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Leadership Blog



Tue

15

Feb

2011

Joomla! Information soon in Many Languages!
Written by Peter Martin   
Tuesday, 15 February 2011 23:56

Most people are aware that Joomla is an international community and consists of much more than the English-only Joomla.org family of sites.  Many non-English countries have their own language-specific resources such as localized websites, documentation and forums.  So how do we bring internationalization to the main Joomla.org sites?

How can non-English community members find local Joomla resources?
Currently, by using a (local) search engine.

How does the current Joomla.org family of sites engage international non-English community members?

The only current option for the main information on the Joomla.org family of sites is to utilize an online translation tool such as Google Translate.  However, there are language-specific forums on forum.joomla.org

Possible Improvement - Local Language Information Pages
In June of 2010 I participated in the JoomStew radio show along with fellow guests Sander Potjer and Radek Suski titled “Measuring Community”, a discussion around a chapter in Jono Bacon’s book, The Art of Community.

During this interesting show, I was able to discuss localization with Sander.  Sander is very active in the Dutch community (joomlacommunity.eu) and pointed out that the connection between the joomla.org sites and the local non-English community sites needs improvement.  When I asked what he thought would be a way to accomplish that, he referred me to another international website that displays a small notice based on the language detected in your browser settings pointing you to information in your own language.

The Joomla.org sites have always been unintentionally English-centric.  To increase discovery of the many non-English Joomla communities, we started an initiative to compile international information pages which would provide a gateway to these local communities and some translated “About Joomla” information.  To accomplish that we compiled a short English page with the most important resources and put it on the docs.joomla.org website.  After a call for volunteers to start developing these pages, the response was amazing - the main document has already been translated to nearly 30 different languages/countries!  Thanks to everyone who contributed so far!

For the next phase, it’s now time to make the international pages available on the Joomla.org site.  We hope to have more information on this phase soon.

Meanwhile, if the information in your language has not been translated yet at http://docs.joomla.org/Joomla_info_page and you are willing to help out, please contact Peter Martin via the forum: pe7er. Don't forget to include the ISO tags for your language/country (en-GB for British English). Thanks!

 

Sat

05

Feb

2011

Showcase Reflections
Written by Ron Severdia   
Saturday, 05 February 2011 20:28

As we creep up to the second anniversary of the Joomla Site Showcase in April, I'd like to share some of the experiences myself and the team has had. The current team consists of:

Lee Cher Yeong (Malaysia, the developer of Mosets Tree)
Amanda Warren-Gonzales (US)
Pablo Yamamoto (Argentina)
Mike Hamanaka (US)
Sébastien Lapoux (France)
Tarik Assagai (US)
 
Past members have included Matt Lipscomb, Carson Pierce, and Jonathan Lackey. Everyone has done a fantastic job of managing the showcase and making it what it is today.
 
The Site Showcase was created to do exactly that—to showcase how great Joomla is. I found that when I was talking to clients about using Joomla, they wanted to see examples of websites in their vertical that were successful using Joomla. In some sectors, especially the enterprise, companies are still getting used to the idea of using an open source CMS for their needs. This enabled me to show them specific examples and I felt sure that many others were in the same boat. Hence the Site Showcase was born in April 2009.
 
Sometimes people ask, why does it take so long to publish a site? Well, go through a similar process as the Joomla Extensions Directory. We check each entry against our guidelines, which includes making sure the site isn't offensive or violating the trademark. It's really obvious when somebody just wants some SEO traffic for their site when they submit it. These sites are half-finished, broken, minor changes to the default template, tricky redirects, tons of Google AdSense, etc. These sites obviously don't showcase the best Joomla has to offer so they are always rejected. With over 2200 sites so far, around 100 sites each month are processed by the team (into 112 categories).
 
On that note, it's amazing how few actually read the Site Showcase guidelines. Every day a web design/development shop submits their website, even though it explicitly states that the Joomla Resource Directory is the place for those. 
 
Some people have misunderstood the concept of Site of the Month as a contest or a number of other things. The Site of the Month is simply a site that the Showcase Team really likes and we feel it should highlighted for that particular month. If you're on the team and you build websites, you're automatically disqualified from being featured. The process consists of the team coming together around the end of the month and sharing their top URLs. We decide what's the best showcase for Joomla itself (it helps if it's a high-profile project) and that's the Site of the Month for that month. The team's schedules vary since we're all over so we try to published it on the first of every month (or thereabouts).
 
We also monitor the showcase for comments and clone voting. This happens fairly regularly when a site owner want's to bump up their ratings so they create multiple accounts to cast 5-star ratings on their listing. We have pretty sophisticated tools to detect this (like the JED) so we have to remove those and make sure nobody is trying to "game the system." 
 
Occasionally, a site was Joomla when it was submitted and approved, but over time it has changed to WordPress, Drupal or other platform. We try to keep an eye on those changes as well.
 
Unfortunately, we get very few case studies from people who submit their websites. We'd really like to get more of these because they helps users learn about how the site was put together, what extensions were used, and other helpful tidbits.
 
What's the plan for the future? We hope to raise the bar on the websites included. We know there are a lot of great sites out there that aren't in the showcase and we want to include those. We hope to get faster with site processing. We hope to someday overtake the JED in number of listings. We hope to continue giving users and potential users more and more great reasons to use Joomla...and much more!
 

