What motivates developers – and why I quit my old job

About a year ago I left my 9 to 5 job to pursue my own projects after way too many years stuck working at the same position for the same company. Today I stumbled upon this article that made me realize the true reasons why I quit, you can read it here. It turns out that all 3 points expressed in the article were what I was missing from my experience at the particular company.

  • Autonomy – micromanagement was the root of all evil. If as a manager you keep treating your employees as kindergarten children in time they will eventually start behaving like kindergarten children. Ultimately this killed any signs of team spirit and destroyed employee relations.
  • Mastery – the company culture imposed a slow pace, offered almost no training options (at least not in anything relevant to today’s standards), and experimentation with new technologies was treated by the management as toying around rather than doing useful work – essentially there was no long-term vision.
  • Purpose – developers are ‘creators’ in personality, they are people who gain satisfaction by knowing that their creations are being used. Being tasked to develop things that have no consequence, do not help anyone, are simply being funded as an excuse for the existence of the company in the eyes of its investors and you know beforehand that they will be just filed away as soon as they are completed. This alone is the most demotivating thing anyone can do to a software developer.

The worst part is that once you get comfortable in this culture it takes a long time to realize what is going wrong and how much it affects your way of thinking and your behavior in or outside the office. Like the article says, money was certainly not the issue. I was earning a decent salary, it could have been better but I guess it can always be better so I don’t count this as a factor. If you happen to be reading this and you are stuck in a situation like the one I  described I suggest you leave and never look back. New, better opportunities will come as soon as you exit the door.

WooCommerce PDF Product Catalog Plugin v1.0.8

Has only been one and a half months since I published the PDF Catalog for WooCommerce plugin on CodeCanyon and since then I released 5 versions. Most feature additions came after requests from users who purchased the plugin.

The latest release 1.0.8 which went online this week and includes:

  • Support for high-res JPEG image embedding (the site’s admin can choose the resolution of images used based on a predefined list). Also added a slider to choose the JPEG compression quality coefficient.
  • User role restrictions – a highly requested feature which allows the admin to choose which WordPress User Roles have access to download the store catalog.
  • Enabled PDF Subsetting in TCPDF. The admin can still pick to disable it. Essentially this only embeds the required ligatures from the font in the PDF file. For UTF8 encoded catalogs cuts down the file size by about 300k depending on language and amount of text.
  • Ability to Hide ‘HIDDEN’ products. As weird as this might sound some users wanted to be able to see products in PDF for which they set their visibility to Hidden in the Product editor.

The plugin can still be downloaded from here.

PDF Product Catalog for WooCommerce – my new plugin

The idea for this plugin came to me after a request from a client for whom I developed a WordPress / WooCommerce based online store. The client wanted to have downloadable price lists in PDF format for each product category. His original plan was to generate the PDFs manually offline and upload them to the site but obviously there was a better way. So after doing some research and tests on some PHP classes for generating PDF files I made a polished WordPress plugin and published to CodeCanyon.

At the time of writing it has the following features:

  • Widget for PDF Download Buttons
  • 5 PDF Catalog Templates included.
  • Create your own PDF templates in HTML.
  • Generate per Category PDF and/or Complete Store catalog.
  • 4 pages of admin options to fine tune your catalog content and design.
  • Tested with stores with more than 1000 products.
  • Pure PHP Solution (no need to install any plugins / does not use external services).
  • Hide / Show catalog elements (e.g. SKU, descriptions, prices).
  • Upload your own logo.
  • Support for UTF8 catalogs (non-latin characters in PDF)
  • Customize catalog text.
  • Include product images in catalog.
  • Support for product variations.
  • Customize colors from Admin Panel.
  • Hyperlinks in PDF for each product
  • Caching for increased performance (catalogs are only generated once)
  • Automatic page numbering.
  • Header / Footer on each page.
  • Send PDF to browser or force download option.
  • Customise which categories appear in catalogs.
  • Full Documentation included.
  • Tested with WordPress 3.8, 3.8, 3.9 and WooCommerce 2.1.x

Thanks to comments I received on CodeCanyon I got ideas for other features, especially integration with other WooCommerce plugins which hopefully I’ll manage to implement soon.

The plugin can be purchased here for 15USD.


I finally finished and opened www.sportscyprus.com for public consumption. I had this site in the works for quite some time and it was nearly complete months ago but never got around putting the final touches until the past couple of weeks. Not being much of a football fan I’m still not sure how it will be received even though it made a good impression to the few friends I showed to until now. Whether it will be useful in the long-run remains to be seen. In the meantime check it out.