Jeffrey A. McGuire 0:00
Welcome to Application, the TYPO3 community podcast! I'm Jeffrey A. McGuire. Most people call me Jam and this is where we celebrate the TYPO3 community sharing your stories, talking about your projects, and the difference you make in around and with TYPO3 CMS. Today my guest on the podcast is a Rachel Foucard TYPO3 community lead from France, a member of the TYPO3 Association Board and CTO from W-Seils in France. W-Seils is W-SEILS, I can save you some googling for that. I was fascinated to talk with Rachel about building relationships with her clients and the sales cycle today, selling solutions and not tools any more. Rachel is also the UX lead in the TYPO3 Structure Content Initiative. And we talk about being not German, and part of the TYPO3 community. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I enjoyed having it with Rachel. Small note, called her Rachel for our en ire conversation and em, I had a chat with her about that afterwards and apologized for my mispronunciation. She was very generous and said, Oh, you just pronounce it the Spanish way. Rachel is completely fine. I would also answer to Rachel. But FYI, everyone. It's her Rachel Foucard. Please enjoy. How are you? It's a, I haven't seen you in a couple of years, I guess at this point. Yes. I think the only time we met in real was in Paris, you came to help some of us of the French community to find out how we could better
communicate about TYPO3. Yeah. So I'm so
Jeffrey A. McGuire 2:10
that's actually a that's actually a really interesting question to me. For a long time, I think people perceived the TYPO3 open source project that TYPO3 CMS as a German project. But there is quite a lot going on outside of Germany. And I feel part of what I can, what I hope to contribute to, to the project is to bring it to the attention of people outside of, of its traditional sort of Central European strongholds. But some tell me about being TYPO3 but not being German.
Well, you feel a little bit lonely sometimes. Because only when you meet marketing people, because when you meet more technical customers, I mean, the in IT people you know, they are really well, they think that TYPO3 is a better product than the others. It's not difficult to convince them. AndTYPO3 for them is something very technical and not user friendly. Because they have in mind, a memories of the late the very old version of TYPO3, and they didn't go back to that interface since years. So for them, it's a very, you know, you have little buttons, and it's a gray interface, very old fashioned, Oh, complicated. And they have that in mind. So we have to show them the new interface first, and show them also well, everything that was already in place at the very beginning of TYPO3, but now they think that oh yes, it's very useful finally, because well, a lot of website inside a unique platform, it's very useful for them. So you have to show them and show them again, you know, it's different now. And you see, it's interesting for you. So I think I think what we need right now on the screen is a is a picture of what the back end looks like and the very clear interface and it's colorful and rather intuitive to use. And the nice thing is also that you can customize the back end that someone sees so that it's basically just set up for them to do their job 1234 and not be distracted by, by what they don't need to see. It's true that since two, three years now it's less than as difficult to, to sell TYPO3, is better than the others. Because every product are that's not really the problem. Now, I think that the customers don't really care about the product. It's strange. But finally, they don't want absolutely TYPO3 or Drupal or WordPress in their project. They want to project. They want something where they ask with their, they talk about their needs. Now, nice, it's easier to answer well, there needs to TYPO3 than other product. For example, they say that they want something that they want a tool that helps them to manage several languages or several websites, but they don't care about the product behind. And then when we answer that with TYPO3, we answer better than the other project. In
Jeffrey A. McGuire 6:28
That's em, I, having been in the web business for for quite a long time now, that's really interesting that people are being a little bit less, let's say religious about the projects now. Because I remember spending a lot of time asking people, but why do you need that? But why do you need that? But why do you need that? To get them to understand the concept of needs. And so you feel that that helps you that feel that helps you some more projects? That perception? Yes, because now the customers are experienced, and they know what they really need and what they don't really need. So they asked us to give them a solution and not a tool. That is so interesting. So what would the old way of asking for a project have been? when they ask for a tool?
