Seasons of Coding and Documentation, our own program of excellence - The Joomla Academy
Joomla has been fortunate to benefit from the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) and other events over the past few years. Often, from these projects Joomla's core features are improved, and the members of the teams that work on these features go on to become pillars of the community. But is it now time for us to think about launching our own program alongside these and bring stability to the cycle of development?
Each year, Joomla puts in for about 5 projects for the Google Summer of Code. A global, online program focused on bringing new contributors into open-source software development. Some years the answer comes back no. This doesn’t happen often, but this year was one of them and so we didn’t get any GSOC slots and we lost the momentum such events bring.
We have the mentors, we have the students wanting to do the projects, so what is stopping us from making our own event and how would it differ?
Enter stage left, The Joomla Academy, a season of work
Joomla's Seasons of Code and Documentation would be different. For a start, it has Documentation in the title, and it is not a singular yearly event but a rolling program which dovetails into our own production cycle.
We have just released Joomla 4.4 and 5.0 in October 2023; next is 5.1 in April 2023, then 5.2 in October 2024 and Joomla 5.3 in April 2025, then Joomla 5.4 and 6.0 in October 2025
So every 6 months a minor release and every 2 years a major release.
Our seasons of code would be aligned, the terms would be:
- January for 6 months - documentation,
- April for 6 months - coding,
- July for 6 months - documentation,
- October for 6 months - coding.
So the January one would concentrate on finishing the documentation from previous features and then outlining the planning the initial brief for the new features to be coded. This would be handed over to the coding students to apply for in the April coding slot.
April would be coding the features outlined and would be finished in October, to be then slotted into the Alpha release for the next Joomla that would come out in October of the following year.
The July Documentation sprint would work on finalising the documentation of the features that the April coding Student is working on and start the work on October coding that would then align with the April 2025 Alpha and so on.
So four students minimum, each working on the project for 6 months and overlapping with the start of the next student but finishing their documentation or coding just as the next one starts.
We would need to advertise and open for applicants 3 months before each of the terms begins so we can get the applicants sifted and announce the winners for the next period.
This would mean we have a constant development of documentation and coding that would sit perfectly with Joomla's cycle.
It would mean a constant feed and documentation of all features before they are released.
Who can be a “Student”
That would be for us to decide. We would advertise the places and see who applied, much like GSoC at the moment. Then, there would be some tests, and we would look at the applicant's ideas, problem-solving skills, commitment and contributions over the period of assessment. Are they a team player? Would they work well with mentors and focus on the project as laid out for them?
For most of the projects you need to be over 18, but why should there be an upper limit?
So, who would pay for such a program and why?
Hopefully, all who want to see Joomla go from strength to strength.
If we were to have 4 students a year, 2 documentation and 2 coding and we were to be in a similar range to the current programs that students can partake in, then we are looking at around $2000 per student/quarter, $8000 a year plus money for documentation and coding sprints and student travel for events.
We would like to raise this from sponsorship so that it is a self-sustaining program.
It would be in the interests of both web agencies and extension developers, hosting companies and large users of Joomla websites to sponsor such programs, as it will enhance and grow the documentation and features of Joomla.
Badges on the JED and for extension developers to proudly show on their sites seems a good way to show that an extension developer is supporting the community through this project, and a similar badge and wall of sponsors would incline users of Joomla to look favourably on such agencies and hosting companies that see fit to help the student program.
This is about driving excellence, and who would not want to be associated with such a program?
In line with the 4 seasons I would suggest a 4 colour badge system with different exposure according to the sponsor packages:
- Red: $2500
- Blue: $1000
- Green: $500
- Yellow: $150
This is sponsorship for one of the seasons, so if you were to Sponsor the January Document Student (Winter) then you could pay $150 and would be associated with that student for the full 6 months of their term, there would also be exposure in the 3 months running up to their term as we would want to get the money in before we push the programs out.
Ideally people would sign up for all 4 seasons, so a small web agency could sponsor all 4 at $150 each, total cost of the year $600 and would then get their name linked to all four students that they sponsor.
If a developer or web agency were to sponsor 4 Blue packages for the 4 seasons at $1000 each season the annual cost would be $4000. They would get both the Blue document sponsor badges and the Blue coder sponsorship badges.
Each season change we would announce all the sponsors on Joomla.org along with the colour package they paid for and the different packages would have different exposure associated with them.
What do the sponsors get?
Red, Blue, Green and Yellow would all get a mention on the Joomla.org site for that Seasons article.
They would be added to the page that lists all sponsors while their sponsorship is current.
Red, Blue, and Green would have links to their sites as well as their name and can choose where it links to.
Red and Blue would be mentioned on all the blogs that the students write about their projects which just like GSoC are published in the community part of Joomla and would have their name/logo visible when we talk to universities and other education establishments looking for students. They would also be on any publicity we push during the recruitment phase and all the way through the program.
Red sponsors would be invited to take part in an article on why they sponsored a student. There would be only one Red sponsor. They would be asked on JUGs such as Joomla London to present a session on what they do and would be seen as the main sponsor of that season's session. The feature would also be dedicated to them specifically, as well as all the other sponsors generically.
They would also get exposure when we meet with the students and universities, and of course, being so close to the program, they would be in an excellent position to take on the brightest who would, by then, have in-depth Joomla knowledge.
All around, it's a positive and self-nourishing cycle of growth, which fits in with the idea of the seasons and Joomla's own Major/Minor release cycle.
Links to site
Links to site
Links to site
Mention In Blogs
Mention In Blogs
Article on why they sponsored
When could we start?
Ideally, as soon as possible. If this plan gets the go-ahead from the board and the backing of the community, then the first student application could open in January for the April Coding Student (Spring) and then in April, we would open the applications for the first documentation student to start in July (Summer). The coding from Spring would then be ready to be added to the release cycle of Joomla 5.3 which would start in October and be released April 2025. And so the seasons roll on.
The Joomla Academy - Bringing Growth and Education
With the Academy program and in the true spirit of open source and Joomla's way of doing things, the material used to train and educate would be freely available, a growing resource to help code and document a modern cutting-edge software project used by millions on a daily basis.
If you want to become part of the Joomla Academy either as a mentor, sponsor or have ideas about what would help us achieve the funding we need then please do get in touch via the Vice President email