10 minutes reading time (1963 words)

Pizza Bugs And Fun 2024 Kenya


There is no better feeling than how it feels when a plan comes together after all the hard work, the passion, the research, the teambuilding and the energy. Then all culminate to the targeted objective, without even a single variation of the expected results! Hurray! That would definitely deserve a cheer! It's the exact feeling I get when I remember the first day I joined the Joomla Community as a volunteer through application. 

It was back in the year 2020. I had applied for the opportunity a year before. It's true that good things take time to perfect. After a year Patrick Jackson pinged me over LinkedIn to invite me into the Team. Through the years I've been dormant, never participating in events, never engaging in talk with the team. All the time learning and trying to figure out how things work in this wonderful community. Over the last twenty months I've had some considerable improvement, career wise and experience wise.

By the way, I'm a junior developer who started as a web designer then jumped into the world of code. I have a degree in computer science from a recognised university here in Kenya. Now, I work for Joomla as a marketer. Which is a calling. I can feel that burning from deep inside me.

I happened to land a chance to organize the Pizza Bugs And Fun (PBF), a one day Joomla event organized every six months. It used to happen only once every year but recently the event timing was tweaked to take place in both February and August. The event is a mixture of fun activities through learning code while at the same time doing troubleshooting roles to help the Joomla core team beat bugs and finally hit a perfect product.

Isn't that a junior developer's dream? Well it is. I had to think a little about this opportunity. To cut a long story short, I held PBF for the first time in my place, together with my three friends that share the same spirit. Below I will briefly talk about how the event took place here. The only venue that hosted the event was in Kenya. In fact there was another host near our location, from a neighboring country but we never got the time to engage them since PBF is a very busy type of fun activity.

So how did this all start? I will put it down in a journal-like manner. The order of occurrences prior to the event, during the event and after the event. It's the best way to express that feeling of joy.

1. Before the event

(1). December 23rd, 2023.

I ping Patrick to check on him. He has been offline for sometime and I feel we need to connect. He happens to be my mentor. He onboarded me to the team but two years down the line I feel the need to pull up and do something worthwhile. Lately I've been so idle and my career objectives seem stalling. Now that the year is ending there's a need to come up with some new year’s resolutions but I have no idea.

Patrick is very busy and simply replies by saying that he has a heavy schedule and I should help him organize PBF24. I have no idea what that entails but I have seen posts before tagged PBF.

(2). January 3rd through to January 15th.

I have a new connection: Maria Skampoura. She lives in Greece. I got a certain affection with how she communicates and I feel more comfortable opening up to her. For the first time, I realize that being in the team is not as challenging as I thought before. In fact, after engaging in several conversations and a few calls, she Introduces me to Tom who is the assistant marketing team lead. Tom decides to add me to the marketing team and Hooray! Joomla! I'm finally there. Doing marketing for a content management system is the new trajectory my career is set to.

(3). February 5th. 

While hanging in the Town Square Mattermost channel, I realize people are talking about the next PBF scheduled for February 24. I get interested and decide to evaluate whether I should consider hosting the event. It's a hybrid event, a mixture of online presence and onsite activities. There are different locations depending on the approved hosts who happen to come from different locations worldwide. There is no one hosting the event in Kenya so far. I contacted the overall event organizer Benjamin Trenkle, a very soft spoken gentleman. He approves of my location after exchanging some information including my location details.

Later in the day I contact Patrick to let him know that I have been approved to host the event, with the mindset that I can help him with the event in much more depth. He gives me a go ahead and much more information on how to go about hosting the event.

(4) February 7th-23rd.

I engage Benjamin by letting him know how I am planning to host the event in Kenya. I even go further by sharing information about what I’m lacking with regard to the event rules, since there were some strict specifications which were set and published on the PBF24 website. For example: we don’t have a projector but we do have a large smart TV set we can use. Benjamin gives me a positive response, that we can work around what is coming up as a difficulty. 

Come February 23, I am all set, having made printouts of banners on PBF24 and hung them out within my locality. There’s a PBF channel on Mattermost where the participants connect and chat. My team here has joined the channel.

I have ten confirmed guests and a few who have pledged to be there.

(5) On the day, February 24, 2024.

Eventually it’s just the four of us despite the ten who had confirmed to attend. The missing six had to cancel their attendance in the last few minutes before commencement.

