As I promised in my previous post about the WordCamp Sofia 2012 event, I will be posting interviews with some of the speakers on the event. I am glad to present the first one – Mario Peshev.

1. Please tell us with a few words who you are and what you do?

My name is Mario Peshev and I’m a WordPress engineer and consultant. I’m tweaking WordPress for a living, taking part in a number of initiatives related to WordPress theming, plugin development, multisite setup, connectivity with external APIs and platforms.

Currently I’m working as a WordPress Engineer for Placester, the company behind the largest WordPress plugin for real estate websites, author of a number of WordPress themes and a generous host of a multisite instance with about 15 000 real estate websites based on the platform. I’m also doing some part-time consulting for my loyal clients in DevriX and speak about open source technologies at conferences and seminars.

2. When and how you first found WordPress?

Back in 2006 I was working for a large company with a dozen of niche websites that was going to build a local hosted blogging platform as well. I was a LiveJournal user back then and had to research different available platforms for blogging when I first encountered the existence of WordPress. It was still immature and growing but I spent some time reading about its features and plans for the future releases.

A year later I ran my first blog with external forum integration and few months later I started my current blog in Bulgarian – http://peshev.net/blog/ . Working on customizations and updates over there I was comparing the platform to my current (at the time) tools of use – Java for enterprise/desktop products and CodeIgniter/CakePHP/Drupal for small-to-med web projects.

The transition was smooth and one day I woke up and realized that I’ve postponed all my non-WordPress projects, working on a theme framework for ThemeForest, being a part of the WPTRT crew for reviewing themes on WPORG and reading a major number of WP-related blogs.

3. Do you remember the first site that you build with WordPress? How does it changed your work?

Besides my own blogs, I had a project for a PR agency that had to integrate external RSS feeds, post them as annotations in a single installation linking back to the original sources, enable an eventing system with a calendar on the site and a few more minor updates. My researches ended with FeedWordPress and a neat event calendar plugin, both of them required less than a week fine tuning and cosmetic updates and the site became a serious online source of data, aggregating external resources and hosting online events data. That was the red sign for me warning me to stop labeling WordPress ‘a blogging platform’ only.

4. Why should business use WordPress for their sites?

That’s my favorite question. Recently my main purpose is educating small companies and web studios that there is a mature, easy to use, user friendly platform with a great UX and a huge amount of plugins and themes available for their customer-oriented project. There have been thousands of companies with their custom frameworks, being rarely tested and optimized, lacking features and modifications. Customers are left with zero choice of platform conversion or changing the team as there is a single team in the world utilizing the following framework or CMS.

Working with an international platform with 70 million websites out there is a great advantage of scaling projects, focusing on the important custom functionality of the project, getting extra help from contractors and expanding the work force towards a larger customer database. Nevertheless it builds trust in customers as it is open source, they could consult with their third-party contractors, change team if they feel insecure (they don’t if your work is of a higher quality, and it needs to be) and they are giving credits back to you for work that is actually not entirely yours.

5. What is your favorite part about WordCamp events?

Networking. It’s an awesome chance to meet fellow developers/designers/administrators that are contributing back to the community. There is a chance that you’re having your morning coffee with the author of your favorite theme or plugin. Not to mention that it’s the place where you could meet partners or customers looking for serious badass WordPress professionals for any kind of project or a full-time work even.

Sessions are also very helpful as they’re usually being led by consultants or experts from large corporations working on some enterprise projects and sharing experience from a scope being rarely reachable for smaller or mid-size projects.

6. Where do you see WordPress in the next five years?

That’s hard to tell, but numbers of available websites are about to grow more and more and the share of WordPress compared to other CMS and even e-commerce platforms is going to reach a new contrast. I’m not going to abandon the platform anytime soon as there is an overwhelming interest and number of requests for building themes and plugins, customizing websites or scaling large platforms for millions of monthly unique visitors.

7. Final comments?

I would be happy to see more people involved in the project. It’s a great collaborative environment with an outstanding community involved for the sake of the users – putting the best practices, usability and scalability above the business purpose.

Many thanks for the interview, Mario! Hope you enjoy it too! If you have any questions for Mario, you can post your comments here or attend WordCamp Sofia 2012 and speak with him personally.

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