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January 22, 2007

Sometimes I Wish I Were German

Category: Ron Hall

By: Ron Hall

I suppose it is natural for every person to be proud of their heritage, culture and country. Texans definitely lean that way almost to a fault. Even so, every now and then I wish I were German. Why? Because of the strong, personal TYPO3 community found there.

You see, I firmly believe TYPO3 is best learned in personal connection with others. Certainly it is possible to learn TYPO3 in isolation. I learned it that way -- plowing through documents, experimenting, deciphering code examples and generally driving myself nuts. But that is not the ideal.

When I first found TYPO3 I was intrigued by its power and flexibility (still am). But it was no secret that I would have to make a major time commitment to learn it properly. I decided to make that commitment because I had faith that the effort would pay off (and it has). However, at the time, I did not have nearly as many CMS's shouting "try me" as the newbie has today. Many abandon TYPO3 too early because it initially appears too complex to them. It helps the new user to put up with TYPO3's learning curve if he personally knows a TYPO3 veteran that will give him a few tips and assure him, "Keep at it, you will not regret the time spent learning. It will pay off big down the road."

I wonder how many of those who have abandoned TYPO3 would still be with us if they had had that personal engagement and encouragement?

TYPO3 is based on the idea of sharing. Each of us sharing our code, our time, our struggles. Why? So that others can be helped in their TYPO3 journey and then return the favor by sharing their own code and ideas. This process, however, is impeded by distance. Now, it is true that the nature of the internet helps mitigate the effects of time and distance but it does not eliminate them.

What am I getting at? The growth and vibrancy of the European TYPO3 community is greatly enhanced by the ability to connect personally beyond the computer screen. This is why events like the Snowboard Tour and the availability of so many local German users groups are so important. Learning TYPO3 is so much easier when you have someone you know personally that is traveling the same road.

Though I know I would be welcome, an event like the Snowboard Tour seems far removed for me and is much more difficult for me to consider attending than for someone in Germany or France. I am happy my European friends have that opportunity. I believe it and other such events and particularly the connections they foster is why TYPO3 has such a solid footing in that area. We do not yet have the same opportunities in the U.S.

Personally, I have taken steps (though small) to help with this. We have established a Typo3 Users Group in the my area. It is amazing that we found each other and interacting with these folks has been a huge help to me. I look forward to progressing in my TYPO3 education much more quickly and easily because of them.

Bottom line, TYPO3 can be learned on your own (I have done it) but personal, beyond-the-computer-screen connections make a huge difference in the experience. So, for all my TYPO3 compadres in Europe, be thankful for what you have and take advantage of it whenever you can.


comment #1
Gravatar: Stefabo Cecere Stefabo Cecere January 22, 2007 08:47
and don't forget the dozen of books about Typo3 available only in german :( :(

comment #2
Gravatar: Patrick Gaumond Patrick Gaumond January 22, 2007 17:48
Sometimes I wish I move to Europe...

If a magic pill with instant-german-language understanding was available at 50 000$, I would buy it right away...

I know how Ron feel!

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