Alexandru Farcași, our Software Development Engineer

12 Oct 2023 5 min read

Today, we are introducing you Alexandru, our new addition to the XWiki team. Well, not that new because we got to know him first during his 3-month internship with us, and immediately after he has joined us as a part-time XWikier. Enthusiastic and proactive, Alexandru has managed to bring to life many of the ideas for the Matomo project. He has displayed an interesting balance between seeking guidance and being self-reliant, and we are happy to have him on board.

When he's not working on improving XWiki products, you can find him enjoying his passion: video games. We invite you to delve into his story and discover how an internship turns into a job that allows Alexandru to also finish his Computer Science studies.  

in 5 things
  • Favorite artist: Nickelback
  • Best book ever read: “The Second Coming of Gluttony”, by Yu-jin Ro
  • Dream destination: Tokyo
  • Quote you live by: I don't have one.
  • At the office or remote? Remote.

Tell me about yourself

Greetings! I'm Alexandru and I'm 21 years old, and this autumn I'll be entering in my final year of Computer Science. One of my favorite hobbies is playing games and three of my all-time favorites are Rimworld, Terraria and The Binding Of Isaac. Regarding my role at XWiki, I started as a Software Development Engineer Intern, and I've contributed to the Matomo integration. After my internship finished, I have joined XWiki part-time as a Software Development Engineer and will continue to integrate Matomo into XWiki.

🌄 The internship experience

How did you find out about XWiki, and what made you choose it for an internship?

I found out about XWiki through a friend from University who was looking into the "Stagii Pe Bune" internship program. He recommended that I apply because it seemed like a great opportunity to learn and develop as a software engineer. In the end, I picked XWiki because the interview experience was very pleasant, and both Marius & Ștefana seemed really nice.

What was your internship experience like?

My internship was really enjoyable. I learned a lot about team work and pushing code to an open-source environment where coding style is very important. I learned new technologies like jQuery and Velocity and expanded my knowledge on unit tests with JUnit5. Right now, I'm learning how to write functional tests using Docker and Selenium.

What did you find to be the most interesting and challenging tasks?

The most interesting and challenging task I've encountered is the writing of functional tests. This task stands out not just because of its inherent complexity but also due to the technologies involved. Utilizing Docker with Selenium is particularly fascinating. Docker ensures that I can establish a clean, isolated environment every time the test runs. This guarantees that no matter where the test is executed, it begins from a consistent state, thus eliminating any discrepancies that might come from environmental variations.

Additionally, Selenium plays a crucial role by enabling browser automation, essential for functional tests as they simulate genuine user interactions with the software.

The challenge becomes even more pronounced when automating the installation of Matomo. There's a considerable amount of research required. Matomo, as a comprehensive web analytics platform, presents its own set of intricacies. Ensuring that its installation is automated flawlessly is a hard task by itself.

Combining the facets of creating a reproducible testing environment, accurately simulating browser interactions, and integrating a platform like Matomo makes this functional testing task exceptionally demanding and intriguing.

And what about integration into the environment? How easy, or difficult was it for you?

The integration was really easy because everyone was friendly and starting the internship just before the seminar and attending it gave me the opportunity to interact with almost everyone. I believe the atmosphere of the seminar played a significant role in the integration, as it allowed me to interact with everyone in a more relaxed manner.

🔎 Open-source impressions

Was open source something you had an interest in prior to XWiki?

Before XWiki, I had some interest in a few open-source apps like VLC, Linux, and 7-zip, but I wasn't particularly interested in the topic.

What's the open-source value you identify with most?

Out of all the open-source values, the one I identify with the most is Inclusive Meritocracy. I believe that seeking a diverse range of ideas is crucial, as it can lead to rapid development and evolution of concepts.

💡Lessons learned

What would you say is the most valuable lesson you learned during your time at XWiki?

I learned how to work effectively in a team and came to understand the importance of feedback.

I think a particular case that highlighted the importance of feedback was when I wrote some JavaScript. I believed the code was decent, but Lavinia, my mentor, gave me a lot of feedback and provided examples of how I could make the code much cleaner and easier to understand.

⏳ The XWiki experience

What made you join XWiki as a part-time employee after your internship?

I joined XWiki part-time post-internship thanks to the positive experience I had as an intern, and I also believe that having some working experience before graduating is essential.

Alexandru with the team from Iași having fun during a Moldovan-pie baking activity

Will your role change?

My role will not change that much. The only difference is the new title, but my responsibilities should remain the same for a while, and they consist of integrating Matomo into XWiki.

If you could describe your XWiki experience in one word, what would it be?


Favorite memory at XWiki?

My favorite memory at XWiki was when we had the seminar where I had the chance speak with everyone from XWiki in person.

You may also be interested in: