Today I’m writing to announce several new and exciting initiatives within the Liferay Community. We consider this to be the starting point for a completely revamped community experience. We also have other changes in the works and can’t wait to share the details of what we have been working on. Read on for more details and let us know what you think.
Our first initiative is to create a new team of Developer Advocates to reassure our commitment with the community. Their mission is to inspire, educate, assist and encourage our community to build amazing applications using Liferay open source technology. We believe it’s important to have a dedicated group of people that can listen to you and take action.
This doesn’t mean that they are now the only ones responsible for the community. For us to have a healthy and vibrant ecosystem, we need everybody to have a sense of ownership, we need everybody to care. But the Advocates will make sure the “wheels are greased” to keep things in the community moving forward.
We want to revamp the overall community experience and we’re starting it by announcing a completely new site for the community!
The old Community Home page was primarily focused on Liferay Portal, but Liferay has now grown to support several open source projects (and communities), like Senna, Metal, and Electric. Our new Community Home will help you discover new Liferay open source projects, stay connected to important announcements, and get in touch with other community members. This a new beginning with huge potential to grow.
Those places are great and serve their purposes really well, but we kind of miss a more instant channel. Because of that, we’re introducing a new chat that will allow people to communicate in a quick and direct way.
Chat will foster ongoing conversations among community members, help us feel closer together, and let you answer quick questions for each other.
Our forums have always been a good place for people to ask questions and get answers. As of today, we’ve seen more than 363,100 posts from 33,296 different participants over there.
Although those numbers can show how vibrant this community is, we know we can do better, especially when it comes to the number of unanswered questions.
In order to identify opportunities and drive more engagement on our forums, we signed a contract with Network Activator. Their tool allow us to list experts in each area and automatically assign questions to them.
Before Network Activator we had an average of 30 unanswered questions/week. After, we had an average of 10-15 unanswered questions/week. This 67% reduction is great, but need to decrease it even more.
We’re even thinking about how to identify experts in the community so you can help us answer questions, too. Your participation is crucial for this to work. Keep asking, keep answering!
As you may know, many of our projects use Jira for issue tracking. Recently, we upgraded our self-hosted Jira instance from 6.4.10 to 7.3.3. It may not sound very interesting, but this update comes with several improvements that will be useful for bug reporters, including a better experience for editing issue descriptions.
We have also created a new Community Dashboard that will summarize how we are doing responding to Community bug reports.
Besides that, our product management team has grown in the last year. That means more people resposible to filter what is being reported and taking action. They are identifying bugs reported by the community and prioritizing them. Last week, for example, 13 bugs were reported by community members, and now only 5 of them remain open.
Modularity has been a very important topic to us for many reasons. By splitting our code into small pieces we think there's a lot of potential for increasing open source participation in Liferay by lowering the barrier to entry for new contributors.
In addition, we’re currently evaluating the contribution process for all our open source projects. We've already identified opportunities for improvements, from documenting core development to signing the contributor's agreement, and we'll announce these changes in the near future.
One of the most exciting parts of belonging to a community is meeting other members in person. In fact, we believe that personal contact is the richest experience, not matched by any media or technology. That's why we like user groups so much.
Today, there are more than 44 Liferay user groups in 32 different countries, but not all of them are active.
In the next couple weeks, we’ll reach out to organizers to see how we can help their groups to be up and running. If they can’t find places to meet, we could help. If they can’t find speakers, we could help. If there’s anything that you need as a user group organizer or if you want to become one, please let us know.
Liferay conferences are a great way to network with other community members from all around the globe. They also provide an excellent way to meet with Liferay engineers and experts face to face to ask questions and provide direct feedback on your projects.
This year we’re continuing with our three core conference formats: LDSF is primarily for business or “digital transformation” audiences, DevCon is deeply technical, and Symposium is a healthy mix of both.
All conferences are an excellent opportunity to learn about upcoming new features and to learn best practices to help your projects be successful. We’ll be in 11 different countries this year so I hope to see you there!
In the past we launched several special activities like BugSquad, Liferay Ideas, Community Expedition, Top Contributors, Community Pulse Awards, Official User Groups, and Community Verifiers.
Those initiatives helped with engagement and provided some clear guidelines for participating within the Liferay community.
We’ll be reviving some of these programs, which were crucial in improving product quality, building relationships, and recognizing and rewarding our community's talent.
On a very pragmatic note, we are working on a new clustering module for Liferay Portal Community Edition. After speaking with many of you throughout the last 14 months, we came to the conclusion that we can find a way to meet the clustering needs of the community and still address the issues that originally led to our decision to ship Liferay Portal Community Edition without clustering. Please stay tuned for more details regarding this!
We’ll continue to do our best to understand your needs, see how the market responds, and make adjustments as necessary. We are taking seriously our commitment to invest our success back in our community, and excited to do much more.