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Module/Plugin development should always be ‘Plug-N-Play’

I’ve been developing websites (and web applications) professionally since 1995 and back in the day a lot of development was static and hard coded. When it came to doing a redesign or architecture of a website/web app it would take so much tedious work to change hard-coded content. Oooooh then came web frameworks (and CMS) which took care of so much of the standard features of a website/web app. Seems much of the developers these days still do not take advantage of frameworks and the ability to now develop features as modules/plugins.

With that said I am a strong believer that websites/web apps should be built on content management systems and/or frameworks. Let the CMS take care of the look and feel (themes), user management, meta data, website settings, menus, page types, SEO, security, login/logout/forgot password, forms, etc. The beauty of CSS if you can style just about any standard look and feel of a CMS or plugin to look as you please.

Most importantly website features (and custom functionality) these should be developed out as separate code utilizing the CMS’s module/plugin framework. So the setup of a website would/should be as easily as setting up the CMS and activating the custom features/plugins. Simple as that. NO need to configure to a server or an environment or custom server images or custom database scripts or custom anything. Just setup and activate.

How I came ooooh so close to being CTO of Acquia (Drupal)

In 2012 I was one of the final candidates for the “Co-CTO” position at Acquia (Drupal). The interview experience was grueling and intense that lasted about two months. I passed all the technical vetting (LAMP, Drupal, PHP, web architecture) and meet with the Acquia senior executives. Lastly I spent time with Dries Buytaert who is the CTO of Acquia and the Founder of Drupal. He was surprisingly younger then I assumed though was a well spoken family man who loved keeping close to the technology stack. The Co-CTO position would run the day to day strategy of the current Drupal while Dries would focus more on the new Drupal initiatives.

This was an exciting opportunity though I lost out on it due to my “limited sales experience to the other candidate“. True I am not a salesman though I take pride in that. Overall it was an experience that validated my expertise at Drupal (and PHP).

“Ashley Shades”. My bucket list goal for homeless pets

My dog Ashley (a Yellow Lab) passed three years ago and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her. I also briefly lived with a dog whom my girlfriend (at the time) adopted. The dog was adopted as an adult and I guess it had a traumatic past. The dog “Shades” (a dark German Shepard) was a sweet dog but out of the blue was aggressive and attacked my girlfriend, her mother, and myself. We tried to help the dog but in the end there was no help. Both dogs I miss and my heart aches.

I hope to one day build a sanctuary for dogs that have no home and dogs that need help and rehabilitation therapy. There is so much love pets can give and so much is wasted because there are not enough people to can provide for these wonderful animals.

In honor of Ashley and Shades… I’m going to call this pet sanctuary “Ashley Shades.”

I’ve spotted some affordable locations in Harvard, IL which is just outside of Chicago, IL and easily accessible via the Metra train. This will help people come and visit, volunteer, and hopefully adopt.

This is not a nice to have goal. This is something I’ve been actively working on and planning and hopefully will bring to realization sooner then later. Nothing would bring me more joy then to provide for dogs that just need love and attention. That I have to give.

My Experience with Drupal (12+ years)

In my experience I’ve found Drupal to be a highly scalable web platform. Majority of the Drupal projects I’ve worked on seem to be working on existing Drupal installation(s) that needs lots of work to bug fixes / architecture redesign. While Drupal has an intelligent MVC design… it seems most “Drupal Developers” don’t fully grasp the underlying architecture so the one-off “modules” they build are prone to conflict with other modules. Drupal is built on the LAMP stack (PHP) so you really need to be a PHP Engineer to built out good modules. Drupal has a robust administration that gives developers the ability to configure an application through a WYSIWYG interface yet too much reliance on this could cause havoc when bugs occur and the administrating developer is unfamiliar with the underlying PHP code of the connected modules/views/blocks/etc.

Here are some Drupal projects I’ve worked on:

MassChallenge.org – Worked with the CEO and CTO to redesign (backend and front-end) their website, intranet, and CMS as the existing Drupal was developed by multiple interns which caused lots of bugs and technology limitations.

ViaSat.com – Redesigned website (backend and front-end). Converted website from a custom built website to a new Drupal installation.

Verizon vCommons (Intranet) – Developed several internal social media apps to promote improved communication and collaboration for 270,000+ employees.

Verizon CAB (customer portal) – Developed a customer portal for Executives of high-end clients.

TheWrap.com – Converted a legacy Drupal environment of thousands of news articles to WordPress VIP with supporting applications in a new Drupal install.

Award-Winning Career (22+ Years)

  • 1995 – Present: Worked on 300+ projects, 650+ websites, 200+ web applications, and 30+ products.
  • 2013 – Present: Technology Consultant.
  • 2011-2013: CTO, Adoptive (brand agency)
  • 2010: Chief Strategist (“Enterprise 2.0”), Verizon.
  • 2009-2010: Founder and CEO of SocialSimple, of a targeting marketing (UIX) / ecommerce startup.
    Acquired by NBC Universal for $4.2 million (2010).
  • 2008: Lead Hitachi’s first Enterprise Portal.
  • 2006-2007: Generated 50% of Modern Postcard‘s revenue through online properties / online marketing.
  • 2002: Created ViaSat‘s first “Web” department.
  • 2000-2001: Award-winning Engineer of Miva Merchant.
  • 1995: Started professional career in web development as a Web Developer/Designer (Varigon, Inc).
  • 1993: Self taught web programming.
  • 1992: Captain, San Diego Surf Team (Rank #2 in CA).
  • 1990-1992: Professional Surfer (Rusty Surfboards).

Fatherhood – Mya Olena Negretti (daughter)

No matter what my success is in my career… nothing is and never will be as rewarding as being a father to my beautiful daughter Mya Olena Negretti.

She is my pride and joy and my inspiration. She’s my everything and will be 5 years old this November (2017).