- Posted: June 06, 2010
Joomla User Group New England is the nicest bunch of Joomies you'd ever hope to meet. And I'm the luckiest Joomie of them all, because I get to live here and work with them!
Thank you to all of our attendees. Some of you got up at 5 AM to drive from Boston to the middle of nowhere to sit in a hellishly hot auditorium all day, but left smiling, recharged, and happy.
Thank you, as always, to Marlboro College and Marlboro College Graduate School, for the free space, the support with logistics and wireless, and the giveaways. Your constant support is a tremendous help and benefit to our group.
Thank you to our speakers for putting on such an interesting and compelling program in exchange for travel expenses and our undying gratitude!
Thank you to my dear friend Janet Hoffmann and her significant other, Jason Anyan, for lunch. I never had to worry for a minute that the food would be awesome, and both carnivores and vegetarians would be happy.
Thanks to all who sent wonderful goodie bag items: osTraining, JoomlaShack, JomSocial, Joomla Showroom, Wrox Press (thanks for the bags!), Lynda.com, RS Joomla, O'Reilly, Vermont Brewer's Festival, Prentice Hall, JoomlArt, JoomlaPlug.com, Akeeba Backup, and Packt.
But most of all, thank you to our fabulous organizers, who spent the last 6 months working so hard to get this day running smoothly and efficiently, and who can't be thanked enough.
Thank you in particular to JilMac for making sure we had good wireless and projectors that work, signs, Costco run, cleanup and the countless other ways you helped.
Thanks to Bernice Singley for registration, cleanup, and for saying things only Bernice can say.
Thanks to Elizabeth Bonney for the terrific program -- we missed you yesterday!
Thanks to Doug Patac for all of the pictures. Can't wait to see them on Flickr!
Thanks to Heidi Stanclift for putting out breakfast, helping put away food, cleanup, website updates, and bringing home 100 lbs of cow afterwards.
Thanks to Andy Tarr for cleanup duty, tent research, and picking up Joe at the airport. Love those cow ears!
Thanks to Melissa Wetherby for all of the tweets, organizing Flickr, and for helping me tease Brian.
We'll be meeting the 3rd Wednesday of the month from 5:30-7 PM, enjoying healthy and unhealthy snacks, and telling happy and sad Joomla stories at the Marlboro College Graduate School in Brattleboro, VT. Come join Joomla User Group New England anytime -- we would love to have you!
- Posted: May 11, 2010
Six beautiful Marlboro College Graduate School women attended CMS Expo, representing Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and Massachusetts. Note the terrific tattoos everyone's wearing, including the penguin. We love Joomla!
Barb Ackemann, MSIT '06 and current faculty member
Jen Kramer, ISM '01 and MSIT program director
Bernice Singley, MSIT '08
Heidi Stanclift, MSIT '08
Andy Tarr, MSIT '10 (expected)
GODZILLA PENGUIN (future Marlboro student)
Gwen Ames, MSIT '09
- Posted: April 20, 2010
Last night, the Joomla leadership announced that they were looking for request for comment on a social networking community to reside at Joomla.org.
We know it will either be called social.joomla.org or people.joomla.org. We know that it's been decided that JomSocial will run the community.
We are asked for input about whether this is something we'd use, what we want included, and how we think we'd use it.
Does anyone see a problem with that? We have the URL all picked out and the technology that will drive the site. But we're not sure HOW we would use it, or IF we would use it.
Go check out the thread, and you'll see that the major themes in the comments include:
- We debate Google Forms vs. other methods of collecting data.
- A huge debate over the merits of JomSocial. (This debate also raging on Twitter.) The debate is focused on JomSocial vs. other social networking plugins, as well as JomSocial's history as a non-GPL extension.
- A few people pointing out that a strategy might be a good thing to have first.
Once again, let me shamelessly self-promote Chapter 1 (PDF) of my book, titled "I Want a Website and I Want It Blue, How Much Will That Cost?" I strongly encourage the Joomla leadership to read this carefully and think about the problem they're trying to solve with this website. If they can't come up with answers to the questions posed in this chapter, maybe the site should not be built until they do.
As many of you know, I teach at the Marlboro College Graduate School. My students in the Master's of Science in Information Technologies program complete a master's thesis project (we call it the capstone). Many of them plan and build a website as part of that process. If one of my students proposed to create a social networking site for Joomla for their project, I wouldn't let them go forward until they could adequately answer a bunch of questions.
1. Joomla has social networking channels across the internet, both official and unofficial, including Google groups, Joomla forums, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, ICQ, and more. How do those channels integrate with other methodologies of communicating with the Joomla community? Get a scope on what these channels are and why they exist. What problems are they solving? How are they being used? Are all channels required, or could they be boiled down to fewer channels? How do these channels compete or collaborate with the social site that's envisioned? Prepare a statement for each official communication channel, stating the purpose of that channel, who has access to it, and what kind of information is communicated through it. Look for redundant, outdated, and trivial channels -- can any of the channels be eliminated or combined, so the message is more efficiently communicated to the community? How does the social networking site fit into general Joomla communications?
2. The Joomla forums have uncounted posts. People are talking to each other there. What does the social networking site offer that the forums are not currently addressing? How does one differentiate between a post in the social community or a post in the forum? Presumably the forum posts are about tech support. Does the social community compete with the forums? Does it draw attention away from them or toward them? What do you do about posts in the social community that belong on the forums? Or does it make more sense to integrate the forums into the social community? How will the difference between the forum and the social community be explained to newbies so it's easy to understand?
