Volker Graubaum 0:00
Hi, my name is Volker. And this is Application, the TYPO3 community podcast, sharing your stories, your projects, and the difference you make celebrates the TYPO3 community on applications. The TYPO3podcast needs the humans behind the technology. You say you are making spontaneous but if you're, you have scripted your questions and your text and spontaneous.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 0:27
Yes, you're supposed to be totally spontaneous and I'm supposed to be totally prepared. That's how life works. You know, there's the winners and the unprepared right,
Volker Graubaum 0:38
Jeffrey A. McGuire 0:39
Welcome to application the TYPO3 community podcast. One, two. Welcome to application, the TYPO3 community podcast. I'm Jeffrey A. McGuire, you can 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. It's Volker week on the TYPO3 podcast, just like Shark Week, except with less shark and more focus. How about Chief Product Officer of TYPO3 CMS. On today's episode of application, that TYPO3 podcast you'll hear parts of a conversation I had with photo album in March 2021, about three months into his job as Chief Product Officer of TYPO3 CMS. While he is formerly employed within the TYPO3 company he is responsible for, as he puts it, the product TYPO3 we get into the idea of community Software and the community product, his vision for serving the community, and how he's working with pennymac. And all of us as a market tester and solution promoter to quote bring focus to further development. Focus his job that TYPO3 company and much of the official TYPO3 community structure as enablers for those of us who build us and benefit from the TYPO3 product ecosystem. Full disclosure, I booked 90 minutes with Volker to give myself room for technical hiccups and connectivity problems. I expected to talk maybe for an hour and get a solid 45 minutes out of it. Well, we spoke for more than three hours. I did have to fight with some severe connectivity problems along the way. But I think that most of the conversation is really worth hearing. So this is episode one of three with Volker Graubaum. I hope you enjoy listening to it and that it wets your appetite for more in upcoming episodes. You'll hear more about the early days of the TYPO3 community, how Volker got into it, and all about the new theme based roadmap he's introduced for TYPO3.
So why don't you introduce yourself and tell us who you are and what you do?
Volker Graubaum 3:10
Oh, yeah. Hi, I'm Volker. I already said that. Intro photo photogrammetry Yeah, actually, it's Graubaum. That's a German name. It's not a generic name. So you can translate it easily. Yeah, I am working as CPO four, TYPO3 since January of this year. And yeah, I used to work with with TYPO3 Reef for nearly 20 years. I had an agency where we implement a lot of TYPO3 projects. And I used to be very active in the community and make a lot of events started a TYPO3 bar cam, I think I make the first real TYPO3 bar Cam 2008. Then it's breaded around and now there are a lot of backends actually, when there's no Corona there will be a lot of backups again, and yeah, yes. And finally, I joined Yeah, TYPO3 full time. And as a CPO as Chief Product officer I'm focusing on brings the product to the next level. And I think for that it's very important that we speak about what is the product? And what do I mean was the next level because actually TYPO3 is a real good product. But it could be maybe sometimes a little bit be more focused when we are thinking about further development. So yeah, I would love to talk about my ideas, my plan what I've done so far and what are the next steps.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 4:59
There's A lot, there's a lot to dig into there. When you say you're working for TYPO3 I'd like to be really clear, especially for people who might be considering adopting TYPO3 and and understanding what's going on there, you work for a company called TYPO3 GmbH, officially, which is a proper commercial entity that it was created. It's a fully owned subsidiary of the TYPO3 Association, the nonprofit that looks after the community. And the TYPO3 company let's call it was founded to represent the Association and the community and provide products and services to support TYPO3, the CMS. So for example, because TYPO3 has a contributor license, the TYPO3 company can be an official vendor and offer official vendor support, which helps people sell projects, for example, and you offer SLA support, and you offer some partnership programs, and a bunch of different things. So this is a really interesting thing to have in a community. And I feel it's one of the things that makes TYPO3 a really strong offering. And I think it should really help. You know, when it comes to like, for example, what your job is, as Chief Product officer, you have some in the middle of a very democratic community, you have the ability to go in and propose some ideas and get them done. Why don't you tell me what your vision is for being Chief Product Officer of an open source CMS
Volker Graubaum 6:38
yet, I will tell you that later. But thanks for the clearing app with the GMB Ah, and so with a commercial company, which is actually owned by the type of three Association, so it's owned by the community, I think that's very important to understand. And even if we are offering products around the TYPO3 CMS system, we are mainly an enabler. And I think that's very important to understand. We are not doing business with TYPO3 in general. But we are enabling the community doing business with that. And next to that, it's, of course, we have products, but products where it's needed to have a commercial official institution for
Jeffrey A. McGuire 7:35
right. And in contrast to some other communities, the TYPO3 company your actual articles of incorporation forbids you to offer products and services that compete with members of the communities, the community and their companies. So your company is explicitly designed to improve and enhance the ecosystem and not be a strong competition in the middle of it, for example.
