As this is my initial public blog post I’d like to say “Hello and it’s nice to meet you!” I’m David Hurley and in case you’ve not seen the previous posts, I am the Community Development Manager for Joomla. I’ve worked with Joomla since before it was Joomla and have had opportunity to continue to develop in Joomla for many years. If you are interested in more of my bio, you can check out the official appointment post below (or ask me). But for now I’d like to move on to the good stuff. Over the last few days, I’ve had the opportunity to hear from a couple of great people wondering a bit more about what my role involves and what I’ve been able to work on so far. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to provide a status report of sorts regarding how things are progressing, what’s been accomplished, and how excited I am about the future. 

Reviewing the goals

In order to remind anyone interested of what was discussed previously, I want to first reiterate what my original job description defined as my five key areas of focus.  

  1. Keep up with current development activity in the Production Working Groups
  2. Help keep the communications channels open among developers and the community.
  3. Be a single point of contact for new prospective code contributors.
  4. Conduct active outreach to the third-party development community
  5. Coordinate with Google Summer of Code and other student outreach programs to encourage the recruitment of student volunteers into the Joomla community.

The full post of the job description can be found here,

My official appointment post, again outlined the key points and more and perhaps provided clarification regarding the position.

One thing I think which is very important to mention and make sure we all agree on is simply this - we are all learning. Joomla is learning. The community is learning. Together we are defining those things we trust will make Joomla bigger, better, and stronger. And because we are learning we have to make sure roles can adapt to meet changes and can adapt as our knowledge grows. Clearly the role of a Community Development Manager is one of these learning experiences. And it’s one that I absolutely love being able to work in and develop. 

What's been done so far

Below I’ve listed the areas where I’ve been focusing on in the past few months and how I’ve been (hopefully) working towards the original job description and far, far beyond.

  • Following “all” mailing list discussions/threads, Google+, Facebook, twitter, and Skype chats. (#1)
  • Attended and spoke at JoomlaDay India (#4)
  • New 3.0 developer site near completion (#2, #4, #5, Community Involvement)
  • Planned update to GSoC form process (#5)
  • Wrote Proposed Joomla! CMS Roadmap (#1, #2, #4)
  • Helped JCM with several magazine launches (Community Involvement)
  • Written an ongoing monthly highly detailed series on Joomla! 3 development for a dev. tutorial (#2, #4)
  • Wrote article on LESS and its use in Joomla! (Community Involvement)
  • Wrote Proposed Roadmap for new Joomla! Tracker (#1, #4)
  • Co-organized first ever JoomlaDay NC (#4)
  • Assisted with Joomla Bug Squad (#2, #3, #4)
  • Began laying the groundwork for a new ideas site and structure (#2, #4)
  • Assisted with code in the tags feature for 3.1 (#2, #4)
  • Participated in discussions for possible projects for GSoC (#5)
  • Scheduled to speak at JoomlaDay Boston, JoomlaDay France, JoomlaDay Netherlands, JoomlaDay Switzerland, JoomlaDay Germany, JoomlaDay Guatemala, JoomlaDay Bosnia, and others (#2, #3, #4)
  • Scheduled to attend at J and Beyond, CMS Expo, and others (#3, #4)
  • Continually correspond with new developers in person, on Skype, email and others (#2)
  • Recruited new magazine authors, bug squad testers, and designers (#2, #3, #4)
  • Wrote and am finalising to propose an RFC process for Joomla! (#2, #4)

As you look through this list, you may find that some of the original points are not as directly addressed as others. I don’t want you to think I am neglecting them in any way. Here’s how I see things. Before I can dig too deeply into some of these areas I believe there is value in looking at the large picture and making sure we have a clear organized focus for Joomla as a whole. I have worked heavily with both the community and the leadership teams listening to their ideas and their goals...and as a result have worked to organize some large-scale items.

Forming a plan

Once we have a roadmap of what we want to accomplish (knowing this will change with time), then we can begin the process of digging into the details of how to accomplish those goals. Digging into the details means organizing and standardizing working groups which focus on the ideas and goals listed on the roadmap; defining tasks in those working groups to accomplish those goals; assigning tasks to developers in the working groups; seeing the code contributed, the task completed, the goal achieved, and the roadmap fulfilled! See my vision? It’s pretty exciting and definitely one that keeps me going.

As I focused on these large-scale items I have heard from many friends about various areas where there were concerns about organization, structure, and methods employed. I believe the new tracker roadmap, which I developed in coordination with others, makes great progress in addressing a number of those issues and helping to respond to those concerns. And that’s just one area where I believe progress has been made. There are certainly others.

As a result of many of my conversations, interactions and observations I firmly believe in the immense value of the role of a full-time Development Manager for Joomla. Having an individual working full-time to coordinate the efforts of so many individual volunteers is critical to our success and it serves to provide a sense of focus, purpose, and a general feeling of a coordinated effort being made. I think multiple part-time positions (while distributing the workload) would not allow the potential, coordinated, focused attention it could and should receive. As you browse the list above I am sure you can tell I am not spending the 20 hours originally allotted (see the original post). In an average week, I am easily spending well over 40 hours (One week I found I spent 74 hours on Joomla). Obviously it’s not feasible to believe anyone could continue to contribute at that level in a volunteer role. But again, this is a learning process and we’re all finding out what will work best. We can’t formulate a plan unless we have a good grasp of what we want to accomplish. I’ve seen the start of a great plan being formed regarding this topic and hope to see it shared soon with the community at large. 

Looking ahead

Now that so much of the groundwork has been laid and so many different large-scale items have been focused on and work done, I have more opportunity to begin looking into more detail at particular aspects of things and how to improve even more. I am the first to admit I don’t know everything there is to know and I love to listen. If you have ideas, I want to hear them. While we sometimes have differing opinions about certain aspects of how Joomla is handled, I am convinced we all maintain a singular focus - the continued long-term success of Joomla. I like to focus on relationships, because when the dust settles, the relationships are what matter. I’ve already been able to meet so many amazing people (and so many more to come still) and I have been able to hear so many great things, ideas, and dreams. I consider it a great honor to fill the role I do, not only in Joomla, and in the future of Joomla, but also in all the various aspects of Joomla that matter to each of you. 

Get in touch

If anyone is interested in more detail about any of the various ideas I’ve mentioned or would like links to particular docs (if they exist) please don’t hesitate to email me,  or post a message in the associated forum discussion, and I will be more than happy to point you to their location. Finally, I think we would all agree that while these plans are great, roadmaps are important, and structure/organization help everyone feel more comfortable - ultimately we need involvement, we need action, we need you.  I cannot stress enough, I want to hear from you, and even more importantly I want to get you involved. Together we build the future of Joomla.