173 – My WordPress journey with David Decker

Interview – My WordPress journey with David Decker

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Today is a little different from the episodes that we’ve been putting out of late. It’s a story of one man and his journey with using WordPress.

We talk today with David Decker. You might have seen him around the WP Builds Facebook Group from time to time, and if you haven’t been in there you really should as he’s one of the many friendly faces who are there offering helpful advice and expertise.

I met David in on Facebook and was lucky enough to meet him in person at WordCamp Europe 2019 in Berlin. Was had a few chats and it became clear that an appearance on the podcast was going to happen.

He wanted to share his journey using WordPress, how he got started, how he’s used it over the years and how his business relies upon it.

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We talk about:

  • the planning, developing, releasing, translating, maintaining and supporting of free plugins on the official WordPress Plugin Directory
  • why he creates free plugins (helping users, learning to code and understanding the inner meanings of WordPress, having fun at coding, translating, marketing etc.)
  • David talks about what is going on behind the scenes when a single, independent developer does free plugins. What is involved in support? What strange things happen when you get a 1-star review and/or ‘bold’ complains from users; or users get very demanding with you? What does that ‘free plugin thing’ do with you and your work, as well as to your life beyond WordPress and even with your family?

Here’s some background on (written by David) for you:

– From Chemnitz, Germany (south-east Germany – was part of former “East Germany” (GDR))
– Born in 1977, married, with 2 girls
– Having my own business since March of 2000 (I don’t like the word “freelancing” for what I do, rather it is some kind of “one-person-agency”)
– Working with WordPress since 2006 – exclusively
– Started coding plugins in summer of 2011, because a friend asked me for it (he had an idea and asked if I could do that as a plugin)
– My business started out as side business when I was still studying at the university (computer science & business administration, history, political science)
– In 2007 I went full time
– In June 2010 I bought Genesis Pro Plus and was engaged in Genesis community ever since, did all my sites with Genesis only
– In 2014/2015 I was some kind of “burned out” and needed a change (after 15 years in business), so accepted a day job offer for a software company in Munich (doing websites for them, some development, plus customer support), switching my own business to side business again
– End of January 2018 this job ended, and since February 2018 I had a new job for a long-time client of mine and doing web work for them, but two days of the week I do my own business, which allows me also more time for doing plugins again, which is great
– In 2017 it was time to extend my toolbox and look beyond Genesis, I started using Elementor everywhere and tried other themes (Astra, GeneratePress etc.)
– Engaging with Elementor community opened me more to the site builder communities, and their thinking. I started thinking beyond the “developer bubble” I was a bit too focused on. I consider myself more of an site builder, implementor, with coding skills

It’s a lovely episode from a charming and humble man and I commend this episode to you.

Mentioned in this episode:

https://toolbarextras.com – Plugin website for David’s plugin “Toolbar Extras”
https://wordpress.org/plugins/toolbar-extras/ – wordpress.org plugin page for “Toolbar Extras”
https://toolbarextras.com/addons/ – current add-ons for David’s plugin
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ToolbarExtras/ – Facebook community group for the plugin
https://twitter.com/deckerweb – David’s personal Twitter

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley and Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there, and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode number 173 and titled my WordPress journey with David Decker. It was published on Thursday the 2nd of April, 2020 my name's Nathan Wrigley and I'd like to thank you for joining us once again, if this is your first time, welcome, and if you've been with us for many, many weeks, I'm really pleased that you've come back.
Thanks so much. Couple of things just before we begin, I'd love it if you felt that you could share the podcast. Obviously at this time, everybody seems to be on lockdown throughout the world and podcasting to be a bit of a growing resource, and it would be nice if you had some WordPress friends, if you felt that you could share it.
Obviously you can do that in whichever way you like. Write an email. You could of course, just . Direct them to WP Builds.com or you could direct them to a page like WP belts.com forward slash, subscribe. And over there you're going to find tons of ways to stay in touch with all the content that we produce.
There's a couple of emails that you can subscribe to. One tells you about content as and when we produce it. So for example, what we're doing now, the podcast, which comes out on a Thursday, but there's also the WordPress weekly news, which we put out on a Monday. And there's things like the UI, UX sessions with Piccia Neri.
Bits on that page to subscribe to our Facebook group, you know, join our Facebook group and things like the Slack channel and our YouTube channel as well. So there's absolutely tons of stuff. Don't forget, we also have a live session on a Monday at 2:00 PM UK time. Anyway, the point is, if you wouldn't mind letting your friends know about it, I'd be really grateful.
I think one of the biggest ways to spread the word about any podcast is through Apple podcasts and the review system that they have over their five star review would be most welcome. Also WP bills.com forward slash deals if you're in the market for some word Pressy thing this week, WP Builds.com forward slash deals might be the place for you.
It's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week, tons of plugins, searchable, filterable, and you can get significant amounts off of the coupon codes over there. And finally, WP Builds.com forward slash advertise. If you would like to put your product or service in front of a WordPress specific audience, we can certainly help you with that.
Okie dokie. That's it for the sort of housekeeping. Let's get stuck into the main podcast today. I'm speaking with David Decker. Now David is somebody that has been in our Facebook group for the longest period of time. Always helping out, giving us thoughtful questions and giving us. Equally thoughtful answers, a real great asset to our community, and he's come on the podcast.
I actually met him in Berlin this last WordCamp Europe. It was actually last year, so 2019 got to meet him in person and chat with him, and we decided to bring him onto the podcast. It's a lovely journey. This whole story is the journey of his WordPress life. How he discovered it, how he's using it now, all of the different things that he's done, including making plugins and so on and so forth.
