Interview with Bastian Allgeier


#1

I think it would be interesting to an interview with @bastianallgeier. Bastian, I hope you will answer a few questions? They will not be about code, more about the person behind Kirby.

How much money to you make?

Might seem like an unfair question, but I don’t want numbers, just a rating from 1 to 5.

  • 5 - Rich
  • 4 - Very happy
  • 3 - Ok, but could be better
  • 2 - It needs to be improved
  • 1 - Not much. Something has to be done now

Does Kirby grow in sales?

Does Kirby grow in the number of sales every year? Or is it stable all the time or does it drop?

How much do you like working with Kirby?

You have worked with Kirby a long time. How much do you like it? Answer with a rating 1-5.

  • 5 - It’s a dream
  • 4 - Very good
  • 3 - It’s ok but could be better
  • 2 - Not so fun anymore
  • 1 - Boring

What inspires you to make Kirby?

I’ve read that jQuery syntax inspired you to do some Kirby chains. Anything else? WordPress? Laravel?

How many work with you now?

Do you still have Sasha to work with you? Anyone else?

Do you do anything else than Kirby at work?

Do you need more project than Kirby to have a good live? Do you work on anything else?

1-2 people make more features than 100+. How is that possible?

How can Kirby with 1-2 people add more features than WordPress with 100+ developers, for a version, do you think?

Do you read all posts in the forum?

You are not always active in the forum. Do you still read everything or are your focus on other things?

What do you think of demanding people?

People that always want new features an improvements. What do you think of them? Is it good for the community or bad if they never seems 100% satisfied? Are they a pain in the ass, or do they help to do a better Kirby, do you think?

More podcasts or interviews online?

I’ve just listened to this podcast with you Bastian and it gives some interesting background information. It’s from 2014 but still relevant, I think:

Are there any more good ones? Links?

Conclusion

That’s it! These are the questions I want some answers to. Maybe more people want these answers as well. They might give a little bit of a hint about the future, your background and standpoint.

Thanks in advance and thanks for an awesome CMS!


#2

Hey Jens,

I’m happy to answer your questions as good as I can:

1. How much mone do you make?

I’d say 3.95 :slight_smile: In general I’m very happy with how Kirby’s revenue has evolved over the last years. It’s now at a point where it makes around 90% of my living. That’s a very priviledged situation and I’m aware of that. I still say 3.95 because it’s not yet enough to constantly hire people like @sashtown or @distantnative and pay them as much as I’d like to. Whenever I get them on board I need to find more additional client work in order to balance it. That’d be the only reason to “complain” but Kirby is on a very good way and I’m sure the last .05 will be solved soon :slight_smile:

2. Does Kirby grow in sales?

Yes, it does. Kirby always grew very natural and organically and it still does. It’s a couple more licenses every month and over all those years that’s exactly the kind of growth I always hoped for.

3. How much do you like working with Kirby?

Definitely 6! It’s more than a dream. Kirby has become my “digital baby” and I’m extremely grateful whenever I can spend time on it. It’s a wonderful situation to work on such a product and being able to earn a living with it. I absolutely love it!

4. What inspires you to make Kirby

My own clients and their projects. I always tried to come up with something that is as easy as possible to use for my own clients and at the same time speeds up my development time as much as possible. jQuery’s syntax inspired me because I always found it to be extermely easy to understand — even for beginners. I’m also inspired by LEGO even if that sounds weird. All the things I add to Kirby follow the idea of improving the set of building blocks for more creative work.

5. How many work with you now?

@distantnative has been working with me in the last months, especially for the release of 2.1. He has also started a massive new permission feature for the panel. Right now, I’m working alone on decrufting the panel (Behind the scenes) but as soon as that is done, I hope to get Nico back on board to finalize his work on permissions.

@sashtown has been supporting me massively last year and still sends in site updates from time to time. He’s in a huge client project at the moment though, but we still talk regularly about Kirby’s future and ideas and we plan to work more closely together again.

In general I plan and hope to get more people on board in the coming months and years. There are so many loyal users who regularly contribute bug fixes, ideas or are just constantly helping out in the forum. One of my biggest wishes with Kirby is to move the model forward to be able to share some of Kirby’s revenue with the community and its biggest supporters.

6. Do you do anything else than Kirby at work

Yes, I still work regularly for all kinds of clients as a developer, designer and consultant. I have some very old clients, I absolutely love and some exciting new ones. I like the mixture of work for Kirby and client work. It puts me in the position of being my own worst critic when it comes to Kirby, because I have to work with it myself on a daily basis.

