Brigitta is the latest addition to our team. Normally, we would celebrate this special occasion with cakes and drinks, but given the fact that she is part of a small but highly sought after community of Shopware developers, we decided to add to the culinary delights an introductory article to get to know her better.
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Brigitta, when did you start working with Shopware and how did it become a big part of your career?
Working with Shopware – that is a really interesting story, as it all started with a self challenge. After 5 years working as a programmer in the gaming industry, I decided that it would be the time to try something new. My only problem… which path to take?
One option was to continue in the field of games development, but maybe with a different technology. One thing is sure – at that time, I wasn’t thinking about e-commerce at all.
It just happened that a friend, who was a professional website designer, told me that he was working on several designs for Shopware themes. So I started doing some research: what is it, how does it work and what do other developers say?
I saw very good feedback and the fact that its growing community was actively contributing to the open-source platform made me decide to give it a try.
I started with small projects in my spare time, but slowly, some good opportunities showed up and I decided it was time to switch to full time Shopware development. It’s been more than 2 years since then and I cannot be happier with what I do.
Your superpower is…?
Getting things done, no matter how hard it is. “It always seems impossible until it is done” – these words come to my mind when I reach a deadlock or a hurdle and with perseverance and patience I try to find a solution.
I like challenges, I am also a competitive person, both with others and with myself and I am always happy to add something new to my ‘DONE THAT’ list. There would be many examples to give in this context, but the conclusion I want to draw is that it’s not easy but it’s also not impossible and the satisfaction is greater when you succeed.
What was your biggest Shopware challenge?
The learning curve did not come without challenges. The biggest one was to understand the operating mechanism and the structure of the platform. Everything was different from what I had known. On top of that, back then Shopware 5, the old Shopware version, was mainly active in Germanic countries and most of the documentation and tutorials were in German. Without extensive proficiency in this language, I had to use Google Translate and together with my programming knowledge, I finally started to make some progress.
When version 6 was released, it was like a breath of fresh air. It was better documented and it had more information in English. The community became more active and slowly, things started to fall in the right place.
Shopware is facing some very strong contenders. Why do you recommend it as the right platform when building an eCommerce project?
Indeed, the market for eCommerce platforms has become very competitive in the last few years, mainly driven by the strong momentum that online shopping is having. There are many options for small businesses, but when it comes to medium to big businesses, the clear winners for me are Shopware and of course, its strong competitor Magento.
Opinions are divided and the more passionate the developers are about the platform they work with, the more heated their opinions are. For me, the main advantages Shopware has over its competitor are its capability to create amazing-looking content, its versatility, the fact that it is easy to use and the affordable price tag.
Those who want to combine emotional storytelling with an efficient eCommerce platform are in for a treat. Shopware has developed its newest product based on the idea of keeping customers engaged with amazing-looking content, that will provide uniform user experiences and will guide them all the way to the checkout in a personalized manner.
Merchants have different versions to choose from, based on their business size. The open-source version is also available for those ones who want to develop a fully customized platform for their business. Once the development phase is completed, users will have full access to an intuitive admin interface and an easy-to-use content management system to create amazing looking pages without technical knowledge.
When talking about price, Shopware ticks this box too, as it costs a fraction of the price charged by Adobe Commerce. Of course, with Shopware, you won’t find as many extensions readily-available yet – the community is still in its youth, although growing stronger day by day – but if what your shop needs is already available, or if you find a good developer to work on a custom module, then Shopware is definitely the choice I would recommend.
Tell us a few words about the community around this fascinating platform.
Being developed in Germany, the old Shopware 5 version was mainly active in that part of Europe. The developers were based in these Germanic countries in what felt like a closed community and everyone coming from outside had to go through countless difficulties to get any information about the product. With the launch of Shopware 6, things changed dramatically as the company decided it was time to go global.
I feel that last year was a turning point and it all culminated with Ben Marks, the former Magento lead evangelist joining Shopware. The new product started to be better documented, and more importantly, the community opened up.
Nowadays, Shopware organizes yearly Community Days, monthly meet-ups, and takes part in various eCommerce events. It is usually free for everyone to join and the buzz is amazing.
But what I feel that brought the biggest change was the start of Shopware United, an entity formed by a group of developers, merchants and enthusiasts whose aim is to tear down all communication barriers inside the community, to encourage involvement and grow the community.
What I love about Shopware United meet-ups is their informal atmosphere. Developers can find out about product updates, they can interact, ask questions, present ideas and feedback, and why not, make friends. There is a real sense of comradery and there were many times when my new colleagues helped me find answers or offered the support that I needed.
How would you describe your life in terms of leisure time? Do you have any hobbies?
Sport has been part of my life since I was a child. I started swimming and skiing from the early age of 3. A little later I continued with 7 years of martial arts, Karate Shotokan and I reached the performance of acquiring the brown belt. It was a beautiful and constructive experience, and it left a beautiful mark on my soul, namely my love for sports. Obviously, once school and work intervened in the program, priorities changed and I had to give up, but I continued to discover sports in other forms: aerobics, dance, fitness, xBody workouts. There are many more that I still want to discover in the future, and the next on the list is Kickboxing.
Besides sports, depending on the weather, I enjoy an outdoor walk, a tiring day of skiing, or a relaxing evening at home with my puppy in my arms watching a good movie. In other words, enjoying life.
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