TYPO3 Talk with Wolfgang: The Only Active T3 Vlogger

TYPO3 Talk with Wolfgang: The Only Active T3 Vlogger

Welcome to the TYPO3 Interview Series - 14!

This time we're honoured with interview of Wolfgang Wagner, Senior Web Developer for the TYPO3 and webhosting agency jweiland.net. In the last years he has produced several hundred video tutorials to TYPO3 and extensions and held training sessions and workshops. He’s also an active member of the TYPO3 community, regular visitor of various TYPO3 events and co-founder and organizer of the TYPO3 Usergroup Bodensee.

It's a very interesting TYPO3 talk, somy friend grab the cup of coffee to explore Wolfgang's insights about his views, history and potential of TYPO3 and open-source community, and how we can build a better TYPO3 Eco-system together!

Let’s explore his journey with TYPO3 back from times till today, and a lot more!

  • Interviewee : Wolfgang Wagner
  • Company : TYPO3 and jweiland.net.
  • Designation : Senior Web Developer
  • Topic : Together Building a Better TYPO3 Eco-system
Q1
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Hey Wolfgang, please tell us something about yourself to our audience.

Okay, I am living in Southern Germany, was born in 1972, I am married and have two sons, 17 and 14 years old.

I have been working full-time as a web developer since the end of 2012. Before that, I worked as a male nurse for about 19 years, web development and TYPO3 was just a hobby for many years, or at some point a little extra income.

Apart from TYPO3, which is not only my profession but also my hobby, I like to watch football and am a big fan of FC Bayern Munich.

I am also passionate about listening to heavy metal.

A few years ago, before I had children and therefore more time, I played music actively for a few years and played electric guitar in various bands. And yes, I even had long hair once ;)

Q2
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First question, How did you initially get involved with TYPO3?

I had my first contact with TYPO3 around 2005 or 2006, but I can't remember exactly. It was definitely version 3.8.

I had started working with HTML around 1994 and had already implemented my first websites with it. At first, of course, as a hobby. I built a website for the band I was playing in at the time, because in the mid-90s you really needed something like that.

At some point I came across the term "Content Management System", took a closer look at some of them and finally came across TYPO3. Although the backend was very ugly at the time, the concept and flexibility quickly convinced me. Although I used other CMSs as well for a few years, TYPO3 has remained my favourite CMS ever since.

Q3
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How do you contribute to TYPO3? How does your company encourage open source business practices?

Mainly by creating video tutorials about TYPO3 or extensions. Most of them are also freely available, either on my Youtube channel or the website of my employer jweiland.net.

I am also co-organiser of the "TYPO3 Usergroup Bodensee". We are a loose bunch of TYPO3 users and enthusiasts and usually meet once a month at different locations around Lake Constance (the largest lake in Germany). At the moment, of course, unfortunately only online.

I work at Jochen Weiland's company (jweiland.net) and there we also participate in TYPO3 in many ways, be it by providing free tutorials or by sponsoring TYPO3 events and much more. In our company, too, TYPO3 is more than just a piece of software.

Q4
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As a TYPO3 Professional, What was your biggest challenge to building your TYPO3 business? Do you have any special tips & tricks for TYPO3 business people?

My main job is as an employee in an agency. So I can't really answer the question from that perspective.

But I have my own small business as a side business. In the last few years, I have created various extensive paid video courses about TYPO3. But even that was not really a big challenge. The need for such courses is there, and there doesn't seem to be anyone else who can or wants to create such courses on the level that mine are. 

Perhaps one challenge is that I can only offer these courses in German, as my spoken English is not very good. It would of course be great if I could offer the courses in English as well.

A small tip is perhaps: try to make a name for yourself and build a community by giving out a lot of knowledge for free. This will give you an expert status that will someday pay off.

Q5
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Over the years, the TYPO3 open source ecosystem has evolved. When you look back, Are you surprised or feel lucky with the overall success of TYPO3? Where do you see it going in the future?

I am not really surprised, because TYPO3 is a very powerful system with many features that other open source CMS do not have. 

Which way it will go in the future, I don't know, but I think it will be important to keep the system stable and modern and maybe always be a small step "better" than other CMS.

Q6
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TYPO3 is 20+ years old OpenSource CMS, Although we have very little CMS Marketshare. eg., At present, TYPO3 0.6%, WordPress 63.6%. In your personal opinion, What do you think about what we majorly missed in TYPO3 journey?

That is a very good question. 

Although TYPO3 was not invented in Germany, it is still mainly a "German thing" and most widely used in German-speaking countries.

The reason why it is used so much less than, for example, WordPress, Drupal or Joomla is probably that you don't have a working website after installing it. You install TYPO3, open the frontend and the first thing you see is an error message. This is frustrating for many people and some simply don't want or don't have the time to deal with it in more detail.

