Well, I've just returned from Joomla Day New England 2012 feeling rejuvinated and inspired.  Joomla is thriving; currently, Joomla is the 2nd most used Content Management System in the world and is quicky approaching 30 million downloads.  This is pretty amazing since it is completely volunteer based in its operations.  Other CMS systems like Wordpress and Drupal are corporately held meaning their budget is much greater and their direction determined by a concentrated group of paid professionals.  Joomla on the other hand is completely volunteer.  This proves that good things can grow from a community effort and I encourage all of you to take part in the Joomla community by becoming more active contributing members.

The group of people at this years conference were filled with enthusiasm, knowledge, and a willingness to grow and expand our already thriving community.  I met a number of new, wonderful people who were generous in sharing their knowledge in a friendly and supportive dialogue.  Now really, where do you find that in today's business world?  Here's a picture of some of the attendees that gathered this year.

Joomla Day New England Group Photo

I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you some interesting information about the Joomla Project and it's direction since you are all working with the application.

Paul Orwig has recently become the president of Open Source Matters (this is the legal, PR, trademark part of Joomla).  He presented an illuminating keynote introduction about Joomla to kick off the conference.  Some of his most inspiring remarks surrounded the nature of Joomla and how it works as a community driven effort.  Paul OrwigWhat does that really mean?  Well, in essence, every piece of code that is written, every forum answer, front-end template design, event and meeting is created and maintained by a volunteer base.  The more each of us become involved in contributing to the Joomla community, whether it be by simply asking questions on the forum and following up with a viable solution or contributing your time and energy by promoting a Joomla Day event, writing code or pitching in with education, the more successful Joomla becomes as a globally accessible content management system.  Paul has some forward thinking ideas about how Joomla can morph into a more cohesive group that achieves projected goals more fluidly and I look forward to not only seeing those implemented, but also contributing in ways that I can.  Paul's vision for the future of Joomla can be summed up in his proposed revision of the mission statement from:

Our mission is to develop a flexible platform for online publishing and collaboration

to his dream for Joomla which is:

For us to show what can be achieved when a diverse group of passionate volunteer contributors from all over the world are fully empowered and connected for the purpose of continually innovating, supporting, and sharing our community powered software.

Thanks Paul and we look forward to seeing what great work you'll be doing over the coming months.  To become more involved, travel over to Joomla.org and setup an account.  Start by checking out the forums, resources, and community pages.  To keep abreast of what' going on each month, you can sign up to receive the Joomla Magazine.  Make sure to GET INVOLVED!

As for other news, I presented a talk on Commercial Templates which included the providers: Joomlashack, JoomlArt and Rocket Theme.  If you're interested in learning more about these providers, Jeremy Wilken recorded a video of the talk and I'll post it here once I get a copy of it.  I created three demo sites which I'll keep online for the next couple of months.  For this presentation, I cloned one site into three different installs and then installed a template from each of the providers.  I then configured it so the content would be featured.  Here are the websites:

Blazes from JoomlArt

Momentum from Rocket Theme

Joy from Joomlashack

In short, I can say that each of these template providers has written a successful, professional application that allows you to install a template (and in some cases a plugin) to quickly give a visually integrated appearance to your website.  While this is handy, the learning curve for each requires patience because of the different approach that the template providers take when setting up the configuration panel.  I found that Joomlashack, JoomlArt, and Rocket Theme each have a very unique administrative panel where you can make alterations, adjustments and customizations. 

Thanks for reading!