Sven Wagener has a one-page website in German. It takes you to Awesome.UG, where it tells you he is involved in creating WordPress plugins. If you google his name, you will see his GitHub repos. Yes, he is very much involved in building things. Torro Forms is the proof of that.
Then, there is WP-Sofa.de, a podcast about the latest and the greatest in WordPress industry. This means he loves to be social. Therefore, he is always present at a WordCamp event near him.
In this interview, Sven talks about WordPress and WooCommerce development, optimization, and security. Hope you’ll love this interview.
Cloudways: Hello Sven, thank you for joining us today. Could you please tell our readers a bit about yourself?
Sven: I am a 36-year-old web developer and a passionate WordPress programmer and plugins developer. I wrote my first lines of code on a Commodore 64 when I was 8 years old, and I’ve been exploring the Internet since 1994.
Cloudways: You have developed payment and shipment gateways for WooCommerce. Could you tell us which tools you prefer to create and manage your projects on WordPress?
Sven: Yes, I have programmed the official Shipcloud.io shipment gateway and the Sofort.com payment gateway, which you can get on the WooCommerce.com page. But also, we have built the form builder Torro Forms which you can download on WordPress.org.
In the past, I used Aptana for developing, but since the last few years, I’ve been using PHPStorm to develop my products. For me, it’s the complete IDE on the market. Also, I use Sublime to take a quick look into files starting from the Finder. Yes, I’m using a Mac.
I have hosted my public and private projects on Github. Every plugin gets a project on Github, which I check out on my system and add it as a project in PHPStorm. There, I have enabled the WordPress support to have the correct code completion. I can also upload from here to different sites or stages of a project. I also use PHPUnit and Travis CI to better up the code quality.
Cloudways: Aside from development, you’re very active on different WordPress forums to help the world’s largest WordPress community to grow. How well do you manage all this besides your work?
Sven: I just see it all as one job. For me, that is open source. I use a lot of open-source software created by the community and of course I have to give back. I cannot just gain from benefits. It is vital to give back. Without support, open-source communities won’t be able to build solutions.
Also, I have the possibility to share my software in the community, and the people using my software are giving me feedback which is important for me and of course for the plugins.
Moreover, I love to travel. I love to attend WordCamps. This year, I have already visited 5 WordCamps, and there will be at least three more until the end of the year.
Cloudways: Sven, can you please tell our readers on how they can start learning WordPress from scratch?
Also, there is the WordPress Codex site that explains a lot. In most cases, when you are searching for WordPress functions, action hooks, or filters on the internet, you will find the results from the Codex. This helps a lot.
Cloudways: There are many content management systems around the globe. What is your reason to pursue a career as a WordPress developer?
Sven: WordPress is easy-to-learn and very flexible. I like the template system because PHP is an embedded programming language. I never understood why developers are using template systems like Smarty to develop their templates. This complicates everything without any reason. You just have to structure your code better by separating template files from functionality. You do not need an additional PHP template system for that.
Also, the action hooks and filters are also a big advantage of the system. You can jump in thousands of points into WordPress or in plugins. I haven’t seen that before in other systems. This is where my addiction to WordPress began.
Cloudways: WordPress popularity makes it an incredibly attractive target for hackers. How will you suggest securing WordPress websites?
Sven: I am no security expert, but there are some basics you should follow. At first, only use complex passwords, starting from 13 characters with mixed case alphabets, numbers, and special characters. Also, you should update your WordPress regularly.
The biggest problems are old WordPress installations. There are some providers, like Sucuri or Wordfence, which scan your site for malware infections. Also, there is the “anti-malware” plugin of gotmls.net.
Cloudways: WordPress speed is a little hitch in its usage. What are your recommendations to optimize and speed up WordPress website?
Sven: Caching. You can use a caching plugin, like WP Super Cache or WP Rocket, which copy the site and decrease the PHP and DB efforts a lot. If you can, you should use server side caching like Memcache, which caches the whole site in the server memory. That’ll make it incredibly fast.
Cloudways: Within the WordPress Community, who do you consider your best friend?
Sven: I don’t like to highlight people. It’ll make people disappointed because I’ll forget a few names.
Cloudways: As the saying goes, ‘all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy,’ what do you do during your free time?
I meet my friends and love to take my bike out for some exercise. And yes, I also like to play games, but never alone. If I switch on my Xbox or PC to play games alone, I will switch it off after just 10 minutes. For me, it’s like a table board game. It brings people together for fun and excitement.
I also love to cook. I like all kinds of food from all over the world and like to experiment a lot. Especially if I am traveling, the first thing I do is to learn about the special food in the city or country. I collect the food and bring it home for me and my friends, of whom nearly all are addicted to good food as well.
Cloudways: Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform for everyone, offering 1-click installation for WordPress with advanced caching technologies and optimized servers. What’s your opinion about managed cloud hosting services such as Cloudways?
Sven: It’s an interesting concept that you can select a variety of cloud providers on one platform. Cloudways seems to be fast and has lots of options for web developers and website owners alike. I especially like the possibility of deploying Git. I also designed customer web pages, and Cloudways provides a nice way to deploy them .
Cloudways: Just to humor our readers, can you please send us an image of how your desk or workspace look like? 🙂
Yes, those are herbals on the table 😉 The microphone is for our german WP Sofa – WordPress Podcast with Hans-Helge Buerger, Rene Reimann, and Marc Nilius.
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