Interview with Matthew Ruddy, developer of Riva Slider

Today we continue our series of interviews with WordPress developers by having a chat with Matthew Ruddy, developer of the excellent Riva Slider. If you’re looking for a slider plugin, that’s one of the best WordPress sliders available, and you should definitely give it a try. Matthew is still very young but has already experienced success, selling more than a 1000 units of his plugin.

Matthew has kindly offered to give away 3 copies of Riva Slider to our readers. All you have to do is tweet about this post and post a link to your tweet in the comments section below. The winners will be selected randomly from all the entries.

Ok, let’s learn a bit more about Matthew:

Thanks for joining us today Matt, please tell us a bit more about your background, and what you do for a living.

Sure, no problem at all. Well, I’m born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. I’m 18 and currently still attending Secondary School. In my 6th year now and sitting my final exams in June. Not sure what I want to do afterwards, but I think I may take a year off before going to college to work on the Riva Slider and turn it into a sustainable business. I am quite entrepeneurial and I would hope to own a few businesses in the future.

How long have you been working with WordPress and how did you get started on it?

I’ve been working with WordPress about two years now. I’ve learned a lot in that time. My first ever PHP venture was the ‘Easing Slider’, which you can still download for free on It is also a slideshow plugin, be it much simpler than the Riva Slider. In-fact, it’s going to be updated pretty soon, marketed as the ‘Riva Slider Lite’.

What made you move on to developing plugins?

Well, my first WordPress experience was designing a website for my aunty. She wanted a slideshow on the homepage of her new website, but finding one that fulfilled what we needed yet remaining easy to use proved difficult. Having completed her website, I set out to learn PHP and develop a slideshow plugin that users could use easily without having to know how to code.

Riva slider is your flagship product, what made you enter the slideshow market, which is already quite saturated I must say? Tell us more about any innovative features of Riva Slider.

The success of the ‘Easing Slider’ really lead me to believe that there was a potential to make a profit whilst providing a superior product. This is when I released the ‘Premium Slider’, a more advanced version of the ‘Easing Slider’. In its year of sales it was quite a success, selling just over a 1100 units (which is great at my age). The ‘Riva Slider Pro’ has since replaced the ‘Premium Slider’, part of an overhaul of the two plugins and a new marketing strategy. This time, I really want to go big and maximize the platform we provide.

Can you mention some other plugins that you find yourself relying on when developing new WordPress sites?

To be honest, I don’t really use many other plugins in my development. I try hard to make sure the plugin works with plugins such as WP Minify, which a lot of people use. I also like to use Members to manage user roles, which I have incorporated into the Riva Slider. Of course, I also use the WordPress recommended error checking plugins, such as Log Depreciate Notes. Contact Form 7 is what we use as an email form on our site, which is very flexible and simple to use.

Tell us a bit about your development setup (hardware + software).

Development is done on my Macbook Pro 13″. I also run Windows 7 in Bootcamp, and Windows XP in VMWare Fusion. I always use OSX, but utilize Windows whenever a user comes to me with an Internet Explorer issue. I also manage subversions using Windows XP (for the ‘Easing Slider’). Adobe Photoshop is great for the design side of things, but I wouldn’t really label myself as a designer. I lack that little bit of creative ability a Designer would have. Komodo Edit is a great code editing tool. It has this nice little feature that suggests functions to you are your typing them, and underlines any mistakes in your code. Lastly, I use MAMP for local WordPress installations to do my testing on. The advantage of this is that it is much quicker than an online setup, but you have to be careful that everything you do on a local setup works online also. Accommodating for different hosting platforms and setups can be very difficult.

Any other online tools or resources you use on a daily basis?
W3C Validator is a must. I don’t believe validation is 100% necessary, but it is good to be standards compliant. Some users come to me with issue regarding their slideshows looking distorted, and a quick validation check generally shows that they have forgotten to close an element somewhere on their page. Very handy. One of the Javascript resources we use in the plugin is the ColorPicker tool, which is great for users who don’t have any sort of image editing software on their computer.

Tell us a bit about your plans for 2012, any new projects in the pipeline?

2012 is going to be a crazy year for me. Besides my final exams and making my choices on university/taking a year off, I plan to really expand the Riva Slider. I would hope to include things like a Graphical Live Styling Editor, in which users can drag, drop & select elements from a slideshow in real time (in the admin area) and make changes to the styling. I want to take away the dependency on needing to know CSS to completely redesign a slideshows styling. I also want to have a similar system for the text editor, in which users can add text to slides in real-time and position them anywhere on the slide. Individual slide options is also on that list, so users can have unique transition times, etc, for a particular slide. And so much more.
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Picture of Jean Galea
Jean Galea is an investor, entrepreneur, and blogger. He is the founder of WP Mayor, the plugins WP RSS Aggregator and Spotlight, as well as the podcast. His personal blog can be found at

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5 Responses

  1. I am creating video tutorials and am looking into sliders. The Riva slider is one of a few that I am checking out. I would like a copy to compare it with others I have tested out. It would be nice to use it on my site that I am developing. I would then also create a video tutorial on it.


    I do not use twitter much but here is a link to my profile. Where the twit is on the top: !/Paaljoachim

    What kind of comment system are you using here? Is this a plugin?

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