This Developer Spotlight features an interview with recommended third-party developer Vincent Van, founder and President of Radcodes LLC (www.radcodes.com), with a special offer at the end for Radcodes fans!
SocialEngine: So tell us a bit about Radcodes. You’ve been developing for the SocialEngine community for a long time now. As a fellow Angeleno, you’re our neighbor. How did you get started?
Vincent Van: At the end of 2007, one of my clients contacted me with a custom project for his website which was running SocialEngine version 2. At that time, there weren’t any 3rd party plugins available for SocialEngine customers; Radcodes was one of the very first developers to get listed on SocialEngine Customization / Integrator section. Since then, I got plenty of contacts asking me to develop custom plugins for SocialEngine. As you may already know, a custom plugin can very costly to develop. Hence I thought about developing plugins that people might need or request the most, and release them to public so that everyone in the community can get the benefits
SE: You offer both customization and plugin development. What takes the most time and how do you manage this?
Vincent: Besides handling anything related to Radcodes—from coding, testing, to customer and tech support—I am also a full-time Tech Director for a marketing agency. Having two jobs at the same time and working almost 80 hours per week, I have to balance things up, priority tasks. To me, the most important thing is customer service. Hence I always try to check my email at least 6 times a day to respond to customers’ inquires promptly and fast, and to keep turnaround time short. Customers are the key to Radcodes’s success, so keeping customers happy by helping them out whenever they need it is my top priority. As a result, Radcodes has built up a massive customer-base of more than three thousand clients. Most of them purchase Radcodes’ plugins without even reading product descriptions, because they trust Radcodes’ plugin high quality code-base, features, and their usability.
SE: How do you approach plugin development?
Vincent: It’s pretty simple: Develop new plugin, while upgrading existing plugins with new features that customers requested. Fixing reported bugs, which actually rarely happens because I always spend a lot of time testing it prior to release any new plugin. This way, plugins are usually up-to-date, cutting-edge, and as bug-free as possible.
SE: What are your most popular plugins?
Vincent: It’s the Article plugin, which happens to be my first plugin that I sold. I’m constantly adding new features to it to make it the most useful plugin for SocialEngine websites. Business Directory is also my top-seller, but unfortunately, it only supports SE v3 at this time. Google Map plugin is very well-known too, due to its integration with mapping service and ability to map member locations. Besides that, SEO Sitemap and RSS Feed plugins are extremely popular for advanced site owners, webmasters, and people who have a bit of know-how skills. These two plugins can help site owners get organic traffic from search engines, as well as attract new members from other sites which list or use content feeds generated by RSS Feed plugin.
SE: How often are you contacted for custom development?
Vincent: I have many requests for custom development almost every day. Unfortunately, due to my limited time, I could not take most of them. Hence, most of the time I would refer them to other developers who may fit best for the job. Also, I want to mention this to all SE customers who are looking to do custom development that it is very important to do a thorough review of developers, such as checking out their work history, testing their responsiveness / communication, as well as asking for references etc., prior to hiring them.
SE: Clients give you positive reviews for the quality of your plugins and support service. Any tips on providing both quality development and service?
Vincent: Work very hard every day, and treat everyone like you want to be treated!
SE: Where do you see the site in three years’ time?
Vincent: Laying down at the beach with my just-married wife enjoying the sun and sand Just kidding!! Actually, I just hope I would be able to continue what I am doing today, growing alongside with SocialEngine, but having more free time for my family and friends.
SE: Why did you decide to do web development for the SocialEngine community?
Vincent: The main reasons are SocialEngine’s code quality and its extensibility. I have read and evaluated a lot of different frameworks, social networking scripts out there, and none could beat SocialEngine. That fact remains the same till today. I know Alex, SocialEngine’s owner, who is a very bright and talented guy, for sure he will keep SocialEngine growing and expanding in near future and many years to come. As a 3rd party developer, the main product (SocialEngine) survival is also my survival, hence it’s crucial to me to pick a winning product which also share my long-term outlook and vision. I believe this also applies to people who would like to start up their social networking website as well.
SE: Any newsworthy updates for your fans?
Vincent: I love surprising people with happy news, so it’s best to keep my lip tight Just a quick note to all my customers: I love you all!! I really appreciate your support and trust. Without you, there would be no Radcodes today! Nothing better than showing my appreciation by giving out a discount,so I want to take this opportunity to offer you special $10 off coupon for ANY plugin purchase (code = FANS10). Special thanks to Matt for the interview and for giving me a chance to reach out to everyone!