4 minutes reading time (792 words)

Why I contribute to Joomla : Harald Leithner


For years, Harald Leithner has been developing Joomla extensions for his customers, but he didn't stop at just that. He's also very active in improving the core of Joomla and contributing his technical knowledge for new features and takes part in a few teams even as Leader.

But what inspired him to contribute to the development of your favourite CMS?

Thank you for participating in this interview! Could you tell us a little about your extension(s)?

Most of my extensions are custom made extensions for my customers. Starting by a simple plugin which helps the custom made template create a better user registration or prepare customfields for easier use in the template. Furthermore I have a media manager that started around Joomla 2.5 and is used in all of my customer websites. It replaces the Joomla media manager and provides me and my customers easier image, video, audio, file management. And it ends with my own shop system with all whistles and bells.

At the moment I have one free and open source extension called Jdiction which extends the Joomla core language system. It allows one on one translations for core and 3rd party extensions. This means you have one article (id) and translate this article to as many languages as you want without copying each article for each language.

I have a bunch of extensions in the pipeline for a starting point to sell them in a professional way. 

So what came first for you: contributing to Joomla or developing extensions? Could you take us through your Joomla journey?

It started back when Mambo was a thing, I searched for a new CMS that I could use (after creating my own variations of multiple CMS). WP was a blog software, Typo3 was looking really good from a developer point of view  but from a usability kind of view it wasn’t promising. So I tried Mambo and, shortly after this, Joomla. I did a handful of websites with Joomla 1.0 and later with 1.5. At some point the multi-language system Joomfish was not further developed. I started to implement my own “Joomfish” called Jdiction which works based on the same technique (replacing database queries/results). After this, requirements on graphics increased and videos also became a thing. I invented a mediamanager fitting the needs of myself and my customers (upload what you want and get a perfect prerendered result). Core or the community was not on my horizon at all. After visiting the Austrian Joomladay 2016 I got sucked up into the community spir and I’m still here.

Why did you start contributing to Joomla?

The question is why not, I took so much from Joomla. Then I thought: it’s time to give something back. I didn’t plan to be anything other than a contributor and ended up in 2 DC positions, Release Manager for 2 releases cycles and many more (in my opinion) important things.

You have been a member in several Joomla Teams. What are you doing at the moment?

At the point of writing my Release Manager term for Joomla 5.0 ends. My term as Operations DC ended last summer and I finally resigned at the end of december but am still continuing to volunteer in this matter. Elections for a new Operations DC are in progress so I hope I get replaced soon. After this I don’t have any leadership position in Joomla any more. Doesn’t mean there aren’t plans and I’m still in several teams like JSST, CMS Maintainers Team, JBS, …. Looking at my volunteer profile is easier. 

In your opinion, how does Joomla benefit from extension developers contributing?

I think it’s the other way around, extension developers benefit a lot on Joomla. (I mean without Joomla they wouldn't exist). Extension developers contributing to the Joomla core can learn a lot about how things work, how to work in a team, why things are how they are, why can’t something be changed (easily), how could their own extension be improved to work better, reliable, future proof. So Joomla benefits from extension developers because they get better.

Would you advise other extension developers to contribute as well? Why (not)?

If an extension developer wants to get better in terms of coding skills and soft skills like working together it makes perfect sense to contribute to the core and try to understand all the maybe strange looking mechanisms of people.

If an extension developer is not a team player and is not interested in working together then please stay away from the core. Everything in Joomla is about working together (that's what “jumla” means). It’s not about getting your own feature into the core. It’s about giving back to the community and helping make a great experience for everyone.


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