But he's a really nice, thoughtful chap and it's just a lovely story. I hope that you enjoy it. Hello. Welcome to the interview part of the WP Builds podcast. Thanks for staying with us today. On the call, I have David Decker from Germany. Hello, David.
David Decker: [00:03:32] Hello.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:03:33] it's always a bit strange, isn't it? Because the fact is David and I have been talking for quite a long time before this, and so we have this pretense that we've just met each other and we're just saying hello, but that's not the case.
David and I, well, David's been in the WP Builds group for, I don't know how long, but an awfully long time making, making nice comments and sensible suggestions here, there, and everywhere. And then I was lucky enough to meet him at WordCamp in Europe, in Berlin, and we got chatting and uninvited, invited him on the podcast and he shared in the show notes that we put together a really interesting story.
So as a bit of a background to that, I'm going to get him to introduce himself and say who he is and what his relationship with WordPress is. So David, if it's all right, do you just want to like lay out your story, you know, how did you end up. Working with computers and WordPress and so on, and feel free to go as far back as you like.
David Decker: [00:04:25] Yes. Okay. I like to give some some votes about me. Yes. I'm David. I'm from South East Germany. That was the former East Germany pod and I was born in 19. 77. Yes. It's already oval filled. 41 years old. I'm married to a beautiful wife and we have two awesome little girls and one of them is going to school this year, so it's a great time.
And, I started my business and my little one person who app business in the year of 2002 when I was still trying to study at the unit. We also tier here in Chemnitz, Germany. And I was trying to study a subject likes, like business administration and computer sides, and later switched on to history and politics, even, goals.
I really, interested universally and in all of these things. But, it came, it happened set. I, Liked the web business a bit more. So I chummed onto this full time in the coming years. So about the mid, the mid 2000 deals, I switched full time. and I really like on stuff like HTML even was, I frames in those, in those heels before and abolish.
Yes. And it about the year 2004, 2005, it was like when the tsunami was in South East Asia, this big desal star and what that was it block about, it's a tsunami from an Australian guy. And it was running on rock press and I, I really enjoyed the, the front end in the face and the carbons and all us as feats and stuff like that.
I wanted to have rock press and play with it and I was not able to install it on my hosting business backs then because those hostings almost in combin knees, we aren't capable of doing road press back then. Hmm. But about a year later, it was 2006 I couldn't manage to finally install it at this hosting.
Somehow I was totally happy. And a few weeks later I did. The, website for, nonprofit client of me and was working really well and they liked it. And so I decided, end of 2006, going only with rope press, I'm leaving back all the HDM as behind me because I, started to hating it and I was, I wanted just something more dynamic.
So this was my beginning was Rhopressa and in 2007 I was doing a lot of rock parasite sites. I couldn't even non bought those. I had never, never counted them.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:24] But, but by that point it was like full steam ahead with WordPress and nothing else. Simply WordPress. Only WordPress.
David Decker: [00:07:31] Yes, I, I never, I never tested or tried. I would also see an SSI trust, like real press from day one and I was feeling . This is for me. I could live with it and I, I want to work with that. So it, that was, that was the decision because for me as singer, girls in business, it was clear I had not time to try out this CMS and TCMs did, wouldn't get, would not real like, so I was clear to me.
Go only with one and two only debt and specialize on this. This was already clear to me from a business point of view, and it was a right decision. Then one of the best decisions I made.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:08:14] You pick the right one. Well done.
David Decker: [00:08:16] Yes, because I add. At this time, real PBIS was kind of nothing illusion. Now me too, a nutso.
And then in 2008 that was the Phil spelt, Kevin showman. He had most privately organized vis Alec as foundational, anything. It was trust, kind of street guys from Germany who said, okay, let's have a real camp. And it was one of the fittest in the road, I guess. Maybe Deborah only five, all seven before.
And we built the next one. And it wasn't generate January of 2008 and was was one of the most amazing events, at this time, it was like a Bach camp. That girl also at this time, very, all over Germany and it wasn't handbook. This district chem and Wilson was really beautiful and I not known that all and dis most trust like the ramification for me.
Okay. I'm on the right track here. Yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:17] And where did it go from there then? Where did you, where did you go after sort of 2007, 2008. Have you, have you sort of simply worked, worked with WordPress ever since then? Has that managed to be the case or have you, have you been forced to do other things by the, the work environment?
David Decker: [00:09:35] yes. I like this real question. My event business ever suits and I would. The time began already in 2007 I was all always on the search for the right seam because that was my, my pain point. I like good design and I have a feeling for it, but. Creating such a design is not one of my strengths. To put it, to put it mildly.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:10:02] I understand this problem massively
David Decker: [00:10:07] so, and I somehow stumbled, Oh wall a studio press at this time and they channel SIS rail, not a topic at this time. They wrote selling. Trusted singer. Real press seems like a lot of fossils in shops and I assault, okay, these look, these look nice. And so the philosophy behind a trusted spoke to me and I, and I bought one of SEM and used it full of fewer blind projects and really liked what I am.
What I saw. And then in 2010 is they were at least trying to assist and I was a bit, okay, what's this? What is the frame? Or like even, and so I, I researched a not, and I got the feeling for it. And in summer of 2010, I am assaulted, buying and using Genesis. And did. Until two years ago, I was only really, King was Genesis.
