CoreShop interview - The story behind the popular Pimcore community extension
Hi Dominik, thank you for taking the time for this interview. You are the founder and developer of one of the most popular Pimcore community extensions - CoreShop and have already won countless awards, such as "Most Valuable Pimconaut 2018" - MVP for short. How did you first get involved with Pimcore and what do you love about it?
I first came into contact with Pimcore in 2012. A digital agency employed me at the time. They had an in-house agency CMS system that wasn't suitable for a new use case. We evaluated what was on the market, and when we found Pimcore, we immediately knew it was just perfect for us. We started with the first open source version, Pimcore 1.1, based on the Zend Framework and immediately fell in love with the Data Objects and the powerful Digital Asset Management (DAM). It was comparable to our own CMS in terms of functionality, but it had a thousand times better technical structure, architecture, scalability, and flexibility. Pretty soon, all new projects were implemented using only Pimcore. The agency still works with Pimcore today and is an official Pimcore partner. One year later, I started my own business as a programmer. At that time, I didn't have a complete focus on Pimcore. But very quickly, it was just Pimcore and it's been that way for eight years now.
At what age did you start developing software? What was your first project?
I started programming at the age of 13, I was interested in computers and it was clear to me that this is what I will do professionally in the future. I learned to program in the HTL (Höhere Technische Lehranstalt) and in my apprenticeship. There I developed my first applications.
You launched CoreShop on the market in 2016. A great eCommerce module for Pimcore - and also freely available on GitHub! Just awesome! What drove you to develop this extension?
I started the development in 2015. At that time, the Pimcore eCommerce framework already existed, but it was still closed-source, so I didn't have access to it. So I saw no other option than to develop an eCommerce extension for Pimcore myself. After I released it as an open source project, Stefan Hagspiel (@solverat) also joined relatively quickly, who used it in the Pimcore partner agency Dachcom and contributed a lot to its current state. Dachcom also developed the first major CoreShop project. Making it even bigger and better was and is a matter of my heart. I also never shied away from competing with the Pimcore eCommerce framework. I wanted to show and prove that CoreShop offers more features while remaining flexible.
With CoreShop 2 and Pimcore 5 came the big "reboot" and virtually the redevelopment of CoreShop. Symfony gives Pimcore a new and more flexible approach. Also, the extensibility has become much better. So CoreShop is now not just eCommerce for Pimcore anymore. CoreShop has become a set of bundles and components for Pimcore that can also be used independently. For example, the "Index and Filter Bundle" is also used for many solutions without eCommerce.
The idea behind this is to offer CoreShop as a kind of basic community bundle. With useful features that extend the functionality of Pimcore.
What successes are you proud of regarding CoreShop? Which companies are using it and what success stories have you already achieved with it? With which partners?
Many Pimcore partners now rely only on CoreShop. Many more are interested in it. Many other non-partner agencies are also using CoreShop.
Alpin11, Dachcom, DGTLS, and w-vision are the biggest active supporters so far. Unfortunately, I can't name the companies because most of them have an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). Only this much: There are many well-known, large, medium-sized companies in the German-speaking area and all over Europe. There are also some installations in the USA and Asia.
As an open source company, Pimcore relies on a global community of currently more than 300 developers who voluntarily contribute to further developing the solution. What motivates you to engage as one of our most active community members continuously? And how do you manage to keep the ever-growing, dedicated CoreShop community happy as well?
The strong and active community is what makes Pimcore so successful. It is a personal concern of mine that the community grows because together, we are stronger. Today, I have to admit that I am not so active in the Pimcore community anymore. In the past, my motivation was to help newcomers in the community to reach their goals faster. This way the community grows and gets better. Today, unfortunately, I often don't have the time to do that. The CoreShop community knows that it is important to always react very quickly to "show-stopper bugs". This helps to maintain and build on the great trust we have in each other.
Analysts from Gartner and Forrester see several major trends in the eCommerce sector. For example, the trend towards fixed-ready SaaS and cloud-only products like Shopify and the trend towards composable commerce with API-first platforms like Pimcore. What's your outlook for the future in terms of CoreShop? What else do you have on the roadmap and where do you think the journey is going?
This is where CoreShop is heavily dependent on Pimcore. CoreShop 3.0 will be "minor refactoring," which will increase performance and enhance the Developer Experience and Customer Experience. There will be improvements in Order Workflow and Order Management in the backend.
There are already proofs-of-concept for an API platform integration and the Pimcore Datahub in the long term. Here we are not sure yet which is better for the future. API Platform is REST and GraphQL. Datahub is native for Pimcore. Anyway: API comes with 3.x
You have your own company, work as a freelancer for various Pimcore partners and have a house, child, and family on the side? How do you manage all that? What does your wife say about it? 😉
I often ask myself that. My girlfriend is just as much of a "workaholic" as I am and understands it when I often sit next to her on the couch with the laptop on my lap and "quickly" do a PR. This then usually takes longer than the planned half-hour, but she understands.
My house construction was 2019, it was already a bit difficult to bring everything under one hat, but somehow it always works.
The family (the "Hard Fork" 😛) is just coming and will certainly add a special new challenge. But: somehow, it always works 😉