How I grow with Joomla - Olivier Buisard
There are events, people, that illustrate the international and building side of Joomla.
Olivier Buisard of Simplifyyourweb grew up in France but his career path brought him closer to Open Source Matters' headquarters. Since then, he has lived in New York, but still has ties to his home country.
He tells us how he met Joomla and how Joomla has continued to make him grow.
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I have a Computer Science Master with a minor in Computer Graphics, but I started by studying Applied Mathematics. The latest was not really my calling... I worked in several companies over the years in aerospace, the health industry and even the energy sector. After receiving my Green Card, I decided to jump into the unknown and work for myself, creating websites, managing them and building extensions. Nowadays, I mainly create and improve Joomla extensions.
When did you make your first Joomla website / extension?
I created my first website a long time ago... It was not the millennium quite yet. Plain old html and CSS. Then I discovered Joomla, as the 1.5 version was getting mainstream.
I created my first extension in 2011, jQuery Easy. I started off by improving what I was missing from the existing extensions at the time, to use on my own sites. Then, as the extension was getting interesting, I decided to share it on my own site as a download. That is how it all started for me.
What made you choose Joomla?
I found it super easy to use. I liked the fact that I could jumpstart a website, choose a template and put it together with the help of additional extensions.
What did you do first, and after that?
As I was 'in the computer field', I was getting lots of requests from family and friends... So, using Joomla helped me deliver what they wanted. Then I started feeling the need to create my own extensions when I could not find what I was looking for.
Can you describe the process of creating your first Joomla extension?
It's been a learning experience, mostly. I got familiar with many computer languages over the years, but I did not know PHP. So, I learned it by reading Joomla code and other developer's extensions. I did spend some time looking for clues on the internet for things I wanted to do but did not quite exactly know how to do them.
I have also found that it was pretty exciting being able to add an extension to the Joomla environment and use it to improve a site.
What challenges did you face?
Finding documentation in the early years of Joomla. You had to dig to find the information you were looking for, but that was a fun process.
How did you solve them?
By never giving up. Like many developers of my generation (those who can remember what it was like before the Internet era), I learned to do many things on my own. And I used to buy computer books!
Where did you get help (if you needed it)?
There were very knowledgeable people you could learn from very early on, in the forums for instance.
You are well-known in the French, American and international community, what is / was your involvement?
Oh wow, when I read that question, it got me to pause and think about that for a minute...
As a relatively shy person, it has been a challenge to put myself out there.
I started small with my extensions, hoping people would get interested. Then I joined a Joomla User Group in Chicago and I was asked to present jQuery Easy to the group. Terrifying. When I moved to New-York, I joined the Joomla User group in Manhattan. It spiraled from there, after meeting Laura Gordon. She asked me to present my extensions to her User Group in New-Jersey. Got tons of great feedback... and a huge boost. It felt like I was on the right path.
Do you take part in any events?
Yes, quite a few when I think about it! I joined Laura in Joomla Camps she organized, and dared to join the speakers at Joomla Day Chicago where I met Shirielle Williams for the first time (now my co-release manager for Joomla 4.3 and friend). I also participated in several online conferences during the pandemic.
If there was one sentence to sum up your relationship with Joomla / Joomlers, what would it be?
Growing with Joomla is, and has been, an extremely rich and intense journey for me, and I am so lucky I have met and still get to meet wonderful people along the ride.
Read this in French: https://www.joomla.fr/actualites/comment-j-ai-grandi-avec-joomla-olivier-buisard