Meta Q&A: Jamie Rumbelow

Lindsay McComb / Posted 7.3.2012

Meta Q&A:
Jamie Rumbelow

Jamie Rumbelow, CodeIgniter guru, was kind enough to share some of his wisdom with us. Rumbelow is the author of The CodeIgniter Handbook, an awesome guide that any EE-er should have on their shelves or eReaders. Volume 2 is on its way.

Rumbelow is also gearing up to launch Efendi Books, which will have "smart, succinct, [and] stylish books for developers."  Rumbelow said that some "fantastic books from some great authors" are on their way. You can follow Rumbelow on Twitter at @jamierumbelow and Efendi Books at @efendibooks.

In the meanwhile, find out a little more about the man, the legend, the Rumbelow.

MQ: Tell us about your work in 140 characters or less.

JR: I'm a part-time freelancer, building apps and sites for businesses and agencies. I also work on a little publishing startup, @efendibooks.

MQ: How/why did you get into the web industry? Why do you stick with it?

JR: I got into web development through game development; my game engine needed a highscore system so I learned PHP… and the rest, as they say, is history! It took me a while to get onto my feet though. It's only been recently that I've developed the professionalism to go alongside the coding skills. I think that's really important: to be truly great at a profession you need to be able to manage the business side of it with care and competence.

MQ: Why do you use ExpressionEngine?

JR: I'm actually not using EE NEARLY as much as I'd like to. But ExpressionEngine is a truly fantastic tool… most of the time. It's powerful enough to handle some seriously advanced systems with ease, and the fact that it's now built on CodeIgniter is a godsend. Working inside EE can be very frustrating, but the community really makes it all worthwhile. Some of the best times I've had have been at community events.

MQ: What was the first EE site/add-on you ever worked on? What was that experience like?

JR: I extended a few odd sites a few years back but those were odds and sods; a few hundred dollars here and there for a few hours' work. My first "proper" EExperience was building an events site for a conference. It was pretty complex and took a lot of shouting, swearing, coffee and Pink Floyd to get right.

MQ: What does a typical workday look like for you?

JR: I wake up at 9 am, sometimes 10 (even later if I've had a big night). I think it's important to get as much sleep as you can, so waking up at 7 am every morning really doesn't cut it, particularly if I'm up until the early hours hacking away. I don't set an alarm unless I have to. I'll then spend the morning getting on with emails, a bit of work, catching up on blogs, making breakfast and exploring the Internet. Then it's an hour's worth of playing guitar and songwriting. Creative breaks where you do something totally different, away from your computer, are so, so important.

I'll then ride my bike into town for the afternoon and sit in a corner of a coffee shop or pub with my laptop. When everything starts closing, it's either out to town or back home for dinner and a few more hours' work. I'll sometimes get inspired and stay up late coding; I'll sometimes slouch in front of the telly with a cider and some ice cream. Now that I think about it, I've got a pretty nice life!

MQ: How do you stay passionate about your work? What do you do to refocus when you're having a bad day?

JR: If you begin experiencing more bad days than usual, it's probably a sign that you're doing something wrong. Your clients might be a bad fit, you might be working with the wrong tools (insert joke about the suicide rate of WordPress developers here) or you might just be spending too much time on the same project. I've always found breaking up bigger tasks into tiny bites much more rewarding. I'll then fill the wall behind my monitor with a bunch of post-it notes and take them off one by one.

Also, like I said before, do something creative away from the text editor and Photoshop. Learn an instrument, write a book or go for a walk and take photos. It sounds trite, but it's true.

MQ: My favorite EE site/add-on I worked on is:

JR: I mainly do add-ons rather than full sites, so there's nothing that impressive here. The site to showcase my add-ons, Sparkplugs, I took down a few months ago, but that was a pretty complex site that evolved over time with a pretty great structure, A/B testing and a full store system. It was the first time I got to have the proper experience of concept to follow-through and iteration.

I also got a chance to do a tiny bit of work on Pixel & Tonic's Playa and Juniper. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and if I remember right, Brandon's hiring, so if you're a keen EEer, I'd take a look at working with him.

MQ: My favorite EE site/add-on someone else did is:

JR: I still love everything Erskine do. Their new portfolio is fabulous, as well as the Frieze site, which is theirs. Oh, and don't forget Colly.

MQ: If I could change one thing about ExpressionEngine it would be:

JR: The internal codebase and database structure. EllisLab had such a great chance to rewrite the internal components and modules and they didn't, and now progress is suffering because of it. But maybe I'm just being geeky and pedantic.

MQ: If I had once piece of advice for someone trying to break into the web industry it would be:

JR: Take your time and pour your heart into your work. If you aren't so proud of something you could cry, you're not finished yet.

Lindsay McComb

Writer and Content Specialist

Lindsay is Q Digital Studio’s writer and content specialist. She develops heady technical jargon into clear, coherent (and optimized) content. She has a knack for finding just the right words - but only after she’s had a nice cup of coffee (or two). She happily dives into the depths of the Internet on a daily basis. Lindsay has worked as a writer and editor the world over.