Volker Graubaum 8:04
Yeah, exactly. That's, I think that's very, very important to mention. And to be clear with that. And now we can come to my role, because actually, also, I'm formerly located in the TYPO3 Gmbh. I'm not responsible for the GBH products, but for the product TYPO3 so.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 8:31
So your your job is to look after TYPO3 CMS, that collection of code and activities.
Volker Graubaum 8:38
Yeah, but maybe we have to define the product TYPO3. Yeah. Because
Jeffrey A. McGuire 8:45
then we know what you're doing.
Volker Graubaum 8:46
Yeah, exactly. So we are not talking about that what is from the past mainly meant when you're talking about TYPO3 CMS, because that's mostly mean, the TYPO3 core system so which is actually a very stable, very grown up CMS system with a lot of things around. So and when we are talking about my job, we are not talking about that I'm responsible for how the code will develop. I'm working very hard together with Benny to make even the core better. But actually, I'm not so focused on that because we have Benny as responsible for the TYPO3 core. And, of course, we have to work together on the main product TYPO3, but there's a lot of more. So, for example, TYPO3 was, I think, the first system at least I know, content management, and even products around, which has this. Yeah, it's called extension mentioned, which is quite. Yeah, sounds complicated. But to be very honest, it's a completely free app store for TYPO3. And we have it since 2002. So I think it was
Jeffrey A. McGuire 10:18
modular, modular extensibility of the system.
Volker Graubaum 10:21
Yeah. And very easy to extend. So just click on I want that extension, or that add on, installer that have it. And it's there. And it's working. And, yeah, so it's not far away from that water nap. So it's actually without all the commercial marketplaces things on that. And so therefore, it was very early. So we, all that extension belongs to TYPO3 to the product TYPO3. And when we are looking at extensions, technical, we have different kinds of extensions. So we have things which makes a product as all the core types we better. But we have a lot of extension, which I call in the future integrations. So that TYPO3 can interact with third party systems, and can Yeah, app real a lot of functionality, two TYPO3, by interacting with the best solutions for different tasks for the best Digital Asset Management System for the best marketing solution for the best analytic solution, or the solution, you will have already you're already using. So that's a very important part of the product either. You think?
Jeffrey A. McGuire 11:50
Do you think that having the Extension System, so the absolute ability to modify and improve core behavior and integrate other functionality, add other functionality integrate other systems? Does that help you make the core the best it can be and not get distracted? By trying to add too many things?
Volker Graubaum 12:17
Yeah, definitely. It, it will help us or is already helping us to focus on central functionality, thinking about how we make it as flexible as possible to interact with a lot of differences them to give the community the possibility to improve the system, we add ons. And so yeah, we are very focused, of course, we have to improve it. And we are not totally small system with just basic functionality. So no TYPO3 is a core standalone, full CMS system, and have really added up price functionality when you're looking on Web Content Management. But you can make it much more than a web content management, when you use all the extension integration possibilities.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 13:19
Right. So let me let me run a couple of my ideas past you. I see the type of three core came out of an agency, and the majority of the community is somehow involved in the agency world. So I see the core toolset is 80 90% of what you need for most agency projects. And most agency projects, you know, larger websites, lots of information, lots of organization. And then the the core functionality is really focused around helping agencies deliver great client projects, suites of websites for enterprises, you know, legal compliance data in many languages, regional variations, all that sort of larger information rich website, it does really well. There's a great editorial workflow built in the page tree helps authors and marketers really understand what they're doing on the site and build microsites or, you know, there's this incredible amount of, you know, I want to call it a fully featured CMS on this incredible amount of stuff that makes it easy to use once it's installed and set up for you in all of these working contexts. And that's awesome. And then, so I think it's, you know, the, the core is quite rich in functionality, because I think it's focusing on that mission. And I want I hope you Well, I'd like to know what you think its mission is, and then you can choose what to develop and choose where, okay, that's another interest free, that's another specialty. That's something that someone can help us with, right? We can make a partnership or we can or you know, something like that. So what do you think the mission of the core is?
