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Joomla! Bug Sprint in Manchester

Joomla! Bug Sprint in Manchester

On the weekend of July 26th and 27th nine developers from around the world gathered in Manchester, UK to clean up Joomla's bug tracker. The project's bug tracker had grown unkempt, with hundreds of issues that were stagnant for a long time. Some issues were there for over a year. Moreover, the JoomlaCode issue tracker wasn’t really fit for the amount of growth Joomla had experienced since 2005. It was necessary to put the number of issues under control and move to an improved bug tracker and that was the goal of the Joomla! Bug Sprint.

The sprint was organized by Joomla cofounder Brian Teeman (UK) and the developers participating in it were Viktor Vogel (DE), Valentin Despa (RO), George Wilson (UK), Chris Davenport (UK), Roland Dalmulder (NL), David Hurley (USA), Thomas Hunziker (CH) and yours truly Nicholas Dionysopoulos (GR). We are all unpaid volunteers, putting our businesses and personal lives aside for the greater good, with OSM covering our travel expenses, accommodation and meals. Our real and really big payment was the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing how our work improves the experience for millions of Joomla site owners and their visitors.

Several other people from all over the world joined virtually, via Skype, helping us close issues and test patches. The two people I could recognise from their Skype handles are Hervé Boinnard (Ireland) and Dmitry Rekun (Latvia). I'm sure I've forgotten some of you. It's not intentional, it's just Skype not showing your names. You are all wonderful and we thank you very much for helping us slash all those Joomla bugs!


The sprint was a great success, with a total of 309 issues closed over the weekend. Before the sprint there were 381 open bug tracker issues and 448 Pull Requests on GitHub. On Sunday evening there were 187 open bug tracker issues and 333 Pull Requests on GitHub. The project is finally ready to set the old and loathed bug tracker in read only mode and start using its shiny new, modern Joomla Issue Tracker, a bug tracking tool developed by, for and with Joomla.


Joomla kept a scoreboard of our activity across the issue tracker and the GitHub repository, keeping us motivated. The first place goes to our coordinator Brian Teeman, whereas the second place goes to the restless bug hunter Viktor Vogel. I was surprised to see my name in the third place since I hadn't touched the tracker in weeks. Starting last and finishing third lends to some great motivation to keep pushing forward.


At this point I would like to thank our host Brian Teeman for organising this sprint to perfection and taking great care of us. After each day's 10 hour sprint he'd take us to a different ethnic restaurant, literally giving us a taste of the multicultural impact in the UK. After the dinner we’d sit down and talk about Joomla over a pint of local beer until the wee hours. It’s truly wonderful how little sleep you need to be productive when you work on something you love with other people that feel the same way about it!

You can help too!

While bug fixing sprints help improve Joomla, they can't be organised very frequently. But that shouldn’t be a problem since everyone can help improve Joomla.

If you are a non-developer you can help out by testing patches for known issues using the Joomla Patch Tester . Remember to post a reply with your test results, positive or negative, on GitHub beginning your reply with "@test". A patch needs at least two successful tests before it is included in the next version of Joomla. You can also help out with the documentation or by simply replying to other users' questions on the official or your local Joomla forum.

If you are reporting a possible bug please make sure that you give as much information as possible. At the bare minimum you have to report your version of Joomla (e.g. 3.3.3), version of PHP (e.g. 5.4.21), which database and version you are using (e.g. MySQL 5.5.10) and your browser make and version (e.g. Firefox 23) if reporting a JavaScript or template issue. It would be great if you could also report the make and version of the server's operating system, web server software and the PHP integration method (module, CGI, FastCGI, PHP-FPM) if you know that information. Please remember to give clear, step-by-step information to help developers reproduce the issue. Don't be afraid to include annotated screenshots if that makes it easier to illustrate your point. Remember, the easier it is to reproduce an issue, the faster it gets fixed.

If you are an extension developer, try devoting a few hours of your time every week to review open issues and test the patches for the pending ones. Tackling an issue every week takes an average of 30 minutes of your time and helps improve millions of sites.

In the end of the day, the secret of Joomla’s success is all of us Joomla users and developers. We make Joomla rock!

All photos in this article are © Viktor Vogel from his Joomla Bug Cleanup Sprint - Manchester photo album .



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