And I sing, I sing outs at the end it seems space and, but for my oval, overlook, my, my business, I in 2008. I got 'em into local, how is it called into no code put it takes and day. Arielle grant, I live, I got a little contract for, a nonprofit organization to go like full SEM as had nothing to do with internet and web and, but it gave me a, some monthly income.
In common addition note to my web business and it was really helping me because, a year later I learned to know my wife and and yes, it really had been desk time and my, that business got something like a site business. But it was, it was great. So I was doing this like sort of administration, business of was, one or two events a month for this nonprofit organization.
But I've had to write some protocols and organize things and Oh, it was really great because I knew a lot of, people from, from disorganization, and it was really great. I did also make the websites fulsome and. Yeah, I really enjoyed it. This last two, two songs and then 14 it was about six years and this period ended, and I was going for the time again with my business and this in 2014 and 59 I had a little bit of a crisis, I would call it.
So. Back in my a V I had those two shops, my web business, and just also chops. I had also started, started to code blockings full group press because, one day I, in 2011, I got a call from a close friend and he said, okay, I'm both liking this, says, quit to help me, help me with this issue. He'll, I'd have, and could you make a blocking of it?
And I said, okay. I looked at what, what he wanted directly and as that, yes, this, this, this I can do, I can do it. I'm capable outfit. And so I did, and this was my block and it was, you could navigate. Blog posts on the Genesis team, and you had on on each side of the browser, you had navigation arrow.
There was, some kind of a trend at this time, and Desplechin was doing great. And few weeks later I made a, a channel, EverQuest Russian authored not only for Genesis. This block in the was only was a PHP and CSS and nakbas Java script, because that is one of those things. I really have some issues and building this trauma script saying, but I'm, I seeing, I'm getting a little bit.
Fentanyl in the last few months was some micro-steps. I'm doing very small steps and I understand one, why guess so back at this time, I was doing these plugins in starting in 2011 and in 2014 when my also Trump, ended for this nonprofit organization, I had to vote silky blockings also in the wordpress.org repository on writing.
And. Then came this big point. I had a, I had to describe this because it was a bit, a bit too much, I guess, and I was doing my whole little web business thing for 14 years at this time already, and it was trust. It was trust enough and my body felt it and fly it in my mind, starting to feeling it more in war and was like speaking to my wife.
Okay, I am. I don't want to do this. I don't want to have the client on the phone again and I, I have no Blash overs. And I, I started to hate real press to be really honest. Yes, it sounds, it sounds shocking to some maybe, but it was, it was a truce at this time. I have. I sold, okay. If I find any Oslo shop, I, I, I would do it.
Let's, let's have something difference and send real and blockings and all of that. And I said, dispose, really? You can call it out or whatever. But it was just, it was chance natural though, because if you are doing some stuff for 14 years and almost . Eight yields or nine yields with real press at this time already was time for, for some break, I guess.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:15:51] I think that's probably quite normal. you know, doing something for a very long time is, can be a little bit, it gets a bit stagnant, doesn't it? A little bit stale. And you want to . Yes, yes. So, so what did you do? Where did you turn at that point?
David Decker: [00:16:05] Yes, it was a, it was a interesting time for me. I, in some all of 2014 I.
Set to my life. Okay, I am. I have these issues, but we have no Oswald trends at the moment. We have the femininity. So I. I would try to, to make it sewer. So with this, even if it's salt, and I got some clients and some like to do and Zelle and was, was okay, we had, we had enough money and then 2015, this dis friend was calling me again, who brought me into the blackened space and he said, okay, I have to just live in site Chubb, he up, but I have a different vote check going on.
Quick, you imagine, overtaking my side shop for this company, heel. And, and I can be like on my Azle pro that I'm aiming full. And I said, and I said to him, yes, this sounds really good and really interesting that, and I was really happy and I had to, what I had to do was. writing little excerpts for, for the, the business of, popular Shoals for magazine publishers to write little exerts, for the photo, but it's called for the whole business of magazine publishing.
And how would this, This business is going forward globally and this company, it is located in Munich. Germany. Had to had a little business, a full dis magazine publisher for these magazine publishers and making mobile apps for them and also syllabuses and also offering this kind of research news blog.
And I had to write, exalts for this. A research newest blog and just was starting. So I was working on contract for this company a few months, and then the, the CEO of department knew was calling me and said, okay, I like what you're doing in the last few months for us. Could you imagine to go full time with us
Nathan Wrigley: [00:18:12] the opportunity that just what you needed?
Something different. But similar.
David Decker: [00:18:17] Yes. Yes, exactly. It is. This is, these are perfect builds for this. And I said, Oh, yes, I'm, I'm really interested and I will do this. I, I trusted that this make a decision. So like nature world. But I said, okay, we have to, we have to manage some things and, administrative and legal space because it's the, Oh, how I was called, Has insurance and all of these sittings and it's sometimes not so easy. I thought it'd be quick all and manage it. And in the fall of 2015, nine one ones starting food time at this company and, already had the chance. And in summer of 2015 to go to a retreat with discom and you several inviting me as a soon to be a fluid time member full of them.
And it was a great retreat. We had, didn't Romania. And was was amazing, down just this week, we want him to call orphans and to, and to call upon called PaTTAN mountains and or mania, and it was purity, foot, concrete. Greeley, I'm, I'm now in bud would be four, and this gave me a spirit for this company and I got to know them.
Debbie only calls and all the awesome members. And we spoke a lot about what they do and how much should I do. And I came a lot into it and really helped. So, and then in fall I started folk them doing writing DS, XOP. then also a bit of support, customer support, meaning, supporting PO and magazine publishing companies.
