United colors of Europe – the experience of T3EE 2015

25 November 2015 Comments Off

We are all fully aware of the tremendous pace at which technology evolves. Year after year, the tools we work with are changing, the organization’s change from within and adapt to new paradigms, and we adapt ourselves, each of us, to the life in a global environment which is more and more inclusive and connected. Years ago, the concept of a community around a technology or practice was something difficult to grasp by many people in tech in the Eastern Europe. Step by step, year by year, event by event, the perception evolved, the experience developed and the initiative and passion found the context to be expressed, through the spirit of community.

 

While there are many communities, bigger and smaller, around technologies, open or closed source, it was from the very first moment of my contact with the people in TYPO3 that I knew I am into something different. And from all people that I know, once they got into the spirit of the TYPO3 community, they were hooked, and wanted more, hardly waiting for the next event where they can meet friends. Meet old friends and make new ones. Because TYPO3 is a community of friends. Open, passionate, interested to help, ready to share everything: a technical advice, a plan to make things better, an opportunity, a story, a beer, a hug. This spirit unites and captures all, business owners, or experienced programmers, or rookies.

 

For “TYPO3 East Europe” the journey started in 2012, when at a national Romanian meetup we agreed that we want to do more: bring the people of TYPO3 together, from all parts of our continent. At the 3rd edition which took place in 13-14 November, people from 12 countries gathered, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Romania were already veterans. Ukraine, Moldavia, Hungary have been here before. Austria, France, Switzerland, Greece, Serbia joined now. Some of the attendees discovered for the first time the TYPO3 community. And they were instantly hooked.

 

As in each year so far, T3EE was a good opportunity to spread the word about TYPO3 in the Romanian environment. Taking advantage of the early arrival of some attendees from abroad, a “TYPO3 Marathon” pre-event happened in 12 November, moving from one place to another and meeting with different audiences, presenting TYPO3 and discussing with the participants: students in computer sciences at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, or the community of local web developers gathered at a local coworking space, ClujHUB.

 

The main event started early Friday morning, for two days and 22 presentations on various interesting topics. It was hard to choose, as most happened in parallel, in two rooms, so the following details include only the ones where I could attend.

 

TYPO3 – Still here

 

A lot has happened for TYPO3 in the past year, since T3EE 2014. Back then, there was a lot of incertitude regarding the future – what will happen with TYPO3 CMS ? Does it have a future ? Will Neos eventually take over its place ? But with the great dedication of a wonderful team, TYPO3 CMS has proven that is here to stay and grew even stronger then before.

In his presentation, “TYPO3 CMS 7LTS: How we got here and how we will continue”, Patrick Broens, TYPO3 Core developer since 2005, told us what has happened in the last year, how the plan was developed and executed so that we now have TYPO3 7 LTS as the best in terms of performance and user experience TYPO3 version ever, and what are the future plans, towards TYPO3 8.

 

The Mask Project – easier life for content elements creators

With consistent effort and dedication over the last years, Gernot Ploiner is determined to make the life easier for anyone who wants to create content elements and page templates with dynamic form fields.

As TemplaVoila, popular for a long time, became outdated, TYPO3 needed a better solution, one that also takes benefits of the current state of technology. This is how The Mask extension was born, received with enthusiasm everywhere where Gernot presented, including TYPO3 Camp Mallorca in September 2015, where he won the Wanderpokal for the best presentation.

 

Prepare for the future

Some may say that the future is stormy and full of risks, some that it is full of opportunities. And all are right. The rhythm of the evolution, in technology and in the way we do business, has no precedent in history, and the acceleration continues. Stelian Brad presented us the possible paths to navigate the ocean of tomorrow and rip the benefits of the huge potential that stands in front of us, through agility and resilience.

 

Solving the right problems, in the right way

Efficient problem solving can make a great difference in the success an individual or an organization can achieve. But too many times, we jump to the “solution” driven by intuition and not by proper analysis, and end up creating a big mess by treating effects and leaving the causes untouched

 

The A3 Problem Solving Process provides a method to ensure that you solve the right problem, understanding the current reality, and by setting proper goals you can plan an efficient execution. Mastering it takes practice though, so we’ll definitely put it further to work at Arxia

 

.htaccess in TYPO3

Jochen Weiland can make any technical subject entertaining, even something like htaccess and its various rules, providing some nice insights and advices regarding proper usage of directives for various purposes and for better performance.

 

The 3D world of Three.JS in PlanningWiz

3D in browser, through HTML5 and WebGL, is a reality that can help deliver interactive experiences to our users. It is a fascinating field, one that requires mastery in order to create universes through which you can fly or walk, but understanding the basis can already allow a web developer to generate engaging universes. Emil Mercea showed us what we need to consider in order to build a 3D scene, proved it by animating a TYPO3 logo and showed us the big project that he is working on, the new edition of PlanningWiz, redone fully in HTML5 and including flythrough and walkthough interactive 3D. As it will be launched soon, we’ll have the chance to see the results shortly.

