On the podcast today we have Marcel Schmitz.
He first got first involved with WordPress back in 2011, taking advantage of the platform because it was easy to make client websites; not having to create a complete CMS solution from scratch. It’s been an unbreakable relationship since then. However, it’s been a journey of constant change. Mobile came along, and Marcel’s been connecting apps to WordPress since 2012, building mobile apps that use AR and Gutenberg to connect with WooCommerce.
We talk on the podcast today about the opportunities Codeable has offered him and how it fits in with his life. As you’ll hear, he’s pretty keen on the fact that it gives him a reliable stream of work without the need for him to go out and find it.
Codeable is a platform which connects developers with clients needing work. They find the clients, and the developer does the work. But what’s really involved in this transaction? What kind of work is available on the platform? Who can join, and how can Codeable and the clients both be sure that the developers are qualified and able to carry out the projects that they take on?
Marcel certainly seems to have had a very positive experience with Codeable and explains the nuts and bolts of how you get started, what developers need to bring to the table and how Codeable mediates disputes which might arise.
Towards the end of the podcast, we talk about Marcel’s work using AR and WooCommerce, as well as a brief foray into how he sees headless WordPress working with WooCommerce in the future; what are the benefits and what are some of the drawbacks?
Typically, when we record the podcast, there’s not a lot of background noise, but that’s not always the case with these WordCamp Europe interviews. We were competing against crowds and the air-conditioning. Whilst the podcasts are more than listenable, I hope that you understand that the vagaries of the real world were at play.
[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley.
Jukebox as a podcast, which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case finding WooCommerce work through Codeable.
If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast, player of choice. Or by going to WPTavern.com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy and paste that URL into most podcast players.
If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast, I’m very keen to hear from you and hopefully get you all your idea featured on the show. Head over to WPTavern.com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox, and use the form there.
So on the podcast today, we have Marcel Schmitz. Marcel is a freelancer at Codeable for pluginslab, a small agency based in Porto, Portugal, which by good coincidence is where WordCamp Europe took place this year.
He first got involved with WordPress back in 2011, taking advantage of the platform because it was easy to create clients’ websites, not having to create a complete CMS solution from scratch.
It’s been an unbreakable relationship since then. However, it’s been a journey of constant change. Mobile came along, and Marcel’s been connecting apps to WordPress since 2012. Building mobile apps that use AR and Gutenberg to connect with WooCommerce.
We talk on the podcast today about the opportunities Codeable has afforded him and how it fits in with his life. As you’ll hear, he’s pretty keen on the fact that it gives him a reliable stream of work without the need for him to go out and find it.
Codeable is a platform which connects developers with clients needing work. They find the clients and the developer does the work. But what’s really involved in this transaction? What kind of work is available on the platform? Who can join, and how can Codeable and the clients both be sure that the developers are qualified and able to carry out the projects that they take on?
Marcel certainly seems to have had a very positive experience with Codeable and explains the nuts and bolts of how you get started, what developers need to bring to the table and how Codeable mediates disputes which might arise.
Towards the end of the podcast, we talk about Marcel’s work using AR and WooCommerce. As well as a brief foray into how he sees headless WordPress, working with WooCommerce in the future. What are the benefits and what are some of the drawbacks?
Typically when we record the podcast, there’s not a lot of background noise, but that’s not always the case with these WordCamp Europe interviews. We were competing against crowds and the air conditioning. And whilst the podcasts are more than listable, I hope that you understand that the vagaries of the real world were at play.
If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all of the links in the show notes by heading over to WPTavern.com forward slash podcast, where you’ll find all the other episodes as well.
And so without further delay, I bring you Marcel Schmitz.
I am joined by Marcel Schmitz. Hello, Marcel.
[00:04:09] Marcel Schmitz: Hello. Thank you.
[00:04:10] Nathan Wrigley: It’s very nice to have you here. First of all, let’s get a few introductions out the way. Tell us a little bit about WordCamp Europe and why you are here.
[00:04:16] Marcel Schmitz: So, WordCamp Europe is very special to me because I’ve been living in Porto for 35 years. I was, born in Brazil I have German citizenship and yeah, my parents came here in 1988, so I’m here the whole time and I’m not gonna change this city for any other. I’m very much in love with the city. So obviously WordCamp Europe is very special for me, especially because I’m getting all my friends, WordPress friends, together in the city that I know very well, show them around. So yeah, it’s super special occasion.