Well, they, they listed all the functionality they wanted. And sometimes they said I want TYPO3 or I want Drupal and then I want that for features, features, features. And sometimes they also chose already their website templates, so you just have to say okay, that is the cost. It was a very old way to to answer project. After that. We told them well, you shouldn't draw yourself your template and just ask a company to do it for you. And then they always listed the features they wanted. And today, they say okay, our end users need to communicate. Our end users need to buy something, or well, they are more vague in their I don't know how to say thing in English. Just a moment I check in. You could tell me in French? Really?. Okay, cool. Can you? “Catalogue des exigences?”
Jeffrey A. McGuire 8:39
Uh huh. So it's the requirements catalog? I think yes. Yes. Okay. But you're saying that the the new solution awareness, they actually they're aware of business goals and processes and different audiences? And then are they asking you to help them solve that problem, instead of just telling you put a thing to click here and, and a gallery there? Yes, that's nice. Yes, it's much better than now. And also, they don't ask a web agency only to deliver a technical solution, but also to take care of them during years after that, and take care about all the expectation like SEO, or UX and so on, so you don't have just to be good in TYPO3 you have to be good in a lot of other things. Okay, so it's a it's become a holistic relationship. Yeah. I think that that must be a more satisfying way to work if you can have a relationship and be involved in their business goals together. That sounds that sounds great. Well, good for the customers and good for helping them finally understand that. So Rachel, who are you? What do you do professionally, personally?
Well, So I do a few things about TYPO3 . First, I'm the CTO of a web agency, a French web agency in Nantes it's just below Paris, but near from the sea.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 10:17
Also, if you're you're totally, you're completely, absolutely allowed to pitch your agency. Tell us tell us what's your agency? Okay? My agency is, it's not easy to pronounce in English. Even in French. It's W-Seils. I can't really explain you why we are named like that.
So we are a little web agency but we are only make project with TYPO3 . French TYPO3 communities inside, I don't know, four or five years now. And I organise events in France TYPO3 company every years, except this year, of course, because it wasn't possible to organise Yeah, event. So in case people are listening in the future, we are recording in 2020. When, you know, none of us have been very far from our homes very often so far. And Yep. I know what you mean. You're at W-Seils as the CTO, you are the TYPO3 community lead in France. You are also on the TYPO3 Association Board. Yes, since this year, I was elected for two years. And I'm also in an Initiative, I work on the Structured Content Initiative, since last year. I am leading the way it's a big Initiative, we are a lot of members. So we have three groups, and I'm leading the UX one. Okay, so tell me about the Structured Content Initiative as a whole. Well, this Initiative as a lot of goals, but it's it's an Initiative that that is very older, it's official birth, because a lot of people want to be able to create customised content and structure content since a lot of of years and there is already we use containers, and you have content that are containers of other content that are containers of other content. And you see what I mean, in some complicated pages, because that exists. The the details have a lot of containers and contents inside and a lot of buttons and lines. And it's very difficult to, to handle. And in, in the database. Also, it's not really easy to migrate from an extension to another. And to to to to make a difference between the real data's and the, let's say, positions, informations that shouldn't be in the same place. Right,
Jeffrey A. McGuire 14:22
right, separating separating content and display.
Right. So that's our work. We are trying to solve all that problems. And so there is a lot of problems to solve. That's why we made three teams. Our teams are the group, the UX group is trying to build a new page module with dynamic grid content system. There is a team that are solving all the developers and integrators problems because it's also So, a complicated for them to, they have a lot of code to do to create a new custom structure contents. So they are trying to find a new way, more modern and more fluid to to create the structure content. And there is a rendering group that are working on all the well front end rendering solution to make it possible. Okay, so tell me the,
Jeffrey A. McGuire 15:33
the, I'm interested in the vision right now, because it TYPO3 , lets us input and output semantic data. And you know, the concept of the content element means that I can attach a caption to an image or I know it's a text or a phone number or email. So in that sense, the data is structured. And I know that then I can choose to output that as as a web service and not as HTML, for example. So what's the actual what's the core vision and the core problem, the structured content is an issue is the addressing.
