So there's this guy named Joe - it's not Average Joe, Joe is really his name, though it might be Joseph instead. Joe had a great idea in his mind and that's the idea that we can help each other out in the Joomla community, even if we are helpless with coding. The keyword is: JFeedback.

 What defines open source?

Joomla is open source and we all know it: We take the first word and combine it with the second word, as if it was one word. If you take a closer look the word open (adjective) actually describes the word source (subject). The word source refers to the programming code that gives us Joomla. Instead of that programming code being closed, so it is open. So actually open is what defines the CMS as a whole. If we would say open CMS or open software or open community, people would still get the point. If people would say free CMS, things get confusing - sorry for bringing up that point.

So a lot of things can be open, without the actual need to be technical. The Joomla community has proven that over the years. There have been great numbers of people that were involved in the Joomla project - translators, event organizers, forum moderators - without knowing that much PHP and without actually being able to improve the Joomla codebase itself. It proves that the Joomla project is even that open that it is able to embrace people beyond the topic of source code.

Open business?

For Yireo, we have written down a couple of key points that defines the entity of Yireo (whatever that means): Our Yireo Manifest. The first key point is that open source is the reason for Yireo to exist. The second key point is that what we do with source code, we also try to do it with business: Call it an open business. We believe that businesses can work together in an open way too, without annoying things like competition, NDAs and hiding your business processes. Being open is fun. Being open allows you to build a better business - open to competitors, open to customers, open to partners.

This all sounds beautiful. But it is hard to make it practical. This is where Joe comes in. He came up with a simple concept, fit for the Joomla community: Provide your competitors or partners or friends or whoever is part of the Joomla community with feedback to help them along with their own project and/or business. This way the community can be greater than just a bunch of volunteers plus a bunch of competing companies. It can be an open community.


I've not talked about this with Joe, and I'm not sure if he agrees with my interpretation of this, but here it goes: Everyone in the community should be able to help everyone. When you are on the website of some extension, and you spot a spelling mistake, point it out to the extension developer. If you spot a bug (and possibly fix it yourself), send it back to the developer - even when the extension is commercial. (Remember the word open? It was not about money, it was about being open.) If you think an extension could be improved, make sure to send your feature suggestions. If you spot a language string that is wrong, mention it. But it's not only extension developers that should be helped. Why not help your collegue webdesigner as well? Why not give suggestions to your hoster? Or the owner of a Joomla site you come across? Everybody can benefit and should benefit.

How to reach out to that person? Well, Joe prefers Twitter and mail - I think that's fine. Social media is perfect to guarantee this way of open communication, while mail can be used for the more advanced things. For free extensions, GitHub repositories are the preferred way of handling things (and if a free extension is not on GitHub yet, send that developer #jfeedback on trying out GitHub!). GitHub also allows for Pull Requests and Issues. Without doubt, there are many more ways for #jfeedback: Facebook, Glip, Slack. Whatever will make your message come across. And of course, make sure you are not simply dumping your own ideas on the other person - it should actually be helpful to the other.

So: Give your feedback on Joomla issues when you spot them, using the hash tag #jfeedback and praise Joe for this simple concept (#praisejoeforjfeedback).

Some notes

This might sound like an inspirational talk for something new. It's not: The open way of communication that I mention above has been part of the Joomla community for years. But it is also nice if somebody remembers us all that the open nature of the Joomla community is what made most of us fans of Joomla. Thanks for that, Joe.

Some people have suggested the Twitter tag #jpeerreview. That tag is deprecated. Use #jfeedback instead.

Posted on September 18, 2015

About the author

Author Jisse Reitsma

Jisse Reitsma is the founder of Yireo, extension developer, developer trainer and 3x Magento Master. His passion is for technology and open source. And he loves talking as well.

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