You know, when it comes to talking about Joseph Casabona aka Joe, I don’t know how to introduce him. That’s because Joe’s a guy who wears many hats.
(Coincidentally he’s wearing a hat in his picture too :-p)
Let’s see. He’s….
- A front-end developer at Crowd Favorite
- A professor at the University of Scranton
- An author (Building WordPress themes from Scratch, Responsive Design with WordPress)
- A WordCamp speaker and organizer
- A Disney fan!
When I asked Joe for an interview, not only was he accommodating but he was prompt as well. And I really appreciate that. 🙂
So folks, without further ado, let’s hear what Joe has to say.
Tell us about yourself and how you got involved with WordPress.
I’m a Front End Web Developer at Crowd Favorite and have written a couple of books about WordPress, most recently Responsive Design with WordPress.
My freshman year of college (2003-04), my friend Steve Mekosh introduced me to this new blogging platform called WordPress. I checked it out and really liked it. From there I started to play around with it, implementing it on my own blog first then doing some pilot programs with clients.
Around 2006-2007 I really started to push WordPress as a service since it was maturing, transforming from a blogging platform to a CMS.
Now I do everything with WordPress.
What qualities separate the great web developers from the good ones?
Empathy for the user is the most important quality I think. It’s really easy, especially for programmers like myself, to write the user off or call them stupid. But they forget that the users are who will make or break their projects.
Knowing, understanding, and caring for your users makes you a great web designer/developer.
When building a website, what is the biggest issue developers often tend to overlook?
I think this is really related to the previous question. It’s easy to build something and push is out, but doing the research on how people use a website or how they want to use a website often gets overlooked in favor of whatever the stakeholders want.
If you could change one aspect about WordPress, what would it be? And why?
I would love to see more parity between the back and front ends. A lot of clients will get worried that what they see in the editor looks nothing like the actual front end of the site. I think WordPress is moving that way, and I’d really love to see it.
Confess one theme development fail and how you dealt with it?
I’m actually giving a talk all about this. I think that, while I’ve been preaching about great responsive themes and performance, I haven’t given much time to the performance side of things. My themes sometimes take too long to load and I am not using the tools available to me. I’m changing that this year.
What has your experience at Crowd Favorite been like and what has it taught you?
Without a doubt, I’ve completely changed in the year I’ve been with Crowd Favorite. I’ve become a better developer as far as best practices and code I’m writing. I’ve also learned a ton about working with enterprise clients, teams, and specing out work. I couldn’t be happier with my experience there.
3 things you like best about being involved in WordCamp?
- The people is #1. I’ve met so many amazing folks (including the people I work for) at WordCamps.
- The teaching is #2. I often give talks and love the feedback I get and that fact that I can help people in the community.
- And the learning is #3. Whether I speak or attend a session, I’m bound to learn something new.
Joe, thank you for taking the time and talking to us. You’ve been great!
For those of you reading this, if you’re a newbie front-end developer, getting a hold of Joe’s books could be of great help, or if you’re lucky you could attend one of his sessions. You can also checkout his website, or follow him on twitter.
Oh! And I almost forgot to mention this. When asked what he’d have been if he weren’t a front-end developer, I thought he’d say ‘a drummer’ or ‘an author’. But he said….