Joomla! in the Netherlands with Entrepreneur and Volunteer Wilco Alsemgeest

in Uncategorized, Development, Partners on 13 Nov 2015 having 0 comments

Today we are going to have a little chat with an old friend and collaborator, Wilco Alsemgeest, Joomla! entrepreneur and volunteer, about his take on what is happening in the Joomla! environment, how Joomla! evolved and continues to do so in the Netherlands.

Feel free to write comments that would help both our organizations bring you and your fellow joomlers more information and better services.

Ok Wilco…

First, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm Wilco Alsemgeest, 32 years old and living together with my girlfriend and two cats. I started using computers since my father bought one when I was around 3 years old.

In my spare time I like to go to the movies, watch series, play games like Assassins Creed. Off course spend time with my girl, by going on vacation, go to a restaurant or just relax and do nothing. I try to live one day at the time, don’t hurry anything, just enjoy life.

What is your specialty?

Maybe it's strange for certain people, but I’m specialized in Windows System Engineering. Beside this I work with Joomla! to create different kinds of websites, from simple sites for non-profit organizations to web shops.

Ok, what is your current occupation?

My main job is at the company ORTEC BV, an international company specialized in optimization of processes and reducing costs. The software is developed at the main office in the Netherlands and there are 16 offices worldwide.

I'm the main Windows System Engineer for our Hosting platform where we host our own software for the customers who don't want to do this themselves.

Besides your job, what Joomla! services do you offer?

Next to my main job, I develop websites with the Joomla! CMS, mostly for working partners or through existing customers. I don't do anything with marketing or any other kind of promotion.

Beside my work, I try to do as many things as possible within the Joomla! Community Netherlands; helping with organizing Joomla! User group meetings and many other things.

I know you also have a company, when did you start it? And why?

I started the company on 1 July 2008, shortly after the release of Joomla! 1.5. The main reason was to be able to have some benefits and give the customers a more stable ground to use my services. Off course it's much easier to get Joomla! to the people you know when you have your own company, so it was an ideal mix to start the company.

Out of all CMSs, why did you start using Joomla!?

I started shortly after the first release of Joomla! 1.0. Before this I used Mambo, so when the team started Joomla! I just went with the flow.

The Dutch community is one of the strongest communities in Joomla!. How did Joomla! become this popular in Netherlands?

I can't speak for everybody, but I think the main reason for the popularity of Joomla! in the Netherlands is the way Dutch people are. We are proud, open, want to learn, want to help, train people, who want to talk about the things we like and therefore promote the things we use. When you look at the history of Computer Science and other things related to Computing you see different Dutch pioneers, who brought us and the rest of the world new things, which we are still using, for example Python.

So I personally think we are early adaptive when it comes to using new things. When we look at all of these aspects, I think we could say that the Dutch People promote and therefore multiply the use of things like Joomla!. Because we want to be in the front, the first users of the things which are good and we do it together.

When you look at the meaning of the word Joomla! it's exactly what we do: “All together”

If you check the members of the leadership teams and working groups, you will find many Dutch people helping within these teams and groups.

Yes, that’s true, we have observed that as well. What is your opinion on open-source though?

I think that Open-source is one of the most important ways of developing software, websites and other things. Even the biggest companies in the world are using some parts in their own software.

Joomla! went through a lot of changes lately - both project and leadership related. How do you feel about this?

The changes happening in the world of Joomla! are necessary to stay the biggest CMS, even when you are a community, some parts need to be maintained like you would do it within a company.

Is there something that you would change about Joomla! - technical or leadership wise?

At the moment I can’t think of anything I would change.

Many Joomla! enthusiasts have a set of extensions that form the core for most of their projects. What’s on your list?

My list of default extensions is:

  • ACL Manager
  • Akeeba Backup
  • JCE
  • NoNumber Extensions
  • Better Preview
  • Cache Cleaner
  • Email Protector
  • IP Login
  • OSMap
  • RSFirewall!
  • RSForm! Pro

You have been helping us with Dutch translations for quite some time. I know this wasn’t always easy. What determined you to collaborate to the RS project?

It’s indeed almost 6, 5 years ago when we started our collaboration, when I was working on the Community website. The first translation I created was for RSForm!Pro, I think the main reason was because I was using the extension and there was no translation available. After a while I just started to translate all of the RSJoomla! Extensions.

I need to ask you this… What is your favorite RS - extension?

I don’t really have a favorite RS Extension, but the two I use on all the websites are RSForm!Pro and RSFirewall!. First of all to give the website extra protection and second of all to have an easy way of creating contact forms and other kind of forms. When I or a customer needs certain functionalities, then my first choice would be a RS extension.

The most important reason for this is that extensions from the same developer have the best chance of working correctly together.

What would you change in the RS - extensions you use?

I can’t think of any change I would want to have at this moment, in any of the RS Extensions.

But I would want to suggest some other things, related to the extensions / Company.

Update the website, so it’s easy to use it on mobile devices (Like the templates you are creating).

Yes, actually we worked on updating our website for a long time, and it's finally here, the new face of RSJoomla!

Make it possible for people to get different subscription methods for all templates. For example people can use all templates for one website, for one year.

That’s in the cards as well. For now we are focusing on expanding the template portfolio and soon enough such a subscription will be available.

Create a roadmap page, what are you going to add to the different extensions, which new extension are you going to create, preview of future templates.

I think has been lacking here a little bit. I do think that RSJoomla! should expose more of its plans, but the reality is that we don’t really work with tight deadlines. We listen to the community and this is what determines what extension needs an update, what features to be added and so on.

Let the customers vote on new functions for certain extensions or even new extensions. This way you involve the customers in the development process. This is something unique within the Joomla! development scene.

Listening to customer feedback is indeed the key to any extension success. We have a feedback section where users can propose new solutions and the ones that get many votes, are eventually put into construction.

Remove the Joomla! 1.5 extensions/ support from the website, and concentrate on the new Joomla! versions.

We have already dropped support for Joomla! 1.5. Our extensions have always been compatible with the latest Joomla! updates.

Remove the Joomla! 2.5 Frontend/ Backend demos, because this version I no longer support from Joomla!. Developers need to give the correct example to make sure people are using the latest Joomla! versions.

There are still a lot of people that are using Joomla! 2.5 and are reluctant to update to a newer version, that’s why we still provide a 2.5 demo. The Joomla! 3.x demo is also available for all of our extensions.

I know that we are still building our template portfolio… but what do you think about our current templates?

I didn’t have a chance yet to really use them or look if any translations are needed. I have checked the demo websites, the templates look nice. I see enough possibilities to use them for certain websites.

Tips for other Joomla! enthusiasts?

I can’t say it too much:

Always make backups of the website.

Always update Joomla! and the used extensions to the latest versions.

Use professional extensions from known developers, free or paid.


Do you have a question for us?

I have one. Do you want to come to the Joomla!Days 2016 in the Netherlands, off course to meet the Joomla! enthusiast, meet other developers, promote RSJoomla! and have fun.

I will be there and other Dutch community leaders and Working group members.

We had a great time back in 2010 and we would love to see how the Joomla! Day Netherlands has evolved over the years, but we haven't allocated a budget for this just yet. We will see what we can do!

Thank you Wilco. That was Wilco Alsemgeest ladies and gentlemen! Thank you for reading and if you have any questions for one or both of us please include them below and we will answer asap. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog in order to get more insight from your fellow Joomla! users, developers and trainers!

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