Who is Coko?: Meet Giannis

Alison McGonagle-O'Connell Aug 12, 2019

Giannis Kopanas is a PubSweet Developer who has most recently been lending his talents to Editoria. He lives and works in Athens, Greece. We chatted him up about about summer, software and what he is looking forward to at Coko.

Alison: Giannis, how is your summer going?

Giannis Kopanas: A little bit of summer is what the whole year is about! Pretty busy, I guess with little nice breaks visiting Greek Islands at the weekends. My main vacation hasn’t started yet, but I am looking forward to it because we are going to do the round of Peloponnese and pass by the ‘Coko famous’ place, Monemvasia.

Alison: What have you been working on this summer at Coko?

Giannis Kopanas: Currently and since the beginning of the year,I work on Editoria. We have already released Monemvasia version in late April 2019, and a couple of days ago, we had our new beta version- Vanilla- which includes our work on communities’ Feature Proposals to date. There is still more time left in this development cycle, and more features we will add, but it’s looking real good.

Alison: How is it working on Editoria? What were some of the first items you built when you came aboard at Coko?

Giannis Kopanas: Working at Coko is pretty exciting. Developing features which require high level solutions, issues that should be solved in real time, and, in general, working on projects can be very challenging. Of course all of that could not have been happening without our great cooperation with the great Alexis Georgantas, who is a colleague and Software Engineer. I am always looking forward to working with him. 

My first taste with Coko development was with Wax. This was a challenge for me because Wax is based on Substance, and it was the first time, i was hearing about that framework, was not like a famous library with a big community available for you whenever you need it . You were actually on your own.  You, and a couple of programmers counted on the fingers of one hand, and the source code. We had to have our hands dirty and figure out what was going on!

Alison: And how long ago was that?

Giannis Kopanas: Two years ago now!

Alison: You’ve had a chance to put your stamp on several of the platforms in the Cokoverse. What kind of work were you involved with prior to building Open Source Publishing Platforms?

Giannis Kopanas: I had a pretty amazing path before Coko, which I am very thankful for, because I learned alot, not only as a software engineer, but how to cooperate and work under pressure and difficult situations. I have been developing software for over 10 years. 

My story starts in 2008 where I worked as a corporate web developer. My next steps were more exciting, as me and another member of Coko- Christos Kokosias- started a software house company which gave us the opportunity to be involved in many startup projects in different fields like SMS platform, booking systems, mobile applications, examination systems, building custom CMS, and so on. We hadn’t ever built for the Publishing industry, but that experience helped alot to build my knowledge in several fields, both in backend and Frontend developing.

Alison: Were you familiar already with Open Source best practices?

Giannis Kopanas: I was always a big fan of Open Source projects unfortunately never got involved in an Open Source project before Coko. Of course, I had contributed in several projects, but never as actively as now. In theory, I knew about best practices in the Open Source world but never had the chance to put them in action. However, now I am in a position with Coko giving me the opportunity to implement all those practices.

Alison: Were you familiar with Javascript?

Giannis Kopanas: I was developing in javascript language from my first steps as a developer, I lived the whole revolution of javascript, from its firsts steps where you had to write everything in pure javascript, to the big, judgemental-at-first change of using javascript as backend language, and also using all the famous frameworks built with jQuery, KendoUI, BackboneJS, AngularJs, VueJS, ReactJS and the like.

Alison: What is something about the work we do that you feel sets us apart from other organizations you’ve been part of? What do you feel differentiates us?

Giannis Kopanas: I think is a combination of things. Firstly, is the people that are in Coko: open minded people ready to help you, and you will get the feeling, for the very first time you get in the team, but also when somebody visits for the first time the community channel in mattermost,  with the “intro yourself” and “town square” channels giving you the opportunity to make your voice heard to publishing world. 

Of course another thing is the mentality we have in order to build the community. We are ready to hear new ideas and this can be seen easily if someone takes part in a PubSweet meet. The Pubsweet meets are the best lesson for every developer. Developers from different organizations collaborate and produce code and new components for the Publishing Community, and this is amazing!

Last, but not least, is the way things are moving, certainly very stable and carefully organized. All those things i think is the success recipe of Coko.

Alison: What are you most excited about as you look toward the second half of the year and also next year?

Giannis Kopanas: Cannot wait to see more of the platforms ready and in action! I want to see the new Editoria release- there are some pretty nice features there which, I think, the community will be impressed by. I also i look forward to the new Wax 2 and Micropubs Projects progressing. As far for the next year, I foresee a bright future, new things are coming and I am excited to see what that will mean for the community.


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Alison McGonagle-O'Connell

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