Meet André: Vice President of Engineering at eZ Systems
André Rømcke began working as a consultant with eZ Systems in 2006. Since, he has worked his way to becoming the vice president of engineering, a role in which he has now held for more than a year.
Tell me about your professional background?
I started doing web development when I was fifteen. In the beginning I was teaching myself most of the stuff I needed to know from online resources. Then I took a short break from it, but picked it back up again when I was studying. The last two years I was at school, I began to do consulting and that was the main way I made money while studying. I also did a volunteer project for the student union at my school, which got me in touch with eZ. We used eZ Publish at the school, so I was able to speak to people I knew at eZ and started in Oslo as a consultant.
After a few years, I gradually started taking on more challenging projects as a consultant. I wanted to switch to engineering because it sounded more challenging, and there I took on more responsibility until I became the head of engineering.
What do you find exciting about working at eZ Systems?
It never gets boring [laughs]. Everything is exciting. I believe in the product and the core concepts and eZ is constantly changing, which brings up a lot of interesting challenges.
Why is the open source ecosystem important to customers and what benefit do they get?
It provides openness in terms of data and makes it very easy to complete integrations. There is no walled garden. It gives customers the ability to openly innovate in the ecosystem. Our customers have a say in where our product goes. It gives transparency in what we are doing and gives us a unique chance to get instance feedback on the product - from how it is used to how it's made.
What are the benefits customers have and will experience from Symfony?
Symfony has a much larger developer network so it makes it much easier to find adequate developers. It makes it much easier to take advantage of existing projects and integrating with other open-source projects that leverage the Symfony framework. The cost of doing an integration becomes much less. There are still a lot of projects moving to Symfony and it doesn't seem like it is stopping anytime soon. It has become a big ecosystem inside the PHP world.
Outside of that, it is a very solid, extensible and well-documented framework. It is something that aligns a lot with the core values of our software as well. For newcomers it is really easy to get into and we've tried to stick with the same concepts within eZ Publish to make it easy for Symfony users to get going with our platform.
We use as much things as possible from the Symfony ecosystem to avoid reinventing the wheel. This makes it simpler for customers and partners to use eZ Publish, especially when they want to use their existing Symfony knowledge or solutions.
What makes the latest release - eZ Publish Platform 5.4 - special for everyone on the engineering side?
It's the last of the 5.x generation and it has all the features in the kernel that you will find in the next versions [eZ Platform and eZ Studio]. This gives customers the opportunity to transition into the later versions much easier. We'll also be supporting eZ Publish 5.4 for a long time so there is no rush for customers. It is the closest step to jumping on the upcoming versions [eZ Platform and eZ Studio] and we've made the stairs a lot easier to climb.
Where do you see eZ in the next six to 12 months?
Because our product continues to center around content and content creation, the next version will allow them to be much more efficient in dealing with their content. That is what we are aiming for. We want to take advantage of the kernel we've been building for years now to make sure we help the customers have a great day-to-day experience.
What advice would you give to those that are new to eZ Publish?
Since I'm a developer I'll speak from a technical perspective. The first thing would be to learn the basics of Symfony. They have some great resources for learning offline [eBooks]. Once you know the basics of Symfony you need to understand what eZ adds on top of that. Once you add something on top of Symfony like eZ Publish, you take it from becoming a web development framework to an app development framework.
There are a lot of additional features that we add to Symfony that makes it easier to build things like multi-sites, powerful Symfony-based cache systems and enables you to be more productive with templates. That's going to continue to be the goal, and we'll continue to make this even more the case in the upcoming eZ Platform and Studio. Eventually, we want to create a product that allows HTML designers you to do a lot of powerful things. eZ Publish really takes Symfony to the next level.
What are some development resources that you can't live without?
The main one would be Twitter, actually. In terms of information, it's a great resource. Outside of that there are tools like PhpStorm, which makes development a bit easier. Internally, we are relying increasingly on Docker. And last but not least, definitely Github.
What are your favorite films?
The Suspects is the first one that comes to mind, and then anything by Quentin Tarantino, like Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds, otherwise I like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Super 8, The Boondock Saints and many more.
What is your favorite genre of music?
Electronic music and indie have kind of been the recurring music genres even if I sometimes wander into others. But I guess my current sweet spot is somewhere between Mumford & Sons, The xx, Todd Terje and Major Lazer.
What would be your perfect meal?
Non-healthy version: A somewhat bloody burger.
Healthy-version: Sushi or shasimi.