In this episode, I spoke with Zieyaad, Yeu-Kang, and Marko, our software development team at Zooma, about HubSpot. Enjoy listening.
In our conversation, we talked about the following:
You can listen to this week's episode in the usual places - below, you'll find some links to The Onlinification Pod on leading podcast platforms.
AE: [00:00:00] Hi and welcome to the Onlinification Pod, a podcast produced by Zooma. I'm Alex, your host and this is a very special episode because it's the first time where we have had three guests at the same time. Today, you're going to hear from Zieyaad, Kang and Marko, Zooma's HubSpot developer team, and we're going to talk about HubSpot from a developer's perspective. I really hope you enjoy this episode. So now it's time to roll the jingle.
AE: [00:00:40] This is Zieyaad's second episode this week.
YKH: [00:00:44] Oh, it's a veteran.
ZM: [00:00:46] It's the Kang Bag.
AE: [00:00:48] And in that episode, he called his sack behind him after you Kang.
YKH: [00:00:56] Okay. Hmm.
YKH: [00:01:00] I'm always with you.
AE: [00:01:02] Are you?
YKH: [00:01:04] Or after our calls, you went on the bag.
AE: [00:01:13] So nice to have you all three on-air for one episode. And so let's start with would you Kang could you explain who you are and what's your role at Zooma.
YKH: [00:01:28] Just explain to you that I don't really like presenting myself. I think in every client meeting I would say something different or I say the same as the person before me. I do it like Stellan, but with code. But I think my new role on zooma.agency is HubSpot experience architect. I don't know if people get any.. Understand my role better, but I would summarise that I solve problems and architect user experiences in HubSpot and that involves code design and configuring stuff.
AE: [00:02:15] Yeah.
YKH: [00:02:16] Yeah.
AE: [00:02:17] And Marko. Yeah, I agree with Kang's title. I think it describes his role good. For me, I don't know I like the Full Stack, HubSpot developer. So yeah, I would say like that. So that basically means I do everything regarding the coding and especially HubSpot nowadays.
AE: [00:02:54] Nice, and Zieyaad?
ZM: [00:02:58] Nowadays I go by HubSpot developer, but Kang offered to me as chief technology architect of HubSpot.
AE: [00:03:11] Yeah.
MK: [00:03:11] CTA
YKH: [00:03:15] Yeah, yeah.
AE: [00:03:21] So. Yeah. So you're like the HubSpot developer team at Zooma.
YKH: [00:03:27] Yeah. So from now on, the first person to answer is Zieyaad because his answer has the highest rank.
ZM: [00:03:36] Leader answer last.
YKH: [00:03:41] Let the chief answer now first.
AE: [00:03:45] So Zieyaad, like how is it to develop in HubSpot compared to other platforms?
ZM: [00:03:54] So while my other experiences are working with WordPress, and Drupal, ... So judging from those. First Hubspot has a much easier learning curve. Yes, there are some ups and downs all teams have. But overall, HubSpot is a good CMS. And one thing good about them is that you don't need to have third-party tools for a form third-party tools for SEO. Everything's built-in. But with that said, HubSpot isn't your cheapest option for CMS. So if you just look at the pros and cons, it's more expensive. But at the end of the day, it has everything for you. Emails, SEO, analytics, as well as an easy-to-use CMS.
YKH: [00:04:50] And I agree with that. It has a lower learning curve and it has to do something with the graphical user interface. You can configure things that you would normally do in code. And I think that is very different. Like it used to be even more different. Like when I began with HubSpot, I would say that it was totally different from traditional CMSs. It looked like WordPress, but the way you coded it or developed it was totally different because you spend so much more time on graphical user interfaces. And I have a funny anecdote that there was a developer who complained about how many buttons they were to click on to get things working right, which tells you a little bit about a normal developer's preferences, and they'd rather be typing the settings in code than to click on stuff. So, that was a big contrast to how other systems work. But nowadays I think that it's more in line with standard themes, with code templates. And there are the options for versioning like the things that we developers are used to. So yeah, there's a lower learning curve, but also means that it is a bit different. It's not as hardcore as other CMSs might be.
AE: [00:06:19] Do you agree, Marco?
