At the end of May this year something really scary happened. A bunch of people from the famous Joomla! gang took over a hotel in a wonderful city called Prague. The hotel crew was visibly overwhelmed with the number of people seeking for coffee and later for a beer. It took the crew a while before they were able to manage the crowd.
You're probably expecting to read how great and informative the J and Beyond event was. And yes, of course it was a great conference. But JaB is much more than just a conference. It's one of the best events I have ever attended. And JaB is getting better every year. But let's go step by step.
Firstly the conference itself was as usual very professionally organised. The quality of keynotes and sessions was really high and I even felt that my session was not really good enough for this audience. I was apparently wrong. I took our recent experience in rebuilding and merging all our websites into one, modern, single website (the one you are at now) as a case study to show how easy it can be to customise Joomla! to fit it to your requirements. I was very happy that my session started a longer discussion after my presentation.
This has been an integral part of JaB since the beginning. And for some reason a very controversial one. This year for the second time I won the "Communication Junkie" JOSCAR. For many people it seems to be unfair that members of the organisation team are taking part. And I would agree if not the fact that members of the organisation team have absolutely no influence on either the shortlist or the results. The process of selecting the winners is very transparent and fair.
One thing that people don’t seem to understand is that like all “awards” that are decided by a public vote there is an element of them being a popularity contest. And of course if you or your extension or web site is not shortlisted and you did not nominate it then you only have yourself to blame. So next year instead of questioning the shortlist and wondering why you aren’t there make sure you nominate. And if you want to vote make sure you are at JaB.
This is really something important. We had the pleasure to participate for the second time in this awesome idea. And I tell'ya, this was just unbelievable. Yes, you can of course see these videos at the official channel. But if you weren't there you missed a lot. You missed the great and unforgettable atmosphere of it. Even if there is only one official winner of this contest, in my humble opinion every of those people presenting their talent (and they really have it) is a winner. The quality of their performances were simply amazing.
Even better was the fact that the J-FACTOR inspired us all so much that after the official event, we went to the hotel bar in the lobby and some of the attendees (myself included) started to sing and play guitar until 3 o’clock in the morning. It was an unforgettable night.
The Big Joomla Geek Quiz
It was something fully new and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what this all is about. But it was really entertaining. Unfortunately, although our team was really excellent, we couldn’t win the quiz and try the awesome Joomla! cake made by Danuta. Thank you very much Brian for this idea. It was just a very exciting and relaxing part of the conference. By the way, thanks to the really professional JaB Video team, the quiz was streamed live and I know that some community members that weren’t able to participate in JaB directly, were playing with us as well.
The entire conference was simply amazing and I could write about many great things that happened in Prague, but it would take a lot of time for me to write it and for you to read it. And frankly words can’t really describe this experience. I would rather recommend to anybody just to go to the next JaB to find out why so many people are going every year, although for some it’s a really long, long way.
One thing worth mentioning for sure is the fact that thanks to the JET programme and the JaB Scholarship program, 24 community members from around the world, who would not have been able to attend otherwise, were able to attend the conference as well. A huge thanks to the JET team and to the JaB sponsors for making this possible.