Joost de Valk founded Yoast. For a long time, Joost was the only developer working on Yoast SEO. He came up with all the features and implemented all the code; he did everything. As the company grew, we created a large development team. Joost always remained part of the development team and came up with most of the new features, but he did not write much code himself anymore. Until this release. Joost de Valk wrote most of the code of the Yoast SEO 7.0 release himself. So why is that? And what makes this release so very special? Time to ask Joost de Valk some questions about Yoast SEO 7.0.
Why did you do the coding for this release yourself?
“I had promised myself to get more involved with the product again. The growth of the company had me preoccupied with other things, and I wanted to get back to the core business of Yoast SEO again. I enjoy writing code. It makes me happy.”
And, as you started out, you just decided to make it the biggest release in years?
“Well, as I was diving into the code we were also updating our online course on the plugin. So I was making all kinds of videos and screencasts explaining the plugin. I noticed so many things that were outdated or just not user-friendly. So many things were tough to explain. That process of making our online course gave me many ideas for improvements. And once I started improving, I came up with even more ideas. One thing led to the next… and the next…”
What did you like best about your coding adventure?
“I was in awe of the progress our development team has made. Working with them was great fun. Back in the days, it was just me and my computer. Now, somebody gets to review my code, and someone else does the acceptance test. That’s a great system. That process has made me a better developer. I learned so much in just these last few weeks. The team has become so much better.”
What thing in this release are you most proud of?
“We made solid progress in UX here. We had so many options and toggles in Yoast SEO. Most of the questions were asked in such a difficult way. They were so very technical, aimed at SEOs like I was myself when I first built the plugin. I think this release takes us a step closer to our mission: SEO for everyone. Our plugin isn’t just for SEOs and developers. Everyone should be able to use it. I feel we made it a lot more user-friendly with the new changes. That’s what I’m most proud of.”
What will the reactions of our users be? Were you nervous?
“No, I wasn’t nervous at all. We tested with users and the first responses were really positive. Everybody is enthusiastic. I do understand that some people will miss some old features and toggles. Some people might need to re-do some screenshots, I know we certainly have to. But overall, I don’t expect people to be upset by this release. It’ll make Yoast SEO so much easier to set up.”