Meet Your Developer: Alan Stanley

You may know Alan from his answers on the user and dev listservs, from Islandora Camp, and - if you're lucky - from one of his post-conference barbecues. I asked Alan a few questions about himself and his contributions to Islandora, and here's what he had to say:

Please tell us a little about yourself. What do you do when you’re not at work?

I came to programming relatively late in life – I was a blacksmith for about 25 years before I decided it was time for a major career change. When I’m not programming I’m outside. I kayak, scuba dive, bicycle, and run. I also barbecue kind of obsessively.

How long have you been working with Islandora? How did you get started?

I’ve been with Islandora for a little over three years now – I was one of the early hires when the AIF grant came in. I'd been coding for both the banking and the telecommunication industries for a couple of years but I was never really happy with the non-disclosure and all that secrecy. I'm philosophically attracted to Open Source concepts, so the fit was a good one.

Sum up your area of expertise in three words:

Coding human needs.


Answering questions pretentiously.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working pretty much exclusively on solution packs relating to Digital Humanities, a field I’m pretty passionate about. It's an expanding discipline in which Islandora is becoming increasingly important. Digital Humanists are an interesting and quirky (CWRCy) bunch. It's a pleasure to work with them.

What contribution to Islandora are you most proud of?

Probably the original Collection Manager. The collection manager made it possible to do a whole lot of things that had previously only been possible through the Fedora Admin client. The Collection Manager has evolved with additions from many other developers in interesting and imaginative ways since its original conception.

What new feature or improvement would you most like to see?

Simpler installation of the stack (we’re working on it).

What’s the one tool/software/resource you cannot live without?

Cappaccino (I use a bottomless portafilter with a triple-shot basket).

If you could leave the community with one message from reading this interview, what would it be?

This is an amazing community. We’re all quite lucky to be a part of it.