Well, we have to, to let the agencies and the project existing project continue to exist, and we don't want to destroy everything that already exists. And we have to propose solutions. But our solutions Don't, don't have to make that project obsolete and impossible to to exist, you know, so what we are proposing is not mandatory. And if someone wants to go on with a full, rich text editor page, with nothing structured inside, none if he wants, if, if his customers, you shouldn't be that, but you shouldn't. But you shouldn't. If you if you want to think in a long term view, you shouldn't, but for maybe some customer that have little website, and they are okay to destroy everything and rebuild from zero at the next time, it's not really important for them. Okay. It's true. So it's not important. So what Yes, okay. But um, we're supposed to be pure.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 17:37
Because ideology is more important than practicality. I'm really kidding! So, so, um, so I guess you have considerations in planning this, and not only is it not mandatory, but it needs to have a, an elegant, upgrade path from existing solutions and some concepts of some backwards compatibility, I guess.
Yeah. And of course, if from for our customer that will begin a very new project. In the next TYPO3 version, it will have something very solid, and something that make the data able to be But the reality is that today, we have customers that have TYPO3 projects, since years and years and in each and every migration. Everything works, always. So yeah, these are very good things. Right. And that has, that tradition has to continue. So
Jeffrey A. McGuire 19:45
the return on investment that people can get with TYPO3, installing it and having pretty easy, pretty elegant upgrades over 10 years or more. That's really really, I think that's another thing. I think that speaks also I think that helps us in that story about building relationships with people over time. I think that people should hear about that it's a confidence builder for sure. Yeah.
And I think that maybe that's the reason why we have a long term relationship with our customers to because the tool we are working with is a tool for years, and they don't have to destroy everything, each time they want a new website, or a new
Jeffrey A. McGuire 20:33
design or new features. Yeah. So I am, I admit that I, that I, that I like and use and have been a part of multiple open source projects, and even even multiple CMSs is, and it's a, it's a great weakness, and it's a great risk to your project, if every major version requires a rebuild, and, and upgrades are hard. And, you know, the, the, that that's a, that's a really interesting decision, and the projects that I paying attention to right now, are converging on a model that's much more like how TYPO3 been doing it for a long time, where the also as a business person in an agency, you know, that you would rather not present the opportunity for someone to choose a new system and, and, and, and go somewhere else. Yeah. And so tell us about the TYPO3 Association and the TYPO3 how that fits into the TYPO3 project and community?
Well, it's very good question, because if I love that project, I mean, TYPO3 , it's not only because of the technical reasons, and the tool, but also the community. When I learned to develop my first websites, I directly run with with TYPO3 , and so I learn everything with TYPO3 , and I discover the open source, way to work and the TYPO3 community at the same time, and it's, I think, is a special community. It because this community is a real community. I mean, it's not a market and end-user community, when we talk about the types of communities, the developers, the integrators, not the people who just use the tool and use for free or whether the tool can provide. yes, working with an open source really fit my values. And the way the community is, is organized also, is really interesting, because it's an association. It's not a company, it was not a company first, it was only an association. And everything is really well organised. Of course, there is a lot of things to improve. But when you think that everybody does it, just like that, and it's an association, it's we don't know how it can work, but it works. And then the association decided to create the TYPO3 GmbH. So now it's much better because we have that little part of the association who is organized as a company and that ensure that we are we have the, the where the company is responsible to get the things done in time, there is a new major version each year and a half and it's a rhythm difficult to respect. Just it will be hard for for pure pure volunteers to keep on top of that, I think. Yeah. So we are very happy with that. Also, thanks to that organization