Have you ever wondered who was hiding behind a GitHub username? It’s time to find out! Contributor interviews are a great way of getting to know the people who participate in the PrestaShop project. This month, meet Jonathan Danse, aka PrestaEdit.
Jonathan is a module developer. He’s also one of the first contributors to the PrestaShop project. It all started, somewhat by chance, during a job interview 12 years ago. In this article, Jonathan talks about his experience with PrestaShop, his work as a module developer, and his dedication to the open source project. And psst, Jonathan has some great news to share at the end…
Dear readers, meet Jonathan!
Hi Jonathan, can you tell us more about yourself?
I discovered PrestaShop in August 2010, during a job interview. I was still a student at the time. I didn’t know PrestaShop and I wasn’t prepared at all. They told me to install PrestaShop and do everything they asked… I didn’t even know where to download the file! This technical interview lasted 4 hours. It allowed me to discover PrestaShop. At the time, it was the 1.2.5 version.
So, my first job ever was to configure the multistore feature on a 1.2.5 store!
When did you get involved in contributing to the PrestaShop project?
Almost at the same time. I joined the forum in November of the same year. I started by asking questions. Then, I started answering questions from others. I saw this as an opportunity to learn.
In 2012, I also wrote two articles about PrestaShop for the “PHP Solution” magazine. It was a technical presentation of the 1.5 version.
At the time, we couldn’t contribute code as much as we do now. But as soon as PrestaShop moved from Forge to GitHub, I started submitting pull requests. I think I created the 7th or 8th pull request!
I was also one of the first people outside of the PrestaShop company to contribute to the User Documentation on Confluence.
So, as you can see, when I love something, I invest myself from start to finish!
What motivates you to contribute now?
It keeps me busy, I like it! I was a contributor before I was a module developer. So, even when an issue doesn’t benefit my business directly, I still contribute. Because I want to help others and help the project grow. It also allows me to learn and experiment.
Is there a pull request that you are particularly proud of, or that you want to tell us about?
Well, I’m going to talk about a pull request that I submitted in 2012 but that was never merged. I wanted to add combinations to virtual products. It was a big contribution, so it discouraged me a bit… But this pull request is really important to me as it made me realize that not everything could be included in the core software and that there wasn’t much missing to turn my pull request into a module. It took me 10 hours to create the pull request, and 2 hours to turn it into a module. It was my first module. I sold it on the PrestaShop Addons Marketplace and it became a best seller.
That was 10 years ago. The management of the project has evolved a lot since then. I think some people had a bad experience and didn’t try to contribute again. They should give it a second chance. And if they feel like something is blocking them, they should talk to the right people and get some help.
In your opinion, what benefits can module developers and agencies gain from contributing?
We often heard, and I agree, that agencies should contribute to the project instead of fixing the same bugs over and over. Some agencies say they need time. But, they have time because they have to do it for their clients anyway. But contributing can be considered a loss, as they charge their customers for the service. My opinion on this is that agencies’ value-added isn’t to fix the same bugs several times. It’s rather to do it once, so they can work on a functional tool, that will attract new merchants and retain customers.
But I’m not going to lie. At PrestaModule, we sell modules that can replace native modules. So of course, I’m not going to contribute to those native modules. I prefer to contribute to the core software, I think that’s where my added value is.
Do you have any advice for first-time contributors?
Try, simply try. A contribution, regardless of its size, its complexity, … is always important! If it’s important to you, it can be important to others as well. When I submitted my pull request to add variables to emails, I didn’t know so many people would use them! Even if you’re just adding a hook, this hook could help others as well! And it will prevent you from having to find a workaround.
Would you like to add anything?
Yes! I have great news! I’m going to publish a book about PrestaShop 8. I don’t know when it will be published exactly, but I’ll keep you posted! In this book, I’ll share my 10-year experience on PrestaShop with developers. It will be about modules and theme development. It’s really important to me!
That’s great news! Where can we follow you?
You can follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/prestaedit. That’s where I share my technical discoveries and tips!
Thank you, Jonathan!
If Jonathan’s experience has inspired you and you want to get more involved in the project, don’t hesitate to contribute!
🌞 Summer break for interviews
We’ll do a summer break and come back with new interviews in September. In the meantime, if you would like to share your experience and have your interview published on the blog, feel free to send an email to: email@example.com. We have all summer to prepare!