Joomla World Conference 2017
I was given the opportunity from both Joomla.org and Rutgers to attend the Joomla World Conference in Rome, Italy for 2017. Here are some of my thoughts about it, and photos, of course!
Joomla World Conference - 2017
Italy, The Italian Bridge
First of all, I must thank the entire team at OSM for considering and granting me the scholarship for JWC2017. I have been grateful to give so much to the community over the years, and it felt so good to be recognized. I can only hope that I can continue to help the Joomla community in the future.
The event had 3 main themes to it that I would like to focus on...Theme number 1 is the social / friendship effect that the joomla community has on me and so many others. Theme number 2 is the extensive knowledge of Joomla that was shared at the conference and how we can make Joomla better with action. Theme number 3 includes the other topics that were covered at the conference just a little outside of the joomla technology, but with this knowledge will help us all to become better Joomlers and joomla developers.
Friendship and community. Arriving for the first social event Thursday night, I was greeted by Joomlers that I have known from way back about 10 years ago. They are just as friendly now as then. We had our first chance to not focus on ‘what do you do’, but ‘who are you’, ‘what makes you smile’, and ‘what do you love’? I had the opportunity to talk to others about kids, and quickly learned that the ‘challenge’ of boy toddlers is the same in Bulgaria as in the United States. No matter where you are from, your heart still wants to do the best you can for your family. At each social event and each meal, I made sure to sit with different Joomlers, and especially those that I never met. It is so freeing to see an empty seat, take it, and get to know the person next to you, no matter who they are and where they are from.
In between some of the sessions I took the chance to speak with our many sponsors for the event. But we didn’t just talk about their software, we talked about where we hope Joomla and Joomla events can be in the future, and what can we do to change things for the better. I lump these discussions into the community, because one of the key advantages of joomla is not just the software itself, but the chance for great developers to make a living off of creating great extensions which takes joomla to the ‘next level’.
At some dinners I got to discuss politics, and points of view of America from other parts of the world. In what other forum could I freely discuss items, that in the United States, could be considered controversial. But at a Joomla event, we instantly put aside our differences, and usually focus towards a common goal.
I even had the chance to have a quiet shabbat dinner with some Israeli members, as we had kiddush and broke bread together, I was able to welcome the shabbat in a spiritual way. Again, where else would I have had that opportunity with other developers?
So what did I learn? Where to begin. Each speaker on Joomla was better than the next. Some key concepts that excited me were server side ‘stuff’, from the team at Plesk. The discussion on Security and speeding up your website, was so, so helpful to me and my clients. Then seeing Plesk first hand, gave me more ideas on how we can ‘do things better’. Then some tools that were presented such as Easy Layout which I look forward to trying soon.
The session about how to make Joomla Accessible from the JA team, included very insightful information for all to know. In the United States, organizations are being sued because their sites are not 100% accessible. So now it is even more important that Joomla takes accessibility very, very seriously. In addition we discussed the importance of Joomla Developers of extensions need to be on board with accessibility standards as well. In fact, I hope in a short period of time, included in the JED listing will be a ‘requirement’ of if the extension is joomla accessible or not. This way we can decide immediately if it is a tool we want to use. Although I understand this can always change, if I know the ‘proof’ as to how an extension is accessible, it is less work for me in the long run.
I also had the opportunity to take the Joomla Administrator Certification Exam, and I passed the exam! Just sitting for the 1.5 hours, I felt so super ‘joomla focused’. It was a challenging exam, and I feel very grateful to have passed it. The questions were detailed, and in order to pass, you have to have a significant knowledge of the joomla Administrator and how to ‘think’ in the ‘joomla world’. I look forward to encouraging others to also take the exam.
How to make Joomla better? I participated in an action session for several hours with other Joomla User Group leaders, and those thinking of starting a JUG. I take for granted the purpose of a JUG, since I have been a JUG leader since 2006, as one of the earliest JUGs for Joomla. But others are not so focused on even building a JUG. So initially we had to figure out, what are the advantages of having a JUG in your local community. These advantages will eventually be posted on the Joomla.org website for all to view, and explore. Our next situation was to figure out how to provide resources for other JUGs from presentation ideas, speaker suggestions, and how to keep your JUG running and effective. The world changes regularly, some of us have more virtual meetings than in person meetings. Others just run Joomla events such as joomla day events. We were very lucky to be able to have several hours together discussing back and forth various ideas. In what other situation could we ever have done that together? We came out with specific action items and tasks, I look forward to helping out and building the JUG groups in the future.
So what did I learn ‘outside of Joomla’? First of all the keynotes each day were all engaging and exciting to listen to, thank you for your selection! Robert Jacobi started us off with some excitement of what to look forward to and what the Joomla project is ultimately about, and in numbers that proved his points well. Vitaly Friedman gave me some very exciting ideas on how to enrich my templates with new responsive website design techniques, that I never thought of! I spoke with him at length during one of the social sessions, and he was very impressed with our tight joomla community and he learned some things about our software as well! Our trip of the Roman Holiday with Chiara Aliotta was both fun and educational. Comparing Joomla to Rome gave us all some insight to how Italians view their beautiful community. Unfortunately I had to miss Yves Hoppe’s discussion, but I’m sure it was also insightful. Saturday night our ‘physical participatory session’ with Duke gave us yet another opportunity on getting to know each other. Our ‘projects’ especially of building a bridge out of pasta, got us all out of our element and brought us to the next level.
To close out, so much to discuss, so much to share, and so much more to be excited about with the Joomla Project. Thank you again to all of those in the ‘purple shirts’, that worked so hard to put together an event that met all of my needs, and I’m sure also met the needs of the 350 joomlers that attended. Also thanks again to the board members, and team leaders of the various teams that have dedicated so much time towards the joomla project. Lastly thanks to the presenters and sponsors that completed the event, and without all of you this could not have happened.
Till my next joomla event...see you all soon!