with a TYPO3 GmbH we have also ELTS and for our customers, it's great to to to decide exactly when they will migrate to another version. Extended long term support. Yes, extending long term suppose it's magic because when you are when you are a customer, you have a very big platform and you don't have this year. the money to migrate to another version, you can just choose to postpone that. And you have the ability to, make something interesting in the good year when, for example, you want also to rebuild the design, you can migrate at the same time or, on the contrary, choose another year. Well, it's great for the customers, and it's great for the agencies. So does that help you sell more projects? And convince more people? Yes, really, because they know, on for four or five years, they know exactly what they will have to to, to expense for migration, or for an evolution or new feature and so on. And it's really important for the customers. So that so that, that planning that planability, is that the key factor for them? The the giving them the power over that decision? Yes. Yes. So some people would say, well, it's better to sell a rebuilt or migration, forced forced migration. But the reality is not like that, because the customer is they don't have money, they don't have money to to migrate. And that's right. And you you would, you would damage that relationship of trust, that that we've been talking about with the client in all those ways. And I think it's a huge if you're running an agency, and you come to your client, and you say, we could sell you an upgrade now. But instead, here's another an option, that that gives you a lot more time and we're not making money off of that choice. But it's, it's better for you, that's actually a fantastic way to have that trust and to make sure that they come back to you when they do have the money. Exactly. Right. So let's just be clear with ELTS for a second, um, I get a new major version of TYPO3 every 18 months or I get we get the the core team
Jeffrey A. McGuire 28:00
officially supported software. Now if we didn't have the GmbH company with the commercial, so you pay for the next ELTS, so the extended long term support is three more years of security patches essentially and backports of something it's very, very important. I end up with a six year window of official support, which is, which is a really long time in the software in the internet world and, and the longest support cycle that I know. And one of the really great tricks about the GmbH, is that it is the official vendor of the project. So it works completely with the community. But because the project has an official vendor, it can offer official support and then I feel very strongly that this is a reason why TYPO3 is a great choice for a government project because you just get you sort of can tick all the boxes that they need with that. So there's the documentation piece. What does the Association Board do? Why did you want to join it?
The board has a few responsibilities, and this year, there is a distribution of the responsibilities. We are eight members with the President Olivier Dobberkau wait, no, that's Olivia Dobberkau cow.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 29:48
No, it's I'm only making the joke because he's half French half German. So I'm sure his I'm sure that you know, right. I think he really insisted that we don't say Oliver but Oliver it is very important
for him. Yes, absolutely. And well, we have some responsibilities. Personally, I have the responsibility of the events. Also, the project strategy and the budget also. And yes, there is a lot of different responsibilities. So what we are doing is to help the existing team to get things done and to make as possible, the communication between the GmbH, and the association teams better and be sure that everything is going. Okay. Yeah, yes. Also the General Assembly, I have that responsibility to. teams and committees and Initiatives. So that as a, as a board, the TYPO3 Association Board members are responsible also for for some execution of their responsibilities. Well, we have tasks to execute. So we are doing things but we are mostly trying to help the the teams and the teams leaders to to do the responsibility they have. Right, so supporting the supporting the volunteers and the team. Yes. And one of the one of the wonderful practical aspects of the TYPO3 communities that they're the the association has a budget, through memberships and sponsorships, and so on to actually facilitate and give the team leads resources when they need them and so on. I think it's a very powerful, powerful model in this in this community. Right, exactly.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 32:22
So why did you why did you want to be on the board?
