Turkish WordPress theme developer Ant Eksiler

Pupa - Responsive Retina WordPress Theme

1) If you don’t mind sharing, what is your real name, and where do you live?

My name is Ant Ekşiler, I am 28 years old and I currently live in Istanbul, Turkey.

2) How did you get started in developing themes?

I was always interested in making websites and when I was around 17, I started looking for a reliable CMS system. That’s when I first met WordPress. It had an another name back then.

3) Do you have any artistic training? (yes, crayons count)

My grandfather was a oil paint artist, so I guess thats where I get my design intuition. But as far as proper design training, I am self taught.

4) How did you get starting with programming in general?

I attended Pennsylvania State University Computer Science undergraduate programme. That’s how I started coding and learned my first language, Java.

5) What was your first theme and when did you develop it?

I am not quite sure, but it has to be around 2005. I made an automobile owners club website with WordPress and I still own it.

6) What is the favorite theme you have developed and why?

I guess this has to be my latest theme, PUPA, because the coding is top-notch. It has a brilliant backend that makes it easy for buyers to customize the theme. Also, its very modular, if I want to remove a feature, I’ll just remove a line, and theme won’t even break.

On the other hand, this is my first retina-ready theme developer on a brand-new Retina MacBook Pro.

7) Do you focus mostly on theme sales or do you have other business interests you would like to mention?

Currently, I work as a Senior Web Interface developer for one of the largest web agency in Turkey. I am also an avid entrepreneur. One of my websites, an event planning website, got funded by Startup Labs.

8) Wow, sounds like you have lots happening – would you like to provide more details and a link to some of your other ventures? Perhaps talk in more detail about your experience with StartupLabs?

Wedding is pretty hard for both the bride and the groom. Before I got married, me and my wife had to run around searching and making deals for vendors and event places. It was quite tiring. Then I realized that there is no specific website to fill the nice in Turkish internet market. That’s why we opened Aktivito event planning. You can list your upcoming events, and we will bring you the best offers. Its not an automated process, and we work really hard to make our customers happy. We try to focus on corporate events on winter and weddings during summer.

9) What sort of challenges have you faced when designing themes “for anyone” versus a specific client?

What I see is, you need to add a lot of options to make the theme flexible for any type of layout & look. However you should never compromise code quality while doing so.

10) In your opinion what is the difference between a premium/paid theme and a “free theme”?

It has to be flexible and easy to use, but nowadays even the free theme offer lots of options. In my opinion, the difference comes from code quality and design. Most authors choose to write custom functions to replace built-in WordPress functionalities. What good is WordPress if you open index.php and all you see is custom functions, classes or includes? I pay utmost attention so that even a WordPress starter can understand what the theme is doing.

11) What have been the biggest surprises to you developing themes? Or what have you enjoyed the most about designing great themes?

It still amazes me how far have premium theme market has come. The quality has increased so much, that it makes you question, in the future will you ever need to contact an agency for custom work.

12) When creating a new theme what are your priorities, or do those come after “creating something cool and new”?
I try to use the latest technologies. Front-end development is progressing very fast and you need to stay up-to-date. Design-wise, it has to be fresh, and it should not scare away the buyer by being “too complex”.

13) What is your normal process for creating a theme? Do you start with a pencil, PhotoShop, or dive right into coding?

After creating a very basic mockup in Photoshop, I add colors and additional elements in the HTML. With the help of CSS3, you rarely need Photoshop. That’s why I end up designing the theme in Photoshop after all the coding is done. After creating a couple of HTML pages, I dive straight into WordPress coding. Once I get simple page views, I continue adding functionalities one by one.

14) What are some of your favorite new technologies that you use or are experimenting?

Lately, I have incorporated the use of SASS and Compass for CSS. It has cut hours on my development time.

15) Where do you seek inspiration for your work? Any particular designers, artists, or sites that you use?

Dribbble.com and Behance.com is mainly my source for inspiration.

16) If you have any superhero power what would it be and why?

Time travel. That way I can go back time and submit U-design to Themeforest before internq7 !

Time Travel