And it was just out apps that we made for them. And doing the website full of them is I switched them to grill press and was also a success because now sales, they're wanting all of sites on Rook breasts and it was kind of a success story for them. Yes, and I was, one thing I was not so much liking was that I had to do full time support later on off those few months because a nozzle member was.
She was having a baby, so she had to go for a while and I will, I had to overtake her position and leading to support, and it was, it was kind of wanted to lead this because as much as I liked it, and I'm kind of girls and it has no Brooklyn Vista bolt at all, but in this company of loss. documentation was missing.
So I had to research all processes and all for all things. I had to ask all, Oswald man balls and was kind of halt sometimes to get information. How is this working? How will you did it in the last years? What can I write this customer? And it was really like, like Sherlock Holmes. Yes. Instant formation.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:21:14] So did this job, did this job allow you to sort of keep, keep your own things going at the same time? Was it, was it five days a week or slightly less? Were you able to, to keep juggling your own stuff at the same time? Yes,
David Decker: [00:21:27] it was full time. It was, five days a week, eight, eight hours. So in a typical nine to five truck, but I.
Before wisdom and I was speaking with the CEO. I said, I have this business. I never not give it up. I went, it won't go, go fills out. We're going to have still a few clients additionally to this job and he wants to put you pay with it. So I never will. I never got out of Philip press. And I also had these clients I was working then in Maya during my holiday is the one that you've been doing a lot in Dabiq and it was okay because I read a lot and but a few clients I always kept.
So it was really okay for me.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:22:12] And how long did you keep that job? Because presumably at some point you, you stepped away from that to, to what you're sort of now doing.
David Decker: [00:22:19] Yes. This, this shop ended in China, January of 2018 and then was the big question, how, what's next? And, it happens that I'm a longtime client of me or one of the fields.
I had a bank in the two thousands, he was, he was asking me if I could have him be, cause they had a lot of work to do with school sites and shops and. So then later on, I got to ask the question. maybe can you, can you make a trip out of it instead of a contract? Like. And he was totally open to it.
And I guess he also liked the idea. And I also liked the ideal because it wasn't been been a philosophy. I had to bet a monthly income. and he will, he has a real, I call, he is really equipment to a discontinue. And, but, but we, It'd be make made it decorate that I owned the sweet days. We called them and they also Oswald two days.
I work on my own business.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:29] Okay, and is that how you, how does that currently, how you're still doing it or
David Decker: [00:23:34] that is my current,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:35] yeah,
David Decker: [00:23:37] I really like it.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:38] Yeah. Are you still, are you still wedded to Genesis or have things changed since they're, you know, are you still getting open template files and wrangling the PHP or are you.
Are you using different tools now?
David Decker: [00:23:52] yes. My, my whole way towards tech changed in the last two years. And this had to do when I wrote, stood at this company in Munich. well, I, I had to just flu time shop five days a week. I was, I had to did time to sink more about, the future of my real life and real press.
We at all. And I came to the conclusion, I still really like Genesis, but I. I want to look beyond the plate and look what, what does all this also say on the real quest universe and try out some new things. And I was always interested in page building because I, I'm totally fascinated how you can assist them.
In the, in the, in boldface booth page just always fascinated me. and so then this came to real press. I was really. seemed really awesome to me. I was one of the first Costa, most of the visual composer back at that time, but I didn't like the, the product it, it didn't have to disband image. It has Nala it, it did feel time.
It came out, but. I liked the process of building stuff, visually, but I, I was buying visual composer and played with this, but I never used it in a, in abroad checked. I just used it to play because it, it was not my imagination. In the end of of doing sings, I did not like a really face, but, The concept, this I sold, this is the concept, concept of the future, not how it is executed and just blocking so and, and off the, all of these skills.
I always bought blockings and , but I never liked any of it. And also also this people build. I was really blown away by it. A lot of, when I was putting it to a, to a broad check, that was too slow for me, just like the customize or maybe it was only me or my environment, but it was so slow and it was a bit of kind of frustrated.
I, I so wanted to put it to use and make it an approach checked and it didn't work out. And maybe it was time pressure and every sing that came every sing to gas lines. I was, okay, does this not for me? And Zen. In 2016 then I already go real booking and support for this company. I elemental came out. Then I was installing it on release day and said, okay, it just looks a bit strange.
This has a awesome color. This looks like a nozzle interface. Again, okay, maybe this is not the right saying, but a horrific ELA tie was okay. I trust try. I would say had a few reactions and. Just in DS all these months. And I said, okay, maybe it's different knowledge. Say had have edits on features and I was installing it again on a test install.
I know I was totally blown away it, it finally clicked with me and I somehow understand how it really worked and I saw some videos on YouTube about it. I was, Oh, this, this is my sing. I did finally. all the years I rated Floyd's does sing. What's Fitz miss me came out that I was using elemental right away for approach.
And then if you all was, I had a different page created. I was so happy. I was sitting days on it, AZA wise, or even a week. But now I had this in a box. We always ready and the next morning I was presenting it to the client and it was, yes, we like it. Does this, okay, B can be, can, we can take this version and then be real going to the, to the pages and a few pages to speak to those of us and amendable.
And the whole port check could be finished in time. And it was really a great experience for me. This was already done in 2017 and this. Besides my day job I had in the evenings and on the weekends, I had some time to blame as an eventful, and I really liked it and semi, explore to channel a press and even asked what that was still newer at these days, once released in early 2017 and I explored it in abolished fall of 2017.
