Why I contribute to Joomla - Olivier Buisard
Olivier Buisard is a man of many talents who loves code.
He entered the Joomla world as an extension developer, and then got involved in developing the Joomla core, where he continues to help the community with his knowledge. Today he tells us how he managed to contribute and how he combines the two activities.
Thank you for participating in this interview! Could you tell us a little about your extension(s)?
I am honored to be!
I have been proposing a few extensions I had created for some clients and decided to make them available to the community. As those extensions started to get packed with functionality, I started to offer ‘pro’ versions for a fee.
My first popular extension was jQuery Easy a few years back, but today Latest News Enhanced and Trombinoscope Contacts are the most popular.
So what came first for you: contributing to Joomla or developing extensions? Could you take us through your Joomla journey?
I started using Joomla and created extensions for the sites I was designing.
At first, I did not even think of contributing, I only knew the project from a user’s perspective and proposing code for Joomla seemed millions of years away.
As I got familiar with the code, I started helping users, beyond my extensions. I went through the forums, and followed the project leaders on social networks.
I eventually found issues in the core and would contact developers close to the project on forums, explaining the issues I had found. I did not feel at my place proposing code to the project.
All that changed when I became Release Manager. I got more confident about my ability to help. The first Pull Requests on GitHub felt a bit painful, suddenly so many people could comment, propose variations, code changes…, it was a bit overwhelming. But I got used to the process and now I no longer have any fear of doing so. It feels even really familiar now.
Why did you start contributing to Joomla?
To propose solutions for issues discovered or features discussed with users through JUGs.
You have been a member in several Joomla Teams. What are you doing at the moment?
I have been taking a (small) break from Joomla over the Holidays after my contribution as Release Manager. I needed some time for myself, to focus on family and my business. When being a member of a team, you feel like giving 100%, working for a project like Joomla can easily become a passion. I am still working on projects like the Guided Tours and will come back to one of the Joomla teams soon.
What team will you join next?
I can’t say much yet, nothing is official at this time, but I want to contribute and help side projects, some that could become core features and others that could be proposed as official extensions.
In your opinion, how does Joomla benefit from extension developers contributing?
The functionality of a website cannot depend on the Joomla core alone. Additional extensions are necessary and this ecosystem helps users create outstanding websites.
I can only speak from personal experience, but I do think extension developers, through the feedback they get from people using their extensions, can help identify features that need more work, potential issues or shortcomings. Sometimes a solution proposed by a third party developer or business can become part of the core. An example I have in mind was the inclusion of custom fields.
Would you advise other extension developers to contribute as well? Why (not)?
YES! I cannot believe I have waited so long… To be honest, after being so close to the Joomla project, I have a much better understanding of the inner works of such a project (the code, but also the teams…). And I became a better coder for Joomla. It also helped in discovering and meeting other developers, who I would never have met. This has been and still is a learning experience for me. So if you want to better code and understand Joomla, contribute!