The Jand Beyond conference has always been a special event. Like a family event and this year was not an exception. We gathered at the Pre-Party Event organized by dashboard at Wazze Krafta on 10 Dolnych Mlynow, a place full of creativity. Walk a few blocks down and you find Perfect Dashboard. My friend Djamel, who leads a Joomla User Group calls this place "the Incubation Startups of bars". As a creative, this was the perfect place to start the three-day event.
Poland and most importantly Krakow, once the city where the King sat, was a great choice for this event as we discovered from the welcome we received from the local Joomla community. The city hosts many historical buildings including St Mary's Church, Cloth Wall and town hall tower sitting in the middle of the square. Robert, the President of JandBeyond has always done a great job organizing this event together with the newly elected team who were at the forefront to make sure that the event was on point. Alexander, the Vice President of OSM was very involved, together with his company Perfect Dashboard who were also the sponsors, we had Mike "Demo" Demopolous, OSM's Treasurer; Yves Hoppe, Department Coordinator for Programs; Rowan Hoskyns-Abrahall, Department Coordinator for Events; and Robert Jacobi the President.
Since this group was recently elected, it also presented valuable time in the evening and following the conference to get to know each other and discuss the important priorities for their departments. Different meetings were taking place in different rooms. Joomla is powered by a team of volunteers from all over the world, dedicated people who put a few hours a day to create a product that will help people at the end of the other side of their computers. Events like this bring fun and renewed strength to the people behind Joomla! and the community. The community representation was in different ways, jRunning on Saturday and Sunday, the beer evenings at the lobby of Best Western, the "going for a smoke" team at the entrance of Novotel and the "late night crew" who went to bed at 2am and woke up at 6am for breakfast.
The main takeaways from this event included ideas for maintaining the health of communities formed of contributors that put in just a couple hours a week. The topics attracting the most attention when it comes to creating a vibrant community included:
- how to "onboard" our newest contributors to make sure their first attempts to contribute to documentation or user support are a success and that first attempts to submit a Pull Request to improve the software are properly mentored and result in a successful and positive experience;
- how to communicate effectively to a diverse community that is spread across continents, time zones and languages;
- how to prevent burn-out of volunteers that have moved into critical leadership roles, especially release managers;
- how to create a culture that teaches new contributors the "right way" to contribute in a way that does not embarrass or discourages them; and
- how to build succession into the responsibilities of each leader so that fresh enthusiastic faces can rise quickly in an organization and not be discouraged by long-term leaders that have lost some of their energy.
Joomla is always in need of volunteers, hence in a "call to volunteer" one can always make a difference. Joomla is now represented by 370,000+ lines of code, made by 780+ contributors. It is used by 6.9% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 3.3% of all website, with 82,000,000+ downloads from joomla.org since February 2017. It is also home to 7,888 extensions and translated into 68 languages.
As any ecosystem, Joomla's is fragile and needs to be nurtured to sustain and grow. Through volunteers.joomla.org you can volunteer and get more information about the certification programme, certification.joomla.org.
Joomla community will be heading to Rome Italy in November for the Joomla World Conference dubbed "The Italian Bridge".
I haven't seen the movie, but I hear Italy is a home of bridges.