would love this interesting interview with a very experienced developer.
Cloudways: Max, You have been involved in Magento development for the past 6+ years. How did you initiate your career? What kind of challenges did you face during the early days of your professionalism?
Max: I have been working with different companies before I joined Magento. During my professional career, I created 3 CMS platforms. I started my career with PHP language and HTML, and later on I switched to CodeIgniter framework.
Cloudways: Currently, you are working at GiftsDirect.com as a Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Can we have an insight on this sudden shift from Magento to this project?
Max: Magento team is the best team I have had a chance to work with. My skills and experience were improving with them from day to day.
We achieved a lot during Magento 1 releases and Magento 2 development.
I accepted new position to lead development in GiftsDirect.com. It is a new experience for me to work with Magento products from another angle. I am happy with the new role.
Cloudways: You have been working on Magento for quite an extended period. Would you share with our readers some of your ideas that triggered your passion for devoting your life to Magento development. In your views, what are some of the most significant benefits of using Magento? And how do you compare Magento with other ecommerce platforms?
Max: I remember myself developing Magento and debugging code during 14-16 hours daily. Over few years of extensive work, I was building great and quality features based on Magento.
One of the most important benefits of using Magento is open source. You may do everything in case you have good code foundation. Powerful Magento Community is always happy to advise.
Cloudways: Max, I heard you have been blogging. So when did you start blogging? If you don’t mind, would you like to share with our viewers some of the secrets behind your blogging logic?
Max: I have been gathering experience for quite a while before I decided to start blogging. It happened in March 2015 when I got this “I am ready” moment. My secret is simple: Share as much knowledge as you have time to. I realized my experience might help other developers to improve technical skills as well as to write better Magento code. Especially, if it is Magento 2. Few month ago, I decided to curate The Devletter. This is a weekly newsletter email where I share Magento 2 tips and best practices experience about building extensions and how to use Magento 2.
Cloudways: Being an experienced and Certified Magento Developer, you must have gained firsthand knowledge about the problems faced by Magento web store owners and clients. What are the most common queries you encounter with Magento store owners? How much is the influence of such queries towards the development of the platform?
Max: Magento provides great eCommerce features for store owners. For majority of them, everything works, however, there is always someone saying “it does not work” or “it is slow”. It is also interesting to mention, only 30-40% of functionality is used by store owners. Even, in case Magento would cut half of features, I think it is still going to be the best in class platform.
Cloudways: Magento supports customization of ecommerce websites. What’s your opinion about customization? What are some of the most common errors that Magento developers encounter while customizing a Magento-based web store?
Max: I think Magento has been built with customization capability in mind. In case you know how to change Magento code, you may leverage from all the power of flexibility and extensibility in one platform. Overall, I experience low to medium quality implementation when it comes to Magento extensions. I think there is always an area for improvement. I remember extensions with SQL queries in PHTML templates or triggering product load method multiple times. All these happen due to lack of knowledge, time and aspiration to make it better. Now, everyone wants to be first on the market. There is just no time to think about quality.
Cloudways: What will you suggest, Magento version 1.x or Magento 2 and why? I wish to know your answer, what are your views on the future of Magento? How do you see Magento growth in upcoming years with Magento 2?
Max: As for 2016, Magento 2 uses latest technologies. Here is my opinion: As a software developer you probably want to know OOP, Design Patterns, SOLID principles, separation of concerns, MVC, MVVM and other interesting techniques for building great products. Magento 2 gives you all these and even more interesting challenges to work with.
Magento 2 usage in few years will be more solid. More and more Magento community members spend time to help Magento be as best as possible. Also, Magento as a standalone company performs right steps in social media, attracting community and bringing feedback from them to be more transparent and valuable for Magento products. Today, you may share your thoughts with everyone from Magento company.
Cloudways: Max, in your opinion, what are the advantages of attending the Meet Magento, Magento Imagine and other Magento conferences for amateurs who want to involve themselves in the Magento Community? Which Magento conferences have you attended lately?
Max: My last conference was Magento Live UK in 2015. I met great people as well as my former Magento colleagues. Every conference motivates me to implement new features or to improve Magento core code. Conferences give you knowledge and contacts. As for me, it might be 10% of interesting information, however, it is really valuable. This year, I have decided to attend Magento Live UK as a speaker and share my experience about Magento 2 development.
Cloudways: Too much work makes Jack a dull boy. Let’s get aside from work life and talk about your personal life a bit. Following you on Facebook has been a privilege, I recently found out that we share a common passion, playing electric guitars, will you care to shed some light on it. One more thing, how do you manage your family life besides work?
Max: Guitar is my passion. I have been playing guitar for 15 years. When I am passionate about something, I am give it my all. I have been practicing guitar for 14 hours a day. I was playing in various metal bands on different live concerts in Ukraine.
It is better to ask my wife about my work life balance :). She says I am not really good at it. Especially after the birth of my gorgeous daughter, Mia, in October 2015. I do my best to spend time with my family while still engaging with the Magento community.
Cloudways: Motivators and influencers influence each one of us. From where do you get your inspirations from? Name top 5 Magento influencers who have inspired you.
Max: I know a lot of great developers and software architects. I have 1 person who really influenced and changed my way of building software. His name is Vitalii Korotun. You probably will not find him via social channels because right now, while you are reading this, he is working on new architecture of Magento 2. You might hear his thoughts on various Magento conferences.
Cloudways: Cloudways offers 1-click Magento 2 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 to improve the outlook and performance of the platform? Your feedback matters alot.
Max: Preparation of Magento instance takes about 10 minutes. Time might be improved by pre-warming virtual instances (few should be fine) for users, so once user selects instance, it will be instant for further use. It also might be great to select Magento extensions for installation.
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