How did you get into module development for MIVA Merchant?
Bill: I worked for a University in 1995 and was introduced to HTMLScript there. From that grew scripting in general, and from that the use of KoolCat, which grew into MIVA Merchant.
As a MIVA Merchant developer, I tend to get clients that have specialized needs. Out of these needs have grown the modules. I have a number I sell at MIVA Central, and more that simply remain a part of my personal arsenal so to speak. My first module was called AutoCheck, and it enabled KoolCat users to accept on-line checks as a form of payment. From that the rest came as needed.
What is your favorite module you've developed for MIVA Merchant?
Bill: From a sales standpoint, PayPal Web Payments Pro for MIVA Merchant 5. It uses XML to communicate behind the scenes with PayPal and that type of functionality enables us to do so much more.
From a non-sales standpoint, I recently wrote two modules for a Government Contractor. These modules get live inventory status, and sales information between MIVA Merchant 5 and Microsoft NaVision systems. Again, using XML. These modules were the coolest. To date, as to my knowledge, nothing exists like this, and I always like doing something that most others have not.
When coming up with a new module concept, where do you draw inspiration? How do you recognize a need?
Bill: My Clients. They show me a need, and I try to fill that gap. If I can't find another module to do it (I hate re-inventing the wheel), then I will create it for them. What's really cool about this is that there is no way I can know what all the different store owners need. I do not understand their market - as I am not in it. However, once they explain what they are wanting, then I can draw from that and do what our tag line says "Our vision is building yours."
Any exciting new projects you're developing? What can we expect to see from Gilligan On-Line in the near future?
Bill: I am actually working on a high level military related project right now. I am not at liberty to disclose any details, but the site is heavily promoted on CNN/FOX and Rush Limbaugh. It's a private site, but deals with our service men and women and directly supporting them. This is exciting for a couple reasons - The clients have specialized needs including some interesting security issues that need to be addressed, and the site is under a very tight schedule (due Memorial Day 2006), and it directly supports our troops. Regardless of my political views, these men and women are putting their lives on the line for us everyday, and I want to do whatever I can to help them and their families get thru this time.
What hobby or activity keeps you from working?
Bill: HA AH - good question....I love to go out to eat.... that and my son's baseball and my daughter's flute stuff keep us going. If I am not working, I am likely at a restaurant or a ball game or a band practice somewhere. Oh - I do enjoy good wine, good beer, and Starbucks to!
As a small business owner, what is the best business tip youíve received?
Bill: That's an easy question to answer - "Try HTMLScript". Back in 1995 when I worked at Oral Roberts University, that single tip opened the door for a gig in Silicon Valley working on FedEx.com, ATARI.com, SUNmicrosystems.com and many more. That in turn led to my stepping out on my own to launch Gilligan On-Line.
Finally, if you weren't a MIVA Developer, what do you think you would be doing now?
Bill: Again - an easy answer. Nothing nearly as much fun.