Devrims: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today Milana. Can you tell us a bit about your educational background and how you first got started with WordPress development?
Milana: I’m a fully educated classical musician. I first started coding in PHP as an admin of one torrent site. WordPress came a year later when I was trying to find a blog script for a friend.
Devrims: How long have you been working with WordPress and what key milestones have you reached in your career so far?
Milana: I’ve been working with WordPress since 2009. The most significant milestone would be when it stopped being a hobby, and I got hired as a WordPress developer. The other important milestone was when I started giving talks and workshops about WordPress.
Devrims: You are currently a full-stack WordPress engineer at XWP. Can you describe your main responsibilities in this role?
Milana: We don’t have a “full-stack WordPress engineer” position at XWP. I am a WordPress engineer there. My primary responsibilities are working on clients’ websites and applying WordPress coding standards and best practices with performance in mind. Those are mostly enterprise clients, so performance plays a vital role.
Devrims: What types of WordPress projects do you typically work on? (e.g. building themes, plugins, custom development, etc.)
Milana: All of the above. I was also lucky to do some DevOps work as well.
Devrims: Let’s do some quick rapid-fire questions:
|Mac or Windows
|Tea or Coffee
|Books or Movies
Devrims: Managed WordPress hosting platforms have grown significantly in popularity in recent years. In your opinion, what impact is the growth of managed hosting having on the WordPress ecosystem?
Milana: It grows the end-user population. But it also puts a lot of responsibility into hosting companies. If poorly done, it can damage the ecosystem as much as it can enrich it when done correctly.
Devrims: You are deeply involved with WordCamps in Europe and beyond. What drives your passion for contributing to these events, and how do you feel they enrich the WordPress community?
Milana: I like travelling, seeing different places and meeting all kinds of people. WordCamps and other conferences are a great excuse to do that. These events have a profound impact on the community in the most humane way. We gather for code and coffee, but we end up with life-long friendships. All the code, editors, builders, etc., don’t matter once you meet the person behind the avatar.
The bottom line is that we are humans and need meaningful connections with other humans. That’s what WordCamps provide.
Devrims: WordPress 6.4 is expected to be released soon. What new capabilities or changes in the upcoming WordPress 6.4 release are you most anticipating as a WordPress professional?
Milana: My eyes have been kept on improvements and development of HTML API. Dynamic block hooks have made my heart skip a bit as well.
Devrims: You are a WordPress Documentation team lead. What does that role involve?
Milana: I’m not a lead. I’m one of 3 representatives. As with other teams, this role mainly involves putting out a fire or a few. It requires a lot of administration, overseeing the whole team, helping out where help is needed, inventing new ways to make onboarding and workflows more straightforward and efficient, encouraging team members to try new responsibilities and helping them succeed.
Also, providing cookies.
Devrims: I understand you are very involved in the WordPress community. Can you tell me about some of the contributions you have made?
Milana: I’ve been Docs focus lead and co-lead for a few WordPress releases, submitted a few patches for the core (mostly inline docs), organised a few WordCamps, local meetups and workshops, put the idea of Contributor Orientation Tool to life, spoke at some WordCamps and PHP conferences and fed Docs contributors with tons of cookies.
Devrims: How has contributing to the WordPress community benefited you in your work and career?
Milana: My initial reason for contributing to WordPress documentation was to learn how WordPress functions and, therefore, write better code. It was 12 years ago, and to this day, the reason is the same.
Devrims: Do you have any advice for others looking to get into WordPress development?
Milana: Make sure you like it. It will cook your brain and break your mind. If you don’t like it, you’ll be miserable. But if you like it, the sky is the limit.
Devrims: To wrap up, who are three people you would recommend we speak with next to continue building our knowledge of the WordPress community?