Mauricio Gelves – WProfessional of the Month

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You probably didn’t notice it, but a few days ago we already surpassed 25% of this 2017. It seems like it was yesterday when the year began… but a quarter has already passed by! And with the arrival of April, we bring you a new WProfessional: Mauricio Gelves. Both Fernando Tellado and Álvaro Gómez nominated Mauricio, who described him as “a kind, generous and meticulous showman.” If you want to know him a little better, here I leave you with our questions and his fantastic answers.

Thanks for the interview, Mauricio. It is a pleasure to have you here! For those who don’t know you, tell us a little about yourself and your relationship with WordPress.

Many thanks to David for choosing me as “Developer of the Month”. I can imagine myself in a picture in your office like a McDonald’s employee 😀

Let’s see what I can tell you about me… I was born in Mar del Plata (Argentina). In 2010 I ventured to cross the Atlantic and landed in Madrid with little money and a university degree in computer science. I started with WordPress by chance, looking for a CMS in 2007 to write a blog about my bike trips. Making changes and improvements there, I saw that with a few lines of code I could do what in other technologies took me days of development. In 2012 I left the proprietary technologies to switch to the–at that moment, underpaid–development world of Open Source technologies, including WordPress. Today, I thank enormously making that decision.

WordPress is changing and evolving continuously. How do you keep up? Who do you follow?

I follow everyone and no one at the same time. I read articles with interesting titles on Twitter. That leads me to investigate a little more in different pages. I spend a few hours to practice new stuff and, if I can, rewrite it in my blog with my thoughts. If I had to mention someone, I’d definitely recommend the following: @wptavern for information and news on WordPress, @Real_CSS_Tricks if you are interested in frontend, and the giant database of Fernando Tellado @ayudawp (in Spanish). With these 3, there’s plenty of stuff to read.

What’s the contribution you’re most proud of?

I wouldn’t say I’m proud of anything in particular. But I am extremely happy with every little contribution I make in the WordPress community. From saying a simple “Good morning!” in Slack to organizing WordPress Madrid Meetup, including my presentations in different WordCamps, the organization of the first WordCamp in Madrid, or even sending the link to an article that solves a doubt to a buddy. Of course that happiness wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the excellent group of people that there is behind all this community.

Sometimes we make things look easy, when they aren’t… Why don’t you share an epic fail with us?

My first job was in a financial company with a friend with whom I was studying at the college. We both developed a web application to apply for loans. One day I needed to make corrections to some loan installments and I could not think of a better idea than to execute a DELETE * FROM tbl_quotas statement on the production server without specifying a WHERE condition. That is, I deleted all the installments of all the loans of the company. I broke the future of many families with a single SQL statement!

After an initial panic attack, many cold sweats, and multiple tachycardias, we were able to recover the data with backup CDs that someone had miraculously created the day before. First and last time something like that happened to me.

WordPress is highly customizable, thanks to both plugins and themes. What plugins and themes do you recommend? Do you miss anything in WordPress?

I cannot recommend any WordPress theme—I swear I don’t know any. My projects are tailor-made developments where a designer gives me some sketches and from there on we generate the final layout on WordPress. In my opinion, commercial themes are like Swiss knifes—they have 500 utilities, but most of the time the client only needs a knife. Too much code, loss of performance, and work to finally achieve what the customer really needs…

With respect to plugins, I use those that come handy to generate the PHP code:

And what is missing in WordPress? I would like WordPress to have these two points:

  • Decoupling all WordPress’ front-end logic from Core. This way it would be easier to develop third-party applications that only use the REST API.
  • Having a “feature configurator” in the front-end:
    • We don’t always need the REST API, so why is it active by default?
    • We might not use emojis in our content, so why do we need to load additional JavaScript libraries by default?

On this last point I recommend the plugin developed by Nilo Velez called “Machete“, which is a tool to enable/disable WordPress functionalities.

There’s plenty of people working on WordPress (or considering to). Do you think it’s possible to make a living out of it? In your opinion, what business opportunities are there?

If you are not a computer science professional, you can earn a living with WordPress—focus on the the development of basic websites using already-existing (very good) themes. When someone offers you a project that clearly goes beyond your knowledge or abilities, just be sincere and derive it to someone with the required expertise level—this way, your client won’t waste their time or their money, and they’ll keep trusting all professionals in WordPress.

If, on the other hand, you are a professional you can use the Core and thousands of WordPress plugins to speed up the development of your projects. There’s an excellent community always ready to help!

Where do you see WordPress in 2 to 3 years? How would you like it to evolve?

David, I think this answer is already written a couple of questions before 😉

(Indeed you did, buddy! 😇)

Finally, who should we interview next? Tell us 3 WProfessionals you want to see here.

I’m going to mention people who are excellent WordPress developers even if their names are not widely heard in the usual channels about this technology: Chema de la Nieta, Natalia Diaz Tudenca, and Carlos Bravo.

Again, many thanks to Mauricio for his participation in this section of our blog—it’s a pleasure to be able to read about people like him, find out what their relationship with WordPress is, and understand how they make a living with our favorite CMS. Of course, thanks to you for following our blog! We are community 🖖

Featured image by Ángel Moreno.

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He obtained his PhD in Computer Science at UPC. David leads the analysis and design of our services and the user support area. He's interested in a variety of areas, including conceptual modeling, virtual reality, and 3D digital printing. He contributes to the WordPress community by participating in meetups, seminars, and the WCEU.

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