TYPO3 Talk with Richard: TYPO3 Core + Symfony Specialist

Welcome to the TYPO3 Interview Series! Check out the Interview with Richard on TYPO3 For Everyone! We have launched the TYPO3 initiative for business executives, professional freelancers, marketers, decision-makers etc. The ultimate goal, Inspiring people to communicate about TYPO3 eco-system by keeping the philosophy of OpenSource.

TYPO3 Talk with Richard: TYPO3 Core + Symfony Specialist

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Welcome to the TYPO3 Interview Series - 15!

We have Richard Haeser with us this week for interesting TYPO3 Talk! Richard is  TYPO3 core-developer, Freelance TYPO3 & Symfony specialist, TCCE, TCCI, TCCD & TCCC.

Indeed it's an interesting TYPO3 talk, so grab the cup of coffee to explore Wolfgang's insights about his views, history and potential of TYPO3 and open-source community, and how we can build a better TYPO3 Eco-system together!

Let’s explore his journey with TYPO3 back from times till today, and a lot more!

  • Interviewee : Richard Haeser
  • Company : TYPO3 Freelancer
  • Designation : TYPO3 core-developer
  • Topic : Together Building a Better TYPO3 Eco-system

Hey Richard, please tell us something about yourself to our audience.

Hi, well my name is Richard Haeser and although some Germans think based on my name, I’m from the Netherlands. I’m 38 years old, married to my wife Japke and have 3 kids called Koen, Hannah and Daan.

Although I’m a developer from origin, I also really like to discuss with clients about how to solve their problems and consult them how they can work in a sustainable way.


First question, How did you initially get involved with TYPO3?

Back in 2010, I started as a PHP developer at a TYPO3 agency called alterNET. Nowadays the company does not exist anymore, but during that time I worked together with for example Ric van Westhreenen and Jigal van Hemert. Both quite familiar people within the community.

Although I was working with PHP for several years already, I did not have any experience with TYPO3. By doing great projects and with help of colleagues, I was able to pass the TYPO3 CMS Certified Integrator exam within 6 months. I saw the potential of TYPO3 and loved the modularity. Another thing I really liked was the TYPO3 community. I liked the amount of information that was shared and although a lot of great information was often in German, it was always good to see that “inspiring people to share” were not only some marketing buzz words.


How do you contribute to TYPO3? How does your company encourage open source business practices?

I became an active contributor about 5 years ago. I always wanted to be of help, but always found it difficult to start. When the company I worked for back then (MaxServ), partnered up with the people of Yoast, I became the maintainer of that project. It showed me some missing parts within the TYPO3 core to do SEO the right way so I started to provide patches for SEO-related things in core. I also started to make the company more aware contributions are really valuable. This resulted in having multiple people contributing to the TYPO3 ecosystem and organizing several TYPO3 events.

Now 5 years later, I’m an active TYPO3 core developer and working on all sorts of things within TYPO3 core. For the last three years, I mainly focussed on SEO and the new Dashboard.

This year I started my own business. I’m lucky that I’m able to do the thing I really love: spending even more time on TYPO3 core. This is only possible by companies and people sponsoring me to do so. So I am really grateful for all my sponsors and hoping to get even more sponsors so I can spend even more time on enhancing TYPO3.

Besides doing TYPO3 core development I also help TYPO3 agencies. Sometimes by providing development capacity, sometimes just by sharing knowledge with training or consulting. One of the things I love to share is my experience in making companies more aware of the sustainability you could get by using and sharing open-source. If you do it the right way, I’m sure this will help every company. Both agencies as clients!


As a TYPO3 Professional, What was your biggest challenge to building your TYPO3 business? Do you have any special tips & tricks for TYPO3 business people?

In the Netherlands (and I guess in several other countries), TYPO3 is not that familiar as a product. Several municipalities are using TYPO3 as a product, but most of the TYPO3 users in the Netherlands are not really aware they use TYPO3. They just use it as a tool. So we really have to show the possibilities of the product. So the thing I would recommend is don’t “sell” TYPO3. Sell the solutions you have with TYPO3.


Over the years, the TYPO3 open source ecosystem has evolved. When you look back, Are you surprised or feel lucky with the overall success of TYPO3? Where do you see it going in the future?

I don’t really like to look back and blame people or situations. I think everybody does everything with the best intentions. Maybe that is naive, but I'd rather trust someone than be very suspicious. I think we all have had our doubts with the situation around TYPO3 v5 / Phoenix / Neos. Which way was the CMS heading? The thing that convinced me that TYPO3 was heading the right direction was when I saw the passion from Mathias Schreiber, Benni Mack and lots of other people resulting in great TYPO3 releases. Nowadays, I’m not that afraid anymore. I know that several people spend more and more time on enhancing TYPO3. It is always good to keep an eye on other CMSes, but as long as we keep listening to our users, I’m sure TYPO3 will have a bright future. All the key ingredients are there.


Can you give us a sneak peek of TYPO3's future visions?

I can only speak on my own behalf but in general I think most people agree that we should do more on the editing experience. This part has my particular focus. How to make it easier for editors to create high quality content. Together with Benni, I’m working hard on those things and I’m sure (most) people would love those things.