[00:04:46] Nathan Wrigley: It’s just the nicest of spots isn’t it? Yeah. So really kind of unusual for you in that you basically can go home to your own bed in the evening,
[00:04:56] Marcel Schmitz: Right. That’s very unusual. That’s also at the same time, very practical, I guess I have the flexibility to just jump home very quickly, grab my things and just go with it. Nonetheless, for the last two days I’ve been at a hotel. It’s easier with the logistic at home, with my wife, my kid going to school because they’re still in school by this time of year. So for me not to interfere with their normal schedule, I’m just staying in a hotel.
[00:05:23] Nathan Wrigley: That’s really ingenious. Your reason for being here is what? As far as I know, you’re not got a speaking engagement. You’re here as a, as an attendee?
[00:05:31] Marcel Schmitz: Correct, yeah. That’s correct. This time, and every WordCamp Europe, we have also Codeable experts here. Which are people who I work with every day. And we have also people from Codeable staff here. So one of the main reasons to attend this is obviously to meet all these people. There are a lot of experts that we didn’t get to meet in person for a long time. It has been a couple of years. It’s one of the reasons is that obviously.
And the second reason I would say there’s a lot of good talks that I would like to keep up. There’s new things that came out. There’s also other people from other teams, from Automattic, from WooCommerce etcetera, that I would like very much to meet.
That’s basically it. It’s such a good opportunity to be in person with everyone, and to be together after all these years. It just makes it a wonderful time everyone being together.
[00:06:15] Nathan Wrigley: Can I just try to paint a picture of your work life? In that you, I’m guessing that your large amount of your income comes from Codeable.
[00:06:23] Marcel Schmitz: Yes, that’s right.
[00:06:24] Nathan Wrigley: So, not necessarily dwelling on the Codeable piece itself yet, but just tell us what is it that you do? How does your work flow towards you? Are you basically taking on work that Codeable put in your inbox, if you like, and you can accept and decline things? And have you found that way of living to be enjoyable or is it stressful? Do you have to generate a lot of your own work or does it just land in your lap?
[00:06:47] Marcel Schmitz: Right. So we have a very special place in our platform where everybody who’s an expert, who got access and who got admitted to the platform has a list of opportunities. And those are clients who come in. They register their projects. They have a project description. They ask for a specific area of expertise, and we just browse those projects. And we just get to choose whatever wanna work with. Basically what starts then is a conversation between us, the experts and the client.
So multiple experts can come in and also ask questions and present themselves. And yeah, after a couple of messages we exchange, we talked about the project, we scope it out. And that basically then the clients decides if you want to hire us or not. Basically, I look for the job that I want.
I read what the client needs to do. If it fits my area of expertise, I’m gonna interact with the client. That is an awesome way to do it for me, because you get to pick how much you wanna work. If you will have a planned a couple of days off, you can do that. You can also talk with a client, this is gonna take four weeks, five weeks, six weeks, whatever time it will take to complete the project. And you can add a little bit buffer to that so you can manage anything in between. So it’s absolutely not stressful, is actually something that gives you the most control possible as a freelancer, right?
[00:08:03] Nathan Wrigley: Let’s just sort of dig a little bit deeper into that then. So you’re looking at your inbox for things to drop into it, where you, you are given an opportunity and you can peruse it and decide if it’s for you or not. And then how does it go from there? You say, actually this piece of work I’m interested in, and then you just hand it back to Codeable and they say, okay, we’ll communicate. And how is it confirmed that Marcel ,you’ve got the job and not somebody else?
[00:08:23] Marcel Schmitz: Right. So all the communications are done by the experts themselves. So Codeable does not interfere with the conversation between the expert and the client. If we find that the task is interesting to us, we just start typing in what we call the workroom and that project that is there is gonna be then the place where the conversation happens between the client and the expert themselves.
And so it is then up to the client to decide if he wants to work with that specific expert. The client has access to a profile and on the profile, the experts say what they’re good at, what their area of expertise, their work portfolio, everything that it worked before. And they can also read reviews that other previous clients have left for that specific expert.
