Joomla 4 Interview Series: Allon Moritz, New Media Manager Team Leader
The Joomla 4 Interview Series brings this month Allon Moritz, the New Media Manager Team Lead. We got to know a little about him and what to expect when managing media in the upcoming Joomla 4.
Joomla Community Magazine: Allon, tell us a little about yourself. What is your professional background?
Allon Moritz: After finishing university in 2003 I started to work on Java projects. I did build Eclipse RCP applications and tools for other programming languages. Around 2005, it was my first time where I messed around with PHP as I had to modify the in-house Eclipse build environment. After some travelling, I started to work for a Swiss security company where we built a PHP based vulnerability management solution. It was my entrance into the PHP community. In my other life, I spend a lot of time off the beaten track with my family or friends, doing snowboarding, hiking or biking. Just to be out in nature.
JCM: When did you start contributing to Joomla?
AM: In 2007 I needed a website and a flatmate introduced Joomla to me. It was flexible and because of my coding skills, I could easily extend it. Then, I published my first Joomla component in the JED, which was a Google calendar integration. The project grew and in 2015 I did found the Digital Peak GmbH, which specialises in Joomla extension development. In the same year, I started to actively contribute to the core by providing bug fixes and new features like custom fields.
JCM: Is this the first time you lead a team in the Joomla Project?
AM: The New Media Manager team is my first official one. As we did custom fields in Joomla 3.7 we were not really an official team, I was the main driver behind this functionality so I would say that I did lead that small team too.
JCM: Can you tell us about some of the new features in the new media manager?
AM: I don’t know where to start as we did build it from the ground up. The biggest change is definitely the new clean interface which is very reactive when you browse your media folder and files. Another highlight is the image editing functionality. The whole concept is plugin based, means extension developers can build their own image manipulation plugins. Out of the box, the core comes with cropping, resizing and rotating plugins. In a Google Summer of Code project, we extended the backend part of the media manager with cloud support. It is possible to provide media files from cloud storage providers like Dropbox or Google Drive again through plugins. Besides that, we added a lot of small things like drag and drop upload and a rewritten media form field. Best would probably be when you check out our presentation from JAB17 or from JoomlaDay Germany (in German).
JCM: Besides the new features, what are the main benefits in the new media manager for both the CMS and users?
AM: Surprisingly I got a lot of feedback, that for agencies the media manager was a reason not to use Joomla for their clients. For sure there were other reasons too but it is an important part of a CMS and it should offer a convenient way to handle the media files for the end user. A goal of the New Media manager is to offer tools for basic tasks on everyday work with the CMS. The CMS itself benefits from the extensibility. As said before, extension devs can hook into various endpoints and offer new features within the NMM. It increases the value of the CMS.
JCM: The new media manager can be improved by using third-party extensions?
AM: Yes. Extension devs can write plugins for image manipulation, cloud storage support or server-side media files processing.
JCM: Where users and extension developers should go when they want to test the new media manager? How can they give feedback to the team?
AM: Development happens on Github in the media manager repository. If users are comfortable downloading Joomla from there, then you can get the very latest features, out of the oven. If you want to use prebuilt package, then they can use a nightly build of Joomla 4 from here. This package does not contain the newest code changes as we merge the changes from our repository into the Joomla 4 branch from time to time only. If you have an idea, you can open a new issue on our tracker on GitHub. Or if you want to provide some code, open a pull request. This is our backlog. A good way to get in touch with the team is our Public Media Manager Glip channel.
JCM: What kind of experience are you getting from leading Media Manager Team?
AM: I learned a lot and made new friendship with people around the world. Most of the time it is fun but not always and it requires a lot of my personal time, especially when we started the project. It is totally different then when you work in a paid work environment as we are all volunteers. It is interesting to see how people do find a balance between private life, work and Joomla when they work in a Joomla team with a mission. I have to say that I’m lucky that very kind fellow Joomlers joined the team and I do enjoy every minute with them. At the end of the day it is fantastic to see how many people want to make Joomla a better place.