In John Brett words. John Brett is our Forum Super Moderator and attended this function

You just had to know Joomla Day New England was going to be quite different!  And JoomlArt just had to be a part! 

But when I packed my bags and headed out on the 11 hour,  700+ kilometers drive due north of Washington, D.C....past Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston...into the tranquil hills and tiny villages of southern Vermont...little did I realize the welcome I would receive.  (see picture)

I know!...but hang in there.  It actually all makes sense!

In early June, some 150 fans of Joomla, both newbies and experts, new names and famous ones, were converging at a small college in the tranquil hills of southern Vermont...and just minutes from the crowds of feet and hooves that had converged at the state's annual Strolling of the Heifers Festival.

The impact on the festival celebrating Vermont's dairy industry (milk, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, etc.) was immediately apparent.

Event organizer Jen Kramer (left) and local user group member Andy Tarr donned horns, ears and...well, you can welcome everyone to Marlboro College for the 2010 Joomla Day New England.

Hey, That's Cool Note #1: Andy Tarr is writing 'Hathor', the default administrative template that will be released in the upcoming Joomla 1.6.

Hey, That's Cool Note #1.1: The name 'Hathor' comes from Egyptian mythology and is the name of a goddess who had, here it comes...wait for it...THE EARS OF A COW!

So you see, it all makes sense!

There were the usual great seminars led by some of the biggest names in Joomla including Ryan Ozimek, president of Open Source Matters, the non-profit that is the legal, financial and organizational heart for Joomla 

Ozimek did not hesitate to answer the question on everyone's mind, "When is Joomla 1.6 stable release coming?"  His answer, "When it is ready!" 

In all seriousness, Ozimek did make the following notes:

  • Joomla 1.6 Beta 2 - is getting a good response and much fewer bug notices that its predecessor.
  • Additional beta releases will be coming approximately every two weeks.
  • The first release candidate is hoped for this fall.
  • Development is also underway to allow Joomla to operate under other database systems outside of MySQL.  Oracle, for instance, is heavily used by the U.S. Government and as a result there is very limited use of Joomla.

John Brett, Jen Kramer and Ryan Ozimek

JoomlArt's John Brett (left), Jen Kramer and OSM's Ryan Ozimek

Behind the Scenes Note #1: Ryan and I insisted Jen get rid of the cow costume before the picture was taken so we wouldn't smell like a farm all day.

Three tracks of seminars were held throughout the day which encompassed all levels of expertise.  Newbies were introduced to Joomla's basic functions, walked through customizing a template, and given words of wisdom in what to look for in good and useful templates and extensions.

Above, Marlboro College web development professor, Meg McCarthy, presented "Beginning Joomla" and used JoomlArt's free JA Purity template as an example.

Others in attendance included extensions developers and authors Joe LeBlanc and Bill Tomczak, JoomlArt Support Moderator John Brett (c'est moi), and many more. Interestingly Joe LeBlanc was also present at JandBeyond conference in Germany where JoomlArt's Hung Dinh unveiled the T3 version 2 framework .

Following a day of instruction, information, and networking, a Joomla 1.6! Bug Squashing session was held to provide hands-on work to help further development.

And one final note: One of the most surprising things learned at Joomla Day New England came NOT from a speaker, but from the crowd itself.  In the image below, the hands raised indicate the women who were in attendance...nearly half the crowd... a marked percentage increase from previous conferences.

Joomla Day, Washington, DC Sept. 18, 2010