[00:09:02] Nathan Wrigley: How do you get the bonafides to be an expert? In other words, if I was to hire you and you’ve got on your portfolio, that I dunno you maybe a React expert or something like that. Where does the trust come from? Apart from the reviews, I can see that you’ve done this piece of work, and you’ve obviously got an amazing litany of reviews and everything that you’ve done everybody’s happy with. But when you launch into the platform, presumably there must be some kind of vetting process where you’ve got to prove that you can actually do what you claim you do.
[00:09:27] Marcel Schmitz: Right. So, the vetting process is multi-phase process that goes from interviews to coding to a time where you do some trial and you have to present some code. You are also given a small task. You have to communicate with a client. So then from the Codeable side, there are people who are gonna look at that who are gonna evaluate if that’s at their standard, what they’re requiring. And that’s not only in the coding part on the technical part that you have to be an expertise.
Also on the soft skills, like talking to the client, being polite, being able to explain what is happening or what is he’s going to do. So for an expert that comes in and has zero in their project count, zero in their client count, it will very much rely on what he writes as his presentation on his portfolio. Obviously these are people who are, are not starting as the developers right now, right? So they’ve previously worked either with other agencies or they have been freelancers themselves. So, they already have some expertise and some experience in different areas, that they’re gonna present in their profiles, right?
And after the first project and the second and the third coming in, those numbers are gonna be coming up. Reviews are gonna come up. But I guess the most important part, I’m pretty sure this is what happens with most of the experts, is that the conversation that we have with the client at that moment for that project is the most important tool that you have.
And it is what the client is gonna rely the most. If he understands that you know what you’re talking about, or if he feels comfortable that your solutions that you’re providing your, they have a problem and you have a solution and you explain it very clearly, and the client feels comfortable with your replies. That’s exactly what the client is gonna be inclined to work with you. And then later, perhaps gonna look at the profile and see what you’ve done in the past. But I think if you really show in that conversation that you know how to solve that problem, he’s gonna be very comfortable hiring you.
[00:11:17] Nathan Wrigley: If you work for an agency or something like that, there’s a career path, isn’t there? There’s a trajectory. You start on the, the lower rung of the ladder. And as time goes on, you move up towards the top or you may flip to a different agency or something like that. Is there things built into systems like Codeable to enable you to do that? In other words, do you have to reauthenticate yourself as an expert every few years? And can you say actually now I’d, I’d also like to add this badge to my portfolio? I’ve done some work in React and I can claim that I’m good at that as well.
[00:11:46] Marcel Schmitz: Right. You can always do that, right. So you can always update and can you always go there and say, oh, I’ve worked for the first time on a React project. I’ve learned React, and it went very well. Now I can go out there and say, I am now have the experience in React, and I’m gonna propose myself as a React developer. Yes, you can definitely do that.
And also on the platform, you can work as a freelancer by yourself. You don’t have to be belonging to an agency or you don’t have to have a company behind it. But if you have, like it is in my case, there is one person, one face, one name, and you indicate that you belong to an agency, and you just name other persons that might interact with your name on the platform so that everybody knows, okay, this is Marcel’s company, but there might be people talking on behalf of Marcel.
They will be clearly identified. They will talk with them. So, the adding of the expertise can also come from other agencies, having other experts coming into the agency. But for that to happen also Codeable needs to know that they need to know who are those people. And that’s basically how we then make sure that everybody knows exactly what they’re doing, right.
[00:12:50] Nathan Wrigley: If I was to work in an agency and let’s say I was the agency owner, and I suddenly took on 3,000 staff, this would be the death of my business because I couldn’t afford payroll. But I’m just wondering about the piece in there of, is there a limit, do you know if there’s a limit? In other words, if 6,000 people show up tomorrow with the bonafides to say, I can do React at a really high level, do they all get taken into the platform or is there some kind of system to protect the people who’ve first through the door if you’d like?
[00:13:17] Marcel Schmitz: Right. So I wouldn’t say 6,000 is acceptable in the platform. It’s not viable. There is no way somebody would show up in the platform with that many experts, because, I mean for him to get those 6,000, he has to have already the infrastructure to deal with them, right? There are certainly people who have, 15, 20, expertise or people working for the agency. I dunno if there’s a limit, but I would say 20, 30 is enough. But the funny thing is that there are three more times projects than experts right now at the platform.
