The biggest hurdle when building a TYPO3 business

The biggest hurdle when building a TYPO3 business

Alexander Kellner, COO in2code GmbH

Alexander Kellner, COO in2code GmbH

You can find the original interview on the site of T3Terminal. T3Terminal is a marketplace for TYPO3 extensions and services.

Hey Alex, please tell us something about yourself to our audience.
Hi, I think that some of you might already know me under the Twitter account @einpraegsam or in real live. On the one hand I am one of two managing directors at in2code GmbH, on the other hand I’m a software developer and, last but not least, an open source fanboy.

First question, How did you initially get involved with TYPO3?
Phew, I think I saw TYPO3 3.6 back then and started with 3.7 myself. I can still remember that you could change the design in the backend using a layout extension. That was also one of the first things I did - as if there was nothing more important :)

How do you contribute to TYPO3? How does your company encourage open source business practices?
In the past I have contributed a lot myself in forums with help and answers. Incidentally, sometimes I still find old answers from myself when I google for TypoScript problems.
In the meantime, however, that has changed a bit. As COO of in2code, I make sure that we as a company advance open source. We support many events with sponsorship, are platinum sponsors in the TYPO3 Association and support with contributions (at events or with blog posts). We are currently setting up a program in which we as a company want to support individual open source developers financially. The fact that we are serious about open source can also be seen in the vision we are striving for.
But my love for building extensions has remained. Hopefully it will always stay that way.

As a TYPO3 Professional, What was your biggest challenge to building your TYPO3 business? Do you have any special tips & tricks for TYPO3 business people?
One of the biggest challenges is still that the idea has taken root in the TYPO3 world that extensions should be free. No matter how hot a new extension is, earning money with it has always been rather difficult. Other communities (e.g. in the eCommerce sector) have done this much better then we did.

Over the years, the TYPO3 open source ecosystem has evolved. When you look back, Are you surprised or feel lucky with the overall success of TYPO3? Where do you see it going in the future?
TYPO3 has not always had it easy. It wasn't that long ago when it was unclear whether the TYPO3 CMS would continue at all or whether it would be better to use NEOS or another alternative. As a company, we have firmly supported TYPO3 and have never regretted this decision. All in all, I am very satisfied with the general development of the system. TYPO3 manages the balancing act between modern technology and backward compatibility again and again. I don't know of any other similarly old open source project in the web area that does it so well.

Can you give us a sneak peek of TYPO3's future visions?
Volker Graubaum has a great vision of how TYPO3 can go into a modern future. I don't want to anticipate too much here, but in principle the point is that TYPO3 is not just about a core with small essays but about an entire ecosystem. In principle, extensions are just as much a part of it as what is contributed by the core developers. You should ask Volker for more details.

TYPO3 is 20+ years old OpenSource CMS, Although we have very little CMS Marketshare. eg., At present, TYPO3 0.6%, WordPress 63.6%. In your personal opinion, What do you think about what we majorly missed in the TYPO3 journey?
This is a very good question. Even if we now receive contributions from all over the world - and fortunately now increasingly from India too, TYPO3 is viewed as "Made in Europe". From a global perspective, this is a bit of a downside compared to "innovative American software". We should turn this disadvantage into an advantage. I think we need to talk more about the clear benefits (USP) of TYPO3. Do you want a CMS in the enterprise or b2b area that is maximally secure and also implements the highest data protection standards? Then you just can't get past TYPO3.

Unlike other CMS' where do you think the TYPO3 opensource ecosystem lags behind?
There are some things that could be modernized in the code base. Things like TCA or the TypoScriptFrontendController come to mind. Still, I believe that the success of a product does not depend directly on the code. We should probably spend more time on marketing and scream out what TYPO3 is already doing really well. There are also a lot of old and well-known things like the side tree in the backend, multilingualism or multi-client capability that is still unknown in the wide CMS world.

As we are managing T3Terminal, TYPO3 Marketplace, What do you think about the T3Terminal.com? What are some key factors & characteristics that would attract you?
I think the offer of a TYPO3 marketplace is more than overdue, so I welcome your website. Such a service would be nice if it were supported directly by TYPO3. In addition to its official character, we might finally get into people's heads that software is valuable.

TYPO3 is built on PHP. PHP was established and it’s easy to understand. There was a huge community for PHP already. How important was that “TYPO3 was powered by PHP” for its popularity?
I also find that an interesting question. Using PHP was probably right and important in the beginning. While TypoScript was seen as a major barrier to entry, the term "PHP" has repelled fewer people. After all, PHP is easy to learn and use.

There are extensions, multilingual, multisite enterprise CMS, ease of use, among all these, what attributes for the TYPO3 success?
As mentioned above, topics such as multilingualism, security and stability are essential in the segment in which we offer websites. If we were to build small websites, we would probably not be using TYPO3. Of course you can think about how you can use TYPO3 faster and with less effort - and there are already some interesting efforts ... But I believe that we should compare ourselves more with similar systems and not also Wordpress and Co. have to groan afterwards ;)

Who is your open source mentor/hero? Can you name some people (at least 5) whom you follow to get knowledge and updates of the TYPO3?
In order not to miss anything, I especially follow these Twitter accounts: @bennimack, @multanifx, @richardhaeser, @spooner_web and of course @in2code_de :)

What are some places, blogs, and online communities you would recommend to our readers that you think are the best places to get help about TYPO3?
Unfortunately, the sources of information are widely distributed on the Internet. There is no central point of contact that offers everything. For me, Twitter, Slack and of course Stackoverflow turned out to be the best. So I stay up to date.

Do you think TYPO3 still needs more active contributors? Especially in awareness, branding, and marketing. Also, can you suggest some ideas on how TYPO3 could be expanded globally?
Absolutely. Everyone is welcome! It doesn't matter whether you can code, draw graphics or create videos or anything else. TYPO3 needs you to move forward!

Last but not least, Apart from TYPO3, What're the things you love to do?
In my free time I like to go fishing. As the worst angler in the world I hardly ever catch anything, but standing in the great outdoors and not being surrounded by bits and bytes is a real compensation.

Back