And was really blown away because I saw, okay, these seems oral. Also good with spooks, like Genesis, they have to fill out also a lot of similar things, but I have a lot of premade options and I can set up a seam. V I was working with Genesis before for a nonprofit organization, maybe a week. I couldn't set all sings up in a day.
No, it's a few hours. So it just saved me a lot of time and I thought, why should I work with then? What's, what's the point here? I saved so much time for these little sites. so I, I would want to change it and I was. Then overhauling my, my whole toolbox. So it's now in a mental focus where I needed, I don't use elemental fallout for every page, but for, for some important pages, I use it.
And for this and this, and this. Because you can also put elemental template in a special hook area or whatever. Yeah. So I use these kinds of things. I combine my whole China's knowledge with these new tools, and this is really computed fully to Gasol, all things. And I just thought, okay, I want to try new.
Seems like channel eight present Astra in this case, and a working still Russ shadows this because I have a lot of clients. It's still running on it. And why should I change the system? Makes, makes no sense. It works beautifully and there's no need to change it. So, but for new projects, I'm always deciding now what, what is best.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:06] Yeah. So that's your current stack. You've got, using obviously WordPress, you using elemental, Most of the time maybe is a good way to describe it. And I'm a mixture of Astor and generate press. I mean, it's an, it's a really interesting story that you've laid out there. You know, a real sort of mixed relationship getting into WordPress early, getting, you know, life taking over, having to sort of step away from it, getting a bit frustrated with it, coming back to it.
Findings, especially more recently, finding some tools which you, which really, you know, it sounds like you've, you've really jelled with them. They are, they are an inspiration to you. You know, you said sort of game changers and, and finding a sort of new vigor and a new interest in WordPress. I think that's probably, that's, that's happened to quite a few people along the road, I would imagine.
You know, they've kind of fallen out of love with it and then they've stuck with it for some reason. Maybe stepped away for awhile and. Come back. And so much has changed in the last couple of years, especially, let's say three years. that you can come back and all of a sudden it feels like it's completely new again, and suddenly you can do things that were frustrating.
You can achieve them in a matter of hours. so that's,
David Decker: [00:31:17] yeah, new kind of rope as all second spring, all, how are you. Yeah, yeah,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:23] yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly. A sort of a completely new, new way of doing things, especially when you're using something like a page builder. We won't get into the whole Guttenberg thing and whether you're using
David Decker: [00:31:33] that
block, it's also, well, I would say
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:41] the next thing that I want to talk about and. This, this I, I believe is really an interesting thing cause we never get this side, or at least we haven't on this podcast anyway. you may have noticed that David, during the, during the course of him speaking, in the last few minutes, sort of casually mentioned that he's got a few plugins in the WordPress repository, but the number may have escaped you as he kept talking.
So, but it is remarkable how many. How many free plugins have you got? currently, I know that the number is bigger that you've had in the past, but how many of you currently got on wordpress.org.
David Decker: [00:32:15] A guarantee. I have 24 publicly available on wordpress.org okay.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:32:20] So yeah, just, just take that number in for a moment.
24 that, that's rather a lot. how come, what is it that makes you sit there and write presumably hour after hour, week after week? What is it that that makes you do that? Are you largely doing this because you've discovered something that you need fixing. Or are you doing this because, you've kind of figured out a need and you know, you haven't necessarily needed it yourself, but you think, Oh, be good if that happened.
David Decker: [00:32:52] Yes. some, some kind of, all of those most plugins, came to, came to life because I had a. I had to scratch an itch of mine, or I got, the first one actually came to life because this close friend was phoning me and asking me about it and this, this started it all. And then I got, because of this Phil spot, I got confidence that I can coatings that.
I mean, it wasn't an who was never in programming and Nebo and BHP was able to. To do this, and it was such a big moment for me. I can not describe it completely parties. I was feeling so happy that I was able to do it, and this just gave me so much confidence. Then I thought, okay, I have all these ideas, all these issues.
Maybe I, I am able to do my own sing and, and has a solution for it. So, and ma almost all knockins I did full China's SIS frame, like a real crowing out of these things I had to person or a need or personnel frustration or. Some, some users in the Genesis community where I was, was undisturbed, conducted, had these issues.
So, and I thought, okay, I am able to, to solve this for them.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:34:21] sorry. Carry on.
David Decker: [00:34:23] Yes. At this. This was, especially for Genesis and I assault then. Okay, Genesis is this community, but real persists more. And so if you block ends, that will channel LiveWell Walgrove best not, not specifically for China's, this and.
That came and nozzle saying, because I'm a LABA of the, of the trooper of the admin and this is trust, some, how would you call it, a passion project of, so then when sitting endless hours and, in the dashboard of ropers and, coding dojo or setting up and implementing a site for a client or who are night.
to finish on time, I sold these processes. The tool pocket could be improved. This is not, the corn state in ropers is not how it is. Should be. So I, and I assault, I can make this better. So all by two pop blockers are just a person owner. Issue and passion project. This is a bit different.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:35:27] Yeah. But I mean, I suppose that's a, I suppose for a developer like yourself, that's probably the primary reason for doing this stuff.
I mean, everything that you've got is completely freely available. So I was kind of wondering from that point of view, you know, there's no kind of, there's no money in this. For you. It's just for the love of it. Perhaps it's about, you know, the ability to learn how to overcome a particular task, whether that's, you know, like a UI thing or whether that's a coding challenge, something that you've got to learn in order to, to get this plugin out of the gate.