Volker Graubaum 14:59
You Yeah, I think the mission is an enabler. So it's, we the call brings, I wouldn't say 98% 89%. Of what you need an agency projects, when we are talking about all the big projects, because we all know or project a difference. And so I would say it's more like an 8020. solution, okay. And because you probably have 80%, the same way, more or less. So and with TYPO3 with a core, we have about 80% of functionality, what you need to implement your project, but what we have done is that we make it as flexible as possible so that we don't have 80% of our work with the 20%, which we are doing individual, but we make it more flexible, so that we have an 8020 in terms of functionality. But let's say we only need 50% of our time for the 20% individual solution, since we have this wide ecosystem, where a lot of add ons and so on. So you don't have to build so much on an individual away. Right. And but we have all that already gives us the ecosystem and flexibility. And the system offers you,
Jeffrey A. McGuire 16:35
right, and the structure of the community with a typo three company, acting as a vendor also means I believe that you as a Chief Product officer can look around at the projects people are doing and what people need, and make a targeted high quality investment in, you know, we're gonna integrate with these e commerce platforms that everybody uses, we're going to integrate with these digital asset management, we're going to make that 8020 solution even stronger, and give the community these these enhancements.
Volker Graubaum 17:06
Yep. Yeah, actually, it's exactly that. So it's, I think we have all we have really a lot of integrations already out there. But we are not talking about that very much. And because they, they've been done by a lot of different agencies, which are more or less included in the, let's say, active community, because they belong to the community. And actually, they are not very inactive. But there may be not going to events and not talking about what they're doing. They're just offering this integrations and I think it's very important to get the knowledge about what has already been done. For example, when I started my work, the first thing, what I has done is I went through all extension, which out there for the version, Tim, and I found so many really great integrations. And I don't find a place where we are saying that we can interact with all these different systems
Jeffrey A. McGuire 18:14
that says, here's the TYPO3 integration landscape. Look how great
Volker Graubaum 18:19
Oh, and I think it's very important that we are talking about that. And on the other side, it's very important that we help the people that when they are doing integrations, that they know, what is the best way to do that. And that they are thinking about how we can we work together. So in terms of integration, I'm very interested in bringing together the agency who has already made the integration, together with the third party provider, together with us to have a more official and a more clear defined solution. So that we can offer an official integration to our customers,
Jeffrey A. McGuire 19:04
Volker Graubaum 19:54
Yeah, exactly. That's a lot. I think there are a lot of tasks Whatever features people need, which are ready out there with extensions, but they used to create their own extension, because it's in their way, and they have this problem, you're mentioned that, who should I contact to ever talk with? If I need an add on and so on? And oh, no, I don't want to work on that extension, because I'm not sure where this work goes, and so on. And, yes, I would say, a very important part of my work as a product officer is actually working as a community officer a little bit. So bring together all the people who, Jamie,
Jeffrey A. McGuire 20:59
Hey, what's going on with my life,
Volker Graubaum 21:02
I would cut and you can get something to drink right now.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 21:10
Hey, so I'm
Volker Graubaum 21:13
your pick. So we're back.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 21:15
So you were saying that your vision of being the Chief Product officer for this open source CMS is actually being some sort of a community facilitator? Or? or How did you put it?
Volker Graubaum 21:33
Yeah, actually, I think it's very important to understand that we are talking about a community product. So there is not this one company, which are developing an open source product. So open source is cool itself. But a community product is much cooler, because all the people around there who belong to the community can develop it, and has to develop it. So if I want to make next steps, with the product, it's very important that I interact with all the people who are working with and for TYPO3, and not for the company, but for the agencies, as a freelancer in the government or in universities, wherever they are working with that, it's very important that we come in contact with them, what see what their needs are, and also gives them a vision, how they can help to make TYPO3 as a product better. No, it's, that's why I think it's, of course, the focus is on the product I have, but it's very important that the community understand my ideas, which are not built on a green field, but existing because I'm talking with other people looking at the market, and look, what's the strength of TYPO3 is in the moment or are already and brings it all together, and then bring together as a community to work on that.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 23:10
Are you saying in a way that you are trying to bring community back or add community thinking at more levels, I see agencies that make a really interesting extension, and then just keep it in house for their projects. And I don't fully understand if they think it's a competitive advantage. Or if they think it's too much work to maintain it for other people to use, or, or if they've just, this is not an accusation. And I don't mean this in a negative way. But I sort of sort of like, forgot a little bit about about why we're in community software, why we're an open source software together. Because if I do work once and I let you play with it, you're gonna give it back to me better, you know, you can code better than I can. So I always think if I put my best ideas out there, I'm gonna get something better back.
