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Virtual Interview: Mitchell Harper

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.

Author Info:
By: Tim Pabst
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 6
February 18, 2002
  1. · Virtual Interview: Mitchell Harper
  2. · The Interview
  3. · The Interview (contd.)
  4. · Conclusion

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Virtual Interview: Mitchell Harper - The Interview (contd.)
(Page 3 of 4 )

6. Who's in charge of updating the daily news for devArticles?

That would be both Ben Rowe and Stephen Weatherall. They do a great job at finding the latest news from all around the web, and I often find myself visiting the news page just to see what's happening in the world of I.T.

Typically 3-5 new posts are added per day, depending on the quality of the news for that day. On a good day, you can expect to see 10-15 posts added to our news page. The news is added in much the same way as an article, simply by using a new submission form that spits the news into our database:

Our news submission form

7. DevArticles currently has 22 authors. Is having so many authors a positive or a negative, and why?

It's a definite positive! I've taken the time to get to know each of our authors personally, and I feel that we're all on a level where we can just sit back, relax, and talk to each other informally.

I'm working on scheduling weekly meetings where all of our authors can come and talk to each other. Because we've got authors in Australia, USA, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Canada and several other countries, a program such as ICQ or mIRC is really the only way to get everyone together at the same time.

Many of our authors run web based businesses or companies themselves, so the content they provide to the site is invaluable: it's coming directly from their personal experiences as developers. I think that too many sites don't put enough personality into their content, and I feel that's where devArticles is excelling at the moment.

8. What were you doing before you started devArticles.com?

I was (and still am) a senior developer for a small web design company based in Sydney, Australia; it's called MCM Communications. I have also developed several sites including TechBuy, TweakTown, and another site that both myself and some of the other devArticles authors are currently working on.

I have also spent the last four years immersed in dozens of Wrox Programmer-2-Programmer titles including Beginning ASP 3.0, Beginning Visual C++ 6, Professional SQL Server 2000 XML, Professional ASP XML, Professional PHP4 Programming, and Professional Linux Programming. I'm currently up to page 421 of Professional C#. I used what I've learnt from these books to create better web sites for my clients. This directly results in me being able to write better articles for devArticles, because I can draw on practical experiences and tried/tested methods of implementation.

9. What's in a typical day for you? Do you work 9-5?

Well, yes and no. On most weekdays I work from 9 'til 5 for MCM Communications. On Saturday and Sunday I manage the public relations, marketing and advertising commitments for devArticles. Any other hours that I have free (which is from about 7pm-3am every night) I usually spend writing articles, talking with our authors, and making sure that our editors are posting quality content for our visitors. I have an extremely busy schedule, but at the same time it's fulfilling and fun to know that devArticles is shaping up so well.

10. Last but not least, is there any groundbreaking news that you can tell us about the future of devArticles.com?

I don't know about ground-breaking, but we're currently looking into partnering with another site in terms of content. This site receives around 1,000,000 visits a month, and it will be a win-win situation for both sites: We will be providing them with our articles, and they will be providing us with code snippets, complete programs, and user-submitted articles. You can expect the amount of content on devArticles to expand dramatically some time during the next couple of months. Keep an eye out for changes to the site.
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