Because we are all responsible!
Joomla is an open-source content management system with a living community (his heart) and an enormous ecosystem. The sheer number of available extensions and templates (most free) benefits developers, webmasters and everyday users alike. But like any other ecosystem, Joomla is also fragile and needs to be protected if we want to keep it alive.
Recently, I've been informed that a famous Joomla extensions and templates provider had decided to stop his business. This is bad news for Joomla, and end-users and site builders like me because having less choice is never a good option. So that avoid it does not happen again, I've thought about what I could do to help the Joomla ecosystem. And I invite you to do the same because we are all responsible!
The process of enhancing a website with extensions with a few clicks is something common nowadays, like second nature. If you're a frequent user of our awesome content management system, it's easy to take all of this for granted. But it's not. Keep in mind that we are lucky, very lucky to be able to do it.
What's often missing is the act of sharing some love with Joomla extensions and templates providers. Many of us don't take this time. I don't do it. But, by paying it forward, we can positively impact the people and products that help make our websites and our client's websites better.
Because it's never unuseful to remind, here are some simple ways to say "thank you" to take care of our beloved Joomla and its ecosystem.
Please choose one or a few but do it ;)
What is The Potential Impact?
The Joomla developer community is highly dependent on happy users. Whether they are newbies sharing their first extension or established veterans (no offences, Dudes), a simple act of gratitude from us can change their day.
Imagine a recently launched extension or a new template. It can be challenging to gain traction in a mature market. How can a Joomla product find the growth required to stick around for the long term?
Solo developers and small agencies can't necessarily afford to pay for ads. That makes word-of-mouth from users especially valuable and all the more necessary. Each shout-out could mean another handful of users who come on board. And over time, that can add up to something significant.
Even more significant players can benefit. Momentum is often fleeting and can lead a product to languish. In our very competitive environment, falling behind could mean a slow death for the product and the developer's business. Positive reviews can be the difference, so your favorite extension remains actively developed and supported.
Now that we've understood the potential impact of paying it forward let's look at some ways to make it happen.
Let's Send a "Thank You" Message
Most of the time, extension and template developers don't hear from users unless something's wrong. That makes sense because people tend to go about their daily lives when things are working well. It's not until a problem arises that we start to take notice.
Let's think about that for a moment. As a developer, you might start to doubt your work and feel a bit underappreciated if you only hear negative critics and bad stuff. It could deflate your enthusiasm for sharing your work, and even eventually, you may throw in the towel.
A straightforward way to change this is by writing a quick "thank you" message. Contact the developer of an extension you use and let them know that you enjoy their product. Point out how it made your website better, any particular features that you enjoyed and the documentation if you needed it.
It doesn't have to go into great depth – even a few sentences will get your point across. But think about the positive impact this simple kind of action can have on someone's day. It could be the affirmation they are helpful and need to keep moving forward.
Let's Go Pro and/or Make a Donation
The Joomla ecosystem comprises few companies, but a very significant portion of this ecosystem is powered by solo developers or small teams (like me!). Both need time to create, test, develop and share their extensions and templates. And time is...
All these developers often make a lot of sacrifices to release their products out there, to maintain and improve them. There's the time spent writing code and the documentation, answering users and for marketing. And the burden is huge for free extensions or templates.
Providing financial support to the author of an extension you use on your Joomla website won't change your way of life but can mean a lot. Even a small amount of money shows your gratitude and may help and reward for the time spent on the project.
On solo developers websites providing 100% free products, you might see a call-out asking for donations. For the price of a beer or a pizza, you have a fully functional extension installed on your website and without any time limitation. If you have the means, dropping a few dollars into their account is a grand gesture of gratitude.
Otherwise, it could be a wise option to upgrade to the "pro" version of the extension if it's available. You'll likely gain access to more features and dedicated technical support. Even better is that you'll be supporting the developer's work and helping the Joomla ecosystem. This will help them sustain the extension into the future, which benefits all the community.
Let's Leave a Constructive Review
People pay more attention to reviews more than you imagine. Whether they're buying a new vacuum cleaner or looking for a helpful Joomla SEO extension, the feedbacks of other users/buyers can significantly influence their decision.