Volker Graubaum 24:01
Yeah, actually, it's, it's good that you're asking, I don't want one call that they forgot why they are here. But you mentioned other points, which are very important. So on the one hand, it's very hard to maintain a product so you can develop it for yourself and you of course have the documentation for yourself in a more or less perfect way. Let's be very honest on that.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 24:31
You right, and yeah, ages and whatever it is, but you know, it's okay. It's good to know.
Volker Graubaum 24:38
Exactly, and, but when you have to, you're going to publish it, you have the ideas that you want to present your company outside to the public. So the documentation and all that which is included in the in the extension or ens integration has is presenting my company So, it even if the code quality, for example as the right quality, not extension as a product has a quality I want to present where I want to present my company with
Jeffrey A. McGuire 25:15
the same time maybe, maybe getting your a couple of developers to take the time to really make it look sort of perfect and be perfectly documented. And everything is a little bit too expensive is a little bit too much effort to justify, when my agency is only making a certain profit margin and people have to be doing billable hours have to be working for clients, right. So I make something that's good, but I'm a little bit embarrassed about letting it go if it's not perfect, but perfect is too expensive. Do you think people feel trapped in that?
Volker Graubaum 25:45
Yeah, exactly. It's a big trap. And I would add a third element to that, or what people use it. So I had a lot of talks with people who are saying, Oh, I think other people would need it. But I don't know. And what I would love to have is some feedback, or at least maybe some support on promoting it. So if I want to do that, I will do that I will take the work. Also, I know it's expensive in terms of time. And I want to be sure that people get informed about that. And so that people really using it if they need it. And so as
Jeffrey A. McGuire 26:35
Chief Product officer, you can find interesting, useful things to bring out and show to people and then help make sure it's maintained. And you can also probably do some some some market testing, you say, hey, people, did you know there's this thing out there? And and would you use it? And then you can help? Maybe target where where that investment in that time goes?
Volker Graubaum 26:58
Yeah, exactly. That's ideas. And so that's why we have this, this roadmap actually become my thing later to the, to the theme based roadmap. But actually, first of all, I would like to give the people a vision, and a reason why they should work on topics. And that's a more general way. Because actually, if even if I would like to talk with everyone, and each agency, to be very honest, I'm not able to talk with everyone. That's clear. So I need to address them in a different way. And I hopefully, that's with the same base roadmap. But in a more specific way, I'm totally fine. I totally would love to hear about what they have, what agencies are freelancers, or even companies internally as built to make TYPO3 better. And ask other people if they're interested in having that in the same things they needed? And how could it help other companies.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 28:16
And then more people adopting a given extension integration solution will mean it will become better quality, more people will test it more people suggest patches and improvements over time.
Volker Graubaum 28:28
Jeffrey A. McGuire 28:29
So the easier for everyone to use and better for everyone.
Volker Graubaum 28:33
Exactly. And another topic is that if you're not long in the community, and you don't know a lot of people, it's very hard to know, who can I ask for things. And that's one thing. And on the other side, we have a situation that people are not sure about best practices and so on. And so I think, while we can, I can do a lot of work in terms of communication. I should also think about how could we enable the community to create more high quality products and to display that it's not so hard to maintain an extension? Yesterday, I had a great talk with Mateus, our CEO at cG mbh
Jeffrey A. McGuire 29:35
so just just to be clear, right now, we're talking in early March 2021. So yesterday is early March 2021. And this is Mateus Schreiber. Matt Lupo on Twitter CEO of TYPO3 jbH.
