Episode 246  on November 20, 2017Behind the Screens

Behind the Screens with Mateu Aguiló Bosch

Lullabot's Senior Backend Developer Mateu Aguiló Bosch sits down to talk decoupled architecture, getting started in Drupal, and his favorite place to visit outside of his island paradise in Mallorca.

Transcript

Chris:
So today we are going behind the screens with Mateu Aguiló Bosch. Hi Mateu!
Mateu:
Hello, how are you?
Chris:
I'm good, how are you?
Mateu:
I'm pretty good as well.
Chris:
To get started, tell us a little bit about yourself, how long you've been with Lullabot? What do you do?
Mateu:
Um, yeah, sure. So I joined with Lullabot, I think it's going to be four years ... or it was four years in February ... one of those ... it was four years February. Wow. Yeah, that's a long time. So, yeah, since then I've been focusing more and more on back-end. Back-end development. And started doing the one-man band thing. Where I did everything from setting up the servers, to doing the CSS, to dealing with clients, to trying to get myself paid when I was a free-lancer. And then, yeah ... I can say that I am happy to not have to go after anyone to get paid. So, yeah, that I don't miss. So, yeah, back-end; it's what I enjoy the most. So I think it's natural that I ended up doing that. These days, I'm doing mostly Node JS Development, as in integration with the Drupal side. So, I can still have one foot on my Drupal background. It's a lot of fun. I'm having truly interesting challenges, in the decoupled land.
Chris:
Yeah, that's a very new frontier that we're tackling, so I imagine there's a whole slew of challenges that a traditional Drupal developer would have to ... I don't know ... I am running away from it, personally, and just letting you guys handle it. [laughter] I'm still struggling with getting up to speed with Drupal 8 and you guys are doing all this crazy headless, decoupled monster stuff. But, I'll get there eventually, I'm sure.
Mateu:
I wouldn't say it's a monster, but it can be intimidating to, you know, get out of the zone of comfort where Drupal gets your website out.
Chris:
Yeah, that's true. So, given all this new fun stuff that you've been digging into, let's pick out one thing. One thing that's been a really big challenge for you recently?
Mateu:
Picking one is hard. So, I would say, that's the challenge. Just choosing one.
Chris:
Just picking which battle to fight?
Mateu:
Well ... yes ... partially, yes. I've been coordinating the API First Initiative, or helping along with Wim Leers from Acquia, and that has proven to be challenging because, you know, when you try to move something forward, you have to have a vision of where you want to arrive, right? So, either, you do it and you take the project there, the API Initiative there. Or, you put it in a way that you hope it aligns with the contributors passions or projects needs, and hopefully someone will donate sometime to do it.
And, of course, there is no way you can come with ... asking for people to do things ... because it's their free time, right? And, you know, if someone just disappears on an issue ... maybe many things ... so, yeah, helping move forward from something with those constraints is challenging. But at the same time it is very rewarding. Because it kind of creates when someone gets interest in their ... it usually is very strong ... like, you can see the passion for the person. And that creates a bond or connection of two people sharing like, the same geek passion. And that is pretty cool as well. But very hard.
Chris:
Yeah, I imagine. That is one of the hardest things, I think, as an open source maintainer, is trying to match up with people, especially when we have such a global crowd working all together on these things.
Mateu:
Mm-hmm.
Chris:
If you had one piece of advice you could give to someone who ... they might be listening to these podcasts and thinking, what the heck is all of this? I just want to build a website and this Drupal thing looks cool. What's your advice to them, getting started in Drupal?
Mateu:
So, I would say ... up to, well ... I think that I would try to kind of go through my experience and say, "Yeah, this was a good idea, but please don't do this." It would be something like read code ... if you're a developer ... right? That's what I can relate better with. So, read a lot of code. Write documentation. When you write documentation, you realize you have to put things into words. And, one, you have documentation, which is very needed and not many developers have that inclination. Also speak at camps. It helps a lot into making friends. Which, would be the next steps I have to say. Make friends, otherwise this is going to be no fun for you. And it's going to be all work and no fun. And then I would say, be transparent with everything you do in an open-source community and it will surprise you how many good things happen when you just put your needs out there and try to collaborate openly with some people and new parts appear that you didn't expect. So, just say what you want or why you're doing things. That's my advice.
Chris:
