Have you ever wondered who was hiding behind a GitHub username? It’s time to find out! Contributor interviews are a great way of getting to know the people who participate in the PrestaShop project. This month, meet Julius Zukauskas, aka zuk3975.

Julius comes from Lithuania. He works at Invertus, an ecommerce agency with a Platinum partner status in the PrestaShop Agency Partner program. Half of his time is dedicated to the open source project, and more specifically to the Symfony migration.

So, why exactly would an agency contribute to the open source project? Julius answered this question and many more.

Dear readers, meet Julius!

Hi Julius, can you tell us more about yourself?

Yes, of course. My name is Julius and I come from Lithuania.

My career as a developer started 5 years ago. Before that, I was working in a completely different field.

I studied physical therapy in college. It was interesting but I quickly realized that I didn’t want to keep on working in this field. So I decided to take Web development courses. The Invertus agency first welcomed me as an apprentice, then hired me on a permanent contract.

About my hobbies, I love all kinds of sports, but I’m especially passionate about martial arts. I also like jogging, especially in forests and parks. I love nature!

When did you get involved in the PrestaShop project?

My story with PrestaShop also started at Invertus. The agency is a Platinum partner in PrestaShop’s Agency Partner program. Most of our clients use PrestaShop to build and manage their online stores. So, that’s how I first got involved in the project. Then, I was assigned to the Symfony migration and that’s how I started contributing. I got in touch with maintainers and contributors.

The Invertus agency works with many different clients. Do you find it different to work for an open source project, compared to a regular client?

Many of our customers use PrestaShop so I’m used to it, it’s the same environment. However, the main difference with other projects is longevity and backward compatibility. When a change is merged to the PrestaShop project, it’s going to stay there for a while. You can’t just delete something as if you were the only one using the solution. Many people are using it, and once something is added, it takes much longer to remove it than in “regular” projects. When something is removed, we need to create a depreciation notice and make sure there is a replacement for that method. But also explain why it was removed and provide information on how to use the new method, etc.

In your opinion, how could agencies be encouraged to contribute more to the open source project? What benefits can they get from it?

First of all, I think it’s important to understand why they don’t contribute. When agencies are developing modules for their customers, for example, they may find bugs. They could contribute to fixing these bugs but they wouldn’t be able to quickly benefit from the fix. So, even if they submit a pull request to fix the bug, agencies will still have to find a quick solution for their customers.

That said, I still think contributions are beneficial to agencies. If they fix issues in the core software directly, they won’t need to fix the same bug over and over each time they have a new customer.

So, if you’re an agency: help your future self and contribute to the project.

Do you have any advice for first-time contributors?

There are a lot of pull requests available on PrestaShop’s project repository that you can learn from. When you submit a pull request, be as specific as possible: explain your use case and give some examples. Adding a screenshot usually helps too. And when you open an issue, remember to answer the following questions: what is your use case and why is it important?

Also, don’t hesitate to join the community on Slack.

Would you like to add anything?

I’m glad to work on the PrestaShop project. The PrestaShop community allows the project to grow, but it also allows me to grow as a developer!

Thank you, Julius!

If Julius’s experience has inspired you and you want to get more involved in the project, don’t hesitate to contribute!