3. Spend some time looking over the Joomla.org family of sites. Developer.joomla.org was last updated in October 2009, when Joomla 1.6 Alpha 2 was released. The other sites are updated semi-regularly. Presumably sites are not being updated due to time constraints. So how will adding to the family of Joomla.org sites help solve that problem? How does the social networking site fit into the joomla.org site structure as a whole? Is it a simple addition to the Joomla site network, or will it take information from other areas of Joomla.org?
4. I hear a lot about not enough moderators in the forum, not enough people answering questions in the forum, not enough people helping with Joomla 1.6 development. I imagine that there will be many volunteers to help build a social networking site; there are bragging rights involved, after all! But once the site is built, who is going to be the moderators and maintainers? How do you attract and keep these volunteers?
5. The first few months of this site's life post-release will be absolutely critical, as people arrive and try out the site for the first time. Who are the people we want to attract to a social networking site? How do we keep a positive voice? What do we want to guide them to talk about? You can post a general social networking site -- and you will get general social networking outcomes. Or you can focus the site to discuss something in particular.
All Together As A Whole is a great example of how this was done. It's not just a site devoted to general social networking around Joomla (which this proposed site appears to be). ATAAW focuses on how collaboration happens to create the Joomla Magazine, user guides, and other information for the Joomla community. There are many valuable lessons to be learned from this community, its formation, and the people it attracts.
6. How does success or failure of this community get measured? What is a recovery plan if the site is deemed a failure? How does the judgement get made, who judges its success or failure, and who determines what happens next? Where is the accountability surrounding the site?
Finally, some truisms about any website project, particularly those with two-way communication.
- If you build it, they won't necessarily come.
- If you build it, sometimes they come, but "they" are not the people you anticipated.
- It's so easy to build it. There are predictable problems and solutions to building any website. But people are wholly unpredictable. Even if you guide people to contribute to the site in specific ways, they will still surprise you in other ways. Some of those surprises are good, and some are not. How do you deal with the unpleasant surprises?
Note to those debating JomSocial: I totally agree that it's a worthy debate to have, what message Joomla.org sends to the community by adopting an extension that was not previously GPL, having made such a huge deal about GPL in the extensions directory. However, I believe the debate is premature. Note all points above have little to nothing to do with technology. They are larger strategic questions that need to be answered before we can even start discussing what technology would drive such a website.
Indeed, I think that we should debate whether this site is required at all. I would argue this site is not required, needed, or desired, though I would be delighted to be convinced otherwise. The "cool" points are high, but I worry about the life of the community long-term. I worry this is another ego-driven project within the Joomla community, in which people want to develop a high-profile project they can have associated with their name, without a thought of what comes after launch.
- Posted: April 05, 2010
I am amazed at the people suddenly wanting to redesign the Joomla 1.6 administrator interface.
First of all, good for you. There's generally no controversy that Joomla's admin needs redesign. The 1.0 to 1.5 interface made some nice changes, but there's definitely more that can be done.
Second of all, you all know that Joomla 1.6 beta was due out in August 2009? And that most recently, the beta was due out in March 2010? So it's a little late to be getting on board to be "the design" for the admin interface. The decision was made long ago as to what the interface would look like, so the work you're doing now will not be incorporated in the core of Joomla 1.6.
So -- if you'd like to contribute to the Joomla 1.6 project, please go to the Official Joomla 1.6 Development page, read it thoroughly, and follow the links to resources where you can help with Joomla 1.6.
There are a lot of areas that need help -- from bug testing to development. Have fun, and thanks for your contribution!
- Posted: March 29, 2010
I have been designing and developing websites for 10 years now, but my company, 4Web Inc., has only been around for 2 years. (Prior to that, I ran a freelance company, Focused Consulting LLC.)
Back in 4Web's infancy, my colleagues attended the very first CMS Expo in May 2008. (I was at Adobe headquarters for an Adobe User Group Manager summit and could not attend.) Back then it was a Joomla conference mostly. The networking was great, though, and my colleagues got to meet a lot of people.
That lead to Bill, Sam, and I being asked to speak in December 2008, when the conference was held in Denver. That was my first Expo, and the networking was really wonderful. It was so great to meet fellow Joomla developers and those interested in Joomla. I had just released my first Lynda.com videos as well, which coincided with the conference, so it was a very exciting time.
When John and Linda Coonen, CMS Expo's organizers, asked us to come to Chicago in speak in May 2009, we didn't hesitate for a moment! This time, 4Web had a booth. I was able to give away our famous 4Web Joomla 1.5 Template Cheat Sheet card and meet even more people. As a direct result of that meeting, we got two new clients within six months that we otherwise would not have had. Both jobs were fairly substantial and interesting.
As a direct result of that May 2009 meeting, I made the connection that lead to my first book, published earlier this year.
Also as a direct result of this conference, 4Web made a connection that ultimately lead to the largest project in the company's history.
When Linda Coonen asked me to be the Joomla Track Organizer for CMS Expo 2010, I didn't hesitate a second! It's an honor to come back to CMS Expo again. I've developed quite a base of colleagues as a direct result of that meeting, plus the meeting has always paid for itself (and then some) in terms of the work that I've been able to get as a direct result of attending.
What's more, we'll have a great showing from Joomla User Group New England and the Marlboro College Graduate School. Marlboro is a Silver Sponsor for this year's conference. And as far as Joomla User Group New England goes, we'll have at least 6 of us attending -- ALL WOMEN. Five of us are either alums or wrapping up our degree at Marlboro, and two of us, Barb Ackemann and I, will be speaking in the Joomla track. So watch for the women of Northern New England, coming to school you all in Joomla!
Not attending CMS Expo yet? Worried about whether it will pay off? I couldn't say more nice things about it. Come! Enjoy! Network! We Joomies are a friendly bunch, and if you don't have anyone to hang out with, find one of the fabulous women of Joomla User Group New England -- we'd be more than happy to say hi!