Nicholas K. Dionysopoulos tell us about you and your company
I am a 30 years old Mechanical Engineer turned web developer. Most people know me as the Lead Developer of Akeeba Backup, the flagship product of my company, AkeebaBackup.com. You might be surprised, but I have no Computer Science background. I taught myself how to code and I was lucky enough to have the entire Free and Open Source Software community provide ample support towards this goal.
Akeeba backup is one of the most popular extensions at JED - why do you think it´s so popular?
Other people tell me it is so because it's the best backup component extension, regardless of the CMS. I don't think so. I believe that it's popular because it just works. People love software which installs, works and they don't have to worry about it. When it doesn't work there's top notch free documentation and the speediest free support around. I guess that providing high quality code, excellent documentation and lightning fast response is the best (and most difficult!) way to have a popular product! :)
You have develop several extensions and you offering both non-commercial/commercial versions - how is that working out from a developer perspective?
Offering extensions for free doesn't make much business sense, but I'm not doing into FOSS development to become rich and famous. I'm here because of the spirit of the GPL which is all about collaborating and helping others. I am a lousy teacher, so I can't contribute by teaching people how to use software. However, I am a decent developer, so my contribution to the FOSS community is my software.
From a making-a-living perspective, it turns out that the prospect of having a GPL-based business isn't as grim as you might think of. In the end of the day there are tons of professionals and companies who'd rather pay the developer to keep on coding, as well as provide them with one-to-one support. I tap onto that potential to make a living and finance my passion for helping other people. Making everyone happy by working together. That's what the spirit of the GPL is all about and, yes, it does work in the real world MUCH better than you'd ever think!
Recently you have released, in beta, Akeeba Subscriptions - can you tell us about it?
Akeeba Subscriptions was developed as the result of me "scratching my own itch". I had outgrown the capabilities of my previous subscriptions system and wanted something better. At the same time, I wanted something that "just works" and doesn't take a rocket scientist to setup and maintain. Unfortunately, all existing solutions were either way too simple and underpowered or way too complicated. So, I just sat down and began writing a subscriptions manager. Thank to using the Nooku Framework to do that, I was able to develop it in record time and add all those extra features I'd love to have: coupon codes, automatic tax rules, one page checkout, integrations with a ton of components and payment processors, beautiful-looking stats and compatibility with Joomla! 1.5/1.6 without much hassle. Its power is derived by its simplicity. It will never grow into a component that can handle all arbitrary business needs. If you need something like that, there's AEC; no need for me to reinvent the wheel. Akeeba Subscriptions will always stay a simple component that the majority of e-businesses can use to sell subscriptions on their sites easily, affordably and without spending an eternity configuring it!
Why did you choose to develop for Joomla?
Just a happy accident :) I was originally developing desktop applications using Delphi. At one point, I had to develop a website and I chose the now-defunct phpNuke. Soon enough we outgrew the system and went on the lookout for a new CMS. Mambo -Joomla!'s predecessor- fit the feature set we needed nicely and we started using it. Then we sifted to developing websites instead of custom desktop applications. When I left the company I was working for, I kept on developing web sites with Joomla!. Naturally, I started tweaking things and writing more and more code, so I evolved to a Joomla! developer.
What will we see from Akeeba developers during this year?
I get asked this question every so often, but the only frank reply I can give is "I have no idea". There are a lot of ideas for new features queued up. The only limiting factor of what will be developed this year is time ;)