Fri

04

Feb

2011

Why Developers Should Upgrade Sooner Than Later
Written by Ron Severdia   
Friday, 04 February 2011 21:29

There has been some debate and a little confusion (and some misinformation) about whether or not extension developers should upgrade their extensions to Joomla 1.6. The short answer is "yes, except if you have an extension that is now ruled obsolete by the new functionality."

 
With the release of Joomla 1.6, the Production Leadership Team embarks on time-based release cycles. In the past, features would be worked on in the development trunk and when complete, the release was declared "ready." So a new version of Joomla is never released until all the planned features are set and stable. This is the reason why both Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 1.6 each took three years to complete. This results in a long lag time for third-party developers to update their extensions to work with three years worth of core changes. That can be a daunting task for even the smallest of extensions.
 
Time-based release cycles are a totally new approach for Joomla. The way it works is there's a vision/theme set for the next release around six months in advance. For the July 2011 release, the theme is "Rediscover Content."
 
This vision is what the Production Leadership Team has outlined as top priorities for the release and comes from community ideas in the Joomla Idea Pool (or the Joomla Feature Tracker) in accordance with what the development team determines as in line with the vision. That doesn't mean that all the goals listed will make it into the next release or that nothing except those goals will be included, but it provides a focused path for the team and those in the community who want to help contribute. 
 
Once a new version is released, there's a period of maintenance and bug fixes. Then the teams go into the next development phase of working on the next version. During this phase, features are worked on and stable branches are merged into the code trunk. Anyone who wants a code branch to work in can request one and it's their responsibility to ensure what they're working on works with the latest stable code trunk. This improves the likelihood it will get merged into the core and means that developers can work on anything they want all year round, regardless of release timing. Once it's ready, it can go into the trunk which prevents the "coding frenzy" that happens in the period leading up to a release (instead of a "stabilization frenzy"). Then there's a merging phase around 6 weeks before the release date where the code is stabilized up until the final date.
 
All this ensures the trunk is constantly stable and a release theoretically can happen on any given day. So every six months to the day, there will be a Joomla release. The contents of that release (which will obviously vary from release to release) will determine the numbering structure. So we have to refer to future releases by their dates, not numbers (therefore, that doesn't mean Joomla 1.7 will be coming out in July 2011, or ever). 
 
The changes from Joomla 1.5 to 1.6 are huge (in my humble opinion it should really be called Joomla 2.0) mainly because of the change in ACL and the new content structure—it's been three years in the making. But going forward, the changes needed in extensions to make them compatible with upcoming releases should be much smaller due to the shorter release cycle. This means this is the last time extension developers should have to "bite the bullet" in the time needed to update their extensions.
 
That also means extension developers will need to switch to a more progressive development process—doing smaller updates and incremental development work instead of a huge chunk of time every few years when a new version is released. In the past, it was a stretch to have an extension compatible with two different versions of Joomla. With this new model, an extension may be compatible with five or six versions due to the shorter cycle. Extension developers will be able to better plan their own development effort and costs (subscription-based sales will likely increase under this model since users won't take the tact that they'll only buy when there's a new version, but instead will keep a continuous subscription). Some of this also applies to site builders and administrators. The incremental changes from version to version will make life much easier for those folks upgrading from release to release (whether a long-term release or not). 
 
So if you're a Joomla extension developer, it actually does make practical and business sense to upgrade to Joomla 1.6 since roughly the same amount of work will be needed to upgrade to the July 2011 version of Joomla. The work to upgrade to the July release will likely be trivial, you'll be one of the first group of extensions on the cutting edge, and your customers will certainly be happier.
 
 
 

Thu

20

Jan

2011

The Path Forward: Migration and the Future
Written by Ian MacLennan   
Thursday, 20 January 2011 04:09

 So we're now about one week into the stable cycle for Joomla! 1.6 and it seems that the biggest question that is on people's minds is upgrading/migration. There is a great deal of interest from people who want to keep their existing sites, but who also want to try out the latest and greatest features that Joomla! 1.6 has to offer.

When the Production Leadership Team met in San Francisco last September, the release of Joomla! 1.6 was one of the big topics we had to grapple with.  We had made good progress already, but there was still a good amount of work to be done.

Given the situation we found ourselves in, together with the fact that there was already a community member (Matias Aguirre) who was working on a migration tool, we decided that it was better to support the effort already in progress than to spend time duplicating what was already in progress.

So, the bottom line is this:

  • Migration to Joomla! 1.6 - We recommend people interested in migrating to use Matias Aguirre's jUpgrade extension.  Testing and feedback from the community will play an important role in perfecting this extension.
  • Migration to the July 2011 release - We are planning to implement a site importer in this release that will allow you to import your data from either Joomla! 1.5 or Joomla! 1.6.
  • As per the Development Strategy, we intend to manage change much more carefully moving forward. This, combined with our shortened release cycle means that upgrades and migrations will go a lot smoother. 
  • Joomla! 1.5 is a Long Term Support (LTS) release. This means that it will be supported for approximately 15 more months. That makes the estimated date for End of Life of Joomla! 1.5 to be April 11, 2012.
  • The next LTS release will take place in January of 2012.

Joomla! 1.6 not only marks the introduction of major features that people have been waiting for (granular access control, unlimited category depth), but also the shift to a new development strategy that will enable us to release continual updates on a regular basis while making the upgrade process as painless as possible.

 

Thu

13

Jan

2011

Joomla 1.6 Presented at CodeMash
Written by Matt Lipscomb   
Thursday, 13 January 2011 18:53

 

Watch Live here!

 

 


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