So you installed a Joomla! website? You even managed to install extensions for your Joomla? You might be quite proud of yourself and what you built; this is completely natural and alright! But, did you ever thought about from where all those extensions and even Joomla! are coming from?
Where do the extensions and Joomla! come from?
Joomla! and all the available extensions are produced by a multitude of different people from around the world just for you, programmed, supported, fixed, translated and developed. Voluntarily, open source and often for free. So your final website is based on a lot of preliminary work and initiative of many people. Without them, your goal would be very distant and hard to reach.
Joomla! is used globally from millions of people. Each of them is saving a lot of time and as well money with Joomla!, and the related extensions. Might it be on a personal, hobby or business related project. Wouldn´t it be tremendous, if only a fraction of this saved time or money would flow back to the developers or the supporting community? Imagine how much would come together!
Money is expensive...
You might say: “Joomla! is for free, I don´t want to spend money for it.” That's alright. But, how about if you would, let´s say, spend daily 10 minutes of your saved time back to the community instead?
Level Up - Or: “What may I do?”
There are innumerous possibilities to give something back to the community. Here the Level-System begins. If you would like to invest time in the community, start at Level 1, it´s easy. Then slowly try to reach the next level. You will see, it isn´t so hard to achieve.
Level 1 - Be grateful
You for sure integrated different extensions in your website, which you downloaded from one or several developers. Did you ever thanked him personally and if yes, without asking a (free) support question or making a feature request? Here´s the deal: Just pick an e-mail address of one of the developers (you might have a look at his homepage) and write him, that you really like his extension and that you would like to say “thank you” for his dedicated work. He will be certainly happy about your message.
Personal experience showed, that e-mails from users might be divided in three categories :
- Inquires in where (mainly free) support is requested
- Feature requests, mainly using: “If you implement this or that feature, I will use your extension, otherwise it is rendered unusable.”
- Ranting and moaning, if one, from users point of view, not react in his timeframe or not as expected
It happens very seldom, that somebody just writes to say “thank you”. Help to start a new trend!
Level 2 - Write (fair) reviews
You like one particular extension very much? In this case share your experience and let others participate from it. Using the Joomla! Extension Directory you may give a rating to each extension, from 1 to 5 and as well share your experiences, writing a so called “Review”. There are as well other ways, besides the Joomla! Extension Directory, if you are uncomfortable using it. Why not writing a review on your own Website?
We are using reviews all the time, might it be on a online auction or Shop, even about the choice of a craftsman we do share our opinion. Like that not only the developer is happy if the users are reporting about his work and don´t hesitate to do a (positive) review or rating. It is, although, important that the review is fair and in a constructive manner. If the extension does not function properly on your site, but some other 1000 users do not encounter any problem, it probably isn´t the extensions fault. In this case it would not be useful to drop a bad review. First try contacting the support because in this case your help and cooperation would be even more important. (By the way, did you already thanked the developer investing his time an knowledge? - See Level 1)
Level 3 - Help others
If you installed Joomla! and created an own website, you already got some knowledge about Joomla!. Why not sharing this with others! You might think that you are a beginner and that you aren´t able to teach something to anybody. I may encourage you, it isn´t like that. It is a fact, that really everybody(!!) knows something that someone else doesn´t know.
Why not register in one of the several support forums or visit a chat and have a look if you might help to solve beginner questions. If you use extensions in Joomla! then you for sure already encountered a problem and, maybe, you even managed to solve it. Other users will have the same problem and you already might start helping them. Customizing Templates, positioning modules and much more might be a potential problem where users got questions. For sure you might be of help in some cases.
Online chat systems
Level 4 - Report bugs and share enhancements with others
You are using an extension and found a little bug or even enhanced something? That’s great! Why not share it with others?
Most developers provide a support forum or a bug tracker, there you may communicate your enhancements to the public. Otherwise you might send it by email to the developer, he for sure will be grateful for your help.
Found a bug in Joomla! itself
If you found a bug in Joomla! you may report it using the Joomla! Issues Tracker.
Level 5 - Test, Document and Translate
Most developer will provide some beta versions to the public. During this phase it is important that he receives support from the users. If you find a test version than help and test it out, report bugs to the developer. Don´t wait until others do the job, get active yourself. Somebody has to do the start and so others will join.
With new versions often new functions are introduced. Many developers provide an open documentation platform where everybody may send in articles. If you already are experienced with a particular extension why not helping to complete the documentation, explaining features and pitfalls or just writing a “how-to” (see Level 3). Every other user and as well the developer will be grateful.
Another point which is important when releasing new versions are the translations. Almost every extension ships some standard language files. But there are a lot of different languages in this world and maybe you are dominating one of the missing ones or could complete and correct an existing one. Perfect! Just start translating an existent language in to yours or correct it. The developer will be grateful if you send him a better or even a new version.
...and the same for Joomla!
As well Joomla! searches constantly for beta tester. At Joomla! Tracker you will find feature functions which riside there as a patch. Those enhancements need a certain number of tester before they find their way into Joomla!. Participate!
As well there exist a big variety of Joomla! documentations where you may write and correct. If you stumbled over a special Joomla! feature or you even have some knowledge at the extension side, just share your experience as a documentation.
Last but not least, help to stay up-to-date with the Joomla! language files:
Most countries have user groups / teams and provide their own languages to Joomla! Find yours:
Level 6 - Spread the Level System
The more people participate, the more time will be invested in Joomla! - seems clear. So spread the link to this website to your friends and colleagues or to just everyone who uses Joomla!. This might start a transformation, away from the “all-free” thinking towards a mindset of helping others.
Level 7 - Donation to the developers
You passed Level 1 - 6 with a breeze and you would like to help more? Why not donate a little amount to one or several developers? Each developer will be pleased and it is an additional motivation to program extensions for the community. The donation value don´t have to be high, investing only 10 USD each month would be already enough. Surely you might rise this value if you save a lot of time or if you even gain money out of it.
If you are a service provider which earns money with Joomla!, is it through installation and setup of Joomla! or web design, you always need extensions. Why not investing each time 5% of your turnover for developer donations? Through this motivation the extension will prevail in future and this helps you as well.
Investment: 10 USD - any amount
Level 8 - Develop yourself or hire a developer
The Mount Everest of the Level System is your own development. Create your own extensions and share it to the community. Like this you help some other thousands of users and as well the forthcoming of Joomla! itself.
...but I do not know programming
If you can´t program you could still hire a programmer which would create an extension for your site. This extension you might publish to the community. It´s the same like your own development.
Your own benefit
Maybe the users of your extension know about the Level System an you will benefit directly of it.
And what Level do you reach?
Joomla! has been downloaded over 30 million times already. Imagine, if each day just one million Joomla! users would invest 10 minutes of their time for the community. This would equal 300.000.000 minutes each months. During this time 100.000.000 “thank you” mails could be sent or 60.000.000 reviews written. This might generate as well 30.000.000 forum posts, 30.000.000 bug messages or 10.000.000 documentation articles. Mind you, each months... extrapolated to one year... this would sum up a tremendous figure.
Or you would rather like to donate 10 USD each month? That would equal, assuming one million Joomla! users participating, 10.000.000 USD each month. There exist about 10.000 extensions for Joomla! and in this case each developer would earn on average 1000 USD / month. This is an incredbily high amount!