Josh Marom, a senior developer at Elementor, has been leading our front-end projects for 3 years. In this special podcast episode, Josh gives us a behind-the-scenes view of our development team, describes the process of introducing a new feature, and reveals some upcoming features that will surely get you excited.
Josh Marom is Senior Front-End Developer at Elementor, where he has been working for almost 3 years, leading front-end projects.
Josh is an integral part of the core development team as well as an active contributor who constantly provides support to Elementor’s international community members.
Switching From Graphic Design to Web Development
When we asked Josh to tell us about his background we were surprised to find out how he started his career back in 2004:
“I started my graphic design career doing web design, actually. And then a couple years later, I started doing more of print stuff. But I always had this passion for using code for design and combining a technological new tool of web … this new medium of websites, web pages. Combining that with design always seemed magical to me. So, I’ve always had that, like somewhere in the background, I’ve always had my little hobby running a little blog, something that I can play with in the web world.
So, taking those two worlds and combining them is like basically the main feature of my professional career. So, at the point I got to Elementor was already after a couple more years after I started my own business, developing websites for clients. I’m using WordPress and creating custom themes and doing all sorts of custom WordPress work for clients. I had a lot of experience with developing interesting and challenging WordPress projects. So, that skill set is what I bring to Elementor, and this is what I use in my daily work when I build widgets, when I create widgets and all sorts of features…”
Why did Josh make the switch from graphic design to development?
“When I was first introduced to the world of graphic design, it was via designing web pages. So, the first things I had to work with were web pages. So, then when I switched to print for a few years, when I did some more print work, I have always had that memory of my work on digital stuff, on web pages. And I really liked that. I really appreciate that connection between code and design, I felt like it had something very unique to it.
I find it magical, like how you can write a couple of lines of code and you get this nice looking result. And that’s something that you don’t really get when you’re using tools like Photoshop or Illustrator or stuff like that, where you’re really using like this very sophisticated software that does the tricks for you. Whereas when you’re coding, you’re basically giving the instructions to the browser, on how something should look and the browser just follows your instruction.”
The Process of Introducing a New Feature
Josh has been involved in some of the major visual and front-end developments of Elementor, among them the Call-To-Action widget and the Shape Divider.
So we asked him how the process of rolling out a new feature on Elementor looks like:
“There’s so many things that go into the process of introducing a new feature, a new widget. Any sort of new capabilities that we introduce to Elementor as a tool, always is a long tedious process with a lot of emotions and a lot of hurdles you need to get over.
I think there are two very important factors that drive the way we make those decisions that really guide us. One, is the fact that, just like myself, most of the team that is involved in developing new features, are people who come from the world of developing websites, developing WordPress sites, they’ve done it for years, and they really know what are the pains of the people and what people are looking for, and they really understand how people are going to be using a certain feature in the real world.
So, this is a very, very important aspect of how we managed to come up with the right solutions, is because we really, really are very, very intimately familiar with what you guys are doing, with what our users are doing.
The second thing is, which is very complimentary, is the input we get from our users and the requests and the feature requests, and the voice of our users is basically a very, very crucial part of the input we need to guide us to what we should address and what needs to be addressed. So, if I want to summarize it is basically we recognize a certain need, typically by users bringing it up, and then we tackle it and we conquer it by brainstorming and each of us bringing what they believe is the way to deal with this.”
The Philosophy of Our Development Team
We were curious to know if our development team has a certain philosophy that leads their way inside the team. Josh says:
“Yeah, I think really the DNA that makes a WordPress feature really good, is taking a big problem and breaking it down to its basic components and then trying to solve it with a simple solution. So, basically, we’re, gonna take a certain feature, let’s say forms, okay? And we’re going to try to think what are the big problems people face when they come to create forms, and we’re going to make sure those big problems are going to get solved by our solution. And we’re going to try not to add features that are not essential to fixing the problems we came to fix.
So, by making sure we’re only including the things that need to be there while not making it too bloated with things that people don’t really need, we managed to come up with solutions that are elegant, simple, but yet easy to use.
So, that’s really that’s really the trick. And it’s, it’s much more complicated and much more challenging to achieve this balance because really, when you try to do something good, you always have this urge to add something to make it a little better, to add another, a little bit more, make it a little bit more flexible, just add a little, another control that allows to do another little thing, and it’s very tempting. And many times people ask for these things and you’re like, “Hey, why not just give it to them?” But by making sure you’re only adding what’s important and not what is not, is a key factor in making sure the product is easy to use.”
How Page Builders Change the Game
It was interesting to hear from an experienced developer like Josh how he sees WordPress world before and after the introduction of page builders. Josh believes that in the modern era of web development and the way we do things today, allows web creators to have a much more immediate and direct impact on what they’re working on:
“We really believe that designers should have access to the final medium. Back in the days, it used to be that the designer did the first part of the process which is creating a certain design in Photoshop, or whatever tool he’s using to create the layout and the design, and then that product is then passed on to a front end developer, who takes that and kind of translates it a web page. And we really strive to eliminate the need in a middle man.
We believe designers should have access to the page that they’re building. We want the designer to interact with the page to his creating, and we believe this way, the designer will be able to deliver a much better product, a much higher quality design because he’s going to actually experience how his page operates in the real world. He can actually see the final result. And since Elementor is a tool that gives you direct access to the design, you actually interacting directly with your design, it really makes it possible for people who didn’t have that access.”
A New Era
The recent features we rolled out were focused on marketers, such as the Action Links and the Popup Builder. So we asked Josh to share with us a sneak preview of what’s to come really soon, in particular for designers:
“Marketers got their fair share in the past couple releases. I think forms are also a very powerful tool for marketers. I’m sure you would know more about it than myself, but certainly all the options we provide with integrations and with hidden form fields, that can be populated by the parameters in the links and all sorts of nice little features we added recently. So yeah, so that’s, that’s as far as marketers.
But yeah, now we’re introducing a few powerful tools and features that, I think, professional designers, web designers are going to love. One of them is already in beta, is Absolute Positioning, which I must admit we had, you know, serious doubts whether we should and how we should include these features. But we really believe that the people that need it, will appreciate having this as part of what we offer, and the people don’t know how to use it, hopefully, will avoid using it if they don’t really understand what they’re doing. But Absolute Positioning is really very, very powerful. It really allows for very, very special things to be done…
And having said that, when you also take into consideration another feature that we’re about to introduce very soon in our pro version, is all sorts of motion effects and things that you can move around, and parallax and all those cool little gimmicks that have to do with elements moving around on the page. So, if you combine those two, we’re really entering a new era in terms of what people can achieve with Elementor…”