But there must be an awful lot that goes into it. You know, you must spend quite a lot of hours. behind the scenes developing, you know, getting the planning done and, and presumably maintaining and supporting these plugins. And I just wondered about what that burden was like, how, how many hours a week do you do sort of give over to this, even though there's no financial reward.
David Decker: [00:36:19] yes, that's a good question. I never counted those hours because it was all always a passion for me when we had, when we didn't have children and I, I had, of course a little bit of more time to do it. And does coding block ends that. Got me so much understanding of the inner meanings of real person, GMs and block ends at all, all what I learned when coding ends, this is so much more what I learned before.
Before doing blackens, I was only in Newing a fraction of real. Plus I was just a normal user. Was also able to install groper set upload seam and a few block ends and setting up content. So, but then I understand what all these template functions meant and how to say and I had no longer feel of those functions.
And I, when I started coding plugins, I could really foster for clients and I could. Sort of a more complex problems for them, and it was then windfall. I was not demanding money for these plugins. I was giving them away for free, but. Say, brought me back. So many things. I got more, more clients. I got more bigger clients or clients who could pay me more and I could, increase my rates because I was, I had more skills now and it was more professional.
So this really helped. Had me a lot too to get more money, but not directly from the block ends, but more on on AZA ways and I got some donations here and there, but that is not, that is so tiny amount. And so there's just not the same that the thing is, the starting coding opened so many doors for me and I would.
Do it always again.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:38:17] Nice. Yeah. That's really nice. However, interestingly, it's not always a pleasant journey, is it? Because as we did, as we discussed during the, before we actually pressed record. it can be, it can be a bit of a two way street, although it sounds like it's fun and you are having a great time.
You're learning lots of new code. You've, you've, you've understood the, the inner workings of WordPress, and you've managed to get all these amazing plugins out the door. sadly, it doesn't always feel. Like, it's amazing because sometimes things come along which, which, cause upset. So maybe we could get into that a little bit.
And I'm talking here about, about the impact of reviews in wordpress.org.
David Decker: [00:39:00] Yes, that is, that is a great topic. I know. Really. It really goes deep. Dystopic I ma, I started all my blog and started getting some of the viewers and Ali yells already and just comp came from passion. Nate, you as those that were really happy and thankful.
Mostly it Genesis community use us and I got a some five star review as I was really happy about it, of course, because when, when you get your first five star review with this is like, having bill state or Christmas together and, but then. Came the day, one time, I guess in 2012 or so when I was getting my first one store reviewers.
So a really, really bad thing, and this was, this was blowing me away, but on a negative scale. And I was feeling so emotion that I was feeling so bad. I was almost crying before, before my, my desktop. And it was, I was really, this was really getting. Directly on BI, and I felt okay, I am, I did a big mistake.
I am wrong. I did make a big our role. What's, what's going on, y'all and I can I, can I fix this? What swarm was my blocking? And it will, all these sorts was going like in, in my head. what's going on. And that way they had to manage to, to cope with this. So, and I also was, not so good experience, but I was, it was really needed, I guess.
And I, I, I know that. Any developable on rough pestered or like some day or a nozzle, really have this experience and we'll have this feeling. So this is why, this is also why I want to speak about this in public, because I think, we, we have to speak about this more because especially when you are. Luck and also like me who is not, has no paid plugins because you all doing this for free in your spare time and your wife and your family knows this and supports you, and then you get like the one stone where you, you, you feel like, Oh, I get punished for this.
This is something you have to do, you have to learn to handle and to manage.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:41:26] Did you, when you received that review where you kind of taken aback by how it. it impacted you because it sounds like, you know, you could have had, let's say, 105 star reviews and they were all very, very pleasant, very nice to have, but they didn't have an equal, a positive, equal, impact.
And yet you get a one star review, just one of them. And it manages to really change how you feel about this. And, you know, you start. You start questioning whether you've, you've built the whole thing wrong under whether there's failings in what you've done. It's, it's an, it's, it's strange how that can happen.
David Decker: [00:42:01] Yeah. But this, this is like, it's happened to me and it's still, it's that way at bucks. But nowadays I can cope as at battle because I know that the world is spinning for all's lot and life is going on. it. That's a, it does not, strong me off. and I get not knocked down like in this film a day when I got this.
A review of, but don't dip. Problem, you know, is spend you, when you all, also have only free blockings on requests that OIT deliver you is like a currency. That reality. You are or located in silk tree sites and everything. So they use is a reality important. It's like the only one of the highest, little most important things to get you to get you a better results and sculptures and F nursing.
So and say really? Yeah. That the real quest that like team blackened steam is really, it sets a one a only harnessed and Drea leave. It was safe, do a lot behind the scenes to, to avoid any fake reviews or any mistakes, in this area. So. In the us, yours. I got not so many positive reviews. If you, and most of my black friends have been fewer, but, most of these plugins, especially the Genesis ones, have these, two or five, Well, seven, five stars for viewers for the last five or six years. They say it didn't get any new ones. And, I got a few, I got a few one star reviews and, do use one stars, get the, get the block ends a bit more down. Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and nowadays, even for those light, and I had to do Leon with my latest lock-in, it's called
Are I am asking in was in the dashboard. if you like the blocking police live you it. And I even made an Ekman notice. So asking the users to, to review my block in part, this notice will only appeal off . It's like, it's fundamental. It's random. a valid to have between two and four weeks of usage, so,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:44:29] okay.
