February 23, 2017
2016 was the inaugural year of our new top contributor program: Magento Masters. Many have asked what it takes to be a Magento Master, so we figured it would be great to spotlight our 2016 Magento Masters and let you get to know them and why they decided to get involved and contribute within the Magento Community.
(In case you missed it, we recently announced our 2017 Magento Masters. Meet them here.)
Let's get to know Kristof Ringleff, Founder at Fooman:
Hi, I’m Kristof. I’m the guy behind Fooman and we’re a Magento Technology Partner. We specialize in creating extensions which make the merchant’s and the developer’s life easier. I’m originally from Germany but I moved to New Zealand quite some time ago, and it’s a really wonderful part of the world. I’m really lucky to be close to the beach, just like most of New Zealand is. Of course, it has a couple downsides. We’re pretty much a 12 hour flight time away from anywhere where anything is happening in the Magento world—except of course New Zealand and Australia.
I guess I’m a fairly typical developer—I like lots of coffee, hanging out on Twitter, and participating in StackExchange. A couple of years ago, I founded the Magento Extension Developers Network just to bring together like-minded developers who care about quality, care about the merchant, and really making the ecosystem better for all of us.
How and when did you first get involved with Magento?
I got involved with Magento back in 2007 when it was still pre-1.0 days, so you could really say I’m a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to Magento. Initially, Magento was more of a hobby interest—trying a few things out, hanging out on the forums and so forth. From there I picked up on a few things people were struggling with. One of my first extensions, which I released as an open source extension, Fooman Speedster, really hit the nerve. Lots of people were using it and that really helped get my name out there. From there it was only a short step to making this a full-time job and becoming an extension developer.
Since then I’ve been to tons of events, have certified myself as a Developer Plus, and now I’m a Magento Master. You never really know what’s around the corner but bring it on!
What made you decide to contribute to the Magento community?
I’m a huge fan of open source, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. So the decision to contribute back to the community was really easy for me. It’s the root of where we’re coming from. The biggest contribution that I think we’re making is keeping our open source and free extensions available—keeping those up to date and supporting them. Currently, there’s about six of them, so do check them out. The beauty, of course, in having something out there is that people use it and you get the feedback that you’re actually helping people. Of course, the most awesome thing is, if other people help you out with pull requests, you’re making your own code better and that obviously helps. The whole ecosystem is able to improve.
How has the Magento community impacted you?
There is something powerful about being connected to other developers who share the same purpose and help each other out to become better at what we all do. I don’t work at a fancy office or anything, I just work by myself from home, but I’m constantly on Slack and Twitter and StackExchange, chatting to other developers. There’s a whole community out there helping each other out, solving each other’s problems and correcting the code. It makes the work, day to day, more enjoyable and really helps me in what I do as well. Through the community I’ve also made some really great friends here in New Zealand, and around the world. I’ve shared some pretty awesome times eating, drinking, laughing, and what else the Magento community gets up to. It’s really just more than work.
What might the community not know about you?
One thing you probably should know about me is that running an extension business might not be as a glamorous as it sounds. Although I have a few others on my team, I still spend a lot of time on support and working 1:1 with customers. That’s really what’s needed for customers to have a great experience with Fooman, so that’s what I do. I really enjoy that part as well—being close to solving problems and getting the immediate feedback. I always say writing the code is the easy part, backing it up with support is really where you can separate someone who’s a player and someone who’s in it for real. There’s obviously lots of variables impacting how an extension works and customers really don’t want to be left stranded if something doesn’t work as expected or advertised. You really have to back up your claims. It’s as simple and difficult as that.
What is one piece of advice that you live by and that you’d like to pass on to other developers?
One piece that I could share is, you’re not alone. Reach out. You’ll be surprised how many people genuinely want to help you. Especially in this community. There are lots of people who are really friendly, really helpful, and really generous with their own time. If you’re stuck with something in your own little world, just reach out around the globe, wherever you are. You’d be surprised as to how much help people are offering.
Kristof is the extension guy behind Fooman. He’s been coding with Magento since 2007 and has spent the last 1.5 years writing time-saving extensions for Magento 2. A huge fan of the Magento community, Kristof is glued to Twitter and Magento StackExchange, as well as running the local meet up group in New Zealand. He founded the Magento Extension Developers Network to give a stronger voice to extension developers committed to quality coding, customer experience, and a strong Magento ecosystem. Kristof is also a very big fan of coffee.