Community Advisory Board’s First Meeting and New Initiatives

Last week was the first meeting of the Magento Community Advisory Board.  Many important issues were discussed and some solutions and ideas going forward were proposed.  Over all, there was input from all parties all around, and it was great to see everyone from all sides of the fence cooperating and collaborating, exchanging ideas and defining a path forward.  Particularly was everyone’s attitude, reaffirming our collective commitment to Open Source and make sure that the community has what it needs to become strong and successful.  Below is a full synopsis of the meeting, including a complete CAB member list and the issues that were discussed.

Roy Rubin - Founder and CEO of Varien
Yoav kutner - CTO of Varien **NOTE: Yoav could not attend due to the Magento release that day
Koby Oz - Magento Community Coordinator
Philippe Humeau - Philippe is from France and has been an advocate of Magento.  He is also a Varien Partner.  His site is
Guido Jansen - Guido is the Magento Dutch Community Manager
Sebastien Lepers - Sebastien is the French Community Manager **NOTE: Sebastien could not attend due to his wife having a baby! CONGRATULATIONS!
Rico Neitzel - Rico is the German Community Manager
Lee Saferite - Lee is a well respected member of the Magento Community. He is located in Lake City, FL in the US
Vinai Kopp - Vinai is a well respected member of the Magento Community
Francois Ziserman - Francois is a popular French eCommerce blogger.  His site is

An agenda was put together to discuss relevant issues which were well known as well as topics which were posted as comments in the previous post.  Thank you to all those who provided us with feedback, its is your feedback which helps shape the future of the community!

I will not go through the agenda in order, but will give a brief overview of the topics and then discuss each item in order of importance and what we on the Community Advisory Board perceived to be BIG items.  Overall we spoke about the broad goals which we would all like for the future of the community, namely, whether it would be possible to publish a development road map, how to facilitate code contributions, how to enable community members to contribute documentation, changes to Magento Connect, improvements to the forums, bug tracker and QA. 
We went back and forth, and came up with the following ideas.

Overall, the #1 issue which seemed to share a common lining between everything else, was the need for infrastructure changes.  Specifically, some additonal infrastructure would benefit the community in a number of ways.  As of right now, there is no public road map, not because it is kept secret, but simply because there is no iron-clad definitive roadmap.  Varien does not want to commit to features which might stir a lot of anticipation and then not end up in a release and in doing so disappointing the community.  The preference is just to work piecemeal and make available what is stable and ready.  Work is being done to modularize Magento in a way that will open it up to more atomic changes. As an effect of this, it will become easier to track changes being made in upstream development and to manage community contributed extensions to the code.

To facilitate much of the above, the CAB proposed that we investigate some infrastructure which we can use for project hosting.  This will allow the community more transparency into core Magento development, make it simpler to contribute code to the main tree and allow us to offer project hosting as an option to all those contributors who work on extensions.  Additionally, this will also give us enhanced functionality when it comes to the Bug Tracker, such as RSS feeds, better communication with developers, improved search and custom filters and other notifications, as well as potential integration with Magento Connect.  We also proposed that we develop an account dashboard which will allow community members a one-stop quick overview of the activity that is important to them.  The CAB was unanimous in its decision that this is an excellent idea and should be moved forward with.  This is a priority.  I will work with Lee Saferite and other members of the CAB to decide on what infrastructure best fits the needs of the community and we should have a decision in place within the next month, with action being taken to put that in place shortly thereafter.

With regards to documentations, we would like to make the barriers to entry much lower.  We proposed finding a wiki master from within the community, and allow him to develop a team of contributors from within the community.  One great idea was that currently, it is very easy to create screencasts and we would be more than glad to accept any submissions from the community.  Rico Neitzel is currently working on a screencast on how to make a screencast.

There was also discussion of the creation of two teams, one to focus on enhancing Magento Security and one to specialize in general QA.  The leads of those teams are going to be Koby Oz and Vinai Kopp for QA and Phillipe Humeau for security.  If you are interested in joining either of these teams, please submit requests to either myself, or Philippe,  I plan to announce our plans for our first ever community QA event tomorrow, so please stay tuned.  The event will take place sometime during the week of the 19th.

We all took away a great sense of accomplishment from the meeting and everyone’s concerns were equally listened and repsonded to.  We are try our best, during this formative period to analyze and choose the solutions which will helps facilitate community interaction and maximize success.  A lot was discussed and as you see we have chosen to prioritize and focus on what will provide most valuable to the community in the long run.  Please leave feedback below, and myself and other CAB members will be glad to respond.  Thanks for making the Magento community the place we all call home!

Koby smile