‘Passionate’ is one word to describe software developer Dennis Ameling, a contributor to the Product Team of Mautic. The Norwegian-based member of our community is one the people involved in building the Mautic Marketplace, a new feature in the Mautic 4.2 release.
In this article, Dennis explains a little about the idea behind the Marketplace, and provides a sneak peak of other features to come. He also tells us about how he got involved with the Mautic community and what he likes best about it.
From the tool to the love
Dennis first came across Mautic in 2020, when searching for a Marketing automation tool for a customer. At the time he was working as a self-employed developer, and his first instinct was to look for an open source solution. “There were a few features I thought were missing in Mautic, so I thought maybe I could contribute”, he recalls.
And so he did. He started off with the features he had in mind, but the more he worked, the more curious he was about the open source community. “Things were so well organized, and I wanted to know how people managed that”, he explains. Dennis started contributing more and more, and eventually joined the Product Team.
The fun, the learning and the balance
Dennis describes that contributing to the community is “a lot of fun” and a great learning opportunity. “Beyond developing features for Mautic users, I have an intrinsic motivation to learn more. There’s so much happening”, he sums up.
On the tech side, helping with product development allows Dennis to dive into different code stacks. But he is also very interested in the open source aspect of Mautic. “There’s a level of responsibility when you decide to jump in and try to find a solution for a given problem”, he points out.
Though Dennis took this responsibility really seriously, the Norwegian developer got a little too involved and things “got out of hand a bit”. He explains that at some point he was dedicating more time than he had, outside of his working hours, so he decided to find a balance between working and contributing.
Enter the Mautic Marketplace
Dennis has been a part of the development of previous major updates of Mautic. He highlights two of them: the upgrade script and the Mautic Marketplace. The first feature allowed for smooth migration to new Mautic releases, “it was a major update and involved a lot of work behind the scenes”.
His most recent contribution is not at all under the hood, to the contrary: the Mautic Marketplace made its debut on the 4.2 version, released in February 2022. “We hope it will be a game changer”, introduces Dennis.
The developer details that the Marketplace is more than “just” a place to download Mautic plugins. “For starters, it will make plugin contributors much more visible to the community. It will also make it a lot easier for users to know there are plugins and to be able to install them with the click of a button.”
Having the Marketplace, which is launching as beta, is also a way to stimulate the growth of the plugin developers community. With the adoption of Composer from Mautic 5 going forward, the team Dennis is a part of is working on ways to make it easier for plugin contributors to come up with new tools. “We wanna have a sort of ‘plugin generator’ that allows you to create a very basic plugin in maybe an hour, and then build up from there.”
As a community, Mautic’s enhancements will benefit not only the developers, but also the users. “Marketplaces will boost the ecosystem.” Having more plugins available, as well as being able to install and manage them easily will be a major improvement to marketers. “I’m excited to see where our community is going”, describes Dennis about the future.
The power of open source and the Mautic community
For Dennis, the tech side is always accompanied by the community aspect of his contributions. “With an open source app, you can develop your own product, but you can also develop with the community. And though some companies will do a lot ‘in house’, a lot of other companies are willing to pay so specialists can take care of the technical part for them”, he describes.
The software developer believes in a balance between healthy income and open source coding. “We already have a few examples of how this can work, there are specialized companies that run Mautic and are supporting customers very well. This business model is super interesting.”
Dennis reiterates that those companies usually contribute back to the community, which makes for an even more diverse group. As a matter of fact, his favorite past about the Mautic community is that it’s fully international.
“We have asynchronous meetings, so people all over the world can jump into it at the best time for them. It’s all in writing: we post the topics and discuss them over a 24-hours period. Everyone can contribute and reply”, he exemplifies. “It really is remote-first.”
The Norwegian developer also highlights that this type of meeting allows people time to think and to come up with great feedback. It enhances contributions, on the one hand, and also gives more room for different types of people and of contributions.
Dennis highlights that the Mautic community is also very well established. “We have a code of conduct, an organization structure, a stable product that we develop even further”. Finally, for those considering contributing to the Mautic community, he compliments how “there’s always room for improvement and new ideas”.
What the future holds
There’s a lot to be done, and Dennis invites all willing parties to be a part of Mautic’s future. He even provides a sneak peak into what is to come: “One thing we’ve been discussing in the Product Team is how we could decouple the front-end (user interface) and the back-end (technology)”. This would allow companies to forgo the use of Mautic visual interface and integrate Mautic’s technology directly into the companies’ own infrastructure.
“To achieve this goal we are looking into ways to integrate the API. It all has to be very well documented, very smooth to work with”, he sums up. And, of course, to undertake such an endeavor, the more hands, the better. “We can alway use more people”, he hints.
Personally, Dennis believes in technology at the service of people. Currently working on softwares to decarbonize electrical grids, he points out that his choice is always to work with products that put human beings at their center. “Software is such a big part of my life, but there’s a human side to each application. It’s not just about making a lot of money, it’s about building products that will have an impact on society, that will empower people.”