Three of us gather at the hall at around 9am: Dominic, Esther and I. We have a prayer and set out the plan for the day. I have organized two halls to accommodate around twenty people but the larger hall has run out of Wi-Fi; the subscription was never made on time so the provider cut connection. Luckily PBF here isn’t going to experience the large turnout I had anticipated. So we decide to use the smaller space which has a high speed connectivity and also has better furniture facilities and a smart color display.

We log in to the video chat portal at around 10.30 hrs. We engage user Max123(Dieter Ziller) who I guess has been patiently waiting for us. He had informed me about leading some fellows in Vietnam about 10 hours before. We use the smart screen to display the video to all participants: we have no projector and camera either. However I’m sure that things would work fine. The former takes us through a welcome tutorial which served as a precursor to the actual activities of the event. My preference was to view the President's welcome video on YouTube before joining the live session but the two had to alternate due to priority preferences.

Later on, I coach my colleagues to make sure that they create a Joomla documentation account for each. I show them how to edit some mark-up; adding usernames and a lot more. Max123 had introduced me to JDOCS(Joomla documentation) markup earlier. 

I tutor the team on joining Mattermost and how to conduct themselves inside a chat collaboration tool. Now I have the  chance to see them chat with some members inside the PBF channel. Secondly we jointly help each other create GitHub accounts and follow Joomla’s repository.

Later we spend some time watching how the core team works on the issues stati and how the engagement flows on Github. 

Another pair within us go  ahead to download the Patch Tester and open the correspondent js, css e. T. C assets. We never reached the point of installing git and cloning the Joomla cms repo to deploy the patch tester. I felt that it’s not worth delving to such a scope beyond since we were all first-timers. 

We later set to open a number of the free servers provided by Joomla!. We never reach beyond the login pages in the admin panel and phpMyadmin for the database and backend. A persistent error keeps saying that username and password isn't working. So we have to resolve to work with a local installation of the WampServer to install Joomla on top. The most interesting part for the team is the organizational folder system provided by both the symphony and Joomla frameworks. They never believed such a bulky organizational architecture could bring forth a very robust web based system. We spend a few hours reading through the folders to learn the content there.

Finally after installing Joomla and creating the Joomla Documentation accounts we check the Joomla Documentation content and realize that some content is missing, as the versions come up through to the latest. We unanimously agree to contribute to the documentation if a chance comes up.

Regarding the food and beverage support program:

We took a few cups of tea before the start of the event: it was accompanied by ‘mandazi’ (snacks). We don’t take lunch on time. Around 16:00 hrs we sit down for some ‘chapati’ and stew (with green grams) and finalize with a pizza for each of us. The pizza’s are delivered a little late. Later in the evening, around 17:00 hrs, we check the free Joomla web builder at joomla.com. 

Finally after all that, we decide to keep a watch on the proceedings at GitHub, since most of my colleagues here are interested in development and patch testing. In the meantime we share some soda and sweets.

We switch off from the system at 18:00 hrs, and then competed in a trivia contest which was moderated by me. It consisted of 15 questions and each correct answer won a drink and some sweets. Esther had the most marks and took away the remaining pizza as a jackpot prize. 

It was quite a sweet sweet encounter with fellows in Austria, Germany and Usa. While most of the time was dedicated to learning and installing Joomla!, we all couldn't imagine how such an event can help us build a team, showcase our talents and more likely have fun together. Looking forward we expect to host a bigger and better event come August this year. With such an experience I feel more confident facing the marketing team and much more testing bugs on a GitHub repo.

Thanks to Joomla and Ionos!

It was quite a class of enlightenment to all Joomlers who I hosted.

2. After the event

(6) February 25th.

Benjamin sends me a message to follow up. I thank him a lot for all his commitment to seeing this event come through. He also thanks me for being such a loyal member of the community. Further he promises to link me with Anja who manages the Joomla magazine. It is the best idea ever. Featuring in a company magazine is a pleasure, privilege and uplift to my career.

Today I stand as a contributor to the marketing team and now I have written a story for the community magazine. I feel as if the whole heaven has come down for me. Such a progress within no time, such a wonderful team and such a wide range of tech resources makes me the proudest person I’ve ever been. In my opinion, on matters related to content, web based systems especially business systems, Joomla is the best way to go.



© James Gichur

Pizza has gone - Bugs and Fun remain

Comments 1

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james gichuru on Thursday, 21 March 2024 09:54

Thank you, Anja,Maria Skampoura,Benjamin Trenkle and Patrick Jackson.You are the best people I have ever seen.

Thank you, Anja,Maria Skampoura,Benjamin Trenkle and Patrick Jackson.You are the best people I have ever seen.

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