Learn how Thomas builds fast WordPress plugins that solve user's problems

Interviewed by Christophe Limpalair on 02/16/2015

In this interview, I get him to talk about some of the challenges he faced writing his plugins, and how he overcame them. We also go over his WordPress core contributions and why you shouldn't let them terrify you. To wrap up, we go over his workflow (how he tackles big coding projects), and how you can find the right business partner.

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I love this interview for a number of reasons--

1) I still completed this interview even though I was still getting over the flu and had 103°F fever three days earlier

2) Thomas shares some really good advice that I think can benefit you today

For example, I asked Thomas to give you three things you could do to accelerate your learning. Here they are:

1) Don't be afraid to ask questions.
What's the worst someone's going to tell you? No?

This seems really basic but I catch myself doing the opposite way too often. How often do you run into a problem and let it consume you for 2-3 days, until you finally find the answer? What if instead you asked the question on StackOverflow or some other community, and spent that same time working on another feature? Sure, sometimes you should go through the problem solving process, but not always.

2) Learn how to use Google
Again, this seems really basic and I hate to say it, but some of us really don't know how to do this. Have you ever asked a coworker, friend, or professor, for an answer and they don't know it so they go to Google and find it with the first few clicks? "But I Googled it too and that result did not show up!"

As Thomas points out, pretty much anything can be found if we search with the right query. Refine this skill, and you'll find solutions in a fraction of the time.

3) Study how the best do it.
Follow their workflow and comments. Thomas is mainly a WordPress developer, so he mentions wishing he had studied the WordPress core and developer contributions more.

For example, when a developer fixes a bug, see what they did and what they commented.

Another place to look is a product's documentation.

How to Speed Up Your Plugins
In this interview, Thomas explains how he sped up Soliloquy and Envira, two of his plugins that process a lot of images.

He does so using what he calls "asynchronous ajax preloading". It's a really neat feature that, frankly, I believe should be the standard for any plugin that loads images.

One of the other tips I really think you'll want to know, is how Thomas fixed one of his user's issues. This user had a problem where the plugin took 5 seconds to load!

Turns out it wasn't the plugins fault, it was the user's website ads blocking everything else from loading. Thomas tells us exactly how he fixed that.

Finding the Right Business Partner
Since Syed and Thomas partnered up relatively recently, I thought he would be the perfect person to ask "How do you find the right business partner."

His answer? Find someone who complements you. Know your weaknesses, and find someone who has strength there. He gives more great advice in the video, and Syed wrote a detailed blog post about the topic.

What do you think?
Let us know if any of his advice helped you or if you have any follow up questions.

I'd also love to hear what questions you would have liked for me to ask. I will use all the feedback I get to continually improve these interviews and give you the absolute best value.

Thanks for watching :)


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