Quick questions Michael Babker
I am 24 years old and currently serve in the United States Army as an Information Technology Specialist. On top of my job, I am a part-time college student, and I've been teaching myself programming. Since I started using Joomla! In February 2010, I've been consistently trying to learn better programming techniques and help others. For the better part of 2010 and right after the Joomla! 1.6 release, I was fairly active in the official Joomla! Forums trying to help others with basic issues, issues that I found interesting and wanted to better understand a way to fix, or questions about topics I had some familiarity with. There's a lot of developers who came into Joomla! and are thoroughly familiar with the 1.5 framework; I think I'm unique in that I learned the 1.6 framework first.
You are a big contributor for the Joomla! Bug Squad - often, regular Joomla users is not aware of all work that is performed "behind the scene", can you tell us what you do?
Since the first 1.6 beta, I've been active with the Joomla! Bug Squad helping to troubleshoot and resolve bugs in the code. I've been directly involved in the resolution of several hundred issues either through writing the code myself to solve the issue, testing a proposed fix, or discussing methods to resolve issues. As Andrew Eddie credited in a tweet during the beta phase, one of the bigger issues I had a hand in working on was the issue of users being unable to edit content they created, which brought about the "Edit Own" permission. Although the military has drawn me away from being able to contribute as much as I'd like, as well as me now having my own code to support (which wasn't the case when I first started with the Bug Squad), I still try to test patches for existing issues, contribute fixes for existing issues, and now that we have a Feature Tracker, hopefully I can contribute to the addition of new features.
What do you think we can expect to see from Joomla within a year?
Now that the Joomla! Framework is being branched off as a separate project, I think we'll begin to see some new innovation within the community. I think we'll start to see replacements for some of the core components with alternative solutions, and perhaps full blown distributions of projects based on the Joomla! Framework. This separation alone brings great opportunity that hasn't previously existed. Also, I think it will be interesting to follow the development of Nooku Server and Molajo. Both projects are bringing new innovation into the Joomla! community, which I believe is a good thing.
How can non-coders in the community support Joomla?
There are several ways that non-coders can support the community. I wrote a blog last year about how I believe the entire Joomla! community is a part of the Joomla! Bug Squad. If you are a user of Joomla!, you can report bugs. Reporting bugs is just as important as fixing them, because without reports, the bugs cannot be fixed. Aside from bug reporting, there is the forums where users can help answer questions. We have the documentation portal which can occasionally be difficult to maintain, but can also be very helpful if the information is current. Of course, there is the magazine, where anyone is welcome to contribute articles. And lastly, I highly encourage users to leave feedback about extensions they use with the developers. A quick review on the JED lets developers know what the user thinks of their extension. If users find a component difficult to manage, developers should use this as constructive feedback to simplify their processes. I've personally communicated with a reviewer of one of my extensions about the suggestions of his review and incorporated his ideas into my core code.
Whats your personal Joomla plans for this year?
Right now, I maintain two extensions: Tweet Display Back, a module that allows users to display user or list feeds on their 1.5 or 1.6 sites; and Podcast Manager, which is a suite of extensions for Joomla! 1.6+ to allow users to manage podcast feeds off their sites. Neither of those projects will go away any time soon, although development may slow down depending on bugs or feature requests. I've been testing frequently on the Joomla! Bug and Feature Trackers in preparation for the 1.7 release scheduled for around July 10, including filling a feature request for batch copy/move processing (a feature that was left out of 1.6 and brought a lot of questions as to why). I've recently started working on a couple of small websites for friends of mine, so I've been expanding my familiarity with the various extensions available. I'm going to continue to monitor Nooku and Molajo development, and as I've done with so many other projects, will test them, try to break them, and fix what I've broken.