The yearly Joomla conference J and Beyond is just weeks away. As I have since the start in 2010, I’ll be there to meet up with Joomla enthusiasts from all over the world. J and Beyond, or JAB among friends, has been a great opportunity for me to get to know people in the community. That’s the most valuable factor for me when going to JAB. Obviously, I always learn new stuff about Joomla, too. However, the social aspect of the event is really where J and Beyond shines. This year, the event takes place in Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands from May 31st to June 2nd.
A social event
From the beginning, JAB has been a social event. Yes, a lot of beer has been consumed. Apart from that, JAB is a great place to meet those people you have met on Skype, Twitter or otherwise online. There is something about sharing an ice cold beverage, a meal or just hanging out with people. Yes, we are geeks, but we need to get out of the cave and meet other geeks, too.
This year’s conference program is just as diversified as it has been before. The various sessions are labeled in regards to what they’re aimed at: Developer, Designer, Case stories, Geek, Internationalization, Community, SEO & Marketing, Integrator, as well as keynote speeches. In addition to that, we have a number of “lightening talks”. These are shorter talks in which participants share something quick that doesn’t necessarily fit into a separate talk. These are often fun talks that can be very inspiring to listen to.
What session you decide to attend is up to you, but I encourage you to make up your mind beforehand. At least have a general idea about what you want to hear. In my experience it’s very easy to miss talks if you haven’t decided in advance what you want to go to. The session are happening back-to-back with very little time in-between. So it can be a good thing to decide what to attend and also find out in advance where it happens. That way, you always know where to go immediately when one session is over and another is about to begin.
For me, there are a couple of sessions that I really want to get this year. One is Migration Migraines: A Year and a Half in the Life of… by Justin Herrin. Another is Joomla Performance on Steroids by Tenko Nikolov and Marian Marinov. Yet another: Building a successful recurring revenue model for your Joomla business, by former OSM President Ryan Ozimek. There are more sessions I’d like to see, but these are the ones I have looked at with special interest. Your selection will be different, of course. That’s what’s nice about an event like this. There’s something for everyone.
In addition to the mentioned talks, I’ll attend the keynotes and lightening talks. These are sessions that gather all of the attendees (at least those who are able to get up in time) and are usually great fun to attend.
If you miss some sessions, you always have the opportunity to watch it later online. All talks from previous years are available on the jandbeyond.org website.
You can see the full program here: http://jandbeyond.org/program
One of the highlights of the event is the Joomla! Open Source Creative and Artistic Recognition Awards (J.O.S.C.A.R.S.). People, projects, extensions and more are nominated for awards by the community. The event attendees then vote for the nominees and the awards are presented during a fun ceremony on Friday night.
This year, the conference takes place in Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands. This city is a lot closer to a major airport (Amsterdam), than previous events. The Netherlands largest airport, Schiphol Aiport (AMS), is only 25km away. This is great, as it reduces the time and cost of travelling compared to how it’s been in the past. Read more about the venue and how to book a room: http://jandbeyond.org/venue.html
There has been some speculation that this might be the last time J and Beyond is organized. I don’t know why, but there has been some rumors floating around. If that’s the case, I think it’s a real pity. This is among the biggest Joomla events of the year. And it certainly is the one with the most diversified audience. People come from all over the world. Most Joomla events are local, and don’t have the same international feel to them. I really hope this is just a rumor and not a fact. The Joomla World Conference over in the U.S. is good too, but for Europeans and others outside the U.S, it’s an expensive trip to make.
If you haven’t yet booked your tickets for J and Beyond 2013, do it now. You won’t regret it - hope to see you there!
Additional reading: Last year, I wrote a Report on J and Beyond 2012.