This interview is the second in a series of interviews with outstanding WordPress Developers. This time Vladimir Prelovac was kind enough to answer a few questions.
Hi Vladimir and thank you for doing this interview. Could you start by telling a little bit about yourself?
My name is Vladimir Prelovac and I am the author of ‘WordPress Plugin Development: Beginner’s Guide‘ book published by Packt. Beside developing plugins for WordPress I also do quite a bit of work with SEO for WordPress platforms.
As a WordPress developer you have been quite busy, you have developed a total of (currently) no less than 19 free public plugins. How did you get started developing for WordPress?
One rainy night soon after I installed my WordPress blog I faced a problem that many users do at the beginning and that is to find a suitable theme. I needed a plugin that will allow me to preview themes live on my site while visitors still see the original theme and that’s how Theme Test Drive plugin came to life.
Of the plugins you have currently published, which is your favorite, and why?
My favorite has to be Insights as it is such a tremendous time saver for any WordPress blogger.
What challenges do you face as a WordPress developer, and what could make development easier for WordPress plugins and themes?
Developing WordPress plugins is a pretty straightforward from writing the code to documenting and promoting the plugin, about which I talk a lot in my book. If I am to be a picky I would have been highlighting lack of complete documentation, frequent core changes and security challenges. Finally a premium plugin market (similar to premium themes) would probably help motivate a lot of new plugin developers.
Regarding WordPress themes, the situation is currently better as implementing design fro PSD to WP theme is very easy so the only challenge is one’s imagination.
Do you have any tips for developers that can make WordPress development easier?
Yes I have a couple. First of all study other people’s plugins, that will save you a lot of time when writing your own. I even hold a local copy of the entire wordpress.org plugin repository so I can search through thousands of plugins in few seconds.
Second, try to write good documentation for your plugins. This will help reduce a number of support emails you receive, and you will want to answer all of them to build a good reputation.
Next thing is to pay good attention to security in your plugins. Use nonces, $wpdb->prepare and other mechanisms to improve your chances against hackers. You do not want to see your plugin in the WordPress news feed – but mentioned as a serious security problem.
You are also the only developer for WordPress that has actually written and published a book about Developing for WordPress. What experiences did you gain from that, and how did the market respond to this book?
Book writing experience was both one of the best experiences and also one of the hardest ones. It took me a year to write the book in a time where WordPress was constantly changing and evolving – you can imagine how hard that was. I tried to catch the essence of WordPress plugin development, and all plugins I wrote for the book still work in the latest version of WordPress. Most valuable feedback came from book reviews which there are about ten that I know of at this moment, some of these were written by other seasoned WordPress developers.
You could definitely live of writing books, and even a book in niche narrow as mine is, will find it’s readers. I suggest everyone to give it a try. It’s a wonderful thing to do.
How do you see the current market for commercial WordPress solutions? Is the market expanding, or stagnating?
I think the market is definitely in the expansion. There are more and more companies offering WordPress services, and if you look at the job boards there is more and more search for these kind of services.
In my opinion, the creators of WordPress will still have the biggest impact on the future of WordPress. Security and speed is what I would be relentlessly focusing on if I were in their shoes.
You also work with SEO, how is WordPress out-of-the-box in terms of SEO?
By now I think everyone knows that WordPress is pretty good out of the box in regards to SEO. For most users, the only thing left is to just write good content.
What could be improved in WordPress to allow for better SEO?
Not much I would say. Perhaps few useful plugins like sitemap generator should become part of the core.
What would you like to be seen included in WordPress (not necessarily SEO-related) to make it better for the general audience?
That’s a hard question as everyone has different needs. I am more inclined to say that I would like to see some things removed so that WordPress becomes more faster and secure, and the users should customize it according to their needs.
What is your future as a WordPress developer?
I will continue to build WordPress plugins and contribute to the community I owe so much to.
You run a few projects non-related to WordPress, would you care to explain a little bit about them?
I am currently developing real-time web analytics service with special attention to SEO. The project is called Cleveritics and is currently in alpha stage. The goal is to provide the webmaster with concrete information and call to action instead of countless rows of data. I expect the official launch sometime before this Christmas.
Thank you, Vladimir, for taking the time to do this interview.
Thank you, it was my pleasure.