January 7, 2019
Magento Masters contribute a lot to the Magento Community so, naturally, people want to know what makes them tick. In this Magento Masters Spotlight, we’re chatting with Kristof Ringleff, Director at Fooman.
Kristof was selected as a Magento Master for 2018 based on his 2017 contributions through the Auckland Magento User Group, helping others in the community on Magento StackExchange, speaking engagements around harnessing the power of Composer in Magento 2, and educating others through his blog, as well as his GitHub contributions to both the Magento 2 core and DevDocs while serving as a Maintainer.
Who Are You and What Is Your Role?
My name is Kristof. I've been working with a company called Fooman, and we've been doing extension development for about ten years now, as in, just this month, my first extension turns 10. So that's how long we've been around.
How and When Did You First Get Involved with Magento?
I think it all started with myself sort of looking into a storefront for myself. Then I stumbled across Magento, and I found it and also started working with it. This was even before it was released and they sort of did a good job of building excitement around the platforms, so I was following quite closely. And yeah, then just trying to work it out, basically, and, you know, trailing a few things. Being on the forums, figuring out questions, but also seeing other people. Someone saying, "Hey, you know, this is what I'm struggling with." And that was really the idea. Generating the first extension was [when] people had a problem with something, and I solved it, and I was like, "Cool." You know, we'll just put it up as an extension, and I would say the rest is history because one of my first extension was super popular, which was Fooman Speedster. I think up til now, [it’s had more than] 100,000 downloads. So that's really how I got started with it all.
What Made You Decide to Contribute to The Magento Community?
I think it started with that, because, you know, I was already on the forums itself and having questions around my extension. I was already on the forums contributing back to helping people with my code. And then I think over the years that, being involved helped me grow and learn. That was really what keeps me in it as well because every time I'm contributing back I learn something for myself or I challenge myself with something and getting that feedback from the community as well. If it's either helpful or not helpful, that tells me something as well which gives me, again, opportunity to grow myself.
How Has the Magento Community Impacted You?
I think there are so many different stories. Little ones which all add up. If it wasn't for Magento, I wouldn't be sitting here today. I wouldn't be running the business I'm running today. The early success sort of brought me into doing what I do today. And, you know, if it wasn't for that, I'm not sure where I would be. On a personal level, I meet a lot of people which became friends over time and, you know, I'm still in contact with them today and that's amazing that you can combine work and play as well.
What’s One Thing the Magento Community May Not Know About You?
I can go back to the origin stories of Fooman before I, sort of, fell into the Magento space. That was actually set up as a web development company. Before we actually launched into that, I was working with a designer and we had a T-shirt range from Fooman. I don't think that common knowledge quite yet. So that was way back before the development side kicked off.
What Is One Piece of Advice You Live by And Would Like to Pass on To Other Developers?
I think just keep learning. The reality is that, in today's world, everything develops so quickly and, you know, the demand's always more and more from the end customers on to the merchants, and then the merchants need to be taken care of. So, that falls back to us as developers as well. As in, you know, we gotta keep up and, you know, be able to bring those experiences to the merchant and customers. So, you know, keep learning.
Do You Have a Tip for Merchants and Developers to Maximize Partnership?
I think the best tip that I probably have is I don't work with merchants all that directly. Not like an ongoing relationship like building sites because we're doing extensions. But what I've picked up is that the relationship between merchant and developer is so important to get right. That you probably start on a smaller project first. You make sure that the process of working together is what works and then accelerate from there. I think a lot of merchants jump into doing the big project, as in, "This is a new site build. Go for it." Then don't work on a relationship level and by the time you find that out, you're so far down the track, you know, you've paid a deposit for the project. I think it makes sense if you scale back to "All right. Let's see how we would work together on a small project." And then say like, "Okay, yeah. All right, we'll step it up from there and roll that up a little."
What Does Being a Magento Master Mean to You?
It's a good question. I think it's amazing to get this recognition every time and get the Master title. And so like, "Why me?" But, no. It's great to be part of this group. Looking around at the other masters, you know, it's a humbling experience and it's people I look up to as well. So, yeah, it's great.