That's some great advice. I think we've all went through that. Just maybe a little bit of intimidation when you get around so many people in the community and you don't want to share your things because you think there not ... maybe not as important as what other people are working on ... but we underestimate the community that way. I think you're absolutely right. You put it out there, and you'd be very surprised about what you get back.
Mateu:
I have yet to see when someone speaks about something that they did, or that they need or that they [inaudible 00:06:54] you know, in our community. I have never seen a bad reaction on that. Like, everyone just goes [inaudible 00:07:03] to support people and help you be better, more productive so you can help all the people to lean into the project, you know, and just have the code ... not the code ... the project go on forever.
Chris:
Mm-hmm. So, we talk a lot about working in Drupal and we spend most of our time there. Or the internet at large. So, what would you do if you woke up tomorrow and found that the internet no long existed?
Mateu:
I have my answer for this, because I said that you shared this with my last week at the retreat.
Chris:
I did, yeah. [laughter]
Mateu:
And my witty answer was, I would invent the internet and I would be rich and I probably would. That defeats the purpose, right?
Chris:
A little bit, yeah. The point of the question is that you don't want anymore internet. How about this, you wake up tomorrow and there are no more computers to get to the internet?
Mateu:
I know, I think I would try to live my life as simple as possible. Which, I am already trying to do. But nothing feels simple when computers are involved, right? Probably, I would try to farm a little bit and have some self sustained home economy and then just enjoy the life, I guess. I would just walk a lot and go to the beach. I live right next to the beach, so I would go even more. That kind of stuff I guess.
Chris:
That's a good plan. I like that.
Mateu:
I may be. Regardless.
Chris:
[laughter] Yeah, you can drag your computer down to the beach and work from there. So, what more do you need?
Mateu:
Yup, done that. Pretty cool.
Chris:
That is pretty cool. So, speaking of working at the beach and living at the beach. You live in a pretty tropical place and you've given us little presentations at Lullabot about why it's not, maybe, as great a place as we all think it is, when you have to live there. So, what is your favorite place to travel to when you get away from home?
Mateu:
Couple of years ago, I would have said, Yosemite. Now, my heart is torn ... because I went to Iceland in summer, and now I want to go in winter ... and Iceland's pretty amazing. Yosemite is also ... I don't know ... I have to, maybe ... it's the memories, it's the place, but I've gone there a couple times and every time I have gone there, it's fantastic. I'm going to say Yosemite just, you know, it's in the U.S., you're from the U.S. They are probably in a tie, and you are the tie-breaker.
Chris:
Oh, I have to be the tie-breaker on your favorite place to go to?
Mateu:
I don't know, yeah.
Chris:
Fair enough, I'll take it. I actually haven't been to Yosemite before, and that is a place that I would love to get to. I've heard nothing but amazing stories coming from there, so ... I would like to wrap it up with one of my favorite questions. I think none of us got where we are in this industry on our own. We had somebody somewhere along the way who kind of gave us a boost or sort of helped us find our way. So is there anybody, a person, or a group, or an organization, even, that you would like to say thank-you to, if you could, or just express some gratitude towards to help you get you to where you are?
Mateo:
Yeah ... well, no ... a lot of people, I can not just choose just one. So, I didn't even consider Drupal when I decided that I would make websites for a living and I had a friend, back from when we were kids, he told me, "Hey let's get together and start a Drupal shop." And I was like, "No, let's do Ruby on Rails," and we decided to build something. With their technology, with the other one's technology. And I said, "No, we're going to do Drupal." So, yeah, I would like to thank him. Also, Juampy, he encouraged me to join Lullabot. And that's pretty cool. I'm having a great time here, so ... and also, you know, it's Juampy [laughter]. He's really nice. And, I guess, the Drupal project, itself. The Drupal project gave me a way to be financially sustainable and to, you know, be able to live in a place, and pay bills and all that. And to Lullabot, obviously, who is actually paying me to pay the bills [laughter]. But, yeah, I have a strong attachment to Drupal because, no, it gave me the possibility to do all of this, you know?
Chris:
Yup, I agree completely. I'm going to have to thank Juampy too, if he was the reason you joined Lullabot. Because I thoroughly enjoy working with both of you, so.
Mateu:
Yeah, it's fun, isn't it?
Chris:
Excellent, well thanks for being on the podcast today, Mateu. I really appreciate it and it's fun to getting to know a little bit more about you and we'll see you soon.
Mateu:
Okay, thank you Chris. I love that you're doing this.
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