That’s a good problem to have, right? It’s not that easily solvable, it’s not just adding more experts and experts because the whole issue is you have to be good at communicating. You have to speak English perfect. Well, not perfectly, but at least in a way that people understand you. And you have to be obviously presentable. There are some opportunities and times where you go and have a consultation call that involves a video call. There’s a lot of other elements to that, that will try to make that client feel comfortable with the platform.
And people when they get in this platform, because it is not like any other platform out there. They will struggle initially a little bit into getting into the whole way of functioning, right? So it is not an easy onboarding. It’s not as easy as, here’s an agency with 300 developers, let’s put them on the platform and problem solved. Because there’s still a lot of communication to go, right?
And there are clients who don’t want to just hire another agency for that, and just have one face representing them. They wanna have close contact to whoever is developing their project. They wanna know exactly what’s going on. They don’t want to have a chain to go through to know why that specific code didn’t work, why the test fails or something like that. So it’s very, very unique to smaller teams, or even like down to this one freelance developer who just gained the trust of this client, and he’s gonna hire you over and over again.
[00:15:04] Nathan Wrigley: You mentioned that there was three times, at the moment we’re recording this when WordCamp Europe is on. So maybe the numbers will go up. Maybe they’ll go down. But, roughly at the moment there’s three times more people offering work than there are people to fulfill that work.
[00:15:15] Marcel Schmitz: Correct.
[00:15:17] Nathan Wrigley: A housing market analogy might be it’s a seller’s market. So that’s quite something.
[00:15:20] Marcel Schmitz: It is.
[00:15:21] Nathan Wrigley: So you get to turn things down because they’re not, well, you can cherry pick basically.
[00:15:26] Marcel Schmitz: You can cherry pick. That’s the whole beauty of it. And it goes back to your question where you asked, if you feel stressful, if you feel, uh, happy or okay. That’s exactly it. So you get to choose which project you wanna work with. And also the same way that the clients get a read on you as an expert in how we communicate and how you interact with the client.
The same we get from the client, right. So if the client spends time explaining what he wants. If he puts the documentation out. If he provides you with screenshots. If he has drawn on a piece of paper, anything that he wants to build, that shows that the client has interest and the time to invest in whatever he wants to do, right? So when we go cherry pick is not only about the project that we feel comfortable with. It’s also in regards to the client. So we’ll try to figure out if there’s a good client to have, or to try at least get this project going. And I can say in my portfolio of clients, I’ve worked with 160 different clients already, and it’s been 70 percent of the work is repetitive, is returning clients that come back and wants something else.
That goes to show that it’s all about communication, about building that trust. And that’s also one of the reasons why we have this ratio, right? Three more times project and experts because we tend to keep old clients, right. And they’re gonna obviously post on the platform as well. Obviously immediately be picked up by you and you will work on them. So you have less time to get new clients in, right?
[00:16:47] Nathan Wrigley: Do Codeable help you in, let’s say you run up against something, a problem. Are you left to your own devices or is there support and help there? And then another sort of slightly related question? Equipment, technology, the computer, the internet connection. Does any of that get rolled into the, the thing that Codeable provide? In other words, once you join the platform, are there certain minimum things that you must have? Certain commitments in terms of I’m gonna work this many hours a week, you must have a computer of this standard. Just run all of that by us.
[00:17:13] Marcel Schmitz: Right? Sure. So, there’s absolutely no minimum technical requirements at all, because by the time you get to the vetting process, you will pass through a process, whether they will eventually know what you’re doing, right. And a developer that has been doing this for many many years knows exactly what he needs and what he wants. So in the technical aspect, there’s absolutely no minimal requirements.
As to the support that Codeable provides, 100%. New experts that come in, they usually have a hard time picking tasks. Other more, more experienced experts go in faster and communicate in a faster pace than the recently joined ones. And so Codeable sometimes go and help those people pick projects for them, right. And there’s also like Slack, which is an awesome tool that we use to promote projects that weren’t picked up because there’s so many coming in, they were overlooked or there’s so many people looking for any other types of projects.
