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Web Programming Weeks at THM

Web Programming Weeks at THM

Every year in August the Institute for Information Sciences located at the Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen in Gießen, Germany organises the Web Programming Weeks. The Web Programming Weeks are also known as WPW and lasts two weeks. The aim of the WPW is to give students practical experience working on real-life issues and at the same time help out the Joomla! project.


Joomla THM

This year was my third year as a mentor at the WPW but it was already the ninth year it was held as it started back in 2008. Originally known as the Joomla Programming Weeks it was the brainchild of Mr. Kneisel, a lecturer at THM but taken over by Dennis Priefer in 2010. Dennis gave it structure and raised it like it's own with the help of Wolf Rost and James Antrim. Next year the program will see it's 10th year anniversary. A great milestone.

The structure of the WPW is broken down into two parts. The first part is the Pizza, Bugs and Fun (PBF) event and the second part is the coding event. The reason for the PBF is to get the students familiar with the tools used in the Joomla infrastructure. At the same time to get a chance to test proposed fixes, start writing their first fixes and get an idea of how the Joomla code is structured. Pizza is a great reward for a day of bug fixing and testing ;) The PBF lasts for 2 days, after that the coding starts.

The coding event is broken down into several projects. The students are grouped into smaller groups of 3 or 4 students and each group gets a task assigned. The tasks are prepared by the mentors before the WPW starts and are in general features requested by the Joomla community. At the end of the coding event, the students will present their findings.

This year we had a particularly successful pull request that I want to highlight, the extension compatibility checker by Kevin, Samuel and David. This is a Joomla 3.9 feature which informs users whether or not the extensions you have installed are compatible with Joomla 4. This allows you to make an informed decision whether or not you should update or take other action. The way the check is done if an extension is available for Joomla 4 is by calling the update server of the specific extension and check in the update manifest if Joomla 4 is supported. After the students proposed the PR, the community stepped in, tested and provided feedback. At the end of the second week, the PR was in a good shape and could be merged. A feature that millions of users will see and I sure appreciate because they can make an informed decision about updating a site or not. Towards the future, this will be an important staple in the upgrade process in Joomla.

We also have Lukas who didn't work on a specific feature but had more the experience of a regular work in the community. Testing proposed pull requests and finding new issues for which he provided pull requests. Working on new features as well for which he is requesting your input on the Categories View Discussion.

Finally, I want to thank all the students for their commitment during the WPW, the THM for having me and looking forward to next year. See our tweets of this year.


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