1) If you don’t mind sharing, what is your real name and where do you live?
My name is Bui Huy Thang and I live in very crowded, yet romantic city Hanoi in Vietnam.
2) How did you get started in developing themes?
I built a template for my own site and later released it for free. I found the process enjoyable and could be real business. So I quit my full-time job to start Joomlashine.com
3) Do you have any artistic training?
Nope, just trying to create things that don’t hurt my own eyes.
4) How did you get starting with programming in general?
At the university. I’m a graduate from Technical University named after Bauman in Moscow, Russia.
5) What was your first theme and when did you develop it?
JSN Epic is the first template and it was built nearly 5 years ago. It’s still one of the best seller at the moment.
6) What is the favorite theme you have developed and why?
JSN Epic is my favorite, because it’s the start of all this.
7) Do you focus mostly on theme sales or do you have other business interests you would like to mention?
Besides templates, we also build extension for Joomla being distributed at Joomlashine as well.
8) What sort of challenges have you faced when designing themes “for anyone” versus a specific client?
Joomla templates are basically a container for Joomla content and other extensions output. So it’s kind of hard to keep template’s code compatible with all sort of extensions being used by customer on the website. Moreover, when customer sees weird things on his website, he go and blame template provider first, while the root cause could be some extension installed.
9) In your opinion what is the difference between a premium/paid theme and a “free theme”?
Premium templates are backed by a better support and more frequent update. With a full stomach developers perform better and you get the better value.
10) What have been the biggest surprises to you developing themes? Or what have you enjoyed the most about designing great themes?
To my surprise, the simpler template, the better it sells. Heavy graphic templates may catch eyes, but in long run, they lose simple templates in term of sales.
11) When creating a new theme what are your priorities, or do those come after “creating something cool and new”?
No, my priority is to make robust template that runs well with as much extensions as possible. I prefer trusted technologies rather than uncertain modern ones. We do use some cool CSS3 stuff for eye-candy effects, but they are usually built on top of the robust foundation.
12) What is your normal process for creating a theme? Do you start with a pencil, PhotoShop, or dive right into coding?
Photoshop first, then coding.
13) What are some of your favorite new technologies that you use or are experimenting?
Well, obviously HTML5 and CSS3.
14) Any side projects you would like to discuss?
15) Where do you seek inspiration for your work? Any particular designers, artists, or sites that you use?
I think the sources I use are very well known, so there is nothing special here.
16) If you have any superhero power what would it be and why?
To make people understand what I mean without spending much time on explaining.