So new experts that come in, they will get support from Codeable, and they have Codeable staff to pick some of the projects for them. Like this first project, good first projects to have for them to start building their client relationship.
[00:18:18] Nathan Wrigley: In terms of the way that Codeable keeps itself going, obviously there must be some sort of financial benefit to Codeable providing you with all this stuff. How does that work? Do they suggest a fee or are you in charge of what you are gonna be charging for a particular project or do they set a fee for a certain type of work and, what’s their cut, and all of that kind of stuff?
[00:18:35] Marcel Schmitz: So, that’s another very good aspect of belonging to the Codeable community because we get to fix our own price, but there is a range. So the minimum would be $70 an hour and the maximum would be $120 an hour. So it’s the higher end rate that I would say in the WordPress area. But then again, that means that you have to position yourself within what do you think is your expertise worth. In my case, I’ve been working with WooCommerce for more than 10 years.
I’m a little bit on the upper range. But also, I’m also very quickly able to tell the person what he needs to do, and how many hours it’s gonna take for me to do that. So it’s all on our hands. So we have the scope of the project, and we’re gonna go there, and this takes eight hour. My rate is such and such. And we put the estimate on the workroom. And on top of that, Codeable then charges the client 17.5 percent, and then it also takes from our ends 10%.
So we contribute with 10% of our revenue, to the platform for them to keep the work going and to help us get the clients and also to mitigate any conflict that there is. Right. So if there is any disputes of some sorts, Codeable will immediately be the middle part of that. And we’ll try to get everything together. And the client, the 17.5%, same thing. So if the client doesn’t find an expert, if nobody replies, if they need some sort of an additional information about how to build a project or how to promote it into the platform, Codeable will also be there to help him out. So that’s how they build their, their business around that.
[00:20:02] Nathan Wrigley: We’ve talked a lot about it from your side, so let’s just flip it very quickly before we get onto the WooCommerce bit to close it out. From the client perspective, you just mentioned that things go wrong, right? Agencies, freelancers and clients, they’re not always a match made in heaven. Things do go pear shaped and, you know, disagreements arise. Let’s talk about that. How do you ensure, how do you basically do quality assurance? What is the disagreement process? And are you, as a member of Codeable, it sounds like you are kind of immune from that discussion. They take that a bit away from you.
[00:20:31] Marcel Schmitz: Well, not immediately. So obviously you are responsible for everything that you do with the, um, project in particular and with the client, all the communication. And sometimes when a client does find that something is missing was not done according to scope or the expert is not responding or is not being clear.
Immediately the client can contact the support team and the support team will contact the expert and try to get things sorted out, right. Most of the time I would say I never had a dispute where Codeable would needs to apply, there’s a certain way for them to solve this dispute, right. So there’s a form that we fill out and everybody explains their part, and they then mitigate this. But until it reaches that point, you have a lot of opportunity to talk to the client. So in my experience at the beginning, I had a couple of clients were more difficult ones and you sort of like learn from that experience, right.
And, and sometimes the client also understands that it didn’t understand before how the platform works, and all the change requests that come after that. How, why should I pay for a change request? This is obviously it should be red instead of green, right. But it’s not written green, it’s written red, right. So all these little bits can obviously build up to then not getting into a good relationship. It’s mainly up to you and yeah, Codeable helps you also mitigate that before they themselves present us. Okay. We are here, we’re gonna help solve this.
[00:21:46] Nathan Wrigley: Is your expertise in Codeable then, WooCommerce, is that the thing that you’ve nailed your flag, you’ve that to the mast?
[00:21:51] Marcel Schmitz: Yes. 100%.
[00:21:54] Nathan Wrigley: So tell us about your interest in WooCommerce. Why WooCommerce as opposed to just regular WordPress? Is that just an area that you got interested in? Do you love e-commerce? It’s obviously a bit more of a niche and there’s actual money to be made from those websites, which is quite interesting.
[00:22:07] Marcel Schmitz: Correct. So my initial interest in WooCommerce goes back to a dream that I once had, that I thought would be my business in the future. That would be have a marketplace online to sell different products and to have, to help local shops around my city to have their products online and sell them.
And when I came first in contact with WooCommerce and the ability that we have to build a store online and don’t spend no money at all in getting there. It’s very fascinating. And then all the things that come with it, the scalability and the fact that you can connect it to other mediums. The fact that you can make it so fast that it’s not comparable to other platforms.
