A Tale of Two Cookies
I had the opportunity to join two recent JoomlaDays: JoomlaDay New England on March 31, and JoomlaDagen Nederland (JoomlaDay Netherlands) on April 21 and 22. I had a wonderful time at both of these events, and I would like to share some about my experiences.
JoomlaDay New England: Brattelboro, Vermont | March 31
On Friday evening, there was a really informative template workshop led by Barb Ackemann and Matt Thomas. They showed us how to create and edit a Joomla 2.5 template from scratch. One of the things I appreciated the most about this session is that toward the end of this workshop, Barb and Matt made a decision to split up the overall group into a smaller group made up of those who wanted to really focus on the basics, and another smaller group made up of those who wanted to dig deeper. They showed a lot of flexibilty in their desire to help as many people as they could, as effectively as they could.
On Saturday, a group of around 100 joined for a full day of learning, sharing, and connecting about Joomla. I got to start things off by giving a keynote speech, and then I had a great time and learned a lot in sessions led by Hagen Graf about mobile developments for Joomla, Mike Carson about how to submit more effective proposals, Justin Herrin with a good comparison of some different CCKs, and Christine Graf about the need to belong. At the end of the day there was an open question and answer session, and during that session Andy Tarr ended up getting to answer lots of questions about what's being planned for Joomla 3.0.
I got to see some people again that I'd previously met, and I got to make a lot of new friends too. I saw three community members huddled over a napkin at dinner, writing down ideas about how to improve Joomla templates. I heard about a participant who paid the fee for a local student to join this event who otherwise couldn't afford to. I had two friends surprise me with a gift of stroopwafels, which allowed me to share some of them with the rest of the group and get a tasty jammy dodger in return. I met a person who didn't work with Joomla but who had a lot of great thoughts to share about collaboration and innovation. I got to be part of a really well planned event made possible through a lot of hard work by many dedicated volunteers.
JoomlaDagen Nederland: Zeist, Netherlands | April 21-22
Before this event started, I learned about the strong network of Joomla User Groups that exist in the Netherlands. Many members of those JUGs also came to this event, some on bicycles. I saw examples of what is possible when enthusiastic volunteers come together for a common purpose, both in a beautiful printed Joomla Community Magazine, and also in the result of the team that organized this successful two day event that was planned down to the last detail.
I got to start things off on Saturday with a keynote speech for the group of over 300 participants. Most of the other sessions were given in Dutch, and since my current grasp of the Dutch language is limited to "stroopwafels" (I got some pronunciation lessons while I was there) and "Bedankt voor de bloemen", I found myself going to as many English spoken sessions as I could find. Luckily there were a number of these, so I got to learn a lot about advanced backups and site security from Nicholas Dionysopoulos, do's and don'ts of new technologies from Angie Radtke, the Joomla release strategy and the Joomla Bug Squad and the Joomla 3.0 roadmap from Andy Tarr, How to Teach Joomla and Hidden Joomla Secrets from Brian Teeman, and all about what's coming in Joomla V from Paul Delbar (I can't wait for LARI!). I led a session about Joomla governance and there were lots of great questions and ideas shared about improving our project's leadership structure.
A few people shared that I really need to add some pictures to my keynote presentations, and one person shared that he liked that my presentation didn't have any pictures. I got to stay up really late talking to old and new friends. I got to listen to a longtime contributor's ideas for how to improve the development process for both the Platform and the CMS, and others shared ideas with me about Joomla's past and future and what our focus needs to be. I talked with other leadership team members about some of the challenges we face and how we can try to improve. I heard a new friend's thoughts about the measure of success being to work for the sake of doing what you love and to do your best. In the same day I first had a song sung to me by a solo guitarist, and then later the whole group sung a happy birthday song to me in Dutch. I received the generous offer of development support for the project. I was given gifts of stroopwafels, ketchup for french fries, and some new Joomla templates. I got to share some of my favorite cookies that I brought from my home in Colorado. I met a young boy who asked his father to let him come to this event as a birthday present, and I met a man who builds Joomla sites and takes the money he gets from that work to support a charity in another part of the world.
Part of what makes Joomla special
Joomla is not just about great open source software, it's also about all the amazingly bright, talented and friendly people who join together to code it, test it, extend it, support it, and use it. So much of our work is done remotely from one another, and so that makes it extra important for us to take advantage of opportunities to come together face to face where we can listen and speak, discuss and debate, and laugh and reflect.
I am so proud to be a member of our community, and to be able to learn and share and connect at JoomlaDay events. If you haven't ever had the opportunity to participate in a JoomlaDay, I hope you will try to join one this year. And after you do, I hope you will share about your experience here in the Joomla Community Magazine. And after that, maybe you will be inspired to help plan and coordinate a JoomlaDay, join a Joomla User Group in your area, or form one if one doesn't exist!