TYPO3 is 20+ years old OpenSource CMS, Although we have very little CMS Marketshare. eg., At present, TYPO3 0.6%, WordPress 63.6%. In your personal opinion, What do you think about what we majorly missed in TYPO3 journey?

Well, I’m in doubt. The first thing that comes to my mind is that I’m not sure if you want to compare TYPO3 with WordPress. TYPO3 has functionality that WordPress is lacking as well as the other way around. Both have their own pros and cons. On the other hand, I disagree with people saying TYPO3 is for enterprises only. 

For most people it is still easier to create a new basic website in WordPress than with TYPO3. So I think it is good that there are more and more easy-to-start solutions with TYPO3. By making it easier to start, more and more people will try TYPO3. They will see the potential and will not only use it for their local soccer-club-website, but also for the website of their company. But we also should not focus to become “the new WordPress”. That should not be the goal. It could be the result though.


Unlike other CMS' where do you think the TYPO3 opensource ecosystem lags behind?

I think we are already working hard on that: marketing. I think we have a great product, now people have to know about that. The marketing team is doing a great job and I think it is only a matter of time (and money) people will know about TYPO3.


What do you think of the global expansion of TYPO3? What do you feel the TYPO3 OpenSource Eco-system needs most?

If you want to expand the market-share I think it is essential to spend a lot of time in non-German-speaking countries. No offense, but I think in the German-speaking regions, there is not that big of a “problem”. Having people spending time to help developers in Africa is really promising. I also offered my services as a mentor for people in this project. Hopefully I can be of help to expand TYPO3 in other parts of the world.


As we are managing T3Planet, TYPO3 Marketplace, What do you think about the t3planet.com? What are some key factors & characteristics that would attract you?

It is good to see such an initiative. It is always hard in the TYPO3 community to talk about money for extensions or contributions. We are spoiled with lots of good free of charge extensions. If you compare that to communities like WordPress or Magento as well, people are way more willing to pay for good extensions. I think having a marketplace is a good thing in general, but it should get some time before it will be used a lot I guess. People will slowly get used to the idea that open source is not always the same as free software. We all want to earn a bit of money to be able to share and support the open source extensions. Having a platform to sell your extensions is key for that.


TYPO3 is built on PHP. PHP was established and it’s easy to understand. There was a huge community for PHP already. How important was that “TYPO3 was powered by PHP” for its popularity?

I always liked that it is based on PHP. Otherwise I think I would never have started with TYPO3 as I was a PHP developer before I started with TYPO3. Nowadays I think being a “PHP-CMS” is not enough. Most of the PHP developers are specialised in one or more frameworks. That is why I like it very much that TYPO3 is using more and more Symfony components. Developers that are familiar with Symfony will have way less to learn before they can get the most out of TYPO3. For sure the other frameworks are good as well, but it is a good thing we use components of such a framework.


There are extensions, multilingual, multisite enterprise CMS, ease of use, among all these, what attributes for the TYPO3 success?

In most of the projects I did, the multi-everything was always the main success. I worked on projects with lots of languages, lots of sites and lots and lots of pages. Ok, sometimes it was hard but most of the times, TYPO3 didn’t let me down.


Who is your open source mentor/hero? Can you name some people (at least 5) whom you follow to get knowledge and updates of the TYPO3?

Well the first one is really easy: Benni Mack. I really doubt if TYPO3 would be the product as it is today if he was not leading the core team. I am really privileged to work together with him for the core and I learn a lot from him (follow him and his colleagues on b13 on social media for excellent knowledge). The second person I would like to highlight is Susi Moog. I think I met Susi for the first time on TYPO3 UX week. She really mentored me during my first steps on core contributions and is still sharing a lot of knowledge not only to me but to everyone. 

Other people I would suggest to follow on social media: Daniel Goerz, Daniel Siepmann, Georg Ringer and Tomas Norre. I’m sure I miss a lot of people, but those people show on a daily base that contributing to open source is fun and we can all learn a lot of those people!


What are some places, blogs, and online communities you would recommend to our readers that you think are the best places to get help about TYPO3?

Besides the website of T3Planet https://t3planet.com/blog, I have several blogs I follow and I think those are interesting for everyone: https://usetypo3.com/, https://www.scripting-base.de/, https://daniel-siepmann.de/ and of course my own website https://www.richardhaeser.com ;-)


Do you think TYPO3 still needs more active contributors? Especially in awareness, branding, and marketing.

Yes, we do! Being active is pretty subjective. I think we as a community should be aware that if we want to make the next step, we should invest. Invest in spending time on contributions (on all parts) or invest money in people that can do that for you. This is also why I applied for budget to create some digital workshops how to contribute to the TYPO3 ecosystem. Follow me on social media to get the latest news about those workshops.


Last but not least, Apart from TYPO3, What're the things you love to do?

Apart from developing with TYPO3, I also like to talk about TYPO3. Just kidding. After doing my hobby called TYPO3, I also like to travel with my family. Work hard, play hard. Spending time with my wife and kids is really important to me.

Heartily thanks Richard for taking the efforts and time to conduct these interviews and sharing your views with insights. 

If you too want to share your views regarding the TYPO3 Eco-system, you are more than welcome. Feel free to reach us or drop us a message in the comment section below.
Also, thanks to all Post Status readers, we will see you at the next interview. Till then stay tuned for next exciting T3Interview :)

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