Agility DEV Series: Joel Varty ⚡

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Hello, Awesome 👋🏿,

Thanks for taking out time to read this interview. I'm here again and in this interview series, I have top developers at Agility CMS to share their experience with using Agility CMS and their experience with JAMstack tools too.

Today, I'll be having a legend Joel Varty 🎉🎉🎊.

Joel can you tell us a little bit about yourself. How and when did you get yourself into Agility CMS?

Joel: Our CEO, Jon Voigt, and I both worked together at a previous company when we first graduated from the University of Guelph here in Ontario, Canada. Around 2005, we started talking a bit about a platform for making website edits easier. Agility CMS was born as a platform later that year :).

Can you briefly tell us about your job title at Agility CMS?

Joel: I'm currently the President, which means I'm accountable for all of the different pillars of the company, including Growth, Product & Operations, & Corporate Services. I am an engineer at heart, though, so I still dig into some code now and again, mostly on our starter packages, since coding with the JAMstack is so much fun!

What difficulties have you faced on your way using Agility CMS?

Joel: Anytime you're introducing a change, or something different into an ecosystem, the universe pushes back. Agility CMS was a headless, cloud-based CMS before the world knew what those concepts met. It's been nearly a decade of us evangelizing the benefits of those concepts, but it's really paying off. Where before people were sticking to the more traditional ideas of on-premise software, now folks are 100% on board for cloud and headless, API-first solutions.

Now, we see you're working at Agility CMS, how do you feel working with the team and doing things on JAMstack using Agility CMS?

Joel: The team at Agility CMS is top-notch. Across all areas of the company, our team is executing at an incredibly high level. The folks in the Product team are pushing high-quality features to production more quickly than ever before. Our Customer Success team is engaging with more folks, with our NPS scores getting higher every month. And on the growth side, our Sales and Marketing teams are bringing numbers that used to seem impossible. I feel lucky to have such amazing folks to work with.

What do you think needs to be done while or before learning how to use Agility CMS?

Joel: Agility CMS is targeted at 2 very distinct audiences: Developers and Content Editors.

As a Developer, I would highly recommend learning Javascript, and becoming familiar with a front-end framework such as React or Vue, and also looking at static site generation tools such as Next.js, Gatsby, or 11ty. On the hosting side, it's also important to learn about tools like Vercel and Netlify, not to mention using Github for source control.

For Content Editors, certainly do some research about headless vs traditional CMS. Agility's Content-First methodology takes a little time to learn, but it means you can build a Content Architecture that will provide increasing ROI for years to come.

What is your favorite starter in Agility and why is it your favorite starter blog?

Joel: My favorite starter is the newest Next.js starter package. I love that it uses Tailwind CSS and styled-components, which makes it dead simple to create really beautiful components. Also, it's based on the React component library itself, so there are over 50 examples of really incredible components that you can use.

Apart from managing your content, what do you think Agility can be used for?

Joel: Agility CMS is the hub for all of the content that's important to you. Whether it's content on your website, your mobile, or on smart tv, Agility CMS can power it. It's also amazing for building e-commerce websites and apps with platforms like Shopify. Headless e-commerce is taking off, and Agility CMS is a great tool to use with that.

What does your development environment look like? Could you please share a photo of you working with Agility CMS in your development environment? :)


Finally, what would be your message to people trying to get into Agility CMS?

Joel: If you're a developer building a website, or learning Jamstack, take the time to learn about Headless CMS, too. It will be a huge boost to your career, and Agility CMS is a great place to get started on your JAMstack journey.

If you're a marketer or a digital leader, take a look at the trends with Headless CMS, start thinking about what content is important to you and your organization, and how you might structure it in a way that can be used across multiple channels.

Then, check out the amazing Agility CMS community on Twitter or Slack and talk to us. We're nice people with great technology!

Did you find Joel's story useful and inspiring? Write down your thoughts in the comments section below and don't forget to share. You can follow Joel on Twitter.

Thanks for reading, see you next time 👋🏿.

Comments (2)

James Vidler's photo

Joel Vary ❤

Taught me most of what I know, great mentor, friend, and colleague!