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Quick questions Amy Stephen

Hi Amy, can you tell us about your self and your role in the Joomla community?

I am a long time community member, having joined the community in November 2005. Professionally, I have worked in the IT industry for over 25 years having started with mainframes and IBM technologies, client server GUIs, data warehousing and Web development. Most of my experience has been in "the enterprise" environment working with software like SAP. One of the accomplishments I am most proud is having built the University of Nebraska's data warehouse, integrating data historically, organizationally, across subject-areas, for 20 years of student, budget, financial, and human resource data.

My involvement in the Joomla community has varied. Like many others, I started contributing in the forums. I was frustrated that none of my questions were answers and started noticing unanswered questions by others where I had already learned that lesson. Increasingly, I found myself getting involved and helping people. It was very satisfying and it helped me learn. I also participated in the documentation team, the Bug Squad, and worked on the Communications Team for a long time. I started All Together, As A Whole as a place for community to reconnect following the GPL talks. I am active on Twitter and easy to approach, always happy to meet new folks.

You are involved in a project named Molajo - what is this?

Molajo is an application built on the Joomla Platform. It features a rewritten MVC abstraction layer, simplified and pluggable ACL, and an Extensions Builder that makes it effortless to build custom Extensions. The focus is on the frontend developer and designer and one feature that those folks will love is the shared layouts that can be reused in Components, Modules, and Plugins. Special attention is placed on making certain useful tools like Twig can easily plugin.  A light-weight Template Framework named Construct makes it easy to build data driven content for sites built today. And, of course, all HTML5 and mobile ready.

At this time, it appears that using the 11.2 release of the Joomla Platform will be the best approach. That is expected on July 25 and the first Alpha for Molajo will soon follow.

Some people had some issues upgrading the site with the Joomla 1.6 installer - can you describe why this problem exist?

I think there are a few problems in that area.

First of all, the size of the distribution can be a problem for some. Platforms without the zip built into PHP end up using the zip capabilities of Joomla which are *exceedingly* slow. On my iMac, an unzip and install can take over 10 minutes. What that ends up doing, of course, is creating time out situations for PHP, depending of course on what settings are in place for the host. Timeout issues will hopefully be behind us for the 1.6.5 upgrade or the 1.7 upgrade, depending on what ends up getting released. A little logic was added to reset the timer to zero within a loop that should work around timeouts.

For a very small portion of sites, there is a very serious problem. If the upgrade process fails, then a backout routine runs and ends up deleting all files on the site, with the exception of the individual files on the root. That bug has been identified recently and will likely trigger a new release for 1.6.5.

As the installer and upgrade process continues to get more and more sophisticated, reducing the duplicate code in core, and nailing these processes so that they are sturdy and dependable, will be critical.

What exciting things will Joomla users see during the rest part of 2011 and begining of 2012?

I think the nooku server release is worth looking, especially for those sites that are full featured and reliant on the plethora of 1.5 extensions. Nooku is a good solution for developers who want to serve the 1.5, 1.6, 1.7+ user base.

Our hope is that Molajo is going to appeal to those who need to build those data integrated web sites. It'll combine the ease of Joomla with the power of Drupal with a focus on custom development. We're very eager to see what folks (including ourselves) can build with it.

More developers are getting work 1.6+ ready, too, so we'll see things like K2 and other CCK tools start to enter that area.

As usual, there is a ton of innovation going on in the Joomla community and this rich array of choices benefits a wide range of interests and skill sets.

Whats your personal (Joomla) plans for this period?

Releasing Molajo and looking at opportunities for integrating the layout and templating environment of Molajo with nooku. I'll also be visiting with the Brazilian Joomla Community at the Joomla Day Brazil in early September. I plan to continue contributing, as I am able, with the Joomla Bug Squad and finishing a book project I started.

Thanks for the interview and for allowing me to share some of my ideas and plans with the community.

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