Have you ever wondered who’s 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 Louis Authie, aka LouisAUTHIE.

Louis is a freelance full stack developer at Web Helpers, with over 120 contributions on GitHub. He’s also a member of Friends of Presta, an association that gathers a community of developers and integrators around the open source ecommerce solution PrestaShop.

Dear readers, meet Louis. 🙌 (And stick with us until the end for a little surprise!)

Hello Louis! :-) Can you tell us more about yourself?

Hello! I’m Louis Authie, I’m 36 years old and I’m a full stack developer. I use iOS, Swift, Javascript, and Python, but PHP will always be my favorite. I’ve been a freelancer for 12 years, but I’ve been coding using PHP over the last 20 years for personal projects. I discovered PrestaShop when I started freelancing online. Ecommerce is a great way to make money these days. I installed PrestaShop for the first time back in 2012 (I can’t recall if it was 1.2 or 1.5!), but it was very different, and anyone could understand PHP. Then again, it was much simpler back then, even though I was a noob. 😄

I wanted to customize my PrestaShop store so I sort of ran into it blindly without following the community’s advice and best practices. To be fair, there was a lot less documentation and the community was much smaller back then.

It took some time but I learned PrestaShop through practice, docs, and trying to fulfill my customers’ needs. That’s how I managed to keep up with PrestaShop’s evolution – as well as other CMS – for the last 11 years. That’s also what led me to follow PrestaShop’s big 1.7 version turn and the Symfony migration. And… that’s why we’re here today! 😊

When did you get involved in contributing to the PrestaShop project?

Even though I started using PrestaShop in 2012, I only started contributing much later, in 2021. Before that, I was a regular user – I knew what an open source project was but I didn’t know how it worked or how to contribute. When PrestaShop 1.7 switched to Symfony (I’m a big Symfony fan!), I got intrigued by how the migration was going to work, so I figured I might as well try and get my hands dirty.

And so, my first contributions were mostly doc-related. Little tweaks here and there, adding missing information, and so on. These were a great way of understanding GitHub contributions and their inner workings. The thing that really made me want to contribute to the Symfony core was Friends of Presta (or FOP, for short). They were really friendly and useful in explaining how the Symfony migration works.

A little while after that, Franck Lefèvre (aka Progi1984) organized a workshop to explain how to migrate a back office controller to those who were interested. For me, having an actual project to work on is a great opportunity to understand how things work. So, to get familiar with the process and how branching and pull requests work, I submitted contributions (labeled as “Good first issues”) to the project. Then, I decided to take part in Franck’s workshop. He assigned work to every participant and each of us had tasks to complete. That’s how I really got into contributing and understanding the migration.

Overall I’ve been involved in contributing for 2 years. Even though I’m not a hard-core contributor, I still like to follow the project’s GitHub and news.

What motivates you to contribute now?

Ultimately, as a freelancer, one of my goals is to help PrestaShop grow into what my customers want it to be. But the big challenge for me was learning how to make Symfony modules and how the migration works. From then on, I had two solutions: I could either fix bugs or understand and work with the migration.

In your opinion, what benefits can module developers and agencies gain from contributing?

I’d say there are 3 big benefits they can gain from contributing: first, they can learn how to fix issues with the product and improve it to fit their customers’ needs. Secondly, there’s a big educational aspect to contribution: once you get involved, you see a little bit of everything and you’re up to date on everything that’s going on with the project. Thirdly, contributing gives you some sort of authority: the more you contribute, the more you get to know the PrestaShop community. And the more you know contributors, the more inclined they’ll be to help you.

Do you have any advice for first-time contributors?

I believe there’s no small contribution, you can start contributing right away. It could be just fixing a typo, or changing colors on docs. Of course, it’s easy to do, but it’s still already a big step.

How do you hope to see the PrestaShop project evolve in 2023?

From what I can see, PrestaShop is moving quickly towards newer versions (v.8), which is good. When the project finally transitions to being 100% Symfony, it’ll be of great help to the community. I feel that the migration period left a lot of people behind as it’s hard to keep up with everything. Once everything is unified, I believe we’ll be able to keep up against other CMS. It’ll also allow us to upgrade from Symfony 4.4 to 6.2 so we can take care of real issues, focused on merchants’ needs.

From my point of view, we spent the migration period moving to something more sustainable in the long run. Of course, we built and gathered a lot of tools allowing us to work faster, but we left some important features behind. In the end, I believe the project should focus on more merchant-oriented features such as product packs or bulk discounts, which constitute a big part of merchant demands.

Overall, I’m sure PrestaShop 9 will strengthen the use of Symfony, which can only be good for everyone.

Is there anything else you want to add?

Yes! I’ve been writing a book for the last 6 months: Practical Module Development for PrestaShop 8!

I asked myself a lot of questions about the migration but I didn’t find a lot of answers. I know I can find some answers in the dev doc as it has evolved over the last few years, but it’s still a listing of features. It won’t help me much if I want to start developing things. If I want to make a module, where can I find resources? There are a few pages here and there on GitHub but it was not easy to find things that could help me.

So I took all of my contributions and knowledge and decided to share it with others. Around that same time, Packt, my publisher, got in touch with me. Originally, I was supposed to write it with Fabien Serny (a former PrestaShop developer who wrote a book on the same topic in 2014), but he didn’t have time so I took it upon myself to write it.

My book should be of great help to the community. It answers the most commonly asked questions in module development. I’m not promoting my book for money: all royalties and benefits will go to FOP.

If you buy the book on Amazon and use the voucher 20LOUIS, you get 20% off, here. The voucher’s active until May 31st.

That’s great news! Where can we follow you?

My personal GitHub is LouisAUTHIE, and my agency is Web Helpers. And, here’s my LinkedIn ! 🙂

Thank you so much for your help! Keep up the great work 🙌 Thank you! 😄

Do you wish to contribute to the PrestaShop Project? Everything you need to know is available here. You can join us on the PrestaShop Project, available on GitHub.