Susan Snipes / Posted 12.5.2013
Statamic Series: Alex Carpenter
Welcome back to Meta Q’s Statamic Series – interviews with designers and developers creating Statamic websites and add-ons. We’re avid supporters of web communities and camaraderie and are currently spotlighting members of the Statamic community. Statamic is a flat-file CMS that is fun, powerful and easy to use. Join us as we chat with web guys and gals around the globe about Statamic – and find out why they use it and where they hope to see it go.
Today’s interview introduces Alex Carpenter, a front-end developer at Masuga Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When he’s not working on web apps like Masuga Design’s upcoming Lamplighter or his current side project, Field Guide, you might find him fly fishing with his wife. Alex tweets as @hybrid_alex.
Tell us about your work in 140 characters or less.
I work at Masuga Design and lately I have been doing product design and front-end development for our latest project Lamplighter.
How/why did you get into the web industry? Why do you stick with it?
Through a series of events, my parent's family-owned business that I had been working at since I was able to walk shut down, and for the first time in my life I actually needed to find something that I wanted to do. I played around in the culinary field, started my own video production company and started playing around building websites in my free time.
Once I saw my savings starting to dry up I was searching for job opportunities, and came across a front-end position at a local dev shop and applied with a small splash page that I had built on Tumblr. With no real experience, I was hired and dove head first into building sites.
I stick with it because it excites me; building sites and products people use and get excited about keeps me coming back.
Why do you use Statamic?
“Statamic gets out of the way and lets me do what I want.”
Statamic gets out of the way and lets me do what I want. No overload of themes, settings or code bloat that I need to dig through and refactor to get started. A lot of people flock to WordPress for an easy start, but to me there is too much bloat there. I think Statamic would be a far better option for a majority of WordPress users.
Tell us about the first Statamic site you built. What was that like?
Statamic came out right before I started work at Masuga Design, and I was working on a personal portfolio to show off some of the work I had been doing. I wasn't familiar with how to use any CMS at the time, but Statamic was easy enough to understand and get my site up and running quickly. It was a huge victory in my eyes when I first launched it.
Is Statamic one of many CMSs/frameworks you use? Did it replace another CMS?
I would say Statamic is a great option for smaller sites. We use ExpressionEngine (EE) for most projects at Masuga Design, and we haven't had a client project where we felt 100% ready to use Statamic yet. Most of our work involves large amounts of relational data, which is easier to manage with ExpressionEngine.
How do you decide if Statamic is the right fit for a project?
Towards the beginning of this year when we decided to give masugadesign.com a refresh, we started building the site in EE. After a bit of work we decided we didn't really need a database and thought it was the perfect chance to give Statamic a try. It turned out to be a perfect fit and has been easy to maintain.
Tell us about a Statamic site you like (either one you built, or one someone else built).
I really like the redesign Statamic did of their own site. What better way to show off their own project with a great looking site showing off what it can do.
Do you consider any add-ons “must-haves” for a Statamic site build?
I haven't had the need to use any add-ons yet. Out of the box, it has everything you need to get a site up and running.
What is your favorite thing about Statamic?
From a developer standpoint it is great for a personal blogging platform. It allows you to focus on the writing and not have to worry about logging into a control panel to write up a post in a WYSIWYG editor. Everything in flat files makes it easy to transfer and share as well. Most posts live in Dropbox and can be accessed across all devices.
If you could change one thing about Statamic, what would it be?
It is still early, but it would be nice to have a stronger add-on community. Coming from working on devot:ee and seeing that community that has been built there, you want to see that across the board. I think it has a lot of potential though. I never thought to build an e-commerce site on Statamic, but it looks like it is possible with Bison now, so you never know.
What advice do you have for someone trying to break into the web industry?
Always be curious and open minded. This industry changes so quickly, so staying up to date with the current technology and techniques can be a headache but also a lot of fun. I always find myself going down rabbit holes with new frameworks and workflows, most of which I move past, but I always learn something new from them.
President and Founder
Susan Snipes is the founder and president of Q Digital Studio. As a community-minded web entrepreneur, developer, and ExpressionEngine expert, Susan’s innovative approach to the web has benefited well-known companies and organizations ranging from technology, healthcare, education, nonprofits, local and regional governments, and more. For more thoughts on entrepreneurship, leadership, and inclusivity in technology, follow her on twitter @SusanSnipes.