The Joomla! Community Magazine™

Ten ideas on how to get involved in the community (part 1 of 2)

Written by | Thursday, 01 September 2011 00:00 | Published in 2011 September
There are many ways to be involved in the Joomla! community. This article (part 1) presents some ideas about how you can help in the community. Part 2 will be available in next month's issue of JCM.
Joomladay Norway 2011 had it 5th birthday! Joomladay Norway 2011 had it 5th birthday! Peter Martin

Last August I attended the Joomladay in Norway (http://www.joomladay.no). I did a presentation about Joomla! Community Involvement and using Joomla! 1.7 for multilingual websites without using 3rd party Extensions, and a 3-hour workshop about Programming Modules for Joomla! 1.5. I enjoyed talking about Joomla! very much and I am grateful to the Norwegian community (http://www.joomlainorge.no) for that opportunity, it was great to meet all those friendly people!

This JCM article is a rewrite of my presentation.

Introduction with an Open Source community

I am an Open Source enthusiast. Besides Joomla, I really love the operating system Linux. I can hardly remember my time before Open Source. I'll try anyway.

In the 90s I created my own HTML website, which had a discography I compiled with the music of electronic musician Amon Tobin. His list of music releases got visited quite well. But as he kept making a lot of music, the page got too slow. So I decided to split it into two pages, which didn't work well because it lacked listing control for the visitors. I decided to use a MySQL database and PHP code to retrieve the items, but I had to learn that first. A year later, in early 2004, I discovered the predecessor of Joomla: Mambo CMS. Not having to write all code, but using the CMS framework for database connection, security and screen output was awesome.

With the split of Mambo, and the foundation of Joomla!, I started spending time and helping out at Joomla! forum. Back then, my knowledge was very limited, but it was my way to give something back to the software that I was using for free. The benefit of this was that I learned a lot about Joomla! as well! In 2006, I was asked to help out as Moderator, and in 2007 as Global Moderator. For me it was a the first time I got to work with a lot of different people from all over the world. A couple of years later, I was asked to join the Community Leadership Team (CLT) where I am still helping out.

Joomla! community & your involvement

Question 1: Are you willing to help out in the Joomla! community, but don't know how to program in PHP and MySQL?

Fact 1: Coding skills are not necessary to help out in the Joomla! community! There are a lot of different areas, outside the field of programming, where people are helping out at Joomla.org.

10 ideas to help in the Joomla! community (in random order)

Help out 1 – Technical Joomla! support

Joomla! forum (Forum) is for technical Joomla! support. You can search for answers to technical questions, or ask them yourself.

  1. Help other people with your knowledge
    As a registered forum user you can help other users by sharing your knowledge.
  2. Ask questions, thank people and post follow-up
    Even if you just ask questions, a "thank you" will motivate the people who helped you. And posting a follow-up with your solution will help other people who use the search option.
  3. Report misbehavior (SPAM)
    Keep the forum a friendly place, report misbehavior and SPAM. With 1,200 new posts a day, the Moderators cannot possibly check every message themselves.
  4. Moderators
    Speaking of Moderators, this team of volunteers is doing a great job keeping the forum a friendly place. Sometimes the Forum can use new Moderators (usually active and helpful users), especially for the international language bords.

Help out 2 – Extensions

The Joomla! Extension Directory (JED) is the place to find Extensions, small applications that extend the functionality of Joomla.

  1. Give reviews
    Please submit constructive reviews of the Extensions you try. It helps other people choosing the right Extensions.
  2. Write applications and share your code
    If you can write code, add your GPL Extensions to the directory. It can be very helpful for other people.
  3. Report misbehavior
    Please report Extensions that do not comply with the JED rules to improve the listings at JED.
  4. Moderators
    The team of JED Moderators is doing a great job with organizing the JED listings. Sometimes they need new members. If you are interested, please contact the JED team.

Help out 3 – Documentation

The Joomla! Documentation Site (Docs) is the site to find technical documentation on Joomla.

  1. Adhoc help: Register and add/improve documentation
    When you see errors or missing information, please correct it.
  2. Join the documentation team
    This team writes documentation on specific areas, e.g. Joomla! 1.7. When you have more time and knowledge, please join this documentation team.

Help out 4 – Improve Joomla!

The Joomla! CMS Issue Tracker (formerly know as 'Bugtracker') is the place for technical issues with the Joomla! code. You might be able to help improve the Joomla! software with:

  1. Report Bugs
    If you find bugs (or hidden features ;-)) please check the issue tracker. If the issue hasn't been reported, please submit it.
  2. Request Features or add ideas to the Ideas Pool
    Do you have ideas on how to improve the Joomla! core functionality? Don't hesitate and submit your feature request.
  3. Submit patches
    Are you a coder? Submitting patches for known or unknown problems is even more helpful because it saves the JBS a lot of time.
  4. Joomla! Bug Squad (JBS)
    A team of people try to solve known issues with patches, but they also test Joomla! to find new issues that need to be solved. They can always use testers and coders.

Help out 5 – Languages

  1. Joomla! Language packs
    A lot of language packs are available for Joomla! to display Joomla's system messages in different languages. To submit corrections or languages, please contact the language team of your language or ask someone how to submit your new translation files to Joomla.
  2. Language files for 3rd party Extensions
    Most 3rd party Extensions have an English language file. If everyone translated that to their own language, it would be a waste of valuable time. Please check at the developer's website, or your local language community to see if there's a language pack available. If not, translate it yourself and please send it to the developer and your local community so that they can share it with other people.
  3. Translation Teams
    Consider joining a Translation Team to help out with translating Joomla! language packs to your own language.

[To be continued... Read more in the next JCM, issue October 2011]

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Peter Martin

Peter Martin

Peter Martin is a Joomla Specialist from Nijmegen, Netherlands. His company db8 (founded in 2005) offers Joomla consultancy, website implementation, (technical) support and custom Joomla extension development.

Peter organizes monthly meetings Open Coffee Nijmegen and Linux User Group Nijmegen.