Well, it did, it didn't really came to my mind. Just like that someone told me? Well, you could. And I said, really? And okay, I could. And then it came to my mind. And I asked myself, Well, what what could I do for the for the community for the board. And what was interesting for the board, they told me that it was interesting for them to have someone not German. Because we really need to think as first maybe more European and then more worldwide, because there is users from whole, the whole the globe. So it's difficult to guess what the other community really needs and how they want to communicate and work. So well. That was one reason or the other reason was also that I was a woman and they really want to have a community with as many women as possible. Sure. Well. It's not a type of three problem. It's more of it problem. There is not a lot of women working in that
Jeffrey A. McGuire 33:50
kind of well, yes, IT is always mostly handled by man. But listen, as I would say, I think that's I think that's really changing. And I think that if you look at the responsible senior people in TYPO3 there are there's a really good gender diversity and there's a lot of very influential important, you know, technical figures for women. So I and yeah, there's a there's always a there's a chicken and egg problem with the diversity but I think that TYPO3 is doing quite well I'm also I'm I mean, I don't think that we should ever sort of stop and say okay, we you know, it's enough now but I'm also I'm interested I have a personal stake, I think in the expansion beyond Europe, and there's a little bit of TYPO3 in Italy, there is some in France. There's quite a bit going on in Africa, which is really exciting. And there's the the, the the Eastern European the Romanian community a a growing interest in India again, which is really, which is really, really nice to see. Are you involved in in any of that sort of expansion? Or are you talking with Francophone African
developers or governments at all? Well, I, I was asked by Danielle Mahajan that is handling that expansion project. And well, I don't have enough time in my day, I have only 2 and 24 hours per day like everybody. So it was impossible for me that, but I helped him to find some mentors, French mentors, because, yes, in Africa, there is a lot of French speaking people. So he needed French mentors. I think we I found one, maybe he has more than one French participant for that project. So um, so I have a segment that I'd like to have on the show, and it's called the suggested guest. So I'd like you to suggest who we should get in touch with to speak about TYPO3 and why. Okay, well, I have a lot of names I just one. One, maybe three. Give me three. Okay, oh, of course we'd like Benny to participate that interview because I think that Benny is one of the well involved and inspiring members.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 36:38
That's a really easy answer, though. Yes, of course but you ask me.
Another name would be I would like Petra to participate also. Yes. Okay.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 36:52
Why? Petra Hasenau. Yes, she's from the board too. And she as a non-technical, very interesting point of view.
So I think you will have a very interesting conversation with her.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 37:08
Another one speaking. I was speaking with Petra yesterday. Okay.
Very new members of the structure content Initiative from the from the US and I'm very happy that we have a US member is he is Paul. Paul Paul Paul Paul.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 37:44
Hanson. H a n s o n? Yes. Okay, good stuff. I have taken note. That's great. So your suggested guest is Benny Mac, Petra Hasenau, and Paul Hanson, and Petra, because she has a really interesting, non technical position. And she's also on the board. And she really cares a lot. Paul Hanson, because he's from the US, and we need to spread the word over there. And he's in the Structured Content Initiative. So that'll be quite interesting to talk about. And then any Mac because he's Benny Mac. Okay, so next question, what is the coolest thing you ever built with TYPO3?
The coolest thing I've ever built with TYPO3, you mean? A project? Okay. Ah, I love built intranet. Instead of website. I prefer building intranet because there is more interaction between the end users and the editors and webmasters. And there is more UX behind because well, now when you build a website, it has to be beautiful, but it's very simple. And you don't have a lot of features now. So if you want to build better features, it's more intranet. And yes, the latest intranet we build was very cool because it was a project we have since years with the customer. First this customer was research industry. No, it's more an institution because it's more public institution and the research we are about well, there is a A lot of topics. So let's say it's a research institution, and it has to fusion with other institution. And last year, the fusion was with a lot of university. And now this customer is the biggest French University. Wow, in number of students number of searchers. It's a very big institution. And then we build their intranet. And it was a very interesting project because the design was built by themselves, but with a very good designer. And the design is really modern. And the features also are, well, a little bit complicated, but it was very interesting to build them. So we made
Jeffrey A. McGuire 40:49
sometimes that's more fun, right?
