The Joomla! Setup
The Joomla! Setup is a series of interviews with developers in the Joomla! community, talking about the tools they use to get the job done, inspired by the setup. Can you tell who it is?
Fotis Evangelou: Greek Bearing Gifts
Who are you and what do you do?
Founder at JoomlaWorks, developers of open source Joomla! Extensions, including the award winning K2 (which also powers JCM). Co-founder at Komrade, a company deploying small to large scale Joomla! based websites, which was recently awarded at J and Beyond 2010, the first ever international Joomla! conference. You could say Joomla! runs in my veins... and you'd be right! It has been a life changing 7 year journey (since the Mambo days) which brought a Geology drop-out — turned tech journalist — turned web developer from freelancing into the “big league” of our profession. That's right; from studying rocks at the microscope into dissecting performance bottlenecks on apache/php serving some dozens of thousands requests per second.
The past 3 years I've been fortunate along with my amazing team (Chris, Lefteris, Yiota, Chiara and Katia) to have built websites across the world which are visited by millions of people every month, all thanks to the power of Joomla! and the stuff that we build for it.
To be honest, I'm more and more enjoying my engagement into the Joomla! community as the years go by. I've had the pleasure of giving lots of presentations on JoomlaDays the last couple of years, meeting many like-minded people and consuming tankers of beer. It's a unique “community” experience!
But it's not just Joomla!...
Another love has grown into me the last 2 years... The two wheel goddess! I'm a proud rider of 2 modern masterpieces of mechanical engineering, one thanks to the American visionary Erik Buell (a Buell Lightning XB12SX), the other thanks to the orange color loving adrenaline junkies aka the Austrians at KTM (a KTM Super Duke 990).
So there you have it: an adrenaline/speed junkie evangelizing Joomla! on every possible occasion (weird combo dude)...
What hardware are you using?
Aside from the Buell and KTM (!), I have a 13,3 inch (aluminum) MacBook with (upgraded) 4GBs RAM and a half TB hard disk. It's my carry-everywhere workstation, along with an iPhone 3G (soon to be replaced by an Android based HTC device). I chose the MacBook cause it's a true mobile device and if i want more screen real estate I just hook it up to my Apple 24" LED Cinema display.
On a side note, I've been toying with pc hardware since the age of twelve when I first de-assembled my 386 pc box. I generally enjoy performing upgrade surgery on all the machines that pass by my hands. Aside from the MacBook, I currently keep a 15" G4 PowerBook and an HP Pentium III laptop in excellent working conditions, after having performed upgrade “surgery” to both. It's my small laptop collection, which I very rarely use. You could call me a tech monogamist: I never use more than one machine at a time!
And what software?
Having started as basically a frontend web developer (aka “web designer”), I used Dreamweaver on Windows for many, many years. When I got involved with Mambo/Joomla! development and afterwards extension development, using Dreamweaver for the task was a genuine PITA. So my quest for the best all round, no fuzz, powerful code editor started. And it didn't take long until I found it: Coda! It's by far the best code editor I've ever used and the reason for me switching over to the Mac in 2008, having been a Windows user since 1991. It's got a great side file browser, elegant/uncluttered UI which helps you focus on the actual task (=coding), amazing search/replace capabilities, full SVN/Git support, projects, built in SSH client, built in FTP tools, split windows to compare/use code in long files and lots more. I even had my partner in Komrade, Chris, to switch for the same reason from Win/Dreamweaver to Mac/Coda!! Some people will argue that it doesn't have the support in PHP a pro dev would ask. But this grass roots approach in coding it offers is more appealing and productive for me.
Now, switching over to OS X, I suddenly came across an entirely new ecosystem of applications which were far better and more enjoyable to use compared to Windows apps. And not just that, I ended up using less apps to do the exact same day to day tasks, again compared to my Windows days. I've now settled to a few key applications (aside Coda) which I don't see me changing for some time to come: Transmit by Panic for FTP, Pathfinder by Cocoatech for file management, Betterzip for packing those Joomla! zip files the right way, MAMP for my local server, Skype to communicate with other devs 24/7, Firefox (need I say more?) along with Chrome/Safari/Opera for testing, Thunderbird for email (great search tools), MailPlane App for Gmail (as secondary mail client), OpenOffice and recently Google Apps for docs & spreadsheets & presentations, Smultron for light text editing and notes, Parallels for running an XP machine to test that unworthy browser called IE. I'm also using Adobe's Photoshop but seriously eyeing Pixelmator to replace it. FileMerge by Apple for comparing folders & files. Dropbox for backing up my utmost important files and work.
I also use a few key web apps, to compliment my desktop tasks, e.g. Snipt for keeping code snippets, ZooTool for managing inspiration, Google Apps (as mentioned earlier), Twitpic for uploading Joomla! extension screenshots, Twitter & Facebook for communication and more.
There is iLife and iWork, as well as other smaller utilities I occasionally use, but the above handle the bulk of my workload.
What would be your dream setup?
I can't complain really. I already got it. But I would like to see Apple investing more on a powerful 13,3" laptop, which is what I consider the best size for a true mobile computing device.
There is always of course the dream of an iPhone like device with the power of 100 today's mainframes/supercomputers, based on a quantum processor with a ridiculous unmetered amount of memory to store the data of a lifetime, equipped with a led projector and laser keyboard to compliment viewing & typing when you cannot use the awesome AI speech recognition capabilities of the device cause it's late in the night. Connectivity would be handled by a satellite and/or terrestrial 10G wireless network. Did I mention it's a phone too? No need to carry a MacBook then. Steve, are you reading this?
Now if you ask my dream motorcycle setup, I would suggest you wait a while to see the coming Tron Legacy movie ;)