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Mr. Nicolas Lecocq is an established WordPress developer who founded OceanWP in 2016 and ran it for many years until he parted ways with its current team and found two new very exciting projects for WordPress users. In this interview, we will talk and learn about Nicolas's experiences and his new ventures.
1. Welcome, Nicolas, and thank you for taking the time out for this interview. I would like to start with the most popular question and that is to tell us briefly about yourself? When did you step into the WordPress realm and what was your initial experience like?
Thanks for the interview! I’ve been working with WordPress for so many years that I don’t remember exactly the first time I tried WP, but I remember that I wanted to create a blog around 2010, and I have liked WP since then.
2. It is evident that you have been involved with WordPress for many years. At what time did you consider adopting WordPress as your primary focus or picking it as a profession? What were the key triggers behind your decision?
When I started development, it was for personal websites. Back then, responsiveness wasn’t mandatory like today, and many sites weren’t responsive, so I made them fully compatible with most devices. As I liked doing it, I wanted to improve my skills, so I learned a lot and finally decided that it was what I wanted to do for a living.
3. Let’s talk about OceanWP — the name is hard to ignore while talking about you. But before we talk about your recent relationship with OceanWP, I would love to ask you about its early days. This is the theme I personally used probably hundreds of times and I am sure it is an inspiration behind various successful WordPress themes today.
My goal was to make a theme customizable for most users, OWP was released in 2016 and became immensely popular quickly, so I will always be proud of that.
4. You should be! I read your story about what happened between you and OceanWP’s existing team. As a WordPress user and OceanWP fan, it was hard for me to see the project in this unfortunate state. You explained the whole situation quite nicely in your story. However, I would like to ask what suggestions do you have for existing OceanWP users? In the future, what kind of changes they should expect in terms of features, pricing, and support?
Regarding features and anything related to OWP, I can’t answer you as I don’t know what their plan is, and I don't want to assume anything. Regarding my suggestion, users who love my work can try my new theme Olympus and make the switch to keep having an updated and clean theme or to stay with OWP.
5. Inside the same story you introduced us to OlympusWP, a brand new WordPress theme that you have developed. Please tell our readers about this project and how do you compare it with OceanWP?
Olympus is a swift theme, and no code is used unnecessarily, no jQuery, the customizer is created with React and loads in less than 2 seconds, and the theme itself in less than a second.
We are currently working on the theme's pro version to incorporate so much functionality that Olympus will be one of the fastest and most featured themes out there. We also just released our Public Roadmap to our community to check.
Compared to OWP, when the pro version comes out, it will be better on every point.
I made many mistakes with OWP. For example, I ignored the tables added to the database, I did not know Vanilla JS as well as now, for the customizer, there were many loading problems, it often crashed users sites, I believe this problem has since been resolved, but it still takes a very long time to load.
I am often asked the question about OWP, I also think that I would write an Olympus vs OceanWP article to compare all the features of the two themes, but to be clear, I created OWP in 2016 with the knowledge I had at the time, and I created Olympus at the end of 2021 with all the new knowledge of languages today.
6. I will be looking forward to reading that comparison. The other project you mentioned was Zeus Elementor. I had the opportunity to look at its website and it all looked very impressive. Please also share some insights on this project and how is it different from other popular Elementor add-ons out there?
Zeus for Elementor was a way to apologize to all OWP users for my mess. That's why it is entirely free. The difference between Zeus for Elementor and other addons is that Zeus is very simple to use and 100% free 😄
7. That’s good news. I recently reviewed WordPress 5.9 on our blog which ships with many new features like Full Site Editing, a new block theme, and Template blocks. How did you find these new features and what is your take on the removal of WordPress Customizer? How do you see this changing the current ecosystem of WordPress themes and page builders?
I’m very excited about Full Site Editing. I know that many WP users hate Gutenberg. I didn’t like it at first, but after a bit of a learning curve, I realized it wasn’t so hard to use, and compared to page builders, your website is so fast when you create it with Gutenberg that most users will adopt it at some point.
I don’t think Full Site Editing is fully ready now, but soon it will become very simple to customize every part of a website. It opens many possibilities and no need for any page builders, no more, so fewer plugins to install.
8. Do you believe that block themes are the future? What major improvements do you see inside the initial version of the Full Site Editing feature?
Yes, block themes are the future for sure. Users will be able to customize very easily each page, archive, checkout, every part of a website without the need to install any external plugins.
9. You certainly have huge experience with various WordPress hosting providers. In the context of managed WordPress hosting, what challenges do you see when it comes to scalability and performance? Especially with large and complex WooCommerce setups. What attributes do you think are must-haves for a hosting solution to solve these challenges?
Yes, I’ve tried a loooot of hosting. What I’m looking for is security, automatics backups (it is a must-have), speed, prices, of course well optimized for WP. I really don’t recommend being on a hosting company for general sites, and to have PHP 8, I don’t understand hosts who don’t allow it. Websites are much faster than with PHP 7.4, but there are still hosting companies that don’t want to propose it to their users.
10. What are your plans for OlumpusWP and Zeus Elementor? and is there any other new venture you are working on?
Well, for Zeus for Elementor, I will maintain it and add new widgets. For Olympus, soon, a pro plugin to extend its features will come out, which will bring the theme to another level, and I’ve planned to work on a Gutenberg addon after that, so many things to do 😅
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11. Enough chat about work 🙂 Let’s talk about your interests and hobbies. Anything specific you would like to share with our readers? How do you unwind?
About my hobbies, I love to go out with my wife, my family, and very soon I know that my hobby will be my son who will be born in about a month, so I’m very proud and scared at the same time 😂
12. Congratulations! Please share your favorite podcast, books, or YouTube channel.
I mostly watch YouTube channels in french like Alexis FH, WP Origami, or WPMarmite.
13. Finally, who would you like us to interview next?
I would love to see an interview of Alex de Borba, who is my partner on Uranus (the company behind Olympus, Zeus for Elementor, and Zeus Templates), I’m pretty sure we all have many things to learn from him.
Thank you for the suggestion and for sharing your plans with your new projects. I look forward to using your other great products.