Cloudways: Hi Rafael, Thank you for taking out some time for this interview with Cloudways. When and how did you start your career with WordPress? Is there an interesting story behind this?
Rafael: Thank you for having me. I actually started out in the Graphic Design and Printing industries. I taught myself HTML and CSS and started creating websites around the turn of the century.
I created my first WordPress site in 2006 for a print magazine. While I chose WordPress for that particular job, at that time, I was also working with Joomla! (or rather Mambo), Drupal and other CMSs (anyone remembers PHP-Nuke?). However, as time passed, I gradually got more and more involved with WordPress.
Cloudways: You currently work at Codeable as a freelance WordPress developer. What are your responsibilities there? Could you share any interesting stories?
Rafael: I am very honored to belong to a great team of WordPress developers who really know their stuff. Just reading through our different Slack channels is a priceless experience that I personally had to put limits to, because you can literally spend hours there.
My responsibilities at Codeable, like the rest of the developers, consist of basically providing the best possible service to clients operating WordPress and WooCommerce websites. This could range from CSS tweaks to setting up a complete online WooCommerce shop from scratch.
Cloudways: Why do you specifically choose WordPress for developing your projects?
Rafael: I think WordPress chose me, or rather my clients did. I had worked with other CMSs (and I still do, although the projects are few and far between), but for about the past eight years, people are mostly demanding WordPress, and the reason, in my opinion, is mainly the user-friendliness of the platform.
This has impacted the way I work and the tools I choose for creating websites, and unless there’s a need for specific software, such as an Intranet or a wiki (that could also be implemented with WordPress, by the way), these days I end up implementing a WordPress-based solution most of the time.
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Cloudways: The WordPress repository has more than 50K plugins for different categories. What do you think some plugins beat the competition?
Rafael: I found that technical support makes a huge difference, not only in the plugins world, also in any other technical related enterprise. Of course, you need a great product to start with, but you’ll find that when there are similar plugins that offer similar functionality, it invariably fares better the one whose developers take the time to help and interact with their user base.
Cloudways: Can you describe your dev workflows and the tools you use during your work?
Rafael: For many years I used Windows and Mac, but since about a couple of years ago when a hard drive with all my latest data crashed, and I was only able to recover it with a Linux distro, I decided to move everything to Arch Linux, and I’m not looking back. It takes a while to get used to it, but the savings in time and headaches are huge. And it helps me to better understand how servers actually work since I can actually run several flavors of them from my own laptop.
I use mostly VS Code for editing, Chrome DevTools, and Firefox Developer Tools for inspecting and debugging, WP-CLI command-line tools for a number of tasks, plus Filezilla, SSH, etc. And thanks to Linux I can use an Apache server right on my laptop for local development. The one thing that was the hardest to part from was Photoshop and Illustrator, but GIMP and Inkscape provide pretty decent alternatives that are more than sufficient for web-based tasks.
Cloudways: Would you agree that web hosting drives the internet? What are your thoughts on cloud hosting? How do you compare/contrast it with traditional shared hosting for businesses?
Rafael: The importance of web hosting is generally underrated. I always try to explain to clients that with a very small investment on the right web host they’d be able to build the foundation that makes a website perform well. However, because of all the technical jargon and also misleading offers of some companies, many of them get lost and opt for ignoring it altogether.
As a WordPress developer, Cloudways offers everything I could wish for, WordPress-ready high-performance servers and managed Cloud Hosting, that takes literally minutes to set up, coupled with prime Technical Support, all at a very affordable price.
Cloudways: It’s hard to take out time from work, but we all need to relax once in a while :). What do you like to do in your free time?
Rafael: Well, in these difficult times, just going for a walk is a treat, and I’m lucky enough to live in the countryside near mountains and rivers. I also have a few web projects of my own that I try to push on when I have some free time, which is a rare event.
Cloudways: Finally, here’s your chance to freestyle. Write anything you think could be interesting or useful to our readers.
Rafael: Okay, here’s an insider tip. When you are all boggled up with a job that seems to be overwhelming with no easy solution, get up and away from the computer, stop thinking about it, and the solution will magically present itself in your mind. It works for me that way at least.
Cloudways: Can you please share the images of your workstation?
Saud is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed WooCommerce Hosting Platform. Saud is responsible for creating buzz, spread knowledge, and educate the people about WordPress in the Community around the globe. In his free time, he likes to play cricket and learn new things on the Internet. You can email him at [email protected]