Topher is a Christian, husband, father, and web developer from Grand Rapids MI. He founded and curates HeroPress.com
Michele: What do you do in the WordPress ecosystem?
Topher: Right now I’m a developer advocate by trade, working for BigCommerce, but I build, speak, mentor, encourage, and generally celebrate WordPress.
Michele: How did you get involved with WordPress?
Topher: In 2010 WordPress 3.0 came out with custom post types, which turned it into a real CMS. I realized that I would never have to build another custom admin area again and I was thrilled.
Michele: Please tell me one story of someone who has inspired you within the WordPress Community?
Topher: Josepha Haden has handled an enormous amount of stress and pressure in the last several months, and she’s done with style and grace.
Michele: What does the Open Source Community mean to you?
Topher: There’s something really special about knowing who makes your software, like knowing the farmer that grows your food. Open source software is inherently more accessible, even if the authors decide to remain reserved. The code is there, and decisions are more visible.
I’ve been using Free Software for over 30 years now, and I have yet to find a package developer who wasn’t willing to respond to a query from me, usually a stranger.
Michele: Please name some of your favorite plugins.
Topher: BigCommerce of course! WP Draw Attention, WP Rocket, and you can see the rest at https://profiles.wordpress.org/topher1kenobe/#content-favorites
Michele: Do you have a favorite theme or framework you like to use?
Topher: As a general rule no. When building really from scratch I often start with _s, and lately I’ve been impressed with GeneratePress.
Michele: If you could change one thing in WordPress, what would it be?
Michele: What is your most memorable WordPress moment?
Topher: The time someone cried when they found out who I was. Incredibly humbling.
Michele: What is one piece of advice you would give to someone just getting started with WordPress?
Topher: Rely on the community. With rare exception we’ll all welcome you and work hard to bring you success.
Michele: What do you think is in store for the future of WordPress?
Topher: It used to be that there was a low barrier to entry to make some really complex things with WordPress, but it’s becoming harder to do as the platform becomes more and more reliant on things like React. I have a fear that the realm of big complicated sites will become the bailiwick of software development agencies, while creating far more “implementers” who simply use Gutenberg to assemble sites without knowing what’s really going on behind the scenes. I really hope I’m wrong about this.
Michele: Just for fun, share one memory that makes you proud to be a part of the WordPress Community.
Topher: One time a community member who was a freelancer was faced with spending the last of his cash either on rent or taking his son to the hospital to fix a broken arm. Not paying rent would have made him homeless. The community pulled together the cash for him in 24 hours and took care of him.
You can find Topher DeRosia at Topher1Kenobe.com
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