J And Beyond: taking part in the most important Joomla! community gathering
The SiteGround conferences journey continues in full swing and after CMS Expo, we headed to Germany to attend J And Beyond. You would wonder what’s so special about this one – yet another conference that SiteGround sponsors, attends and then writes about in this blog. Well, for anyone who uses Joomla and cares about its future, J and Beyond is by far the most important event of the year for the community. As we dearly care about Joomla, given that we host more than 80,000 customers who use that CMS, we couldn’t really miss that event.
J and Beyond not only gathered together more than 200 developers, site builders, implementers and designers from over 40 countries, but also brought in one place all the members of the Joomla leadership teams and OpenSourceMatters board to talk and decide its future. So, my colleagues and I had the chance to mix with the Joomla “rock stars” for an awesome three-day event of great talks, inspiring presentations, tons of networking, and a lot of fun (and beer!).
There were more than 80 presentations along the three days and we tried to attend as many as possible while still manning our booth. There was a good mix of business/marketing/SEO, community, development and design lectures. Below I’ve tried to outline the highlights of the conference and summarize what’s new and important about Joomla.
Leadership changes expected
The Joomla Community has started talks on changing its leadership structure to make it more efficient and responsive to the needs of the community. At this conference, the current leadership teams were discussing a proposal for a new structure and procedural changes to make the actions of individual contributors and groups more timely and coherent. They came up with a set of improvement recommendations and after further discussions a final change decision is expected to be made at the first World Joomla Conference in San Jose this November.
User interface improvements in Joomla 3.0
The other big thing is the new user interface coming in Joomla 3.0. The whole Joomla administrator interface will be redesigned using Twitter Bootstrap with the goal of improving the look and feel of the Joomla administrator and overall user experience. We’ve heard customers complain that the Joomla backend is not that easy to work with, so we are quite thrilled about this one. In the end of the day, styling your Joomla website should become really easy. You can find a good description of the planned Joomla user interface changes here.
J!OSCAR stands for “Joomla Open Source Creative and Artistic Recognition” and is a fun ceremony taking place at each J And Beyond event and aims at recognizing the talents in the Joomla community. What makes these awards even more special this year is that I was invited to be part of the international J!OSCARS jury. The jury had two tasks: 1) to create a shortlist of the nominees in each “Best of” category and 2) select the winners in the “Personal Contribution” and “Innovation” categories. While the “Best of” winners were chosen by the community from our shortlist, it was we – the jury members, who selected the winners in the Personal Contribution category (award given to Ryan Ozimek, former OSM president) and Innovation category (award given to the Joomla Platform). It was a great honor for me to be part of this process!
It’s all about the people & fun
As I have said on multiple occasions, an event is never good if it isn’t fun. And what makes an event fun and pleasant to attend are the people there. For us, J and Beyond was a great event. We made a lot of new friends, caught up with many people we met at previous conferences, and of course – played Zombie darts! If you’re following our conferences updates on this blog, you probably know about our in-house Zombie darts game, which as it seems is getting quite popular with every new event that we attend. If Zombie darts doesn’t ring a bell, check out this post to learn more about it.
Finally, when you’re in Germany, you end up drinking a lot of beer, especially on the last day of the event when you know you don’t have to wake up early on the next day for sessions and booth duties. So this brilliant J And Beyond event was closed in a brilliant way with a lot of beer and fun till a very early morning by the brave Joomla Drinking Team, of which I happened to become part! I am not sure if being part of a drinking team is something I should brag about, but for the sake of being transparent and open to our readers, I think I should share that with you! Otherwise, you wouldn’t feel the spirit of the event, right? And you all should by now know that at SiteGround we firmly believe in the “work & fun” idea!
Words are for sure not always enough to describe the spirit of an event, so I encourage you to go and check out the pictures on our Facebook page.
The SiteGround events journey continues further so I’m now going to get us ready for the next show! Stay tuned to learn which one it is!
The SG events ninja