Meet a Joomler - Niels Braczek
I guess most contributors to the code of Joomla have heard of Niels. Personally, I (only) met him at a Joomla Conference in Spain and he striked me as a passionate man. I loved reading his answers on my questions, I hope you do too.
Hi Niels! Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Niels Braczek. I started with software development in the mid-70s as a student. For 40 years now I have been self-employed as a developer and consultant. I live in the far north of Germany near the Danish border, am married, have two children and two grandchildren.
How did you get involved with Joomla and the Joomla Community?
In the early 2000s, like many others, I started to develop my own CMS. I chose Mambo as a basis, because Mambo was a technically very visionary system, but it didn't quite meet my needs. When Joomla! appeared in 2005 as a fork of Mambo, I immediately abandoned my project and joined Joomla! Since then I have been contributing to this open source project in many ways. Today I am one of the Release Managers for Joomla 5, responsible for the Joomla Framework and head of the Software Architecture and Strategy Team.
What do you do for a day job, and if this includes Joomla, how?
As I mentioned, I have been doing software development for 40 years. I like to use Joomla as a basis because it provides me with ready-made solutions for standard tasks such as user administration, rights management or multilingualism and I can then concentrate fully on the actual tasks, which usually come from sensitive areas such as medical applications or FinTech.
Do you use Joomla in other ways?
The projects I work on today are mostly long-term, so I hardly find the time to create individual websites. Nevertheless, I encourage the people and organizations in my environment who have or need a website to implement this with Joomla and offer them my help. But that still results in 3-4 sites a year that I am involved in.
Are you involved in the Joomla community, apart from in your official position?
The next JUG is 200 km away; we are not densely enough populated here in the far north to get a JUG going (tried and failed). But fortunately there are virtual JUGs for us now. I also have daily contact with other Joomers on Mattermost and attend every Joomla event I can get to in order to meet my Joomla family.
How did Joomla change your life?
Has Joomla changed my life? Yes, I think it has. I remember that I used to loathe events with lots of people. Today I feel sad when I can't come to a JoomlaDay. The Joomla community has opened up access to people for me, the shy basement kid. Thanks for that!
What did you learn and / or gain personally from being a Joomla Volunteer?
No matter how old you get, you shouldn't stop learning. I myself tend towards perfectionism and love clear structures. You will never be able to achieve both in a project like Joomla, which is entirely community-driven, to an extent that really satisfies me. The most important thing I learn from this (and the process is still ongoing) is: good enough is enough. This is in no way meant in a negative way. It ultimately helps no one if the code is perfect from an academic point of view, but too abstract for our users to still understand and adapt.
Is there any direction you would like to see Joomla go?
The product Joomla is on a good path. Joomla 4 has significantly improved the architecture and made it easier to develop special applications. Joomla 5 will continue to follow this path. Joomla as a project needs to be managed professionally in my opinion. We take months to make decisions that would take days in a company. As a result, we don't take the time necessary to think decisions through really well. The mistakes that result are difficult - if not impossible - to correct. I wish we had something like the PHP Foundation for the PHP project for Joomla.
Do you have a memorable Joomla-moment?
Some time ago, I was able to persuade my son to accompany me to a JoomlaDay. Until then, he only knew me in my home environment, where I am constantly sitting in front of the computer in my "basement office on the first floor" or interacting with a handful of neighbors. There he saw his father in a completely different world and in a completely new light. That had a lasting influence on our relationship.