Interview with Electric Jet

At a recent Twin Cities Drupal meetup, we had a chance to interview Tim Broeker, the Founder of Electric Jet, yet another great local sponsor of DrupalCamp Twin Cities. We asked him about his company, support of the camp and background with Drupal. Tim's perspective is particularly interesting as he is a former member of both Mambo and Joomla! core developer teams.

Who is Electric Jet? What do you do?

Electric Jet is a small development and consulting company here in Minneapolis. We've been around forever and have been fortunate to work with some of the greatest clients in Minnesota, from the Mayo Clinic and the Science Museum of Minnesota to the Star Tribune and General Mills. Our toolbox has changed over the years but our goal has always been the same: we help organizations solve difficult, real world problems on the web. More often than not Drupal is a big part of the solution and helps us create tools that are a joy to use and built to last. That can be a rare combination in the web development world. 

Why are you supporting DrupalCamp Twin Cities? 

Our company receives so much value from Drupal and the larger community of talented developers and volunteers. Supporting DrupalCamp Twin Cities, the Drupal Association, and attending great events like DrupalCon Chicago is one small way we can show support for the people who make it all happen. 

How and when did Electric Jet start using Drupal?

Like many web companies that have been around for the long haul we started out writing custom applications for every client. It was a lot of work but even as the open source CMS market emerged we had real problems finding a framework that matched our needs.  In 2004 I discovered Mambo 4.5, which at the time was really taking off and winning all sorts of awards and market share. It was far from perfect but Mambo was the first open source framework that just felt "right" for our clients. 

I began actively participating in the Mambo community and quickly accepted an offer to join the core development team. When the project imploded I spun off with the rest of the core team as a founding member of the new Joomla project. It was an energizing time, but when I left the project in late 2006 we were really struggling with some of the limitations baked into Mambo and early versions of Joomla. 

So I stepped away and began writing some new tools on top of the newly released Ruby on Rails framework. Several months later when Drupal 5 was released I noticed all of the positive buzz flowing into my RSS reader. On a whim I downloaded version 5 and right away everything just felt "different" and better compared to earlier versions of Drupal.  When I discovered the hooks system and began playing with Views and CCK I was sold.  We've been developing almost exclusively in Drupal ever since and despite the occasional frustration it just keeps getting better.