Don't ask what the HQ can do for you

Monday, January 28, 2013 by Niels Hartvig


Umbraco may have been my brainchild, but it would never have gotten this far if it weren’t for the many people who’ve helped along the way. From my wife who told me to “just do it or stop nagging about the other tools”, to Thomas Madsen-Mygdal, Kasper Bumbech and Anders Pollas with whom I sparred in the very early days or the many, many other developers, designers and editors who through code, feedback, packages, community help and testing have helped make Umbraco what it is today.

That’s the story we all love and also use in sales pitches. It’s the product of a big community with thousands of contributors. More than 100.000(!) people visit Our Umbraco every month, we’re beyond 500 add-ons and the amount of pull requests for the core are at an all time high.

Umbraco is the product of all of us, not just me or the employees in the HQ. The idea that a tiny company of less than a dozen people could have such a huge impact on the world of CMS is flattering, but unreal.

There’s so much to love about a project like Umbraco, but of course there’s no such thing as a free lunch. When you love to use Umbraco to win a project because you’re standing on the shoulders of a big community, remember that you’re that community too. That the quality of Umbraco can never be greater than the amount of investment in that community.

When a new version of Umbraco is released, it shouldn’t be just the product of a handful of developers in a tiny Danish company. It should be the product of all of us. There’s so much potential if all of us could find just an hour a year to help with testing, fixing bugs and sparring on new features.

When we release a beta of Umbraco, it’s a great chance to help. Not just installing it - but by trying some of the stuff you’d do when the release comes out. Like using some of your favorite packages, testing your own code, running it on your usual host and maybe even trying to upgrade an existing site. Helping catching bugs during the beta phase is what leads to a better release and less frustration when it really hurts. Last year we launched a contribute section to help you get started.

The quality of the core is the responsibility of all of us - from the employees in the HQ, to the smallest of agencies using it for their clients.

So don’t think what the HQ can do for you, but what you can do for your CMS.

6 comment(s) for “Don't ask what the HQ can do for you”

  1. Gravatar ImagePete Duncanson Says:

    Amen to that. We've got some plans for this year to ram up our involvement. Offroadcode is only small but we do our bit where we can as payback to the awesome work done so far.

    To anyone using Umbraco and not chipping in I encourage you to dive in and have a go, whats stopping you?

  2. Gravatar ImageGrant Thomas Says:

    @Pete Time!

    That's an awful excuse, I know. I've been saying for so long now that I would do this or that, had ideas for something or other, and 'watch this space!'. Time does fly and it's up to individuals to make the most of it - I haven't done so in this respect.

    Community online is a huge interest for me, and an incentive; contributing to the product would be fine, and surely it will happen. Now I learned that the code has been released, though, and this inspired me to fork which I just need to get a good build of.

    You see, I installed MSSQL 2008 R2 as a prerequisite for the solution to run and it required a restart. Could I have restarted before now? Could I have put an hour in before moving back on to work? The answer to both is 'Yes', I just should have.

    The answer to your question then is, in general, 'Yourself!'. If, like me, others read this and think "it's just my time that prohibits me, honest!", then stop for a moment, and save the time you would have uses making excuses and help build something awesome.

  3. Gravatar ImageSam Flanagan Says:

    OK Niels, but how about some structure to guide the community testing effort, such as test plans and a structured format for recording and reporting test results?

  4. Gravatar ImageBen Norman Says:

    I would love to do a day or two before or after Code Garden. It would probably be just as effective as playing the ice breaker games :)

  5. Gravatar ImageAnthony Says:

    I fully agree with Sam. Having a kind of structure/scenario for testing a new Umbraco release would realy be helpfull, and in my opinion, it would boost testing by the community.



  6. Gravatar ImageJeroen Breuer Says:

    @Sam @Anthony Maybe this post can help a bit:

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