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Interview with Jeffrey Way

I always wanted to interview influential people in development world. So, I decided to ask one of the most interesting one – Jeffrey Way of Envato (they call him “The Man”).

His tutorials, books and simple approach to most difficult problems have always inspired me.


Who is Jeffrey Way? Tell us something about yourself

I’m the editor of a popular web development blog, Nettuts+, and a developer evangelist for the Envato marketplaces (ThemeForest and CodeCanyon, among others). These days, whenever I can manage to find some free time, I’ve been pushing myself into the Ruby on Rails world, and have been loving every second of it.

How much time do you spend on learning new things?

Luckily, I have a job that virtually demands that I continue learning. I wouldn’t be able to run Nettuts+ otherwise. It’s perhaps the biggest blessing I’ve had. As we all know, it’s incredibly difficult to remain relevant and up-to-date in the industry; so Nettuts+ is certainly a huge help.

I’d say around 20 hours a week are spent learning, reading, etc.

I see that you are programming in Ruby and Ruby on Rails? Which do you prefer better, PHP or Ruby?

Honestly, it’s difficult to compare the two. At this point in my career, I prefer Ruby. It’s a language that was created to be as understandable as possible. PHP is a scripting language; Ruby feels like a human language. I love that!

But, at the same time, PHP was made specifically for the web; Ruby wasn’t. If I was asked to recommend a language to a beginning web designer, I’d vote for PHP.

Many people dislike Rails because they see it as being forced to follow a specific guideline for how to build web applications. I can appreciate this line of thinking, but is that so bad? The industry is complicated enough; it helps to be nudged in the right direction as much as possible. Think of it as your best judgment vs. the best judgment of an entire group of dedicated developers. I appreciate the help.

I noticed that number of your great tutorials is falling on Nettuts. I really miss the Quick tips. Why is that? No time, or working on some new projects?

Are you referring to me specifically? If so, I’m putting a great deal of energy into the next release of Tuts+ Premium, which is our subscription portion of Tuts+. I’m working on creating courses, which teach skills from the inside out.

I’m still able to get at least one article a week out on Nettuts+ though. Quick tips will continue as well!

Do you have any advice for people who try to sell items on Envato Marketplaces?

I created a screencast on this very thing. Refer here: How to become better author on Envato?

Lately, I saw some lower quality additions on CodeCanyon. Is standard going down to have as much items as you can?

No; our standards have increased consistently since the launch. We prefer quality over quantity; so if you do come across an item that you don’t feel fits our standards, definitely let us know. We’ll look into it immediately! 🙂

How is your Vegetarianism going? Do you feel better?

I’ve been a vegetarian for a couple years now, and will never turn back. It’s easily the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. I’d never want to push my opinions on others, however, if it’s something that any of your readers are considering, I can’t recommend it enough. When the meat industry is tasked with feeding billions of people on this planet, can you imagine the level of abuse that occurs behind those locked doors? Chickens who spend their entire lives in darkness and in their own feces, pigs who scream in pain… all of this is real. It’s amazing how willing we are to turn a blind eye.

Read a couple books, or watch some documentaries on the subject. If you’re going to eat meat, at least be aware of what goes on behind the scenes. Those quaint photos of farm animals and the red barn don’t exist. There’s a reason why it’s referred to as factory farming.

Do you have some free time? An how do you spend it?

Well, of course; I don’t think I’d survive otherwise. I spend much of time on the computer; so, when I do have free time, I like to get outdoors. Running, sports, etc. I live up in the mountains, so it’s particularly refreshing to go hiking whenever I have the chance.

I don’t have as much time available as I used to, but I also still enjoy a good video game. Right now, I’m counting the days until the new Zelda comes out in November.

Can you give us a sneak peak of what will be your few next steps? A new book? New project?

As I briefly mentioned above, right now, I’m working full steam on the re-launch of Tuts+ Premium. For the last few months, I’ve been creating course after course – everything from WordPress plugin development, to Phing, to CSS3. If you enjoy the style of my video tutorials, you’ll feel right at home with these courses.

Next month, I’m hoping to finish my next HTML5 book for Rockable Press. It’ll be a compilation of everything I’ve learned in the last few years on the subject.

Thanks again for this oprtunity, Jeffrey.