In our new interviews section we will be meeting WordPress developers from all around the world. This month we start off with Brad Trivers, who is based in Canada and has made the switch to WordPress in recent years. In this interview we learn more about why he chose WordPress and how he uses our favourite CMS.
Hi Brad, thanks for joining up for this interview. Let’s start with an introduction. Tell us about your web development business in general and where WordPress comes into the picture.
First off, thank you for interviewing me! I started developing simple websites way back in 1995 when I worked at Waterloo Maple Inc as a student, but unfortunately didn’t have the guts to pursue it as a career at the time. I worked in corporate IT until 2004 when I went out on my own as a consultant. I had a full-time contract but in my “spare time” developed my own CMS using PHP / MySQL with a little ajax thrown in, and started building websites professionally. My CMS is still in use on several sites – you can see some shared on the wall of the SunriseWeb.ca Facebook Page. In spring of 2010 I took another look at WordPress and saw that with 3.0 it had really come into its own as a CMS and framework for web applications. That’s when I decided to make the leap and left my steady contract to focus on web development full time.I’m loving WordPress because I’m not a graphic designer and it allows me to develop functionality for my clients inside beautiful premium themes. Like many others, along with developing a web presence for clients, my goal is to develop and sell premium plugins.
How long have you been using WordPress, and did you use any other CMSs before? If so, what made you make the switch?
Other than my own CMS, I set up MediaWiki for clients, and experimented with Joomla a little bit. I moved to WordPress because it just makes so much sense to use a blogging platform as the core for a CMS, I love the existing set of available plugins, and the ability to easily add functionality using the WordPress plugin structure. Also I feel that WordPress is really just beginning to become popular in the commercial marketplace and this represents an opportunity to create products that companies will pay for – like premium plugins.
You’ve just launched a redesign of your website www.sunriseweb.ca, naturally using WordPress. Any other WP powered sites that you’re particularly fond of?
I’m really more of a content guy, but like simple sites. I’ve enjoyed using SitePoint.com for years and so I’m glad to see they are using WordPress for their blog at least. I also subscribe to WPBeginner.com and love a lot of their content but sometimes they get a little too “salesy” for me. Also I just subscribed to DigWP.com for the content although I’m not particularly fond of the site look and feel. Of course I also subscribe to and enjoyWPMayor.com – great content – can’t wait to see what you do with your site re-design!
Are there any particular WordPress plugins which you use recurrently in your projects?
Yes. I created this WordPress Plugins post to list them on SunriseWeb.ca.
I know you’re currently developing a very interesting reservation plugin. Could you tell us more about its features and how the idea came about?
We are very excited about our “Reservation System” plugin. It just went live on our first client site to manage reservations for a campground and inn with over 520 campsites and rooms. One feature that sets our Reservation System apart is the ability to view rental availability search results on a map with colour-coded dots at each rental location indicating whether it is available based on the search criteria. Also essentially all the reservation management functionality is done from the “front end” of the site – not within WP-Admin – which enhances usability. The plugin uses no custom tables and takes advantage of custom post types and taxonomies. One of the trickiest things was building the custom login functionality instead of using the standard WordPress login interface.
What is your setup for developing with WordPress? Do you use an IDE and tools like version control systems?
I just use the PSPad editor at this time. Since I’m the only developer, I haven’t yet taken the time to explore better IDE and code control systems – but I’m going to start with your post on Best IDE for WordPress Development when I do.
Do you use any frameworks to speed up the development cycle?
Do you follow any WordPress-related websites to keep updated and follow new developments?
WPMayor.com, DigWP.com, WPBeginner.com
Finally, where do you see WordPress heading in the immediate future, and are there any missing features which you wish it had?
I think that this year will see an explosion in premium themes and plugins that really take advantage of the constructs that WP 3.x offers. SunriseWeb.ca is hoping to be part of that. One area I would like to see improved is making the login process easily available to the front end. Right now login forms have to be custom-built and it is cumbersome to use re-directs to get back to the calling page – and re-directs don’t work for incorrect username/password attempts or when cookies are cleared. As good as the WP-Admin back end is there are lot of times when end users should not go there.
Brad Trivers is the co-owner of SunriseWeb.ca with his wife Karen and develops websites and web applications, primarily using WordPress. Along with parenting his two children, in his spare time he likes to play ice hockey, guitar and mandolin.