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#jab10 «J and Beyond» Event in Germany Gathers the Joomla! World

6 minute read
Kristoffer Sandven avatar

The unofficial, community organized Joomla! (newssiteconference «J and Beyond» took place this weekend in Wiesbaden, Germany.

This is the first time an international conference has been organized by the Joomla! community. And international it was! «J and Beyond» saw 187 participants from 27 countries. There were people from Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia present. People came from all over the world. From above the arctic circle in Norway, from below the equator in Brazil and Cape Town, from China and Vietnam, from nearby France and Netherlands, to mention some.

And they all spoke a common language: Joomla!

A Diverse Crowd

J and Beyond was announcedas a conference for everyone in the community. This resulted in avaried crowd of people. From hard core programmers and people working inthe Joomla! project, to the end-users of the product. In between youcould find most of the leading developers in the community.

Idon't think there has ever been this many Joomla! developers gatheredunder the same roof. Some of them are «competitors» in a way, as theycreate products for the same type of users. One example is the Joomla!CCK extension developers. Almost all of them were present. This provedfruitful for both the developers and the community.

To quote FotisEvangelou of Joomlaworks:

Itwas a great opportunity to discuss with like-minded people. We extendour knowledge, share information and all this is going to be to thebenefit of all of us, and the end users of Joomla!. This enables us toimplement new features, new ideas, that we have discussed here. I thinkthe «J and Beyond» more or less represents the «creme de la creme» ofthe Joomla community.

The CCK component K2 fromJoomlaWorks won the award for «Best Joomla! component» in the J!Oscarsaward on Monday night.

A Wide Selection of Topics

Inregards to the official program, there was something for everyone.Introductions to Joomla! concepts and extensions, productivity andoptimization tips, developer sessions and workshops, to mention some.

Thesessions were actually submitted by speakers before the conference.Then the community votedfor the sessions and the program was put together from theresulting votes. True community involvement.

A fair share of theparticipants were designers and integrators. They could benefit fromtalking directly to the developers of their favorite Joomla! extensions.Both to learn more about them and to suggest improvements and reportbugs or other issues. I saw several examples of end-users and developerscoming together to exchange views. The result being a change orimprovement in the software.

Long Time Online Friends Met forthe First Time

As the Joomla! community is so spread out acrossthe world, many people had never met before. Many knew each other fromonline communities like Twitter, Skype, the new people.joomla.orgwebsite and forums. Some had even worked together on projects small andlarge, some even in the same company, but never met in person.

Thefact that so many people knew each other previously made the conferencea very nice event socially. Something which was definitely noticeablewhen the bar opened in the basement every night.

The Joomla!community is full of fun people!

3 Co-founders of Joomla Present

Joomla!was founded as a fork of Mambo. 3 of the original founders had taken  the opportunity to come to «J and Beyond». They were Brian Teeman, AlexKempkens and Johan Janssens.

Learning Opportunities

To have these people there wasvery important during discussions, as they have the experience andknowledge to see new challenges in a historical perspective. They hadfaced challenges in the past and we could learn from that. It's alsoimportant to understand how and why Joomla! has become what it is tounderstand how to improve it in the future.

Brian Teeman had atalk about how the project got the name «Joomla!». The name is a rewriteof the Swahili word meaning «all together» or «as a whole» (Jumla). I'mreally happy they didn't decide to go for «Spork»…

Open Source MattersPresident with Keynote

Even if the event was an unofficial one,the president of Open Source Matters(OSM), Ryan Ozimek, had taken the time to fly in from New York to be at«J and Beyond».

Open Source Matters, Inc. (OSM) is a not-for-profit formed under UnitedStates and New York state law that provides organizational, legal, andfinancial support for the Joomla! open-source project. OSM has beenincorporated as a New York not-for-profit to ensure the Joomla projectand future projects continue to exist beyond the participation ofindividual volunteers.

Ryan spent his keynote talking about the roleof OSM in the Joomla! project. As I have written before in my post New Joomla Project Leadership BringsIncreased Transparency, Involvement, the OSM has been out ofsync with the community in the past. According to some, they still are.I guess it depends on from where you look at it. My impression after this conference is that the OSM wants to involve the community more than before.

The role of OpenSource Matters is to support Joomla! leadership team and the Joomla!Development team. And, as they might have realized, they need to support and work with thecommunity. After the keynote I had the opportunity to meet up with Ryanfor a chat on the same subject. This resulted in a videointerview.

Very Well Organized

«J and Beyond» wasorganized privately at first, and then supported by the community. Thepeople behind the event did a great job in organizing everything. Therewas a good mix of topics and the organizers had allocated time forinformal sessions and socializing.

The conference program was tight, butthe flow was good and time was well spent in my opinion. Every sessionwas recorded on video and will be made available at the «J and Beyond»website. The same goes for presentation slides from each session.

«Jand Beyond 2011»

Everything points to a repetition of thesuccess next year. The «J and Beyond 2011» was actually announced byBrian Teeman on the last day of the conference. Rumor has it that theevent will take place in a warmer climate.

Open sourcepoolparty, anyone?

About the author

Kristoffer Sandven

Kristoffer Sandven is a professional SEO and Joomla consultant, living in Norway.He's the author of www.joomlablogger.net and writes regularly about Joomla and SEO related subjects.