Yes. And also, we build this intranet in very few days. Why? Because it wasn't. Because it was an intranet, we already build three times with the customer, each time the vision was another, with another institution, with the Intranet, and we had few things and we take it and we have fusion. So this intranet is very mature. And when they asked us, well, could you build us an intranet? We said, Yes. And with a lot of features, but in a very short time. So we won that project because we we were the less expensive than the others. Because you'd because you'd already they'd already paid you for it before. And, well, again, with TYPO3, you don't have to, to to to begin from zero each time you can take something and make it better and better and in years. And yes, we are very proud of that project. Nice. Are you allowed to say what university it was? Yes, it's very easy to remember because it's the same name, the tower Eiffel, is Gustave Eiffel . Okay. the Eiffel University
Jeffrey A. McGuire 42:13
Which would mean something completely different in Germany because the the Eifel, not Eiffel. But Eifel this is a region just south of here, known for hot springs and wine. So, what are your favorite features of TYPO3?
Um, yes, the page tree, of course, it's so logical and easy to understand what's happening in the navigation of a website. And also, because it's possible to have in one interface, the global picture of all the structure of your website, and I say your websites, because you can have more than one inside only page tree. And I think that that was the first way to, to, to, to build in TYPO3 since the beginning of the tool, and this thing has never changed. And I'm very happy with that, because it was the best feature and the best thinking of Casper when he built that interface. Yeah, that hierarchical picture of the structure. It's so interesting that it made sense, in in 1999, I guess. And when he was building it for that version of the internet and, and how, you know, you have a homepage and sub pages, and then it made perfect sense that that became the menu.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 43:49
And then over time, as the internet grew and TYPO3's functionality grew. It's so fascinating that the same structures and the same data structures essentially, also let you cascade permissions let you assign URLs and domains to them. And whether it's editing permissions or, or, or central style choices, it just flows through that thing. And and you have a visual representation there. It's very helpful. And, and, you know, editors really like knowing exactly where their stuff is too, I've noticed. Okay, um, so what is something that people don't know about TYPO3 that they should? You said, one suggestion is that it's not all gray with very tiny buttons in the back round anymore, right? Like the admin interfaces is attractive and useful and responsive, and you can do it on your phone. But um, you kind of touched on that before already.
Yes. Maybe they don't. Well, the customer, the end user Sometimes don't know that it's possible to personalize the interface really on their needs. A lot of time I met customers that had only admin account. And that's and that's why they said, well, the interface is very complicated, but they shouldn't have that interface, they are not administrator. And then they discover that it was possible to simplify the interface for them and just put there the good modules, the good page 3 part, the good contents, the good field in each forms, if possible and then remove all the noise that they don't need to see. Yeah. So yes, a lot of customers don't know that it's possible, and a lot of agencies don't take the time to make it. And it's very, yes, it's a it's a pity, because it's the it's one of the most important feature of the of the tool. Right. And we really need to keep in mind that people who use our websites every day, the thing that we build for a week or a month or half a year, and then hand off to them, they have to they have to go there from nine to five every day Monday to Friday, for four years. Right. And if it's efficient and pleasant,
Jeffrey A. McGuire 46:30
they'll be they'll be happier, right? And they'll do a better job and and we really, you know, we should help those people because the because we're we're essentially making the the thing that they work with every day. Yeah. Nice. So what have I what what have I forgotten to ask you?
I don't think you have to ask me anything. No, I don't have
Jeffrey A. McGuire 46:52
any favorite. What's your favorite open source project?
Jeffrey A. McGuire 47:04
So, you know, thank you so, so, so much for taking the time and helping me with this first version of trying to get these recorded. Thank you so much for your contribution and your work. And, and, yeah, and being part of the open source world. It's great. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. My pleasure. Thanks to the TYPO3 Association for sponsoring this podcast. Thank you B 13 and Stefanie Kreuzer for our logo. Shout out to the fabulous Patrick Gorman, TYPO3 developer and musician extraordinaire for our wonderful theme music. Thanks again to today's guest. If you like what you heard, don't forget to subscribe on the podcast app of your choice and share with your friends or colleagues. If you didn't like it, please share it with your enemies. If you want to Suggest a Guest for us to have on the podcast or if you have a question or comment, reach out to us on Twitter @TYPO3podcast. You can find show notes, links, and more information in our posts on TYPO3.org and thank you for your contributions.
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