On may 16 and 17 the first Nooku jam for 2012 was held, just in time for the upcoming 12.2 release. Again, we were there. And again, we shared experiences, discussed strategies, and found out about nifty new tools.
The venue was the same as last year. Flanders DC is located near the city center of Leuven, Belgium. The awesome thing about the venue is that is has been specifically built for brainstorming sessions. With brains such as the Nooku Jam attendants, there has to be a lot of storm, as well as the flow of many creative juices (and seas of caffeinated drinks).
If you have not already read our entry on the previous jam, please allow me to explain the concept. The Nooku Jam is a crossover between an old-fashioned Roman forum, a code workshop and an creativity lab. There is no pre-arranged program. The jam starts with the participants jotting down all their ideas on what should be discussed (or demonstrated) during the next few days. These ideas are collected, displayed and lightning talks are being planned.
Although there is not a structure written in stone, there is one condition: everybody participates. It does not matter how. One can give a talk, share code, or communicate events to the outside world. However, one does not simply sit still and listen. The key is interaction.
In between sessions, there was some coding and discussion about code. Apparently, the code was still being discussed over Belgian beers in the pubs. People could either get help for nagging programming issues, or merely demonstrate their prowess.
Most of the time was filled with 30 minute talks. Please add a big -ish to that, because some discussions were either too interesting or too intricate to discuss in a mere half hour. Of course, this is good. A short anthology follows, in random order:
The state of documentation is virtually unchanged since the last jam. One of the reasons for this is that the current wiki does not quite cut it. Writing documentation is more cumbersome than it should be, and the framework is evolving faster than the wiki. One idea is to convert to Sphinx, which is a document generator written in the Python programming language. Hopefully, this will stimulate the group effort of documentation.
Bootstrap & Less
One of the most interesting buzzes lately in Web Design Land is the coming of age of CSS frameworks such as Bootstrap. Several CMS-es are already making the switch to Bootstrap. Nooku is one of them. Tom demonstrated the awesome combination of Bootstrap, LessCSS and Nooku Server. In a nutshell, making a good-looking responsive cross-browser design with Bootstrap is a breeze. Furthermore, tweaking that design using LessCSS is ridiculously easy. Damn.
A very interesting talk was given by Nils Adermann -member of the PHPBB team- on Composer. Composer is basically a package manager for PHP software, not unlike debian's apt-get or Arch's pacman. However, composer is geared specifically for PHP software. The bad news about this is that our Jasper will probably abandon one of his pet projects. This wheel has already been invented, and it rolls well.
Stian and Tom gave us a quick scoop on how the use of overlays has evolved in the last few months. To put it mildly, the good ol' Joomla module can safely retire now. The developer can add an overlay on the fly, without using the klunky Joomla module manager.
Agile Project management
Johan gave a small talk on two types of agile project management. First he discussed SCRUM. Everybody knows scrum and its advantages and disadvantages. Then he proceeded by his method of choice: the kanban cardwall. Originally developed by Toyota,
Looking forward - Nooku components
In the near future, Nooku will be taking several major steps away from Joomla in its current form. The Joomla legacy code will be replaced by native code. Second, since Nooku Server was initally Joomla-based, it relied heavily on the CMS functionality. These will not disappear. However, the CMS will be an optional part for Nooku Server. A number of formerly obligatory components will be made optional, thereby further slimming down the vanilla code base, and making the Nooku Server environment more modular in nature.
A final note
Yet again, the Nooku community showed the power of collaboration. A few wheels were being prevented from reinvented, code was shared or scrutinized, knowledge and ideas were shared, and most importantly: a common passion was shared.