Today I thought I would take a different approach to my typical virtual interview methods and interview the founder of (this site) devArticles.com... Mitchell Harper. In this interview, Mitchell talks about devArticles, his role as its manager, the admin app used to power the whole site, as well as his favorite books and perks of running this site.
As I was sitting by my computer on Friday night, I thought of an interesting idea: instead of conducting a "typical" virtual interview (where I email the manager/a developer from a company), I would interview the founder of <shameless plug> this wonderful site </shameless plug>, Mitchell Harper.
I first came into contact with Mitchell about six months ago through a forum post relating to an ASP problem that someone was having. Both Mitchell and myself had conflicting answers for the same question, and it was through this question that I grabbed his email address and started to email him. At first the emails were just about ASP, IIS, Windows 2000 server, etc, until one day Mitchell told me that he was thinking of developing a site that would post content relating to development and programming issues, just like we had been discussing.
I didn't hear back from him for another 3 months, but when I did, this was the email that he sent me:
This is Mitchell Harper, sorry if I haven't contacted you for a while, I have been busy designing and implementing a site like the one we discussed a while back. At the moment the site's being tested on a basic 5-PC network running Mandrake and Apache, but if you've got the time, let me know and I'll give you the public IP so that you can let me know what you think of it.
I haven't got a name yet, but I'll be registering a domain soon. Any ideas for a name?
Looking forward to your reply,
Well, I replied and he sent me the IP to view the beta version of the site… I was impressed! After spending another 2 weeks fixing up little glitches and spelling mistakes etc, Mitchell told me that he used NameBoy to come up with "devarticles.com". I thought that was a great name, and he told me that it's short for developer articles (obviously). Well, within another two weeks he had a multi-tiered backend admin system running and the site was ready to roll.
The site was released to the public in November of 2001, and yes, that makes it just four months old. In this article I'm going to interview Mitchell about the development of devArticles, as well as the backend admin suite that he wrote to run the whole site.