The barrier to entry is still quite high, and you have to invest a few days or weeks to learn TYPO3. And even when you have managed to get your website up and running, the learning never stops. You can't just quickly start a new website with TYPO3. That's much easier with WordPress, of course.

Q7
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Unlike other CMS' where do you think the TYPO3 opensource ecosystem lags behind?

What I said before: it must be easier and faster for beginners to get started. It would be great if you could also use TYPO3 directly after installation, without having to invest hours in configuration.

Basically, a template market, like the one that exists for WordPress for years, would be a way to introduce more people to TYPO3.

This has been tried several times in recent years, and you also offer templates in your shop.

The problem is that TYPO3 is so flexible that it is currently almost impossible to offer interchangeable templates that can be used by everyone. This flexibility is one of TYPO3's strengths, but in this context it is perhaps also a weakness.

There are thousands of ways to implement something in TYPO3, and that is perhaps a real problem in this context.

However, I don't have a solution for this, I love this flexibility and don't want to miss that. But the side effect is that it is more difficult for beginners to get used to it.

Q8
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As we are managing T3Terminal, TYPO3 Marketplace, What do you think about the T3Terminal.com? What are some key factors & characteristics that would attract you?

The idea of a marketplace for TYPO3 templates and extensions has been around several times in recent years. But so far it has never been properly implemented. That's why I think it's not bad that you now offer such a possibility.

Q9
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TYPO3 is built on PHP. PHP was established and it’s easy to understand. There was a huge community for PHP already. How important was that “TYPO3 was powered by PHP” for its popularity?

Since PHP is now very widespread and can also be used without any problems by any decent web hoster, TYPO3 can be used on many web hosts. This makes the technical barrier to entry relatively low. Although I no longer program PHP myself (my last real contact with it was, I think, PHP 4), I consider it a quite easy to learn programming language.

Q10
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There are extensions, multilingual, multisite enterprise CMS, ease of use, among all these, what attributes for the TYPO3 success?

For me, the most important feature is flexibility. Actually, there is nothing that cannot be implemented with TYPO3. Many things can be done directly with on-board tools, others with the help of an extension. 

The second is scalability. You often read that you don't need TYPO3 for small websites. I don't see it that way. 

Sometimes, at the beginning of a project, you don't know for sure how it will evolve. A small website with few functions can grow extremely within 1-2 years. If the company behind a website grows, the requirements grow as well. And if you start with a CMS that can't meet these requirements later, you have a problem.

This is not the case with TYPO3. I can start with a small website, and when the requirements grow, the system can simply grow with it. You can't really do anything wrong here.

Q11
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Who is your open source mentor/hero? Can you name some people (at least 5) whom you follow to get knowledge and updates of the TYPO3?

I don't have a real hero or mentor, but there are a few people who have helped me as a beginner.

First of all, I have to mention my boss, Jochen Weiland. I think everyone who has been working with TYPO3 for a while knows him. Many of his tutorials helped me to get started. 

Steffen Kemper was also a great help at that time with his website, I think sk-typo3.de. Unfortunately, the website doesn't seem to exist any more, and Steffen is probably no longer active in the TYPO3 community. But back then he had published a lot of tips, tricks and code snippets that often helped me.

Otherwise, basically everyone is a TYPO3 hero who doesn't keep his knowledge to himself but shares it with the community, according to our motto "Inspiring people to share"!

Q12
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What are some places, blogs, and online communities you would recommend to our readers that you think are the best places to get help about TYPO3?

Q13
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Do you think TYPO3 still needs more active contributors? Especially in awareness, branding, and marketing.

The documentation of such a complex system is very important, especially for beginners. The documentation team has been doing a really good job here in recent years, but actually there are far too few of them for such a huge task. I think there are only 3 people actively working on the documentation at the moment. 

How to make TYPO3 more known globally is a good question. Since my focus is on video tutorials, I think videos in different languages can be a good way. By that I don't mean that every now and then a video on a certain topic appears on Youtube, but I mean complete video courses that show the way from 0 to 100, so to speak. And that would not be bad in the most important languages.

But I don't think that this can be coordinated by an official body.

Q14
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Last but not least, Apart from TYPO3, What're the things you love to do?

There's not that much. Of course, I like to spend time with my family. Then I like to watch football matches. My younger son plays himself, but unfortunately that's not possible at the moment because of the pandemic. Apart from that, a lot of my free time really has to do with TYPO3.

Heartily thanks Wolfgang for taking the efforts and time to conduct these interviews and sharing your views with insights. 

If you too want to share your views regarding the TYPO3 Eco-system, you are more than welcome. Feel free to reach us or drop us a message in the comment section below.
 
Also, thanks to all Post Status readers, we will see you at the next interview. Till then stay tuned for next exciting T3Interview :)

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