Episode 45: Meet Alexandra Spalato – Building Websites Using Headless CMS, Gatsby and More!

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Description:

I’m joined today by Alexandra Spalato. She’s a freelance developer and entrepreneur with several years of experience working as a WordPress expert at Codeable. Alexandra is a co-founder of “Gatsby WP Themes” and is super passionate about building Gatsby themes for WordPress AND Headless CMS. So, of course, after discussing a bit about her background and journey, we dive headlong into a discussion about Headless Development!

Find out the Pros and Cons of having a site built using a Headless architecture. Who’s this for and what is possible today? What’s the future look like? I know I learned a lot from the conversation.. and I believe our conversation hints at the future of how websites are built. Enjoy!

Alexandra Spalato is on a mission to evangelize the power of Gatsby to the WordPress community as she is convinced that it is the future. She is a freelance developer and entrepreneur with several years of experience working as a WordPress expert at Codeable and has helped many clients around the world by building their online presence through high-quality custom theme development.

Alexandra has decided to completely focus on Gatsby and has created Gatsby WP Themes.

Born and raised in France. After many years in Paris, she is now living on the beautiful Spanish island of Mallorca.

If you would want to connect with her on LinkedIn, be sure to tell her you listened to this podcast (so that she knows it is not a random connection invite.)

THE MEAT OF IT!

  • Intro
    • French living in Spain
    • Specializing in Jamstack / Headless WP
    • Just launched a product in that space
    • Some Freelancing work.. and launching an agency soon!
  • How did she become interested in starting her own business?
    • Freedom and independence
      • Brought her to web development..
      • Freelancing
      • Loves learning
    • Always wanted to ‘create’ something
      • Web Dev is about creation!
      • Mix of design / dev / entrepreneur
    • Started with WordPress
    • WP was crowded..
      • Learned JS, React, Gatsby
      • WP + Gatsby – a virgin market!
  • Finding a partner
    • A great combo
      • There’s thing they can both do, but also one can do things the other can’t or doesn’t..
    • Have to have the same vision
  • How she learned design and development
    • Began learning WordPress .. and design, themes.
    • Working with themes in the beginning it was easy to show good results.
    • Learning through working ..
    • Worked with an agency in Paris ..
  • A cycle of getting bored and needing to learn new things.
    • Learned how to build custom themes..
    • Got bored..
    • Needs things to entertain her ..
    • With Web Development you never have to stay bored because there’s always new things to learn!
  • JS bootcamp – JS and React
    • Then discovered Gatsby ..
  • Design and Dev – two different types of patience.
  • Sleeping on problems.
  • DOING SOMETHING UNIQUE – Avoiding the crowded markets and instead focusing on something unique.
    • Being the first or leading in a space.
    • It’s an opportunity to be the first if you identify it.
    • There’s is a downside to be a pioneer.. it isn’t easy.
  • Headless
    • Headless vs Decoupled Architecture
    • Front-end decoupled from Back-end
    • BENEFITS
      • WordPress can be down.. but your front-end (gatsby) would still be up.
      • Could keep WP local.. and send static files
      • More platforms than WordPress
      • Headless for eCommerce – including Shopify
        • Some are just built for headless ..
      • SPEED
      • Security
        • DB isn’t exposed.. plugins can’t be hacked ..
        • Won’t even know you’re on WordPress
      • Flexibility
        • Content / blog on WordPress + Shopify TOGETHER
        • Mixing data together
    • CONS
      • Can’t use all plugins ..
        • You’ll lose front-end oriented plugins..
        • Backend plugins will require an API
          • WPGraphQL!
    • Developer experience is better
      • More people learning it ..
      • More JS than PHP
      • And easier to find good devs
  • As an agency – Matt’s looking forward.
    • Mastering block theme’ing ..
    • Future – headless.
  • Is this the future of CMS / WordPress?
    • WordPress is easy to learn and for anyone to get started with..
    • And then one can grow their knowledge and skills from there .. launching into JS.
    • WILL IT GET EASIER for the average person or dev to use Headless?
      • Right now.. small biz or website may just use WordPress themes..
      • Right now.. her Gatsby themes are easy enough where you don’t need coding? But you will still have to write in the code.. even if you’re copy and pasting.
      • Right now.. it’s more for developers and agencies.
      • FUTURE .. more themes ..
        • Solutions will get developed.
          • From WP backend..
          • Easier and easier..
        • As market grows more will happen.
  • Closing thoughts !

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