I Enjoy Teaching People How to Make Web Pages with WordPress

Topher DeRosia

Topher DeRosia

Topher DeRosia
Today we are going to conduct the interview of Topher DeRosia from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the curator of HeroPress and Developer Advocate at BigCommerce. He has experience in WordPress, PHP, MySQL, HTML, and CSS. The series of jobs and freelancing began when he quit college and has lasted 25 years.

Introduction

Topher DeRosia is Senior Developer Advocate at BigCommerce, where he works to enhance the communication between BigCommerce and developers. He brings more than 25 years of experience as a web developer, over a decade of which has been spent building out WordPress sites.

In addition, Topher has extensive knowledge of WooCommerce development, helped make Easy Digital Downloads and curates HeroPress.com. Fun fact: Topher is responsible for making the official International Space Station Windows95 desktop theme.

He currently lives in Grand Rapids, MI with his wife Cate and two daughters, Ema and Sophia. You can find Topher on Twitter (@topher1kenobe) talking about eCommerce, web development, general technology, and culture. He’s also a regular on the Make WordPress and Post Status Slack channels.

Q. How did you come into your current field? Share a bit of the background?

A. I was in college studying Something Else when I fell in love with the web. This was in 1994, and we got email first, then telnet, then Gopher, and finally access to Lynx, the web browser that worked on our VAX/VMS mainframe.

I began making web pages for fun, then for money, and I also enjoyed teaching people how to make web pages.

Once I quit college I simply started taking contracts to build web sites. I worked briefly for the Kellogg’s corporation (the cereal people) and then began a series of jobs and freelancing that has lasted 25 years.

Q. Whatís the most interesting project you have done to date in WordPress?

A.I was a team lead for a project that was building a multi-site network for a newspaper corporation. We built the main site for the main newspaper in the nation’s capitol (It wasn’t the US) and they took the network and built sites for papers all over the country.

I was in the US, my project manager was in Canada, by front-end dev was in Poland, and my backend dev was in Indonesia. It was fun coordinating all the work,

Q. Have you ever been to any WordPress meetups or WordCamps? If yes did you learn anything useful?

Topher DeRosia
A. I’ve been to over 60 WordCamps, including WCEU in Vienna, WordCamp Pune in India, and every WCUS so far.

I always learn something, but at this stage WordCamps are much more about networking and meeting people. I enjoy meeting people from all over the world.

Q. What does your workstation look like?

tophers desktop
A. It’s a small desk in the corner of a large room. I have a fairly normal 4k monitor, a macbook pro, and some audio equipment because I do screencasts.

Q. What kind of tools/software do you currently use for your creations?

A. I’m an old developer, so I use VIM as my IDE. I like Local by Flywheel and DesktopServer for local development. I typically only code in PHP. I use GIMP for graphics when I need it. My day job doesn’t include much development, so I tend to use Google Apps a lot.

Q. What interesting feature do you think you would like to see in WordPress and is currently missing?

A. I can’t think of anything right away.

Q. Out of the current plugins and themes which one do you like the most and why?

A. Well, I work for BigCommerce, so I need to say the BigCommerce for WordPress plugin is GREAT. 🙂 I also like WP Rocket for caching. WP Draw Attention is wonderfully interesting.

bigcommerce
draw-attention
wp-rocket.me

Q. Which WordPress hosting do you use and would you recommend for your clients and others?

A. I use quite a variety as I’m interested in how they work. I’ve been a Dreamhost user for 20 years now. I also use Siteground regularly. I’ve worked with Flywheel, WP Engine, Convesio, and Pagely. I admire Kinsta though I haven’t worked with them.

I don’t think I can recommend any single host for everyone. They each have places where they excel, and you should find which one fits your project best.

Q. Do you like/love what you currently do in WordPress?

A. I do! My day job has only a small slice for WordPress now, but I also run HeroPress.com, which brings me great joy and enriches my life tremendously.

Q. What would you like to do in the future in the current field or somewhere else?

A. I’ve always wanted to be a cabinet maker and a blacksmith.

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