 

The T3Rookies Project

A German-Romanian team of presenters, including the initiator of the project, Andrea Herzog-Kienast, mentors and the rookies themselves, told us how the TYPO3 Summer Camp happened in 2015. On the Romanian side, Arxia has hosted 4 German rookies for one week in July. It was a very good experience, a success and a good start for something that can grow much bigger, as a platform for rapid induction of beginners in the TYPO3 world and the community, and a great way to exchange knowledge and cultural experiences in foreign countries

 

The Shu-Ha-Ri in cooking and software development

In anything that we do, if we aim to achieve excellence, the approach is the same. For Jens Krumm, an analysis of mastering cooking skills provided a great metaphor to talk about agile practices and the right ingredients that will lead to success in our industry: Passion, Discipline and Courage.

 

Do you know how much an interruption costs?

We all know they cost a lot. But we are still plagued by them, and still we sometimes get into the trap to inflict them to our peers. And this is just one of the important aspects that affects our productivity. Stefan Rotsch pointed out a set of ideas on how we can get more productive, with some simple principles that we should apply in our life and our work. And just to make something clear, on a hype of the last years: “inbox zero” has no value if you just hide your messages but still leave the problems unresolved !

 

The biggest TYPO3 installation in existence?

The one of the University of Vienna might well be the biggest, at least from what we know of.
1.284 Domains, 132.407 Pages, 573.980 News Elements, 420.083 Content Elements, 3.821 Users of which over 1000 active, 32 Languages – these numbers are really impressive. Everything maintained by a team of only 4 people.
Raman Ganguly told us how such a big installation is managed and how it was upgraded to 6.2.

 

Changing mindsets and developing an organizational culture

For Alex Rotaru, growing a team specialised in testing was an experiential journey, which led to many discoveries on how to help people become more motivated in a role that by many is regarded as not having enough appeal: the software testing. While we all know in principle the importance of QA, there are many preconceptions regarding the tester: many think that anyone can do it, some think that testers are not needed, and many testers themselves see the role as just an intro step into an IT career which will lead them to becoming programmers. But with a healthy mindset, passion and care for the evolution of each member of the team, a career in testing can be quite rewarding.

 

Horizontally scaling large websites

Dealing with a large website, with a lot of traffic, is always a challenge. What are the principles that we need to know ? What are the techniques ? What are the tools ? Nikola Stojiljković presented his experience in managing the deployment of travelis.com

 

Code conventions, between OHH and AHH

Standardization, following conventions and writing clean code are important topics for any developer, but usually these are bland topics. Not if the presenter is Patrick Broens, who made a real entertainment and lead the entire audience to join the game. Say OHH if you think the left variant is better, say AHH if the right one is correct ! We learned or checked our knowledge, in a very fun way.

 

Work smarter, not harder

There is never enough time to do everything, and we can always to more. But doing more work hours might not be the key to success, as it has huge risks. We learned from Ben van ‘t Ende how to identify the initial signs of burnout, how to avoid running into great trouble by taking measures in due time and how to help out the ones who suffer from burnout and depression.

 

 

The TYPO3 community together in spirit

In the same time T3EE happened in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the TYPO3camp Rhein Rhur was taking place in Essen. While we cannot be in two places in the same time, we are together in spirit and in the passion for TYPO3 and for its community. It was a great joy for us to salute and talk with the people from T3CRR through a video call, and we all shared ideas about making the TYPO3 community even greater.

 

We had good presentations at T3EE, but socializing was also taken seriously. Three nights in a row we went out together, to various locations in town, culminating with the main party where we had a lot of fun, sampled Transylvanian wines and played with the Photobooth or the helium-filled balloons, fuelled by the open bar until the small hours of the next morning.

 

Arxia is proud to have joined the sponsors who made TYPO3 East Europe possible: Jweiland, Pixelant ( Gold ), DKD ( Silver), Internezzo ( Bronze), and UPC Romania which supported the event by providing reliable internet access to everyone attending.

 

I am happy to have been part of T3EE 2015 and I am looking forward for the future, for more events where the TYPO3 community gathers, to meet old friends, and to make new ones.

 

Arxia Team at T3EE

Author: Daniel Homorodean

Computers for kids

24 November 2015 Comments Off

This past summer we facilitated a great cause for the 40 children of the Social Services Center “Sfantul Gheorghe” from Romanasi, Salaj County, which lack all the needed IT infrastructure to allow pupils fast access to information.

Our friend & active TYPO3 community member Jochen Weiland, contacted us regarding a stack of computers that were being replaced by newer models, thus faced with a number of unused machines at JWeiland, we were asked if we can find someone here in Romania that could put them to good use.

 

 

We quickly looked around especially for children homes which were lacking PCs around Cluj Napoca and we came across the Social Services Center from the village Românași. Since the computers were located at the JWeiland headquarters – Germany, the cost of getting them to Romania was considerable, but thankfully our friends at BST Logistic shipped all the computers with one of their trucks covering most of the cost. The computers arrived first at our office where some volunteer colleagues prepared them for the children usage before shipping them to the village Romanasi.

 

Maybe the great part was before the T3EE 2015 event when Jochen visited the center and could see where the computers ended up and also meet their happy users.

Tomita Militaru