Reviews mainly help in an ecosystem like Joomla. How, for example, can you tell which Joomla extension is worth your time? Positive reviews are one way to filter out the best of the best. Don't forget that if the posted reviews from other users help you, your reviews will help future users.
Thus, if you've had a good experience with an extension and its developer, take a few moments and write an honest review. Point out your project goals and how the product helped you achieve them. And, if there were any shortcomings, it's OK to mention them as well. A constructive review is helpful for future improvements.
You can leave your reviews in the official Joomla Extensions Directory. Here you have a place for leaving your feedback on each extension. Fail that, the extension developer's website is also a possibility.
Let's Spread the Joomla Love on Social Media
Social media is a great place to sing praises and showing your love for your favorite Joomla extensions or templates. You can instantly reach an extensive network of like-minded people who may be looking for such recommendations. Thus, sharing some love, there would not be so unuseful.
Again, you don't have to go into great detail. A few words about why you like the product is more than enough. A personal note shared with your network worths any ads.
In addition, it's a good practice to mention the developers in your tweets or your posts. Like a real social experience! They'll receive a notification, which allows them to easily find your feedback and even jump into the conversation with you.
Let's Support the Developers Who Support Us
If you're a Joomla user, think about what those extensions and templates have meant to you over the years. Have they helped you to serve your clients? Have they played a role in powering your own business? It would be fair to send the liftback.
Maybe you haven't thought about it, but the amount of money and time you earned (and saved) because of these extensions can be very significant over the years. That's an important point, and it should not be taken lightly. We are all fortunate to have these tools available.
Finally, it's worth making an effort to recommend a product you use. You're helping the Joomla community and beyond by sharing your personal experience that might benefit others. Plus, you're giving the author some love. It's a win-win situation for everyone.
If you agree with this article, send a message right now to a developer you like, post a review on the JED, share this article to your network and spread the Joomla love around you. And no matter your position at Joomla, if you love Joomla, do it again tomorrow. And again.
Because we are all responsible!
Pics credits: pixabay.com
Good thoughts and I also encourage 3pds developers to have different contact options. Example engage with potential and real customers on their site by forum is nice so there is a dialogue by commitments, show changelogs etc.
Ask you self if you are doing this Joomla extension(s) for yourself, as a hobby or a real business approach?
Understand sale, customer support and marketing is as important as the coding itself but that something that 99% of devs underestimate unfortunately.
Thanks for your kind comment.
Yes, you're absolutly right but I would also mention that coding is a full time job and marketing is also a full time job. Like you and me, devs can't be full time everywhere
However, it's very important to improve our skills, no matter we are dev, integrator, webdesigner or Joomla evangelist.
I've been saying for years that reviews on the JED (whether good or bad) help third-party developers improve their products. It's unfortunate that many (most?) third-party developers never get a toe-hold on the market simply because people download a product, use it (or don't use it) and never write about their experiences with it.
If the JED only acts as a one-way conduit—click here, download and install—but users never write back then other potential customers don't have much information to just these extensions by.
I agree that a handful of testimonials that one reads on the JED are fabricated. For instance, some extensions (costing a lot of money to purchase) have attracted dozens of favourable reviews while the majority of extensions that cost nothing to obtain have never received a single favourable review. Ultimately this one-sided (and contestable) system of reviews leads to third-party developers abandoning their products or abandoning the J! ecosystem entirely.
If we want to tap into the wealth of experience among our third-party extension developer community then users should also acknowledge their contribution. One way to acknowledge the work of third-party developers is to use the JED review system. It's not a perfect system (even experienced users have indicated that they have problems with it) but it's about the best system available at the moment.
As you say, Daniel, a simple "thank you" can make a world of difference.
I was a JED team member over 6 years. It was my first Joomla volunteering experience and I'll never forget the great people I've meet in this team. The job they do on a daily basis is just amazing.
JED is very important in the Joomla structure and everyone would love to see this site more than perfect. The review system is incredibly complex, in a backend view. But for users, reviews have to be as simple as possible. Nothing is simple and nothing is perfect in this world.
It's almost impossible to create a safe (without cheat) and perfect system for reviews on JED. For now, and as you said very wisely Michael, it's about the best system available at the moment. So, let's use it to share our love and show our gratitude to the developers we use their extensions.
Thank you / Merci