Volker Graubaum 29:51
Yeah, and we're talking about that I'm very focusing on the next releases. So actually, when I'm Thinking about vision. I'm not talking about version, TYPO3 10. But I'm talking about 11 and 12. And all that. And we were thinking about, what can we do to in the time between version 10, LTS or 11, LTS and 12? Zero. And how could we handle it and he came up with is a very important formation. I didn't have a way I wasn't aware right now. But we used to say that we deprecate functionality in the old version, which will be removed in the next version. So that's what is really good information, I think. So when I am developing something for my current version, version 10. And I set the TYPO3 version in an non deprecated mode, so that it's only using new functionality, then it will be easily to bring it to the next version 11, because all the things we said, which is deprecated in the core, I'm not using anymore. So that's a very technical point, I'm not so technical under normal moment. But it's a good thing, what we have to tell the people how they can easily maintenance, right, make some maintenance for extensions.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 31:39
And, and, and really, really helpful thing for your developer experience, if you're thinking about creating or maintaining typo three code is that you can set the mode you want to be in and you can set it so that it won't accept outdated or deprecated functions, you can set it to be to be relaxed and run whatever it can still. But as folker pointed out, if you write code, that is that is fully, you know, up to date for version 10. Now and set it in the strict mode, it will work into version 11. pretty much guaranteed unless there's some crazy security problem that we have to fix, because we have to, but it's going to work into version 11. And then at some point, if you run and built into the core, you can analyze your own extensions for the new state of the code and write in every single TYPO3 instance, there's a tool that looks at the extensions that you wrote and put in there. And it'll tell you about all the code and all the functionalities and all the API calls you made. And whether they're still fully compliant, or whether they're using things that have newly become deprecated. And it's basically like a quick and easy checklist to update it. And as soon as you do that in version 11 it'll be ready for version 12. Without any more work, right.
Unknown Speaker 33:00
Yeah, exactly. And it's,
Jeffrey A. McGuire 33:02
it's super helpful. And it's, it's it's not, it's not a mysterious black box. It's documentation built inside. The the TYPO3 backend is so impressive. It is so it's it's almost fun.
Volker Graubaum 33:19
Yeah, if you actually, if you like to read Okay, then it's fun.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 33:24
Yeah, let's say some Saturdays. But anyway.
Volker Graubaum 33:27
So yeah, but yet, I don't want to become so technical. And
Jeffrey A. McGuire 33:35
we're geeking out here.
Volker Graubaum 33:36
Yeah, it's, it's fine. But actually, I think they're really, really good people. And I think you had a podcast with Benny, who is so awesome in what he's doing. And he can explain all the technical things much better than me. Yeah, be very honest. So me and
Jeffrey A. McGuire 33:59
I, Benny, and I talk on episode six and seven of season one. And honestly, I don't even think I got through half of my question list with him. So So, you know, let's talk again. In fact, it might be fun for for the three of us to talk, right, because I'm quite interested to hear how you and Benny interacts, thinking about this future from the technical perspective and from the community and product perspective together. I think that would be cool.
Volker Graubaum 34:26
Yeah, definitely, actually, to give us a short summary. It's working. Great. So
Jeffrey A. McGuire 34:34
well, that'll make a real contest. Thanks.
Volker Graubaum 34:36
Yeah, no, actually, I don't think it's very boring because we have different perspective and different ideas why we are doing it. But we've been together. Okay. And so, actually, I'm looking on the market a bit, looking more on the technical view and on the innovation, technical innovation review and Luckily, that fits very well together. So I think
Jeffrey A. McGuire 35:04
Benny's perspective is also richer, because he is also the CTO of an agency. So he's not doing like, pure something. He's he knows exactly what a client project looks like, he knows exactly what, you know, his team needs to get things done. He said to me, he said to me something like, he does TYPO3 client work in the day and he does TYPO3 for fun at night, you know, the core development. So, so yeah, let's, let's, um, I'm gonna let's get that together. Because I think actually, I'd love to talk about the theme based roadmap with with both of you together, so that would be super cool.
Thanks to the TYPO3 Association for sponsoring this podcast. Thank you, b 13 inch Stephanie quarter for our logo. Now simple Cooper three comma TYPO3 developer and musician x tall, the noun for our theme music. Thanks again to today's guest. If you like what you heard, don't forget to subscribe in the podcast app of your choice and share application that TYPO3 community podcast with your friends and colleagues. If you didn't like it, please share it with your enemies. Would you like to play along and suggest the guest for the podcast? Do you have questions or comments? reach out to us on Twitter at TYPO3 podcast. You can find show notes, links and more information in our posts on TYPO3 dot org. Remember, open source software would not be what it is without you. Thank you all for your contributions.