The Joomla Speak! In Conversation with Sander Potjer

The Joomla Speak! In Conversation with Sander Potjer

With another interview in The Joomla Speak! series, we will be talking to Sander Potjer. I met him at the Joomla World conference 2015 in Bangalore. He is very easy to talk to and is keen to know about different cultures. we had a great chat about Open Source in general and the Community part of Joomla.

Let’s see what he has to say about Joomla!

What's your Joomla story? How did you get introduced?

My Joomla story started back in the summer of 2005. After finishing my high school I had a longer summer with plenty of time before my study Architecture started. During this summer I came across Mambo, which seems a very nice way to build websites. I used it to rebuild the Frontpage website for my rowing team, which was a very simple website and mainly my play-garden as I enjoyed experimenting with websites. At the time the website was finished, Mambo was forked into Joomla. I had no clue about forks, community and open source at that time, but simply followed the majority and converted the website into Joomla.

Slowly I started creating more websites, and became impressed by Joomla, the community, and the open source spirit. It was great to notice that people are helping out each other on the forums and that so many people from different countries and cultures are contributing their time, skills and knowledge to work all together on Joomla, used for millions of websites. Something that still amazes me every day again.

I started to contribute to the local Dutch community by helping out users on the forum and writing articles. In 2008 we had to fork the local community and started www.joomlacommunity.eu. That was the point I really got involved with the local community, launched the Joomla User Groups in The Netherlands and helped with organizing the Dutch JoomlaDays. Nowadays we have 14 different Joomla Users Groups in our small country and a yearly JoomlaDay with over 300 people attending. Its a very strong community and I really enjoy being part of it.

In August 2011 a new episode of my Joomla story started when I was invited to join the Joomla Community Leadership Team. By joining the CLT I was able to use my experience with the local community on an international level. It is a big challenge to work with so many people in the community from all around the world, with different time-zones, different languages and mainly different cultures. But at the same time I also really enjoy finding ways to communicate with people with different cultural background, while moving forward with ideas for the Joomla project, learn about other cultures and making friends all around the world.

Meanwhile Joomla became my profession as well, something I never planned and expected. I am the developer of the Joomla extension ACL Manager and co-owner of the Dutch full-service agency Perfect Web Team.

There’s lots of businesses built around Joomla - Extensions, Templates, Consulting, Services. How would you like these businesses to give back to Joomla? What's the best way in your opinion?

That is really simple. Instead of complaining about a bug, fixing the issue via a work-around or ignoring it, people should spend their time to report the issues and if possible provide a fix. If all businesses would do this Joomla would be much better.

Another thing that is helpful to use the beta versions of new Joomla releases that Joomla provides to really test your own extension, template etc... Too often relatively easy bugs are noticed after a stable release because people didn't used the beta versions for testing.

Tell us 3 things that you love about Joomla?

First of all the community, that was the reason for me personally to get involved with Joomla and helped me to get me where I am right now. It changed my life. Secondly it is the international and culturally diverse community. I really enjoy working with people from all around the world and learn about other cultures. The last thing is about the software itself. Joomla is really flexible and extendible, which allow me and many others to build great websites.

What’s your take on the Joomla Community?

The Joomla community is a really powerful community. It amazes me everyday how much we achieved as a group of people voluntarily contributing to the software and the community. In 10 years this community was able to create a very powerful and flexible tool that allows people to build all kind of websites. From small personal Joomla sites to large multilingual corporate Joomla sites, and anything in between.

While it is not always easy to find an agreement with so many cultures and ideas, I am proud on what the community achieved over the years. I really do hope we can continue with this and make both the software as the community even stronger in the next years. My personal goal is to lower the barriers for people to get involved and allow them to contribute to Joomla more easily.

What in your opinion is Joomla’s Niche? Is it one or are there Many? In other words, what’s Joomla‘s Market?

Looking for a simple site to blog? Use something like WordPress. A powerful and large webshop? Use something like Magento. For all other sites: use Joomla!

Without joking: Joomla is suitable for many types of websites and has a great directory of thousands extensions to add additional features to your website project. And in case something is not available as an extensions are the requirements don't match you can create your own extension relatively easily. Same applies to templates. Use one of the available free or paid templates for low budgets or quick sites, but you can also choose to create your own template that exactly matches the design that the designer provided.

Of course, for developing your own extension or template additional skills are needed, but there are many resources available that can help you doing this.

Personally I am convinced that it doesn't really matter which CMS you are using, it mainly matters if you are skilled enough to work with a certain CMS. I can build great Joomla websites, but don't ask me to create a WordPress website!

Where do you see Joomla going in the next 10 years? If it was up to you where would you take it?

Joomla in 2025, wow. That's not an easy question. I guess many didn't even guessed Joomla would turn 10 this year. My hope is that the Joomla community will continue the development of our fantastic CMS that allows so many people to build great websites around the world. The plans for Joomla 4 are getting shape, which looks promising. But that's only for the next couple years.

My expectation is that websites and CMS-es will change in general, and most likely CMS-es are completely different in 10 years or something new will replace it. My dream for Joomla is that our great community can contribute by working on "the next generation of CMS-es" in general and come up with some great concepts. The organizational structure of Joomla allows that as well, so it's perfectly possible to have both the Joomla CMS and "the next generation Joomla" under one hood. I have no clue how "the next generation Joomla" will or should look like, but I do hope we can collaborate to combine all crazy and creative ideas into a powerful publishing tool for the next 10 years and beyond!

Your one line message to the Joomla Community on account of Joomla’s Birthday

Hieperdepiep hoera, Joomla 10 jaar! Dank aan iedereen die heeft bijgedragen aan dit fantastische project!

Translation: Hieperdepiep hurray , Joomla 10 years! Thanks to everyone who contributed to this fantastic project!

Sander we’re all really looking forward to the most awaited Joomla 4.0 and like you said, in order to take Joomla to the "next generation of CMS-es” we need to be super innovative and get some crazy useful things implemented in Joomla.

It was fun talking to you. Thank you so much for your time. Guys we will be back next week with another Joomla Personality.

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