MK: [00:06:21] Yeah, I absolutely agree. And especially now today. But if you would ask me how it was to develop in HubSpot, I think two and a half years ago or three, I would say it was horrible. Let's just say it was really hard to sync your code with the portal and that made a lot of problems and you had to have like a specific way of working with a lot of copying and pasting and FTP access, etc. But then they've recalled the entire core how the website works and they introduced teams and now it looks really like a modern CMS really, really similar to WordPress. So I would say now it's the learning curve is not that big and especially for someone who comes from a WordPress background and I would say that they are constantly improving the code base and everything and I would say that I enjoyed working with HubSpot nowadays.
YKH: [00:07:38] Like worth mentioning though is that there were a lot of cons like cons, but there's a reason why we still went with HubSpot and that is what Zieyaad talked about like the tight integration, the built-in tools. I think it was, oh, maybe ten years ago or something, I've forgot, 2008 or 2009 I was building communities before Facebook was invented and my boss wanted me to send an email to all people living in a certain country or something or and who had done interacted something. I forgot what exactly but basically targeting or targeting a specific audience and send an email to them. And I had to extract the contacts from a database and then create an email script that was looping through and handling all this. In HubSpot, you can just create a list with conditions and then you send an email. You can create the template for email very easily, and you can also do personalisation very easily without having to integrate other tools. So those were the like the pros that we that made us endure those years of like a slightly bad developer experience, I would say.
AE: [00:09:09] What platform did you work? Did you work in HubSpot then Kang, or?
YKH: [00:09:17] Yeah. Yeah. I've been working at HubSpot from day one. Yeah. From my day one.
AE: [00:09:22] But so you've really seen it evolve.
YKH: [00:09:27] Yeah. And good and bad. It was much easier. The user experience was much easier in the beginning. It became more complicated but more flexible. So yeah, but now it's getting smarter said closer to like in normal CMS.
MK: [00:09:46] Yeah. When you say flexible you need to follow up with complicated.
MK: [00:09:52] In everything in programming.
AE: [00:09:58] So Zieyaad, when a company who are considering what platform to go with for their take. When would you recommend HubSpot and for what type of companies would you not recommend HubSpot?
ZM: [00:10:18] That's a good question.
YKH: [00:10:20] Keep in mind, now that you are, what are you Chief something? Chief technique?
ZM: [00:10:27] That's a good question. I think. I think you can use HubSpot for most things when it comes to, I think an online shop that you that maybe you would need to go with something more like Shopify. But in the most general term, HubSpot is a good platform to use. If you have specific integrations or something very specific, then maybe look at what you need to do and see which schemas can assist you with that.
AE: [00:11:04] Yeah. Do you have anything to add there, Marko? Like what type of companies Hubspot suits better for or.
MK: [00:11:17] Yeah. I think they're doing a lot of improvements to say that it's suitable for most of the companies, I would say, especially now when they have HubSpot themes and HubSpot themes marketplace so companies and the coding studios, etc. can create their own type of themes. So and those could be like business related. So actually I think now you can download a theme for an educational website or you can download the theme for a financial website, etc. And by building those kind of niche themes, they add a lot of functionalities to the website itself that those niches specifically need. So I would say that they are moving forwards to be suitable for every company. But again, HubSpot is not cheap, so that should be considered as well. When you talk about which companies. So yeah, I think most of the companies can use it, but there is always a question of the monthly cost.
AE: [00:12:42] Yeah.
YKH: [00:12:43] Yeah. And also another aspect is also the price makes it so that the smallest company probably can only use a basic version. I don't get the personalization and yeah, just some of the advantages. But there are also like this bigger companies, enterprises and there will be challenges when you have like large enterprise website in many languages and products and integrations with the payment, that is more challenging definitely. We have solutions for localization and also integrated with product information management systems as well. And we don't basically we haven't like run into like a hard limit of what we can do, but it's thanks to our creativity. It's not because the HubSpot like the platform is perfectly suited for companies, but our approach has always been to look at what they really need. Do they really need all these extra features? Could we put those specific very custom features that they need - or think they need - on a separate platform. Often when the companies choose to do HubSpot instead, it's because it's faster to update, faster to move their marketing material there, as supposed to if they have a large or an old outdated Episerver site, they might always need help from a developer to update it, for example. And then there's no point. We need to update the site and it needs to go much faster. So that's could be one of the reasons why they choose HubSpot, so they can iterate faster. But then they also need this specific customer portal. Yeah, but then we keep that on a separate instance somewhere. So yeah, enterprise websites are a bit more challenging, but usually, there is a way, like you, often companies will think that all their stuff is equally important, but usually it isn't. So we will try to find good approaches to it like. Yeah. To, to, to solve all of the things inside the HubSpot portal and integrate it with other services.
