Today, we’re hanging out with another eminent WordPress player Chris Wiegman. The developer of the iThemes Security plugin, one of the admins of Advanced WordPress, an active member of unbeatable WordPress community with heavy involvement in a variety of WordPress events. Enjoy the interview and feel free to leave your name in the comments section.
Thanks for joining us today, Chris. Please tell us a bit more about your background. How long you’ve been working with WordPress? Can you give us an overview of what you currently do?
I’m a Senior Web Engineer for 10up and I’ve been working with WordPress since about 2007/2008. Most of my experience in the platform comes from the development of the iThemes Security/Better WP Security plugin on which I was the sole developer until February 2014.
You were teaching Computer Science. What is your definition of WordPress CMS? How would you explain the meaning of WordPress from the teacher’s perspective?
The short explanation I’ve used is that WordPress is an application that enables a use to manage content of any kind for their website.
There are plenty of other CMSs available on the web. Why WordPress? Do you remember your first experience with the platform?
Why WordPress is easy… It’s the community. I’ve actually spent considerable time on my own solution as well as Drupal and I simply could not have built the security plugin (or much else) to the level I was able to bring it to without the WordPress community.
What feature/aspect in WordPress is your favourite and what one do you think WordPress lacks in its core? What frustrates you most about the software?
My favorite goes to a combination of community and license. On the flip side I more and more find myself annoyed with the need to support such legacy server architecture like PHP 5.2 when writing public WordPress plugins and themes.
Have you ever tried out another CMS solutions? Which? Except WordPress, which CMS would you prefer using now?
This would depend on the project. For a blog Ghost is really pretty cool. For a large-scale open source website Drupal still has merit (although their lack of a good upgrade path make choosing it difficult).
What’s the most important advice you can give to those users willing to kickstart their career with WordPress, but are at the very beginning of their journey? What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Get involved and build something. Put out small plugins, get involved with the community, etc. There is so much support available to those working in WordPress and all you have to do is accept it.
Providing migration service, we witness that more and more people are currently leaving other platforms in favor of WordPress. Have you personally ever faced the problem of website migration?
Fortunately I haven’t had the issue. In most migrations I’ve gone through we’ve used the opportunity to complete a full re-write of the site. That said, WordPress is often the bright-spot in what I have done. It’s the other software that I’m migrating to or from that can create issues.
Do you think that keeping the same design is an important part of migration from one platform to another?
That depends on the reason for the migration. Coming from Drupal a migration is often simply the result of a new version which may need a new theme anyway. Websites go stale all too quickly if not changed up every now and then.
How do you treat an automated method of website conversion? Have you ever tried online converters to switch to WordPress?
I haven’t tried any of these but I could see where they would have substantial merit for anyone is is more of a website administrator than a developer.
What is your favorite WordPress-related resource? What resources would you recommend to those looking to become WordPress experts?
Four blogs I read every post on are: Curtis McHale, Matthew Pritchett, Tom McFarlin and Eric Mann. These guys really know their stuff and can be a great resource for those getting started.
Tell us something awesome about yourself that is not WordPress related.
I’m actually not a developer by trade. I was originally a pilot and I’ve been crew on business jets from Cessna Citations to the Falcon 10 as well as a Captain for a small airline in Hawaii.
A huge thank you to Chris for his time, thoughts and experience sharing with us. Keep reading our ongoing Experts Interview Series with a lot more experts to be invited soon.
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