An Interview with Jisse Reitsma: “… you should be focusing on helping out the Magento community, which in effect is helping yourself. “

An Interview with Jisse Reitsma: “… you should be focusing on helping out the Magento community, which in effect is helping yourself. “

Editor’s note: Today, we are proud to draw your attention to an interview with Jisse Reitsma. Being a 3-time Magento Master “Mover” and the owner of Yireo, he shares his thoughts about the career path, Magento and his life within it. Together with Jisse, we will find out the main aspects of the popular ecommerce platform, learn the importance of Magento extensions for your business strategy, and catch up with his predictions of its future. So, let’s dig into useful insights!

1. Jisse, lots of thanks for taking the time out for this interview. You’ve been working in the IT sphere for quite a long period of time. What e-commerce platforms have you tried out and how did you end up working with Magento? 

In dark ages, a long time ago, I played around with VirtueMart, WooCommerce, osCommerce, Ubercart and even a custom-built cart. But that’s a long time ago. Today, Magento 2 is already 3.5 years old (taking the 2.0.0 release as its official birthdate) and I have to say I’m only reminded of Magento 1 once in a while. I can hardly remember the days before Magento 1 came along. Let’s just say that Magento 1 came out in a time when the e-commerce market was not mature yet, while Magento definitely made it more mature.

2. Please share with our readers the difficulties that you faced at the beginning of your Magento career. What is the most memorable piece of advice you have been given at that time?  

I guess that any developer that starts with Magento – both Magento 1 and Magento 2 – will be overwhelmed at first. Magento is a difficult application, due to its flexible nature. But once you conquer its technology, things start to make sense. However, this requires you to take the whole learning curve, not just part of it. If you jump to conclusions too quickly, Magento is definitely not your thing.

3. You are owner of Yireo that helps to get the best out of Magento or related technologies. Could you tell us the reasons that made you launch the company? What is your proudest accomplishment within it?

Because Yireo predates Magento, I could tell you stories less related to Magento. But instead, I just like to focus on the latest history and also the future. Magento 2 has brought a lot for Yireo. We were one of the first to organize a Magento 2 specific event (Magento 2 Seminar), after the launch of Magento 2 Stable. I’m really proud of that. But I’m also really proud of the developer events MageTestFest and Reacticon that we put down.

4. Magento is known for its large repository of modules. Would you mind naming 3 must-have features of a perfect extension? Which is your favorite module you can’t afford to miss during Magento website configuration and why? 

Extension development in Magento 2 is not easy: You need to support a wide variety of environments and versions to accommodate all of your users. Not only that, the code needs to follow best practices, otherwise it will not be easily extendable for third party developers. Here are some pointers:

- Make sure to add unit tests and integration tests to the vital parts of your extension. It saves you time on the long run.

- Think about the logic of your code. Try to apply the Single Responsibility Principle to your methods, class and submodules.

- Understand semantic versioning in-depth. By properly depending on API interfaces instead of classes, you can make your code forward-compatible and have less head-aches in the future. Your module XML and composer file serve as documentation at this point.

5. Can you single out the main criteria that a Magento user should pay attention to when choosing an extension (e.g. price, support period, refund policy, documentation, etc.)?

When picking an extension, I would advise not to look at the price, support period or refund policy at first at all. You are not looking for an extension to just accept its legal terms. You are looking for a solution. And instead of having this built by a third party developer, which will be hugely expensive, take note of the fact that any extension that fits your needs will actually save you tons of money. Even if it is a fairly expensive extension. Once you realize that you benefit from extensions instead of having no extensions, it is easier to understand how an extension vendor tries to make a living with this special business model that extension sales falls under. It is better to focus upon the functionality itself: Is the code of good quality? What do others say about the extension? Is the extension listed on the Magento Marketplace? As an extension vendor myself, I’m part of a group called ExtDN (which stands for the Magento Extension Developer Network) and we’re trying to improve extension quality on many different levels. Make sure that you know what you buy yourself into, because choosing the wrong extension will get you frustrated, will get the extension vendor frustrated and will still not solve the problem that you have. And if you don’t know whether an extension X will solve your problem, ask the extension vendor itself, because they know best.

6. You are involved with various activities in the fields of Magento, Linux, React, Docker and related technologies. What motivates you most to contribute to all projects you’re involved with?

In general, I fell in love with open source a long time ago. And open source does not mean free. It means that I – as a coder – can look at the source code and modify it as well, or take advantage of others who did. Because of the greatness of all of that, I simply feel it like an ethical decision to try to contribute back something: Pull requests back to the original code base, help on forums, help in other ways (like hackathons or other events), etcetera. And the more you contribute back, the more fun it actually becomes.

7. Jisse, you’re a 3-time Magento Master “Mover”. What steps should a developer take to get this title? Could you provide any suggestions for users who are at the very beginning of their Magento path?

Do not try to become a master. Seriously. A mastership is not a title that you can buy yourself into. There’s too many people doing too many great things in this community. Instead, you should be focusing on helping out the community, which in effect is helping yourself.

8. To summarize, where do you see Magento in 3-5 years time? What improvements would you like to see in the upcoming versions? 

The biggest change that I see happening with Magento is its move into a separation of service. Core developers often refer to Service Oriented Architecture. But the deprecation of MySQL Search in favor of ElasticSearch is another chapter of the same story, as is the upcoming of headless frontends (PWA). I’m not looking ahead that much to upcoming Magento core versions. I’m much more eager to find out how developers will cope with the new architecture and design of this future Magento. For instance, PWA will become more and more of a thing, but nobody knows how this will relate to Magento extensions. In any way, I think Magento is changing quickly at this moment. Not necessarily towards a new segment in the enterprise market, but much more towards a new design that could be called the new standard. And all of those microservices will bring us much more opportunities, than the old monolithic approach was offering. I can’t wait to see all of this evolve. And maybe I’ll bring the community a cool Magento 3 Certified Developer shirt with a reference to an actual new Magento instead of it just being a silly joke.

We’re thankful to Jisse for taking his time and answering our questions. Best of luck to him, and all our readers. Stay tuned as we promise to post much more fascinating interviews, as well as ecommerce and Magento tips. 

Note: If you want to equip your Magento e-store with compelling features, visit Plumrocket Store to find the desired extensions.

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