So everything that goes around WooCommerce is very interesting. But the building of the business, the helping others build their business, and they got fired, now they wanna do something else. They have an idea and you come in and say, hey, this is WooCommerce. This is how you set up subscriptions, or this is how you sell courses and et cetera. It’s fascinating how people get inspired by the platform and by the tool and how you can help them get there and have a successful business out of that. That is the fascinating part of it.
[00:23:10] Nathan Wrigley: This next sentence is based upon no data whatsoever, but I’m gonna ask it anyway. It feels like the pandemic may have been a good time to be into WooCommerce. Is that true?
[00:23:23] Marcel Schmitz: Yes, that’s 100%. I don’t have any specific data as well, but I’ve seen my work increase three times during the pandemic. And a lot of them were first time businesses that wanted to go online and they wanted to start a new thing, and this was their opportunity. Many of them come with very little knowledge what is to sell a product, because sell a product is not only put it out there and get the money. It’s also providing support, pre-sales questions, everything that has to do with a broken product or anything that doesn’t work on the website. So there’s a lot of other things around the business and online business.
So, definitely the pandemic gave a huge opportunity for those experts to increase in our number of clients. But I would say the most important part that I picked up from this time was how people found a new way to get their living and to build a business. And some of them are quite up there right now so, they’re basically not going back to their previous job and what they were doing before.
[00:24:19] Nathan Wrigley: So with the analogy of a seesaw, it goes up, it also goes down. During the pandemic, up it goes and are we seeing a decline?
[00:24:27] Marcel Schmitz: No.
[00:24:28] Nathan Wrigley: Really, okay.
[00:24:29] Marcel Schmitz: Defininitely not.
[00:24:30] Nathan Wrigley: It’s, maintaining, it’s gone up and it stays up.
[00:24:32] Marcel Schmitz: It is. And I think one of the reasons behind that is because these people that during the pandemic started doing their businesses, they told others and they are an example for others. And maybe those other who didn’t quite have a hard time as the previous ones had during the pandemic, they started think, oh, maybe this can be a side business, or maybe I can do something as I do my regular work. And so it’s constantly increasing.
[00:24:56] Nathan Wrigley: That’s absolutely fascinating. Again, based upon no data, I would’ve assumed it to go down. So couple of years ago, came onto my radar that Shopify was just going like the bomb. Everybody was talking about it. It was increasing. Seems like that conversation continues. It seems like it’s going really well. If I were a developer and I wanted to go for Shopify development or I wanted to go to WooCommerce development, clearly you’ve gone for Woo. Just paint the picture of why Woo, not a proprietary SaaS.
[00:25:26] Marcel Schmitz: You can do anything that you want with WooCommerce, anything, right. And Shopify is for a specific type of online business, it’s not for everyone. And you as a developer are very limited within the Shopify platform. The limitation is to. probably in some type of business, is not bad because it also provides stability of the platform.
There are certain critical areas of a e-commerce solution that cannot fail. Payment methods cannot fail. The shipping part cannot fail. People have to check out. There is the conversion rate that has to be assured so that the business is successful. And WooCommerce on the other side gives you so much more flexibility in changing things around that we’ll meet the client’s expections. But also at the same time, it makes you more responsible for doing everything right, right?
Every single developer that works with WordPress and with WooCommerce has seen code that is probably not up to standards, right. There are many different ways to do the same thing. And so with WooCommerce, you have so much flexibility, but if you do it exactly by code, by standard, you’re gonna get that performance that you need. You’re gonna get every single bit of customization that a client wants.
And we’ve done a couple of conversions from Shopify to WooCommerce where they say this now finally feels like I can do anything that I want. But you have always obviously to explain, yeah, you can do anything they want, but it comes with a price. You have to be also more responsible. The things that we request, right? Because not everybody understands that changing a checkout page may influence how people check out, or if they even check out at all. So that comes with responsibilities as well.