David Decker: [00:44:30] Yeah. I made this because I want really viewers from users who are real, like about at least two weeks with this blockin. So not, not after a day and not off.trust installing it, but only after two weeks. And that amazing saying is when I ask for the reviewers, I get, I got a lot already at this. Really making me happy.
As much as I was feeling bad for the one star review, I'm not also happy because I alone then I am asking her honestly for my view is I get a lot of business. Also, what I can tell also blocking out was asked for baby was you will get set at least a lot. Not, not all users swear to view it, but, A fraction of your, you also be happy lead doing it, but you have to ask them because they can forget it and not even aware of it.
So ask for it. But do it in a. And now Honda's transparent, polite way, always put, always put the USL fails and end up in deposit bills. I was not asking for Fort, maybe you was. I was trust leaving the block and they are, and then all these things happened. Desk was in my, before my rope, best crisis. I was not caring.
That much about movies and maybe you was, and then I was shocked when I got the badge. Bayview was, so there's this also something, I don't know.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:46:00] Yeah. The, the, the interesting thing about this and a perspective that we've never had before is the whole impact that the, the review system can actually have on the, on the developer.
Because you kind of, you kind of as a, as a casual user of a plugin, you download a plugin and you use it, and then you go and give your review. You know. Three or five or one or whatever it is that you feel you're doing. But it's just an, it's kind of like an electronic, transaction. There's no human beings in it.
And so it's really, yeah, it's really interesting to hear your side of it. The fact that, you know, being courteous and being polite and, you know, asking maybe retrieving some support before you go and, give your, I don't know, one star review or whatever it might be, because. Often there's a person behind the, the plugin and often that person, well.
I say often, if it's on the WordPress repo, then they have given that time for free so that you can try it out. And, and so maybe for those people who are accustomed to it, kind of not using support and then going out and giving a a negative review, maybe, maybe it's, a moment to pause and think that, you know, there's a real person behind this.
I'm just gonna change tack just before we. Just before we finish. So that to give you an opportunity to talk about your, tool, toolbar, extras plugin, because I know that's your sort of latest and probably, probably the thing that you're interested in most of the moment. Do you want to tell us, tell us what it is, what it does, who it's aimed for and so on.
Cause it's, it's a really interesting, really interesting idea.
David Decker: [00:47:36] Yes. Sure. this plugin is called and it was released in April last year in 2018 and it's. Currently has about 15,000 active installs, which is a lot for this kind of a niche blog for this kind of special interest blocking, because this lock-in is aimed at administrate or users.
It does nothing for a dental or our soul, or also use our roads. You have to be a administrator or in microsite you have to be the super administrator, the super admin. So. Why? Why is this useful? Or why did I make this? Because when I was setting up a client site or trust working with real press, I'm locked in as the administrator because I set it set up to sing.
So I'm the boss and I want to, To like foster in real person and save time. Let's give an example. I want to, I'm on the front end, I'm locked in and I'm on the fondant of this site I'm working with and I want to trust chump into the, the menu management to setting up or changing enough navigation menu.
So I, with my block and I can go into . And a whole boring, Oh, what? the website name. And then I have a, an item Knopf menu. And I, it lists even the, the navigation menu is set all set up on this side. And I can choose the one I want to edit and just clicking on it. And I'm taking. Right in the admin area and to this special, admin menu.
And I do this a lot of time, especially for clients. I'm on the phone and the client's saying, me a change this and this item because I'm not able to do it. You are, you are the expert to it for me. So then I trust it saves so many time. It's only a few seconds because you are. It was safe. The most traveled time to go a Depot in on the admin or change to the admin, go to the port with a, there's a preeminence navigation menu.
So did . It speeds up these processes and it saves a few seconds here, a few seconds. And if you all really can full eight hours into admin, it can save a few minutes, maybe 10 minutes or 15 minutes. And why? Why not? This is. This is a lot. It's 16 minutes more family time.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:50:11] Oh, I don't know how many, yeah. I don't know how many times I've wasted, you know, a minute here.
In a minute. They're sort of clicking on things and then waiting for that page to come and then waiting and waiting and then clicking on the next thing, just so that you can get back to where you know that you need to be it. It's bizarre. Really. Absolutely bizarre that, and yet, you know, never sort of fixed it for myself.
So is this designed for a particular range of tools? So for example, is it, does it have the capability to, amend the, the, the toolbar for certain plugins, popular plugins.
David Decker: [00:50:45] Yes. Also, and this is a, does this, the idea behind the, the first version of this block and was actually supporting all block ends and seems from my belt somewhere, we'll stick a few more.
But the core of it was my, we also know to Instek so I made a trust for me so I can go like foster. And it was, is this a success story for me personally? So we're happy to, to be working with this every day. And I thought, okay, I had a few or two bar lock-ins in the years before. Most of them were all going really good bet also.
And I always expected, could never imagine why. But now it just stood by. X plus plugin is the focus of all. Bob blackens in years before and it is finally bringing it all together. And for my years, I was making the mistake to put a effort blocking like BB press or body press or gravity forms or easy digital downloads and who can murals and making some toolbar extensions for this blocking.
But. If you are working with all of them, and I had a few clients where we had most of them in store that I would end up with maybe five or six to Bob. So this make no sense to me. And I was always shying away to, to, adding a, a settings page for these Blocket. So, and I lost your, it came to a set, I said to me, Pilsen, really, okay, I have to change this.
I make a new block and I starting, I'm starting from scratch and I, it will have a admin settings page. This is, this is my decision now. So, and I know it was starting to code it up, and of course I was using inspirations and if pioneer little code, it's formed, these also plugins, but most code is really written from scratch.