7. 1-2 people make more features than 100+. How is that possible

Well, I think in general it’s easier to move quickly as a small team without the overhead of constantly organizing your work. Communication is faster and ideas are easier to realize. Especially when you are working alone you can often just throw stuff out there without any additional loops. That’s sometimes great and sometimes not. With a big team and a big product such as Wordpress, you have to be a lot more careful and strategic how to move forward. I realized with Kirby how much harder it gets to come up with new features and ideas the bigger the community gets. You always have to think about the consequences of every little step you take. I think it’s a big advantage to have a smaller digital product around as it offers more interesting ways to evolve and move forward. I will definitely try to keep it that way :smile:

8. Do you read all the posts in the forum?

I’m really really sorry, but I don’t. I try to read all new upcoming topics and cross-read posts from time to time, but that’s definitely one of the issues of being mostly alone. I get a lot of support tickets I have to reply to in time, because that’s part of Kirby’s professional license model. That’s already pretty tough, because I’m really just the only one doing that. Then there are all the Github repositories with dozens of issues and additionally I try to be active on Twitter as well and recently started the Gitter chat. The new forum has brought such a massive boost in activity that I’m in the lucky position to know that here are always fantastic people around who get connected and talk to each other. I try to be around from time to time as well, but it’s just not possible to read everything.

9. What do you think of demanding people?

Feedback and ideas are always helpful and I’m very happy about that. But I can’t make everybody happy. There was a time with my former product (Zootool) when I really tried and felt pushed to react to every feature request and add ALL the features. But to be honest it went horribly wrong. That’s exactly how bloat-wear starts. I have a pretty clear vision of what Kirby should be and some requests simply don’t fit in there. This is nothing personal. Of course I might even be wrong sometimes, but in general I’m sure it is important to keep an eye on the direction of the product and don’t react to every wish. But if you follow Kirby closely you all know that there’s a lot of stuff in there, which comes directly from your suggestions and ideas.

10. More podcasts or interviews online?

I’ve been on a couple German podcasts, but there’s also another English one, which has been huge fun: http://descriptive.audio/episodes/4

There are a couple written interviews around as well and I will be speaking on HybridConf in Dublin next week and at NightlyBuild in Cologne September 4th. Would be great to see you there :slight_smile:

Thank you for your questions and your constant support. Please feel free to post more!!


What did you learn by using Kirby, except using Kirby?
#3

:clap:

I was pretty confident that this was the case, but happy to read your confirmation :grinning:


#4

Agreed.

One of the reasons I moved to Kirby in the first place was due to the fact that the more mainstream CMS platforms have become bloated and unwieldy.

Really great to hear that Bastian is keeping this in check. :smile:


#5

Adding onto @texnixe’s response, that’s where the integration of plugins and widgets comes in. Let the users bloat if they like, or need to, without weighing down the core.


#6

@bastianallgeier

Great answers! It includes much information that at least I did not know about.

I have one more question I’ve been thinking about, that I forgot to write.

11. What do you do when a change is needed, that affect user code?

A scenario: You have created a function that is used by many people in templates and plugins. Then you figured out a better way of doing that, which would require an introduction of a new function call. What do you do in those cases? and why?

  1. The WordPress way - Keep the less good way for backward compatibility and maybe have two functions doing the same thing for a long while. Later on deprecate the old function.
  2. The Drupal way - Change everything that needs to change in a new version. Expect that the users change their code.
  3. The alternate way - Some kind of conversion process.

Because there are no automatic updates I would personally prefer the “Drupal” way. In that case it would be important to add docs about those changes to the changelog.

12. What if you find “bloat”?

Almost the same as 11. Say you find the “brick” function to be bloat and want it removed from Kirby core / toolkit. What do you do? If removing it many plugins and templates will not work without someone changing them.

Sidenote

  • The best with Kirby is that it’s almost like writing plain HTML, not getting in the way.
  • In WordPress you fight hard to remove stuff. In Kirby you add stuff. Big difference!
  • I like powerful core functions much more than UI stuff, nowdays.
  • You let us feel in control by letting us changing how things work. Like creating routes, filters, field methods, folder paths, options, panel hooks and so on.

#7

11. What do you do when a change is needed, that affect user code?

That’s extremely tricky. I always try to be very concious about new features in the first place and think about possible consequences of adding them. But sometimes you simply make mistakes and then you have to fix it later. With the move from Kirby 1 to Kirby 2 I have been radical in some places and just removed stuff I considered cruft and legacy code. That made upgrades not always super smooth but I think it was still worth it. Between two major releases I try not to do too much damage and rather have some soft fallbacks. There’s actually an upcoming situation with the decrufted version of the panel, which might need a bit more feedback and tests from panel field developers, because I changed a lot for the next release, but I plan to still keep it as compatible as possible.

For the core I feel the architecture is now in a shape which doesn’t require too many radical changes anymore. For the panel I still feel there’s a lot of space to make it cleaner. I think it’s just going to be a process in between the radical Drupal way and a more step by step cleaning.

12. What if you find “bloat”?

When I find bloat I hate myself for it and then I try to refactor it in a way I can be happy again :slight_smile: The rest is probably already in my answer above.

The brick class is not going anywhere btw :smile:

Sidenote
Thank you for the kind sidenote! This really means a lot.