We’re Investing in TYPO3 Core Development and You Can Too

|Benni Mack, Benni Mack

Working on open source software is much more fun when you’re not alone. But not everyone has time to dedicate to fixing bugs and polishing. We’re employing a TYPO3 developer to fix bugs and unresolved issues over the next six months. Find out how you can contribute, too!

We first thought about employing a developer to work on the core at the beginning of 2020. As I was reimplementing Mount Points*, I came face-to-face (again) with how time-consuming it is to fix large bugs. Worse: you don’t even know in advance how long it’s going to take! It might take two hours, maybe eight. It’s tempting just to remove buggy features. But instead, we fixed Mount Points, and it took two weeks of work which I was doing during my work time. Many people requested this improvement, and a few people sponsored b13 to help us make it better.
But what about the rest of the list of over 2,000 open issues we have for TYPO3 Core? For substantial ones, someone needs to invest a lot of time, dive into the topic, and think about what needs doing. It’s best if they have a sparring partner, or a team, to bounce ideas off of.

Working together on open source is much more fun. You’re faster, and it’s more motivational. You come up with better solutions. You make a lot of people happy.

Working together on open source is much more fun. You’re faster, and it’s more motivational. You come up with better solutions. You make a lot of people happy.
—  Benni Mack

Making Workspaces Fill their Full Potential

Workspaces are a killer feature in TYPO3. They’re brilliant for many things, just one of which is content staging. However, they’re a bit buggy, and not implemented consistently all across the core. We wanted to change this but needed someone to put some serious time into it, not just on the side.

We’re putting our money where our mouth is and employing a developer to work on this. We’ve committed to squashing 150 hard-to-fix bugs over six months. This will include improving the Workspaces user experience, and other issues around PHP, localization, data-handling, and many edge-cases.

In other words, we’re scaling up what I have been doing for a long time.

There is So Much TYPO3 Talent Out There

When we first advertised the position, we were overwhelmed by the interest. Loads of people shared our announcement, and we had some really great applications from talented developers. We had more replies and retweets than the official announcement of TYPO3 v10!

Lots of people wanted to work on creating snazzy new features for TYPO3, but we told them this task is not quite that glamorous. If you fix a bug, you help thousands and probably even millions of editors worldwide. Maybe you save them clicks when doing routine tasks they do every day. But new features, such as making TYPO3 headless or adding new APIs, only benefit a few people to start with. And they do nothing to improve the experience for existing users who don’t need new features.

Workspaces are a classic example of this: they’re a real USP that hardly any other CMS has. Although it’s tempting just to remove functionality that causes problems, in this case, we really should keep it and get it working smoothly.

Real-World Agency Experience Makes All the Difference

The great thing about b13 employing a developer to work on the core is that we have real client projects in the wild. We use workspaces in massive client projects and have documented the bugs we’ve encountered so that they’re reproducible. Generally, it’s a huge difference when you’re testing and debugging in this kind of environment. You have a page tree with thousands of pages in multiple languages, not just the 20 you’ve generated for testing purposes.

In other words, we’re scaling up what I have been doing for a long time.
—  Benni Mack

You Can Help, Too

You can help with all this, too! We’ve got a couple of ideas to enable others (you!) to contribute:

  • If you want to sponsor a bugfix, then get in touch and talk with us.
  • Properly documenting bugs in the issue queue, so they’re reproducible, is also a huge help. As experienced TYPO3 developers and integrators with an insight into how TYPO3 sites work on the ground, your experience is invaluable.
  • Finally, we’d urge others to do what we’ve done. There were at least 10 really great developers who applied, and if we had unlimited money, we would employ all of them. Why don’t you go ahead and pay someone to work on the core on company time? We’d be thrilled to coordinate with you, too. It all brings TYPO3 forward and enables you to work on the bits that help your clients most.
  • We’re also thinking about how we can crowdfund work on TYPO3 core, which would be a potentially low-threshold way for people to give something back.

We’re welcoming our new colleague to the team this week, and just as soon as they’ve got their feet under the table, we’ll be introducing them, so keep your eyes on our blog!

*Mount Points are like symlinks. You can link to a recurring page across webspaces so you can maintain it in a single place. All your updates will appear everywhere it appears. Think things like terms and conditions, about texts, legal notices, etc.