7 minutes reading time (1332 words)

Preparation for Pizza, Bugs & Fun 2020

JCM-PBF

 

The beginning

An event for everyone? It sounds like a good idea, but to be honest, testing pull requests (PR) is not for everyone. In the past there were a few Pizza, Bugs & Fun (PBF) events which were well organized, but nevertheless, there was a growing number of participants who left the event a bit disappointed, because they couldn’t do as much stuff as expected.

So how can we organize an event for “jumla” (all together)? The JUG Munich, Germany wanted to host a small and local PBF in 2018, so we started to tinker around.

What is a PBF?

The goal of a PBF is to gather people together for one day, enjoy free drinks and a pizza and of course spend time improving Joomla! by testing PRs and writing code. Everyone is welcome and can join, everyone should be able to help. And of course it’s also about having fun!

Considerations

From past experiences, we quickly agreed that a PBF shouldn’t be about testing pull requests only. We needed different tasks for every skill level, as we noticed some people were struggling with Joomla! basics, like the installation.

Having all these challenges in mind, we started to talk with people at JAB event in Cologne and asked for support. We also had to look around to see we could find a small budget (Munich had at this time around 15 participants) for buying pizzas.

What happened then surprised everyone: people from everywhere in Germany offered their help money wise as sponsors with the condition that they can join the event. Suddenly we had a Germanwide event!

Having the financial side solved, we were able to focus on the content. It was clear from the start that we have to provide support via tutorials (written and videos) and by offering pre-installed Joomla! instances.

Angeliqué Brix took over the task to setup a homepage with explanations and tutorials (www.pizza-bugs-fun.com at that time, it was in German only) while Roland Dalmulder set up several Joomla instances with Joomla Patch Tester installed (which was key to simplify the testing process). Meanwhile people from the Netherlands, France, Italy, Austria and Belgium got aware of the planning and asked to join. We ended with over 80 participants in approximately 15 locations. Luckily Christiane Maier-Stadtherr and Christian Schmid were also strong volunteers, so we as a small team we were very confident that we can handle the event.

Last but not least we searched for a way so that people can help without the need to understand code. The solution was obvious: The Joomla! Docs. Writing or translating documentation, making screenshots and all the tasks around looked very promising to have something for everybody. We had the fortune that at that time Sandra Decoux was the Documentation lead and Mike Brandner was responsible for the German area. Both were of great support for our team and prepared a list of things needed in the documentation.

The event started and surpassed our expectations: 71 tests, 5 new PRs and over 1,400 edits in the Joomla! Documentation. The overall conclusion was that different concepts worked very well (e.g. we split up the tasks in challenge categories like “Explorer”, “Adventurer” and “Conqueror” to indicate the level of difficulty and ensured that we can give everyone the support they needed).

PBF 2019 could come.

But hey, don’t dream, it wasn’t that easy ;)

It seems there is a deep craving within the community for such an event. So there was a call for hosting a world wide event.

After some days of thinking (we had absolutely no experience in organizing such an event), we agreed to take the challenge, as we trusted in our concepts.

Getting big brings a lot more challenges and things to consider: different time zones, different cultures, different levels of tech in the countries, different food preferences to name only some. The content we had to prepare went through the roof too. The homepage had to be translated into English (thanks to Philip Walton who took over this task) and outdated content had to be updated (thank you Christiane, you did a hell of a job). We had to organize several training sessions for the location hosts, we needed sponsors, to coordinate the locations around the world, and to be visible (in this regards, Sandra did an awesome job marketing wise). Mike (now Documentation lead) prepared hundreds of documentation tasks and we got help from every side (Brian Teeman created a cool PBF video, Mr. Joomla! Luca Marzo was always available if we needed something from OSM, like managing the finances and many more people were involved, I probably forgot to mention).

So to make it short: the event (let me quote the Joomla homepage) “was a roaring success”. Over 230 Joomlers, and 25 countries joined the event. We tested 250 pull requests, had over 2,000 documentation edits, 54 PRs were merged and 50 new bugs were discovered.

We got a lot of positive feedback from the participants and it was really nice to see that we really had an event for “all together”.

What’s next?

The planning for 2020 has already started, the next event will be held on October, 17th 2020, starting from 9am. It would be great if we could outdo our last year's performance. To do so, we need YOU.

Such an event works only with the community. We started to search for location hosts, so if you can manage a location, please look at our tutorial and get in touch for help and we will list your event on our site. 

Spread the word (new banner will come soon), become a sponsor (contact us: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), join the GLIP chat or if you have your own ideas/suggestions/feedback, please tell us. Everyone is welcome.

Personal view

Starting 2018 without any past experience in organizing such an event I had a lot of doubts regarding a PBF. I joined three PBF events before, which were on the one hand very well organized and I really had a lot of fun but on the other hand I recognized that there was a lot of disappointment, when people failed to test pull requests, marked as “very easy”.

Additionally, it’s very hard to maintain a structure with this kind of event, where we have several independent locations with different equipment and people with different skill levels.

But then something very special happened: the Joomla! Community spirit awoke. People got excited. From everywhere an helping hand appeared and a very strong gravitation happened, focusing on making it happen. I personally was very overwhelmed by the support from everywhere and I would like to thank all the people out there who made this event possible. I mentioned a few in the text above but there were so many people involved, it would blow up the text, if I would list them all here. But be sure, you were not forgotten and I’m very thankful for your great support.

So what’s left? I am really looking forward to the 2020’s PBF and I hope to get more people on board. We’re now an official unofficial working group of events which offers us more flexibility and the potential to implement more new ideas. I think, regardless of all the problems Joomla! is facing for the last months and year, the community is very alive and the spirit is still there.

So be a part of it and don’t hesitate to contact us, if you want to help us, in e.g. translating, hosting location or just want to join.

See you at the event,
Benjamin Trenkle

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