[00:26:59] Nathan Wrigley: You were talking earlier about the fact that you can cherry pick a little bit. If somebody came into the Codeable platform and said, I just need a basic WooCommerce site, that maybe is something that you are not interested in these days, because you’ve gone through that a number of times I imagine, and maybe the interest isn’t there. And when we were setting up this interview, you mentioned all sorts of incredibly ingenious and interesting things that you are doing on the other end. You’re basically using WooCommerce as a conduit to push data to mobile platforms and all that. Tell us about some of the exciting, cutting edge stuff that you’ve been involved in recently.
[00:27:28] Marcel Schmitz: Well, just to go up to your question previously a normal website that comes in, a regular business, small shop. I would not immediately reject it because it’s small. It’s exactly on that opportunity that I think it’s the most fascinating, right? So, because it’s a green project. It’s very new. There are so many things that can be done. There is an idea. There is a product. There is a person who’s gonna invest in that and is gonna put effort into working on that project.
And there’s a lot of opportunities to guide that person into the right direction, right. And if the results come quick, the person will immediately figure out that you’re a good partner for them to work as the technology goes. As far as more complicated projects, yeah I think one of the most interesting ones is an app that we did for a client that were selling ear rings.
And you would use your phone camera to emulate how they look on your ears. So you would just point the camera towards your face, and you would choose the earrings that would match you the best. And all of that was done using WooCommerce on the background. The 3d models that were attached to the products within WooCommerce, and they were just using the Rest API to upload them to the app. And basically everything worked natively. So the browsing of the products, looking up the descriptions, doing the augmented reality stuff, that was all based on WooCommerce, yeah.
[00:28:43] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. That’s incredible. And probably very interesting.
[00:28:45] Marcel Schmitz: It’s awesome. And, also at the same time is very challenging. And the challenging part here was get the 3d model right. Because it was so impactful that the color has to be there. The shape has to be there, because you’re emulating a 3d object in an environment. The shadow has also to be right. The cool part about that was that on iOS, we are so advanced with augmented reality right now, that if I would be in this room and the light would be coming from a direction, the 3d model would understand where the light comes from and it would change the shadow on that 3d object. So it make, looks more natural on yourself. And that was the surprising part of that project. And, and it was really interesting.
[00:29:25] Nathan Wrigley: Very quickly just to wrap it up, because sadly we’re running out of time. We have restrictions on the amount of time that we can go. One of the things that you mentioned in the information that you passed to me was headless. Headless WooCommerce, just like I said briefly, tell us what that all means.
[00:29:39] Marcel Schmitz: I do think that the headless word carries too much negative connotation, because it has become a trend almost like, hey, I’m an awesome developer. I can completely detach the front end from the back end. And I’ve implemented 1000 different packages or libraries or whatever. And this works very fast. Awesome. Right, but what can you do else with it? Can you install plugins and they do show up on the front end? Can you change the checkout page for anything that you would like to have? No, you can’t.
So what I found fascinating about headless is not everything has to run on the server, right? So if you have a regular WooCommerce store, most of the HTML that you see on the screen is firstly generated on the server and then passed to the browser. As we have more advanced computers, we have browsers are more capable, some of that job can be done on the client side and client side means on the browser, right?
So headless for me, it’s super interesting because, there are upcoming technologies who will divide the work that the server does and the work that the client will do. Not everything should be on the client side as well. So there’s no extreme. There’s like not 8, not 80. We have to find a 40 in the middle.
And that’s the challenging part. So with some of the parts, and that’s what I’ve been experimenting lately, can be done in a headless way. Browsing through a project catalog doesn’t need server work. It can be everything done in the client work. But then again, the checkout page, it can be completely detached from the server, but should it be? Is that the real solution for the problem?
Do we have a problem in that regard? Because we can also supercharge the server and the checkout page can also be awesomely fast, and we don’t need to bring all the work to the client side, right? But what’s fascinating is that we have so much tools right now, the Rest API is at it’s best right now, and we can do anything with them and we can check out, we can work with a cart. Gutenberg is obviously a tool that you use to make everything work on the front end side. It works faster. It is much more easier for the clients to manage and to build the pages. But it doesn’t have to be everything on the client’s side. That’s where I see the challenge to decide where to put the weight.
[00:31:40] Nathan Wrigley: Marcel Schmitz, thank you for joining us. Thanks for telling about how you find work and about the interesting work that you do.
[00:31:46] Marcel Schmitz: Thank you very much Thank you.