2016 was the inaugural year of our new top
contributor program: Magento
Masters
. Many have asked what it takes to be a Magento
Master, so we figured it would be great to spotlight our 2016
Magento Masters and let you get to know them and why they
decided to get involved and contribute within the Magento
Community. 

(In case you missed it, we recently announced our 2017 Magento
Masters.
Meet them here
.)

Let’s get to know Kristof Ringleff, Founder at Fooman: 

Hi, I’m Kristof. I’m the guy behind Fooman and we’re a Magento
Technology Partner. We specialize in creating extensions which
make the merchant’s and the developer’s life easier. I’m
originally from Germany but I moved to New Zealand quite some
time ago, and it’s a really wonderful part of the world. I’m
really lucky to be close to the beach, just like most of New
Zealand is. Of course, it has a couple downsides. We’re pretty
much a 12 hour flight time away from anywhere where anything is
happening in the Magento world—except of course New Zealand and
Australia.

I guess I’m a fairly typical developer—I like lots of coffee,
hanging out on Twitter, and participating in StackExchange. A
couple of years ago, I founded the Magento Extension Developers
Network just to bring together like-minded developers who care
about quality, care about the merchant, and really making the
ecosystem better for all of us.

How and when did you first get involved with Magento?

I got involved with Magento back in 2007 when it was still
pre-1.0 days, so you could really say I’m a bit of a dinosaur
when it comes to Magento. Initially, Magento was more of a
hobby interest—trying a few things out, hanging out on the
forums and so forth. From there I picked up on a few things
people were struggling with. One of my first extensions, which
I released as an open source extension, Fooman Speedster,
really hit the nerve. Lots of people were using it and that
really helped get my name out there. From there it was only a
short step to making this a full-time job and becoming an
extension developer.

Since then I’ve been to tons of events, have certified myself
as a Developer Plus, and now I’m a Magento Master. You never
really know what’s around the corner but bring it on!

What made you decide to contribute to the Magento community?

I’m a huge fan of open source, and I wouldn’t be where I am
today without it. So the decision to contribute back to the
community was really easy for me. It’s the root of where we’re
coming from. The biggest contribution that I think we’re making
is keeping our open source and free extensions
available—keeping those up to date and supporting them.
Currently, there’s about
six of them
, so do check them out. The beauty, of course,
in having something out there is that people use it and you get
the feedback that you’re actually helping people. Of course,
the most awesome thing is, if other people help you out with
pull requests, you’re making your own code better and that
obviously helps. The whole ecosystem is able to improve.

How has the Magento community impacted you?

There is something powerful about being connected to other
developers who share the same purpose and help each other out
to become better at what we all do. I don’t work at a fancy
office or anything, I just work by myself from home, but I’m
constantly on Slack and Twitter and StackExchange, chatting to
other developers. There’s a whole community out there helping
each other out, solving each other’s problems and correcting
the code. It makes the work, day to day, more enjoyable and
really helps me in what I do as well. Through the community
I’ve also made some really great friends here in New Zealand,
and around the world. I’ve shared some pretty awesome times
eating, drinking, laughing, and what else the Magento community
gets up to. It’s really just more than work.

What might the community not know about you?

One thing you probably should know about me is that running an
extension business might not be as a glamorous as it sounds.
Although I have a few others on my team, I still spend a lot of
time on support and working 1:1 with customers. That’s really
what’s needed for customers to have a great experience with
Fooman, so that’s what I do. I really enjoy that part as
well—being close to solving problems and getting the immediate
feedback. I always say writing the code is the easy part,
backing it up with support is really where you can separate
someone who’s a player and someone who’s in it for real.
There’s obviously lots of variables impacting how an extension
works and customers really don’t want to be left stranded if
something doesn’t work as expected or advertised. You really
have to back up your claims. It’s as simple and difficult as
that.

What is one piece of advice that you live by and that you’d
like to pass on to other developers?

One piece that I could share is, you’re not alone. Reach out.
You’ll be surprised how many people genuinely want to help you.
Especially in this community. There are lots of people who are
really friendly, really helpful, and really generous with their
own time. If you’re stuck with something in your own little
world, just reach out around the globe, wherever you are. You’d
be surprised as to how much help people are offering.

KRISTOF
RINGLEFF

Founder, Fooman

Kristof is the extension guy behind Fooman. He’s been coding with
Magento since 2007 and has spent the last 1.5 years writing
time-saving extensions for Magento 2. A huge fan of the Magento
community, Kristof is glued to Twitter and Magento
StackExchange
, as well as running the local
meet up group in New Zealand
. He founded the Magento Extension Developers
Network
 to give a stronger voice to extension
developers committed to quality coding, customer experience,
and a strong Magento ecosystem. Kristof is also a very big fan
of coffee. 

Meet the 2017
Magento Masters
 and check out our Community
Hall of Fame
.