AE: [00:15:33] Yeah. Marko, what core HubSpot skills do you think HubSpot developers need? What are the most important skills.
ZM: [00:16:57] Seattle Yeah, fully. If you're doing just the basic HubSpot work, then just see CSS and and equity is probably good enough for you. But the moment you go into local development, that's where you can really outperform the normal user or developer.
YKH: [00:17:23] I think those skills that you mentioned are good for all kinds of web development. Like if you're first time developer for HubSpot, I think those are great, great skills. But if you're coming from another side, you're coming. You have another background, maybe you're a WordPress developer or Drupal developer Episerver developer, then it's going to be more challenging to change how you use do as we talked about earlier. I think you need to be quite curious person like to like learning things oh this is a new way. Okay, I get this for free. You know, that kind of mindset, holistic thinker. So you can see that this what I do here effects like you see a bigger picture of things and how things are integrated with each other and more focus on the user because we are like we are targeting personas and then we want our the websites we do you shall have a purpose not just to look fancy. So yeah. Also be open. Right? This is a marketing CMS, the same as with a very marketing focus. And I have a what do yu call a, I don't remember,I can't come up with the word, but I imagine that many developers hate marketing. Everything has to do with marketing. It's a Stereotype. Maybe not.
MK: [00:19:03] I silently agree.
AE: [00:19:06] Zieyaad as well?
ZM: [00:19:09] I don't know.
YKH: [00:19:14] It's quite hard to find the combo of a developer that also marketed like in polar opposites.
AE: [00:19:22] Yeah. Interesting. Anything you want to add about HubSpot development? Any tips for other developers or.
YKH: [00:19:40] One tip is to that, I think you can register a free account to try it out yourself. Okay. Actually, HubSpot has a lot of resources there. Documentation might not be perfect, but it's there. And I have like for years Google the same things to find documentation. I don't go via HubSpot.com, I go Google so everything is there. If you want to know how it is like and. There is also API, but if you want to know what it is to develop in HubSpot, you probably shouldn't check the HubSpot API or the first thing you do, but actually register your account. Go to design tools, look at how the templates are built and maybe get something up and running. And there's still the actual documentation is built in. And something we forgot to mention is that the preferred way I think is to work or the standard way is to work on the code inside the HubSpot platform. There is a built in editor, so like a normal developer would have their preferred editor of Choice, the editor, and where they type all their code. But in HubSpot, you can just log in and go to design tools and create files or modules and then just type away so you don't even have to. Yeah. You can do everything in your own, in your browser. That is a pro from like an amateur web design perspective. But I think it's quite cool that you can just log in and code start coding. You don't have to do what we do. We sync our code to a local repository, we, we keep things in sync and like can do versioning so that we don't overwrite each other's code. But you can also just log in and try it out yourself directly in the browser.
AE: [00:21:42] And that's a great tip.
MK: [00:21:46] Yeah, I have two tips. First is the one thing that's really annoying for me is the HubSpot support. When it comes to developer problems and technical issues. So my tip is to when you need HubSpot support and you have a technical issue or something with your code schedule, screen sharing session immediately because you lose a lot of time going back and forth to explain what's going on because the person you talk to is usually not the technically skilled. So it's better to just schedule screen sharing as soon as possible. And the next step is to try to evolve as HubSpot evolves, because there is a lot of interesting and exciting stuff that's coming in future and it could be annoying that they don't exist now. But I see that they are doing a lot of work and putting an effort and I think HubSpot is going to be great in the next couple of years. So just to be patient.
ZM: [00:23:06] I stand by that.
AE: [00:23:10] Have any additional tips yet?
ZM: [00:23:14] Just be patient.
AE: [00:23:16] Yeah.
ZM: [00:23:17] And learn as you go.
AE: [00:23:21] Okay. Thank you.
YKH: [00:23:24] Thank you.
MK: [00:23:25] Thank you, Alex. It was nice talking with you. Yeah.
YKH: [00:23:32] It was nice.