Speaker Highlight: Evan Solomon

Evan Solomon

Evan Solomon

What WP consultants deserve more love than they get? Who should we be paying attention to?

The 10up team has a lot of great people. In particular, I really like the tools and knowledge that Jeremy Felt and Eric Mann are working on lately.

If you were going to spend this weekend creating a plugin that doesn’t exist, what would it be?

Last week I had an idea to write an automated version of the WordPress theme unit tests using CasperJS. I haven’t done it yet and I’m not sure if/when I’ll get to it, so hopefully someone steals it from me and does it first. This is kind of cheating since it’s not actually a plugin, but it seemed in the spirit of the question.

Favorite plugin or least favorite plugin?

I tend to like (making and using) small, specifically-focused tools. My favorite plugins are the ones that make annoying tasks easier for me. A couple that I really like are Markdown On Save (Mark Jaquith) and Batcache (Andy Skelton).

What do you think is the biggest challenge that WP consultants will face in 2013?

As an outsider (I’m not a WP consultant) it seems like it’s really hard to distinguish yourself from the mass of people who have no idea what they’re doing. I think it’s really hard for customers of WP consultants to figure out who to choose, and often end up choosing based on bad price expectations.

If you could change one thing today about WP, what would it be?

I’d like to see WordPress use more modern technologies. I think the community, to the benefit of an easy learning curve, has been really slow to adopt new tools. I’d really like to see WordPress move its static files to preprocessed languages. I’m a big fan of CoffeeScript, and would happily support a move to either SASS or LESS. Unfortunately, most people in the community are somewhere between indifferent toward and strongly against that change.

If you were interviewing another WordPress developer for a job, what is the first question you would ask and why?

What have you worked on that has nothing to do with WordPress?

WordPress is a great tool, but I am skeptical of people who don’t know any other tools/technologies/languages/API’s/etc. Aside from the fact that learning about other tools will probably even help your WordPress work (see ThemeFoundry’s Forge or 10up’s Vagrant config), I think it’s a good indicator of people who like to learn and can pick up new things as needed. It learning new tools helps you build much better, more well-rounded opinions and ideas about the things you already know, including WordPress.