When Abhishek Das was looking for a more dynamic way to manage his blog website, he tried several content management systems. He chose Joomla because of its flexibility. Abhishek wasn’t trained as a web developer (he studied mechanical engineering), but after his first website, he started developing extensions nevertheless and learned programming during the process.
Thanks for sharing your Joomla story with us, Abhishek! Could you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Abhishek Das. I am 40. I was born and raised in a small coastal town in West Bengal, India known as Contai. I spent 18 years there before leaving to attend engineering college in Mysore. I moved to Kolkata after completing my graduation in Mechanical Engineering. I got married in 2005. I have been blessed with two amazing boys.
I started working for a thermal power plant consultancy firm after completing my engineering. I switched several jobs and moved to several different industries in the next decade. Finally, I left my job in 2011 and started working as a full-time web developer. It was then when I also formed my first formal business (Virtueplanet Services LLP). We develop and design extensions for Joomla! and focus mainly on the e-commerce business.
What made you choose Joomla?
My relationship with Joomla began in early 2006 when I developed a passion and serious interest in web development.
My first website was a static HTML website. As the website grew I had to commit a good amount of time to manually upload/update the contents. When I started looking for a dynamic solution, I came across Mambo/Joomla as my first CMS. I tried quite a few different CMS at the time, I liked Joomla more than others due to its flexibility. My love grew further as I learned more about it.
Site – administration separation, pure MVC structure and the expansion capabilities with extensions made me choose Joomla!
What did you do first, and after that?
My static HTML website was basically a personal blog. I migrated that static website to Joomla! 1.0.
Then I started developing a multi-vendor e-commerce website. I did not find many extensions to fulfil all my needs. So I started developing extensions and templates for my own site. However, that business never took off because I failed to establish contracts with the vendors.
About a year later I started feeling really bad about it because I put so much effort into developing that site. Then I had an epiphany. I already had a selling platform and developed a few templates & extensions for Joomla. I decided to try selling them on that site itself. I had to make a few adjustments in site designs and change a few other things to make it a software selling site. It was January 2008 when I launched that site. One month after that, I received my first sale. Within a few months, it earned some popularity. More people started visiting the site and I started receiving more orders every day. I understood the demand and started developing more extensions.
In 2011, I had enough guts to quit my job and to take web development as a profession. But I needed funds to start a business. So I sold my first Joomla website on Flippa which I used as capital to start my present business (Virtueplanet).
Can you describe the process of creating your first Joomla website?
Since I was migrating from a static HTML website so initially I just migrated all the articles to Joomla! Then I installed a free template, but I was not happy with it. Later I ended up customising that template. I also used a few other free extensions, but I do not remember the name now.
What challenges did you face?
Challenges began when I started developing extensions for Joomla. I was not a computer engineer so I had to learn programming myself as I progressed. In those days the Joomla documentation was not very good so I faced a lot of difficulties.
How did you solve them?
I started reading the forum posts which helped me.
Where did you get help (if you needed it)?
I got some help from the official Joomla forum. I also found many useful posts and discussions on extension and template developer’s websites.
What would be your golden tip for people who are new to Joomla?
Search through the official Joomla! Documentation (https://docs.joomla.org/Main_Page) whenever you have some queries. Joomla has a huge community behind it. You will find a lot of articles and discussions if you Google your query.
If you are a developer then you can easily fork into Joomla! GitHub project – https://github.com/joomla/joomla-cms If you find a bug then feel free to report it.
Joomla User Groups meet regularly all over the world and provide an excellent opportunity for users to share ideas and experiences with using Joomla. So attend a Joomla Event or Local Joomla User Group.