Liam, thank you for taking the time to sit down with us. Can you tell us, how old were when you started to learn about code and programming?
When I was 5. I had an old iMac (I still have it) and I was working with an old Adobe Application which allows you to create websites. It was a very simple “CMS”. I don’t know how it continued, but after my iMac-time I was allowed to use my mother’s PowerBook G4. I watched a few tutorials, about HTML if I remember correctly, and I started learning. And now, I’m following tutorials about PHP and SQL, because that’s always handy, just in case. Fortunately, I have my own MacBook now, so I can work full-time, except when I have to go to school, or when I go to my Science Club :P.
What brought you to Joomla?
Well, my dad did. First, I was using a tool which was really a little too basic (for me): Weebly. It was possible for me to create websites with Weebly, but it wasn’t handy at all for business or corporate sites, and it wasn’t professional enough. (You can still see my Weebly results at web.libijo.com.) In September 2010, my dad told me I was old enough to have my own domain name. He offered me hosting at the hosting company Byte Internet, and they have a auto-installer for Joomla!. I just installed Joomla! using the auto-installer tool and for the first time in my life I saw Joomla!. It was Joomla! version 1.5.24. I started using 1.5, and was a basic user, so I kept learning, learning, learning, learning, more learning, more learning and became an expert :). I first wanted to keep using Weebly and build a client portal using Joomla!. But, that changed because of food. One day I was full and was allowed to leave the dinner table and do something else for 15 minutes. I started transferring all my content from Weebly to Joomla! and Joomla! became it, my favorite CMS. And now with Joomla! 2.5, it’ll never change. When Joomla! 3.0 is here I will still keep using it.
How did you get involved with JDNL?
Two years ago, my parents offered to take me to an amusement park, but I said: “I would rather go to #JD11NL instead”. I met Ryan Ozimek there and he gave me a giant penguin called Tux. Nicholas K. Dionysopoulos gave me AKEEBADELUXE (including Akeeba Backup Pro and Admin Tools Pro) and I found a tiny bug in Advanced Module Manager, an extension from Peter van Westen, NoNumber and he fixed it right away. #JD11NL was just such a nice event, that I wanted to go again for #JD12NL, and that happened. We went both days and stayed at the hotel, as a Christmas present. This year at #JD12NL, I met Paul Orwig and Angie Radtke. And Hans Kuijpers said that maybe I could do a presentation at #JD13NL!
What are some of the challenges you face because of your age?
I can’t write CSS code. I can alter it, but not create it yet. As I said earlier, I’m currently learning PHP and SQL. Also, I went to the Chamber of Commerce but they wouldn’t let me register! When I’m 14, I can be part of my dad’s company so I can work legally. When I’m 16, I can have my own company, but my parents will be responsible if I go bankrupt or get into debt. When I’m 18, I can work on my own legally!
What is the most exciting project you have worked on?
ALL OF THEM. Every project is exciting, and from every project you do you can learn, no matter what. Every project is just so exciting. I made a website for my dad’s company and for my mother’s company and art projects and now I’m speaking with other businesses who need a website! For my Science Club I am now programming an intranet in HTML, and I will be including a forum based on Joomla! using Kunena.
What do you plan to do next?
Once I’ve finished learning PHP and SQL, I want to start learning CSS, so I can create my own template styles and templates, because you can make a template exactly as you want it, and understand the structure of Joomla! templates. So there’s no more: “Yes, it comes close to what I want but it’s not perfect”.
Do you have a website?
My website is wublab.com. It’s a portal for all my products (and services). (Please note: you will get a blank screen at wublab.com if you use Internet Explorer, I’m working on it!)
Is there anything you would like to say to other young programmers?
Have fun with programming. Also sharing your knowledge is helpful for other users, and, feel free to ask questions on forums. Also put your age in the footer of your forum post so people might react with more patience. But, don’t ask questions on forums before you’ve searched the web. “Google Is Your Friend”! What’s also important, if you use Joomla!, is to help the Joomla! Project. There are a lot of articles with tips how you can help Joomla!.
Last bonus question: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Being able to do everything you want. Then you have all superpowers, while it’s still one.