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“Magento Has Been and Still Is the Most Robust Solution,” Jisse Reitsma

Today we have with us a Developer, Founder, Trainer and a Magento Master. He is a gem of the Magento community: Jisse Reitsma, founder of Yireo. Here’s an interview with the 2017 Magento Master and a well-known Magento personality.

Let’s see what Jisse has to say!

Muneeb: Jisse, thank you for your time :) Please tell us a little about yourself.

Jisse: Thanks for having me. I’m the founder of Yireo, a small but influential Internet company from the Netherlands. For years we’ve been focused on Magento extension development, and lately shifting more towards the training and events.

Muneeb: As the founder, what difficulties did you face in developing Yireo and how did you tackle them? Also, could you share a brief history of Yireo?

Jisse: Yireo was founded more or less around the release of Magento 1.0 (2007/2008). In the beginning, we focused on a few Joomla extensions and later on when Magento matured, some Magento extensions were added.

Since Yireo was never a large company, I was the sole developer working on Yireo extensions (and still am), it has always been important to keep working on new things, bringing in innovations, changing the business model, making radical changes, and getting rid of things that were holding Yireo back.

Looking back at the things we accomplished, it has been a rollercoaster ride.

Muneeb: As the Lead Developer at Yireo, what key points do you focus on before developing an extension?

Jisse: For extension quality, I think it is important to get the basics straight first: Setting up PhpStorm with Xdebug support, make sure Magento 2 is working properly and fast. And then, of course, starting with a plan. Each extension is designed for a purpose, and even though the idea for an extension might come out of the blue, I always go back to the drawing board to see what the end goal is and how the architecture of the extension should reflect it. I don’t practice TDD yet on a daily basis, but tests take a more prominent role every day.

Muneeb: What was your reason for choosing Magento over other ecommerce platforms?

Jisse: Back when we started with Magento, we worked with VirtueMart (Joomla) and osCommerce (briefly) and found their architecture to be lacking. We switched to Magento because of its flexibility and extendability. I have looked into other systems since PrestaShop seemed like a competitor but was (to my feeling) not cleanly written. WooCommerce was for low budget shops. Thelia, Sellvana, and Sylius were cool but never stable in my hands. Magento has been and still is the most robust solution.

Muneeb: What do you think about Magento events and how important are they?

Jisse: I’m a regular speaker at conferences like MeetMagento and MageTitans. In 2016, Yireo twice organized the Magento 2 Seminar conference in The Netherlands. Also, I helped organize other Magento events, including MM17NL and local Magento User Groups. And in November 2017, we are organizing MageTestFest – an international developer conference focused solely on testing.

You see, events are really a part of what we do. But besides that, I simply also love to attend events. Every time I attend an event I meet new people, come up with great ideas, get inspired, meet old friends and simply have a great time. When referring to Magento, we talk a lot about the community, but the most solid way to find out about this community is to attend Magento events.

Muneeb: How do you see the future of Magento? What improvements would you like to see in Magento?

Jisse: With Magento having announced PWA (Progressive Web Apps) on the roadmap, I think a lot will change for frontend developers. It’s not something specific to Magento, but more about Magento catching up with the frontend development itself, where JavaScript frameworks are popping up every week. PWA means that the API of Magento first needs to be improved (hence, there are plans for CQRS and GraphQL), but the real shift will come with PWA. Since the market is moving towards JavaScript anyways, I can say that the shift might be difficult but a solid choice. So I see a bright future for Magento.

Muneeb: You were honored with Magento Master: Movers 2017 award. How did you feel about this big achievement?

Jisse: Well, of course, I felt proud of becoming a Magento Master. But as these things go, after a while it is just a title and you don’t need to be arrogant about it. It was really meaningful to get access to the core Magento people that were open to ideas and shared their own work and ideas. The master’s program seemed to be part of the reason for the opening up of the Magento company and for that, I’m simply really grateful.

Muneeb: What do you love the most about your job? Can you please describe your workplace?

Jisse: I work from home and so does my wife, so we share a lot of time together. The good thing is that I can work at any time that I prefer, the bad thing is that I prefer all the time, so I work a lot. Upstairs I have my own working room with heavy machinery for development, downstairs I work with my laptop on tutorials, training, marketing, etcetera. The flexibility also allows me to work remotely, at conferences, and on holidays. The main problem is that I am so enthusiastic about my work that I need to force myself to take up free time. It’s a never-ending story.

Muneeb: How do you plan your day? What do you do in your spare time, and do you like playing games, watching movies or hanging out with friends?

Jisse: To-do lists are key for me. I’ve worked with a custom-developed web application to maintain to-do items before but failed. I currently work with Wunderlist and Producteev and seem to fail there as well. The main thing that fails is that my todo lists grow much more rapidly than I actually can cross off my list. The solution is simple: Archive all items that are older than a specific date and focus only on the “current” items. I’ve been following this strategy for 10 years now and the archived items sum up to be over 100.000 (no kidding).

Focusing on a smaller subset of tasks makes you happier than trying to do everything at once. Plus, it keeps spots open to do additional things: Relax in the evening with a movie, meet friends at weekends, walk around in nature, play on the piano, and maybe even read a book. I keep myself busy :)

Muneeb: Now it’s time for a fun Rapid Fire round!

Rule: You can’t spend more than 15 seconds on this question ;)

Shopify or PrestaShop?Trick question. Neither.
Movies or Games?Movies. Games are too addictive for me.
Travelling or Party?Travelling and perhaps bumping into a party while travelling.
Tea or Coffee?Coffee, though I would love to see myself as a tea person.
PlayStation or Xbox?None. Games are too addictive for me. If I have to choose, Xbox, because Microsoft’s effort of leaning towards open source needs to be appreciated.

Who would you nominate for an interview on Magenticians? You can recommend your friends or anyone who has notable contributions in the Magento community.

Jisse: I would like to nominate:

  • Riccardo Tempesta, because of his work on free MagentoSpecialist extensions and his great talks at various events
  • Maria Kern, because of her presentations on UIComponents
  • Joke Puts, because of her presentations on Dependency Injection


About Author

Syed Muneeb Ul Hasan is an expert in PHP and Magento, he prefers to educate users in implementing and learning Magento. When not working, he loves to watch cricket.