Last year’s first annual J and Beyond event seemed to be a big hit for Joomla! users around the world, what makes JAB different than other Joomla! events?
Brian: At J and Beyond, the speakers are no different than the attendees. They are regular folks who were selected by the rest of the community to speak on a particular topic. So that adds a twist from the typical Joomla! event. But what really makes J and Beyond special is the spirit of collaboration we see. At JAB10, it was great to see developers and programmers being able to get together and discuss Joomla! It was also nice to see a lot of new faces last year. People from 30 countries came together for JAB10 and a lot of people new to the Joomla! community were able to get involved and really helped Joomla! move forward over the last year.
What prompted you to start a community driven event?
Robert: Joomla! is a community driven project, so it follows that the project’s biggest event should be community driven. The norm for a Joomla! event is that organizers are selected and the organizers select various speakers for the conference, but at J and Beyond, anyone can submit a speaking topic, and anyone can be a speaker.
Where is this year’s event going to be hosted at?
Brian: This year’s event is being hosted at the Rolduc Abbey in Kerkrade, Netherlands. We really liked last year’s event where the conference center, and accommodation were in the same location which really helped people connect and network throughout the event, and looked for something similar this year. The Rolduc Abbey was built in 1104 so that adds a bit of historical flair to it. It is technically in the Netherlands, but most of the local population speaks German because the town was split between the two countries about 300 years ago. It’s really a fantastic spot.
Most Joomla! events are geared primarily for end-users, as opposed to last year’s JAB10 event that was focused more for developers. Do you think that J and Beyond events will ever bridge that gap, becoming events that cater to both developers and end-users?
Robert: Well, I wouldn’t say that J and Beyond is geared only towards developers. The fact that most attendees have used Joomla! at least once and are familiar with what Joomla! is allows us to move forward with more advanced topics. But the event is definitely not only for developers. Looking at last year’s topics, there were sessions that covered a wide range of fields. J and Beyond is targeted at developers, as well as site designers and integrators, basically people that use Joomla! all the time.
Speaking for Joomla! users around the world, why should I go to JAB11?
Brian: We understand that J and Beyond attracts an international audience, so we have done as much as we can to keep the event costs to a minimum to help with international travel (event tickets are only 149 Euros if you purchase before April 1, after that they go to 199 Euros). But once you get here, the bottom line is J and Beyond is fun! One person described last year’s event as the “Meeting of the World’s Best Web Agency”, so there’s always something going on.
Robert: I agree with that, and, if I might add one comment to that, if anyone wants to see what J and Beyond is all about, check out our photo galleries from JAB10 on flickr!
Any Final Comments...?
Brian: Whichever way you look at it, for each attendee JAB11 is an investment in themselves. In just those three days, you will learn more, share more, and connect with more people than at any other event.
Robert: J and Beyond is a lot of fun for everyone. There’s obviously great talks but there is also great networking opportunities and connections made outside of the conference room. Last year’s event saw a lot of great highlights, and there are a lot of ideas out there right now that could become highlights for JAB11. So make sure you go to the website, register, and submit your ideas for talks and vote on others!