blog.Resource
March 31, 2015

Something Neos IX - Don't stop believing

Category: Florian Weiss

By: Florian Weiss

Inspiring Conference 2015

Inspiring Conference 2015 lanyard

InspiringConference 2015

Neos Past, Present & Future by Robert Lemke (Photo provided by Michael Lihs)

Neos Past, Present & Future by Robert Lemke (Photo provided by Michael Lihs)

Codecoon Box by Michael Lihs and Fabian Stein (Photo provided by Michael Lihs)

Codecoon Box by Michael Lihs and Fabian Stein (Photo provided by Michael Lihs)

Tasty Recipes for Every Day by Aske Ertmann

Tasty Recipes for Every Day by Aske Ertmann

Microsoft truck

Microsoft truck

Security 2.0 by Bastian Waidelich & Andreas Förthner

Security 2.0 by Bastian Waidelich & Andreas Förthner

The future of content management (according to Neos) by Rasmus Skjoldan & Daniel Hinderink

The future of content management (according to Neos) by Rasmus Skjoldan & Daniel Hinderink

Neos 2.0 by Michael Müller

Neos 2.0 by Michael Müller

Sawubona! by Karsten Dambekalns

Sawubona! by Karsten Dambekalns

Contribute! (Robert Lemke)

Contribute! (Robert Lemke)

Don’t stop believing

Get inspired – a claim that the 2-day conference in Kolbenmoor threw my way. Well, hardly something you can command people to do - you have to lead by example, you have to hype people up – especially in the open source world where you rely on unpaid workforce.

Location: The “Kesselhaus”, Steampunk style interior – lights, music, stage set.
Enter the keynote, where we get introduced to the idea, that it is all about the stories you want to tell.
As I expect a complete coverage of talks will be available widely throughout the net, I’m not going to go into much detail here.

Besides some talks regarding 3rd party products (Amazon Cloud, The Codecoon Box and multithreaded Infrastructure) we get very nice coverage on features that we can expect with Neos 2.0.
Security 2.0 (Bastian Waidelich & Andreas Förthner, finally Access Control!), Assets in the Cloud (Robert Lemke - Dropbox as media library source anyone?) and “Tasty recipes for every day” (Aske Ertmann - a collection of very useful snippets) are covered.

Nevertheless the highlight of the day is when Rasmus Skjoldan & Daniel Hinderink enter the stage to talk about “The Future of Content Management (according to Neos)”.
This is what I eagerly await – a question that gets mentioned over and over when I talk with others about this CMS – what are the plans?

What we see in the following 45 minutes is a vision for 2020: the classic CMS and webpage concept are adapting, the CMS as a form of “Content sound board”. Node focus, content dimensions – it sounds reasonable and I close day 1 with the fuzzy warm feeling that there finally is an internal direction that is also publicly announced.

Flash forward – A day with more talks focused on Neos itself.
Christian Müller gives us a general walkthrough on what we can expect from Neos 2.0 (e.g.: very nice little user interface improvements) and then Karsten Dambekalns greets us “Sawubona!” with a coverage on content dimensions. (when multi-language just isn’t enough!).
Sebastian Kurfürst shows us how to search in Neos and even gives us a complete crash course in Elasticsearch – very well done.

Another highlight of this day is the awesome talk by Sebastian Bergmann and Stefan Priebsch about Test-Driven Domains.

Finally: “One more thing”
Robert Lemke and Aske Ertmann lead us through what has been done in Neos during the last year and what the next goals are. Then – a call for participation of the community.
“It’s make or break” Aske claims in a low voice. The closing words and the audience is questioned on what they would need to get inspired to participate.

Recollecting my thoughts after the conference my personal answer is: Confidence – that is what we need. More than anything. Confidence that our efforts, our time and money will go into a product that we can proudly stand behind. A brand that has enough self-confidence to make people want to use it, contribute and invest in it.

