Ok, so there’s been some questions about Joomla 3.4, the next big release for Joomla. I’m quite excited to be able to be a part of this release and we have some great things planned. Timelines are always the first thing people want to know; followed closely with what features will be available. In this particular release there are some additional new terms being used which may be helpful to define. Three quick topics, let’s discuss each in order.
1. Timeline for 3.4
Timelines are one of the trickiest and most intimidating aspects of any project regardless of the features included. In fact, I would imagine most of us whether in professional business or in our volunteer roles would tend to step carefully when discussing specific dates for things to be accomplished. Open source projects are no different. In fact, open source may in some ways be more difficult. I would suggest when working in volunteer environments where people give of their time and talents as their schedules permit it becomes quite hard to effectively plan releases. Life comes up. People have other obligations. There is nothing wrong with that and of course to an extent those unexpected moments can be planned for. But never completely.
Mix the fact that we’re working in a purely volunteer organization with the fact that we’re dealing with code…and you have a recipe for trouble. Bug fixing can be an incredibly awkward task to plan for as sometimes the answer comes instantly and sometimes we’ll lose days (and nights) on a single issue.
Given these difficulties of planning releases in an open source project we must still create some general goals and agendas. We want to strive to accomplish things in a timely manner and in accordance to some semblance of a timeline. As you can see with 3.4 this timeline has been stretched. This is again due to the above issues, but I am quite confident that we’ve now reached resolution on a few key issues and we’ll be able to move things along quickly…all we need now is YOU.
2. Features of 3.4
The features outlined to be included in 3.4 have been outlined in detail previously here. We’ve even created a slideshare which will give you a nice, easy slide by slide breakdown of what we want to accomplish with 3.4.
The goal with 3.4 is simple - "Beginning the Transition” with Joomla 3.4 we are going to begin the process of creating a lightweight and powerful application which can be adapted easily for a variety of use cases. If you have questions about any of the proposed features the mailing list is a great place to get feedback from others.
The purpose of this article is right here. Joomla needs you! If you’re a coder, if you’re a tester, we need your help. We have made some great progress on our feature list for 3.4 but we’re desperately in need of your help. We have specific tasks to be accomplished and if you’re interested in getting involved this is one of the best times I’ve personally ever seen with Joomla. You can get started today. The plan is set, the tasks are defined. All we need is you. Want to be a part? Ask me, or any member of the PLT how you can get started. We look forward to seeing you involved!
3. New Role, Old Responsibilities
So, if you’ve been following Joomla for a while you’ve seen a new term surface recently, both in the recent Joomla Magazine article and in the development blog. I’m referring specifically to the term “release leader.” The Production Leadership Team has historically been in charge of each release of Joomla and managing the various steps involved with actually getting the release out the door. And if you have been involved with Joomla then I’m sure the name, Michael Babker carries a lot of familiarity.
Michael has worked tirelessly on the PLT as the key figure responsible for the releases of the last several versions of Joomla. The PLT was incredibly grateful for the unselfish, selfless attitude he displayed as he worked tirelessly (many times on less than 3 hours a sleep on the week of a release). We all recognized the enormity of his contributions and as a whole decided it would be beneficial to the project to introduce the concept of a release leader which would be able to alternate on each release to help keep the tasks from overwhelming a single individual.
The release leader works to encourage contributions for a particular release, drive attention to the patches needing to be tested, and ensuring that the features identified by Joomla on the roadmap for that particular release are addressed by volunteers eager to get involved. Michael handled this role perfectly with the 3.2 and 3.3 releases and after some discussion I elected to serve in this capacity for the 3.4 release. The PLT have also selected a release leader for 3.5 as well. We hope as this continues with each release we will be able to see even more volunteers serve in this capacity. It truly is a fantastic opportunity.
A personal note.
Some have seen my involvement in Joomla as I have had the great privilege of volunteering my time in a variety of areas of the project. My opportunity as a release leader will dovetail nicely with my continuing role as Community Dev. Manager as my goal continues to be focusing on getting volunteers involved in the project, and serving as an enabler to help many people experience the joys of contributing to a fantastic open source project.
I can’t begin to express my appreciation for the many, many supporters and encouragers who volunteer for Joomla and especially as we work together to create a support network for each other. It’s because we work together, with passion, with compassion, and with bravery to create the wonderful product Joomla.
I’m blessed to be able to serve in several roles working together as a single part of the greater good. The truth though is simple. It’s not any one person, it’s not an individual, it is a community, a family with a single focus, a central goal…a heart. This is what makes Joomla great, and this is what makes each volunteer equally important.
If you’re not volunteering already, please come talk to me. I’d love to get you connected and help you find a way in which you can experience the tremendous joy found within the Joomla family. We need you.