In 2018 we introduced 3 awards to recognize people who have contributed to the Magnolia community, and presented them at the Magnolia Developer Days. Last week I had a chance to chat with the award winners to find out what motivates them and ask about their Magnolia experiences.
Let's get right to the three awards:
The award is given to the person, partner or customer who makes a significant contribution to the Magnolia community. Contribution can be in the form of original modules (open or closed source, free or priced), contributions to the Magnolia code base, sample projects, blog posts, articles and other public media.
In 2018 the award goes to our partner INFO.nl for contributions of outstanding quality to the Magnolia Marketplace. Thank you! Check out the three useful and free-to-use modules:
I spoke with Mariusz Chruscielewski, Stef te Winkel, and Marcel Evers from INFO.nl about their contributions. Stef started working with Magnolia v4.3, over 8 years ago. INFO.nl wanted a new standard in-house CMS, they wanted something completely open, "No black box". After an extensive evaluation process, they chose Magnolia.
Topher: How did you decide to share these modules?
Mariusz: We had a few customers at the time and we wanted to easily move the code between them. So we decided - let's make one module and extract this part, and then - why not the other one, and so that's how we ended up having a few modules that were plug-and-play.
And then we had the idea, why don't we just put it on the Marketplace? Let's make something good for the community. Let's get something out of it, some presence. It was actually something we were talking about for quite a long time.
Stef: We said it a long time, but just plans. You finally came through.
Marcel: With all the customers, we had so much code that we were sharing or copying, why not create modules and make them interchangeable between them all. Then you get a standardized approach and can share it.
Stef: And sharing as such is also a part of the philosophy of our company.
Marcel: Yeah, it's what we talked about, and now we managed to achieve it. I think it works because we are using the modules ourselves, so you get the testing playground and everything.
Topher: Once you had the modules, how hard was it to share them on the Marketplace?
Marcel: it was not hard, but it was time consuming. The back and forth with the Forge and Jira, and aligning. (Editor’s note: We've improved this!)
We put it in the Marketplace, and then people start asking questions, and we didn't have time to respond right away. That's a challenge. When we are looking for modules or stuff and there is no vibrant thing going on - do you have trust in it? I think that if you start doing this, then there needs to be some focus as well, some time from the company to support these modules.
Topher: Yeah, it seems like we need to encourage the community that they could also provide fixes.
Marcel: We want to open-source the code, but we still need to clean the git history, and that's been harder than expected. That was the original idea, let's open-source it, and help each other improve it.
Topher: Any words for the Magnolia community?
Marcel: Share! Spread the love! Contribute, and make it happen together.
The award is given to the person who creates the most tickets in our Jira ticketing system.
In 2018 the award goes to Marvin Kerkhoff, in recognition of your engagement and effort to improve Magnolia. Thank you!
You might be asking yourself why we give an award to someone who is causing us so much work and headache. (Just kidding Marvin!) Of course we're not happy to learn about something not working correctly. But when that is the case, we want to know about it as soon as possible. Tickets often include helpful details such as how to reproduce the problem, hints about which code is causing the issue, or sometimes even code patches. That is why we thank the creators of tickets that were solved in every Magnolia release notes. People don't just report bugs - they suggest improvements. These help us shape the next generation of the product.
Marvin, team lead for frontend development at Arvato Systems, has been working with Magnolia for 7 years, and was the first community member to create a Vaadin-based app when Magnolia 5 was released - the Deadlink app. He started working on Community Edition projects but now enjoys bigger projects with more sophisticated use cases on Enterprise Edition.
Topher: How do you feel about winning the award?
Marvin: I was surprised. I think it might be because I contributed to this Live Copy feature. I added a lot of tickets, with bug fixes and changes.
Topher: Do you think it's a good idea for an award?
Marvin: It brings some attention to a topic that no one really thought about. Contributing an app is obvious. With the ticket award, it's not so obvious that this is something really valuable to Magnolia. I spoke with some people after getting the award and they said they usually never create tickets, they just work around the problem on their own - but never give Magnolia the feedback.
Topher: Yeah, for us it's really important to get those tickets, it helps us justify and prioritize which work to do next.
What do you think of how we handle tickets?
Marvin: You have two kinds of Jira tickets, support and community tickets. Support tickets are quite good, you get fast feedback. But then you have these community-driven tickets, yeah, you put them in which is nice, but you never get feedback. So a developer does not get the feedback that what he puts in is valuable. If our customer puts something in and gets no feedback at all, they don't like it. I've got some tickets, I think no-one ever looked at them. You feel that no-one cares.
Topher: We care!
Marvin: Yeah, I know. I think the first thing is to get feedback. That someone sees the ticket and gives you some feedback. It doesn't need to be a specific release number or commitment. You want to know that the ticket was viewed by someone.
Topher: We have to see what we can do there. (Editors note: We have started a weekly review of all new community tickets.)
So Marvin, now that we've announced the award, you're going to have a hard time winning it again next year, everyone's going to submit tickets like crazy.
Marvin: I think I will write some kind of robot which just puts in random tickets to get this award.
The award is given to a person who helps others in the Magnolia community.
In 2018 the award goes to Richard Unger, in recognition of your commitment of time and effort to help others on the Magnolia Developer Forums. Thank you!
Richard has been doing Magnolia projects for 10 years, starting with version 4.1. He was called in to do a CMS evaluation to rescue a struggling project. After an extensive year-long evaluation process, installing and testing many CMS, Magnolia came out on top. According to Richard, Magnolia has maintained the strengths that he selected it for: a good UI for editors, and a rich framework for developers - giving flexibility and making it integrate extremely well. From his experience the demand for integrations has only increased in the last 10 years.
Topher: How did it feel to get the award?
Richard: You know, I was pleased, it felt good to get the award and be recognized. It came out of the blue, I wasn't expecting that at all.
Topher: What motivates you to contribute to the forum?
Richard: I post on the list because I think Magnolia is a great product and I think keeping the community active is important for this kind of product. I think it’s good to send a few pointers to make sure beginners don't get discouraged. You see benefits if the Magnolia community is bigger. In the end, it comes back because people like info.nl produce a cool module which you can use and which saves you time.
So, it's not just that warm fuzzy feeling of helping someone (which is great) but I'm also invested in the Magnolia community personally. You know I've spent a lot of my working life, not only but mainly with your product in the last ten years. My small way to contribute is to post on the list and make sure that there's an active community around Magnolia - because it is one of the decision points in evaluations. It's something that Gartner and so on highlight, and certainly something that I include when I'm evaluating products.
Topher: Anything to share with the Magnolia Community?
Richard: Shout out to the faithful Magnolians that have been with us a long time. And also to the new ones: Welcome!
Also personally, I'd recommend to anyone who can to go down to Basel for one of your conferences. It's always been great to meet up in person.
It was a real pleasure doing the interviews with the 2018 winners. Big thanks from us at Magnolia! It also gave us at Magnolia some direction on how we can help the community, beyond just developing the product.
I wonder who will be up in 2019? :)