Confidence in the past and future

We got a Vision for 2020 while still not knowing what the internal state of Neos is at the present day. Guess what - I didn’t see a single “TYPO3” claim around the conference expect on peoples shirts (funny enough including the core developers shirts). Give us a statement of the things that happened, tell us what was invested in Neos in money and manpower – don’t let us rely on rumors about investments, schedules and things that might or might not have been.
Who’s responsible for the team internal budget? Will Neos stay in the TYPO3 family? If yes what’s its place there? If not, what are the alternative scenarios?

Confidence in cooperation

What is a Microsoft truck doing at a conference with 80 % MacBooks? They weren’t mentioned as sponsors so hopefully they did something awesome?
Personally I don’t like their products any less than those of Apple or various Linux distributions, etc., but what might have been a very good placement of hard- and software for a .NET dev conference (Visual Studio in the browser, Windows phones, etc.) was out of place at InspiringCon.
Why didn’t they tell us about possibilities of hosting Neos in Azure? Is there a way to run a local dev machine in Hyper-V? What is up with the cooperation between Docker and Microsoft - will we get OS native support for that in the future? (perhaps this would even have made a great breakout session)

Confidence in professional behavior

If you can manage to organize the schedule, location, catering and everything else – why can’t you professionalize the most important thing: the talks?
No CI in the slides, the moderator claiming almost no one who had a talk did send their slides in time, up to open admission from one of the core developers that “he created his slides and videos during the sessions that took place the day before”.
This left a sour taste – even for me as regular conference participant, so I can only imagine how this sounded to sponsors.
Some speakers stood in front of the slides for the whole presentation, which made it hard to read obviously, and even the product is spelled two ways in the same folder. (“NEOS” and “Neos”).
Can we rely on a system where the core team is not putting as much effort as possible in representing its own conference of the year?
The technical skills of the Neos team speakers are obviously brilliant and you can see that in their talks – but it seems that what needs to be improved is project management inside the team for code-unrelated matters.

Confidence in a one class community

The word “money” was used at the conference quite often in conjunction with Neos – let us see what you use(d) it for, let us see what you make of it.
No one will complain about Flownative making money from clients that want specific features which subsequently also find their way into the core (and no one expects you to openly broadcast the financial details of that), but for all other concerns (sponsors, etc.) people contributing to the project will be interested where the money goes. (You never want to have a situation where people get the feeling that “core devs” get paid hours while contributors do it “for free” – not even in small amounts).
The future of Neos in 2016
All the points mentioned may sound harsh in parts – but this comes from someone who currently develops a medium sized site for Neos, has been blogging about the CMS for some time now and tries to contribute a bit in the form of packages.
I do not write those words to talk down the project – because obviously the codebase is amazing and the technical skills of the team are exceptional.
I expect at least some of the thoughts I mentioned here are shared by others too, therefore:
Dear core team – get back to us on those points – inspire us to contribute - give us confidence.


comments

comment #1
Gravatar: Christian Christian March 31, 2015 13:02
Hi,

I am mainly speaking for me here, we want to provide some mission statement from the Neos team soonish anyway, but such an effort takes a bit of time and coordination so bear with us.

But back to my personal view. I put a lot of time and actually even money into this project over the last two years and I am fully confident in it. Surely it has flaws and I don't think everything is fine with it, but I trust this team to work it out and create a great product that is much more than just a CMS in the future. I see from myself and my team colleagues that we are struggeling to keep the demands that are put on us. New features and releaes, fixing bugs, supporting people, adding to the documentation, marketing. We are a small team and you can only do so much. That's why the request for money is so prevalent. We all would like to do more but we still need to be able to pay our bills etc. That's also a big point for me currently. What I did the last two years was not sustainable. So I see that we need to grow the contributor base, which we want to tackle by initiatives to reduce the barriers (Github, CLA) and at the same time looking outwards to attract a broader group of people. Still we all want progress in the time that it takes to build this contributors/community. And so we need resources also in the short term otherwise it will take quite long.

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