It's accompanied newest thing. It sets a complete new structure. And the admin settings, I was coding at lab like a months or so, and I. The setting stage. I was saving for the Fulton as the last thing because I will shying away a little bit, but so I could manage to coat it up. It was a little bit of a challenge for me, but it all worked out.
I was really happy. And, the next week I was releasing it and. Now with this blocking relax, how effective is elemental? It's also focusing on an a mentor you a lot, but it's fully option that you can use toolbar trust with and you still have a lot of bonuses and a lot of awesome things it already does for , but if you have elemental installed and it is activated, send automatically.
My plugin can do a lot more. It can manage the elemental pamphlets a little bit better. You have a quick chocolate things you have, even for elemental, which I really like. And one click template. Yeah. you can add a template with one click and elemental life is starting, so you click at new, what a newer section template.
You have to make one click with your mouse and. It's Spalding, all of the elemental thing, and you can trust a smart bill King and dragging and drop your sections in elemental, whatever. So in this, this, in this case, it saves maybe five clicks also, and a lot of mouse travel. So if you create 10 elemental pamphlets in a row.
This can really save some time for you.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:54:32] And I noticed that you've also added support for some of the popular.
David Decker: [00:54:37] currently I have a lot of popular blog and supported elemental, some who commerce also, but, also ACF, pots is always also really King in the latest, religion. And. so, so many blockchains.
I can not remember all I could go and get support. I have to look at the list myself. It's about over 400 blockings I support or integrate.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:55:03] That's incredible.
David Decker: [00:55:04] In one way or the nausea. Yes, it's, it's really incredible. I almost support any mentor at onset has a setting page or a post type. Yeah, content page or whatever.
Why, why I am doing this? This, this sounds a little bit crazy, but because I am supporting all these things, it makes the like for the user a lot easier because the user has installed some kind of, it will stack most, most of shell time. So then say it stalled my block and say, can trust start working. Yes, no, not to set up anything or whatever.
And if. This add on for elemental or this blocking off. This plugin is already active. Then if it's supported in my plan, then Sam may be a new item here in the new item sale. So that dead is all these integrations, almost the tiny little sayings, but I trust lists and to have a complete list. What I, what I support.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:56:08] It's a, it's a, an incredibly admirable efforts. So, you know, my suggestion would be if you've not come across, David's toolbar extras, the simple way to find it would be to go to toolbar extras.com and, and I should say that if you're feeling, if you're feeling generous and very nice, there is a scroll to the bottom of the homepage.
There's a . There's a little icon that looks like a heart, which is pulsing gently. And, you can, you can donate to, to David's endeavors because obviously if you've heard his story today, you've heard about the, the ups and the downs, the, you know, the trials and the tribulations. 30 plus. Plugins in the wordpress.org repo.
I think it's fair to say that David has, has contributed rather a lot. And so if you've enjoyed David's story and you appreciate the things that he's been doing, maybe that's a, maybe that's a nice way of, of sort of, you know, ma making him smile. And, donate to him because of all the wonderful stuff that he does.
David, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. is there anything you would like to say about where we can find you, you know, a Twitter handle or a, or a different homepage?
David Decker: [00:57:15] I would say my current blocking homepage for toolbar is the best one to contact me to dot com and my personal Twitter is.
Deck called web trust, my last name and the world wide web attached and in one world TECO web. And this is where all my real press stuff on Twitter happens. And I'm also on Facebook with Stackelberg. So you, these tree sings Twitter, Facebook, and the blog and website is best to. Gut didn't touch with me and thank you very much for having me.
It was a awesome experience. You
Nathan Wrigley: [00:57:50] are more than welcome. Yeah. Thank you for being such a such a valued member of our, you know, community and Facebook group. You're often in there giving, giving some, some nice comments and helping people out. That's very much appreciated. And just from my perspective, you know, thank you for contributing and making all of this stuff available for free over the many, many years that you've been doing it.
Thank you very much. David Decker. Well, there you go. I hope you enjoyed that. Me chatting with David Decker about his WordPress journey. I really enjoy these kinds of episodes that are a little bit different. There's no product or such to, to pitch. It's just a story about how David has interacted with WordPress.
And, it kind of feels a little bit like my story and I'm sure in many ways it's a bit like your story, you know, discovering WordPress, finding the community, enjoying playing with it and tinkering with it and getting it to do the things that you needed to do and ultimately using it as your way of making a living.
So, yeah. Really nice story and thanks to David for making the time to come on and talk to us. I really enjoyed chatting with him very much indeed. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by WP and up one in four of us will be directly affected by mental health related illness, WP and op supports and promotes positive mental health within the WordPress community.
This is achieved through mentorship, events, training, and counseling. So please help enable WP and up by visiting WPN dot org forward slash gave. Okay. We've got plenty going on. I know that a lot of you are kind of finding that you're in isolation at the moment. You're having to lock yourself away from the rest of the world.
Well, we've got quite a few bits and pieces for you. We will of course, bring you another podcast this time next week, so that's a Thursday. Usually comes out of 1:00 PM UK time, but join us on Monday. Are we giving my work. WordPress news for the previous week, and also 2:00 PM UK time. We'll be joined by some alive guests for our WP Builds, low Eve weekly WordPress new, so there's lots going on.
I hope that you feel, like I said at the top of the show, that you can share the podcast. I certainly appreciate that and I'll fade in a little bit of cheesy music, sort of 1950s 40 style this time. And say, .

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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