7 minutes reading time (1488 words)

Getting to know the team behind Joomla 5.2


This month we are thrilled to include a double interview with the new Joomla 5.2 release team: Marc Dechèvre and Peter Martin. The aim of these interviews is to let the Community know a bit more about the release leads and their plans for the future of Joomla 5.2.

First of all, Marc and Peter thanks for meeting virtually for this interview.

I know you through our chats at various Joomla days and your visits to Joomla London, but for those who don't know you, please give us a quick intro.

What do we call you and where do you live?

Marc: My name is Marc but on Github or elsewhere my nickname or handle is often “Woluweb”, coming from the combination of Woluwe (my town) and Web. I live in Brussels in Belgium... which is quite convenient because I can easily attend JoomlaDays in France, Netherlands and Germany which are neighboring countries.

Peter: In real life you can call me Peter. Online I also listen to the nick “pe7er”. I live in Nijmegen, a small town in The Netherlands, with my wife and two kids.

Just to show how rounded you are as humans, can you share one hobby or interest that's totally unrelated to Joomla or websites?

Marc: I am a great music fan. At university, I studied music, and now I still work in music. According to Spotify’s yearly round-up, I spend more time listening to music than 99% of the other Belgian users :). I also love live music, of course: my last concert was The Smile (ex-Radiohead), but I also often go to Jazz clubs.

Peter: I like music and have a huge LP collection. I listen mostly to 1980s/1990s rock, punk, electronic and alternative music. I like tinkering with electronic equipment like Commodore 64, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, ESP8266/ESP32, vintage stereo equipment. And open source software like Linux and organise a monthly Linux User Group. And I like (art house) movies. In my head I have a huge collection of trivia.

Can you tell us how you first came across Joomla? 

Marc: in 2008 my wife started a new job for an NGO working in Burkina Faso (West Africa). So I wanted to share our adventure. I tested a few Content Management Systems before going there and I immediately liked Joomla: well structured and easy to use. That website is still online, with 1000 articles and 3000 pictures depicting the country and the culture: https://www.dechevre.be/burkina/ 

Peter: Since 1996 I had a HTML website and I was looking for something more dynamic. In 2003 I found and experimented with e107 and Mambo CMS. I decided on Mambo. When the project was forked I chose Joomla.  

Can you tell us how you two first met in the Joomla universe? 

Marc: 10 years ago I attended my first JoomlaDay ever: the founder of my Joomla User Group (JUG) had convinced me to go. I was a bit afraid because I knew absolutely nobody… but I learned so many things and made so many acquaintances there, at JoomlaDay Paris 2014 that I definitely wanted to repeat the experience.

So the next year I went to JoomlaDay Nice 2015. At a coffee break I saw there were two International Joomlers: Victor Vögel from Germany and Peter Martin from the Netherlands. We started to chat… and this literally triggered my involvement in the international community, as Peter explains below.

Peter: In May 2015 I was invited to do some talks at the French Joomladays in Nice, France. The first day in the afternoon I met Marc. He told me he liked Joomla 3.x, but that in the Category Manager he was missing the counter of published/trashed articles. I said "That shouldn't be very hard to build in...", and if I did, whether he would test it. But it appeared to be very difficult to build and Marc had no testing experience yet. However, with help from other people from the Joomla community, we managed to get this “Category Item Counter” feature in the Joomla 3.5 core. You can read about that in these articles:



You are both members of the community. Not every Joomla user chooses to give back to the community; what made you decide to make that journey from user to community member? 

Marc: I love cooperation because the more you give, the more you receive. I am not just speaking about Open Source Software here, it is more a general philosophy in life. So sharing is in my nature. Besides, I started my career as Ph.D. student at University so I am always eager to learn new things.

That story about the Category Item Counter related above by Peter was crazy: you are no one, you suggest a feature at a coffee break and a few months later it becomes a feature. Try that with proprietary software! This really means that anybody can make the difference in Open Source Software.

Peter: “Sharing is multiplying”. When you share your knowledge and time with a project, the project can grow and get better. And people will share their knowledge and time back with you. And it’s fun to work with people that have the same passion. 

Do you use Joomla 5 in your daily life? And if yes, then what do you like most over Joomla 3 and 4?

Marc: I run around 20 Joomla 5 websites, 20 Joomla 4 websites (where the migration to Joomla 5 should be just around 1 hour each but I still have to find a moment to call the respective owners for a green light) and 25 Joomla 3 websites (where the migration as such is generally a few hours but it is also the opportunity to rethink the websites, get rid of old extensions and do even more with Core).

What I like about Joomla is of course the evolution of its new and existing features, major version after major version (let’s take my favourite feature of all times as example, namely Custom Fields. They were introduced with Joomla 3.7. Over time it got improved and if you look at Joomla 5, there are more options in the Backend, there are more Types of Custom Fields like Subforms ie “repeatable” Custom Fields, you can put Conditions with showOn etc).

Another thing is the Interface. In my everyday life I am busy with J5’s backend in dark mode. Whenever I have to do something in J4 my eyes are bleeding because of the light mode. And when sometimes I get back to J3’s backend, I suffer even more because the logic is much better now with J4/J5.

Peter: I have migrated most of my own websites to Joomla 5. A few clients are on Joomla 5 but most are still on Joomla 4 and some still on 3 (they just need a bit more of me convincing them, budget, or both). What I like most about Joomla 5 over 3 and 4? Actually, Joomla 5 is Joomla 4 but more future proof regarding the server requirements. And I like that it uses json-ld instead of microdata for its schema dot org metadata. 

Is there anything about Joomla 3 or 4 you miss or think we left out?

Marc: there is nothing that I would miss from previous versions.

Peter: Actually, IMHO the back-end “System” menu should have gotten submenu items like Joomla 3 had. All other back-end menu items have submenu items. It would make the back-end menu more consistent. And easier for super administrators to use all those manage, maintenance, update, install, etc functions.

What are your plans for Joomla 5.2?

Marc: It is always tempting to imagine a big new feature of course. But at times it is also important to polish and improve further the existing features. That is why we chose “uthabiti” as the Swahili name for Joomla 5.2 because it means consistency / coherence.

Peter: We want to improve the Joomla 5.2 core, make its code and functionality more consistent and further enhance usability.

Is there anything you want to change or introduce, anything you think we could do better as we go through the process of making a new minor version?

Marc: In an ideal world, I would like to see more people involved with testing. Not just on demo websites but on real websites. Maybe I should update this presentation that I had initially made in 2018 about “automating backup restoration” :)  https://slides.woluweb.be/akeeba-unite/presentation.html 

Peter: Please ask me that again after the next team releases Joomla 5.3 :-) 

Thank you both for your hard work already and for becoming so active in steering Joomla to a new release. If people would like to get behind Marc and Peter and help them make Joomla 5 even better then please do reach out via the volunteer portal and contribute to the Joomla page and support Marc and Peter.

Green websites help to keep your feet dry
What type of image should I use on my website?


Already Registered? Login Here
No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://magazine.joomla.org/