Recently, Sylius has released the newest version of the platform – Sylius 1.8. The solution itself enjoys a growing interest every day, which is why we decided to learn something about the origins of Sylius.
To come closer to this great solution and its beginnings, we have decided to invite Paweł Jędrzejewski – the Founder of Sylius to the interview. Let’s get to the point!
BitBag: Let’s start with the most basic question – how did the idea to create Sylius arise?
Paweł Jędrzejewski: I’ve built my first eCommerce website, and I did it completely from scratch in PHP. That left me with a lot of work around the maintenance and evolution of the platform. So I started exploring existing solutions, like PrestaShop and Magento. I was not quite satisfied with the code quality at the time and wanted to have something in the middle, more of a framework rather than a boxed solution. Here enters Symfony, which I used as a foundation for Sylius and built the first eCommerce bundles.
BB: How did you come up with the idea for the name „Sylius”?
PJ: It’s the combination of “Sylwia” and “Justyna”, which are names of my mother and her sister, respectively. It was the original name of a small business they started and for which I’ve built the first eCommerce shop. 🙂
BB: How long did it take you to create Sylius?
PJ: I always looked at it as an evolutionary process, but if we look at significant milestones, it took about six years from the first bits of code to the stable release in 2017. I was growing up with the project, given I started it in my high school days.
BB: Have you encountered obstacles on your way to creating Sylius that you thought you would not be able to overcome?
PJ: I think we would not be where we are today if we thought this way, I think it is embedded in our organization’s culture to look for the most efficient solution to every tension/problem rather than say “it can’t be done”. Obviously, there were many challenges on the way, and some of them were bigger than others. That being said, I think we have a lot of patience and passion for the purpose of what we do at Sylius. 🙂
BB: Why is Sylius open-source and based on Symfony?
PJ: I was inspired by the ecosystem built around Symfony and believed that nobody is as smart as everybody, so building Sylius with community just made sense. I remember that I very much liked the aspect of it being an international or even global project.
BB: Why are you working in the turquoise / holacracy-powered organization system? Do you think it has a big influence on how Sylius looks and how it develops today?
PJ: There is no simple answer to this question at this point, but while I still do not fully understand all Teal or Holacracy concepts, it just feels like the right way to go. It is aligned with my individual values, principles. I think the same is true for our collective as a team. Thinking from the business perspective, I really believe it’s the most sustainable and effective way to run an organization in the long-term.
BB: How was the first customer acquired? Can you tell who it was / what the project was?
PJ: That’s an interesting question and made me think for a bit. There were many customers who I consider “milestones”. We operated under various business models, and that’s constantly evolving. The first customer who signed up for our Sylius Plus edition was a small B2C merchant from the Netherlands, who has been following Sylius for quite some time. As far as I remember, they googled us. 🙂
BB: How many people work on the development of the Sylius (project)?
PJ: Within Sylius organization, there are currently 17 people who work full-time in different roles. There is also our Business Partner Network with over 40 agencies specialized in Sylius and our amazing community, where the number of contributors to the code should reach 600 people soon.
BB: Where do you get ideas for newer functionalities from?
PJ: If we focus on the functional side, in our product evolution process, we have several sources of new ideas: Product Owner role; GitHub issues; Our circle of “Catalysts” who work with potential and existing customers; Our circle of “Business Partner Network” who provide us with a lot of feedback from agencies working with Sylius; Our circle of “Academy” who provides us with feedback from developer training, etc.
BB: Can you describe for which projects Sylius is intended?
PJ: From our experience so far, Sylius works best for mid-sized B2C merchants and all kinds of Enterprise projects, ranging from large scale B2C to the craziest concepts like B2B2B2C (yes, 3x B) highly customized marketplace platforms.
BB: We appreciate you answering our questions!
If you’d like to know more here’s a list of additional resources about Sylius:
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