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Quick questions Jan Pavelka

Swedish version here
Jan Pavelka has developed many extensions for Joomla. He has three pages on the JED and all extensions are "non-commercial".

Why did you choose to develop for Joomla?

I didn't understand Mambo, Joomla! 1.0, Drupal, Wordpress, but I still have been searching some CMS where I can make my code and not lose my time with things like: login, database accessing, managing sites and articles, etc. One day I found Joomla! 1.5 Beta demo site and it was exactly what I have looking for, so I learnt the framework and have discovered, there is great system for developing and implementing extensions.

Why there are so many Phoca extensions?

Some of my friend needed an easy gallery, so I have made it in Joomla! (because excited about the Joomla! 1.5 Beta demo site) and I don't know why, maybe because I don't like that some work chould be lost, I have made it for public available.

But I needed a download component to make this gallery downloadable for public and found no existing extension that could fit my needs, so I created a download component. Then I found that I needed to write some documentation but thought I need to display sections and categories of my documentation other way then it is displayed in core Joomla, so documentation component was made.

Then someone needed guestbook, I needed better PDF component, etc. etc. So extension is developed by me in case someone (including me) needs it and (this is very important) if it is interesting to create it and it don't exist yet (because I hate duplicity).

And if there is something done, why not to make it available for public, why to hide it somewhere so it will be lost? If you think pragmatic, it has advantages for both sites. Users get software which can help them while building their sites and you as developer get feedback, bug reporting, feature requests, etc. etc. If you are using your own extensions like I do, it is great if other users helps you will testing, fixing bugs, making feature requests, etc.

What will we see from Phoca during this year?

This year (same for previous year) you will see mostly me overwriting all Phoca extensions to the new Joomla! framework versions. First to Joomla! 1.6 and second to Joomla! 1.7 if this will be available. Phoca extensions are written directly for Joomla! framework so if Joomla! framework change, Phoca will change too. It seems like there is no so much changes between 1.6 and 1.5. But inside, there are a lot of changes and no backward compatibility.

If you run some extension with sime kind of bridge, there is no problem to make it ready for 1.6 but if you are using the Joomla! framework and the extension is part of the core CMS, then it is really hard to make it ready to the new system. This is why a lot of planned features were not implemented yet. So the plan is overwriting, overwriting and overwriting and then, I hope, I will find time to finish requested features in current extensions. No new extension planned yet because of time issues :-(.

How can people support Phoca?

Great question, there are a lots of ways to support the development. Most appreciated is helping other people in the forum with answering their posts. It will make my freetime more free and then I can spend it with adding new features to the Phoca extensions. 

Great is when getting feedback about bugs or possible problems because it is not possible for one person to debug all features in different combinations. Translation and making documentation is great chance for users who want to help but have no coding knowledges. As I have written earlier: "Adding new features or improving free extensions depends in fact on activity of the users in community. If community will not help, then the developer cannot do anything because the truth is, superman does not exist." So every help is much appreciated.

Which extension are you most proud to have created?

Hmmm, this is a really hard question, didn't thought about it yet. :-( I was proud e.g. of Phoca Font, because at the time of its creation it was not usual to use external fonts on the website. Images were used instead of text (in menus) and I didn't like it, so I was very happy to have some tool to display different fonts on the website without replacing the text with image. The same as I like using CSS3 in templates which saves a lot of extra work.


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