The Professional Service Listing is the official list of TYPO3 professional agencies and companies. In April 2012, the current list replaced the old agency and professional listings and also introduced quality standard rules for listed companies and individuals.
Those accepted and included in the Professional Services Listing have proven to be highly professional TYPO3 agencies (big or small!) and are active participants in the TYPO3 universe. If you are not listed yet, you should definitely consider applying. Although the criteria for inclusion are high, the fact that you’re reading this article suggests you might have the qualities needed to become a member of this list.
Why a New Listing?
Many of the old listings on the TYPO3 websites were dated, poorly maintained, and since there was a lack of staffing, high quality assurance and standards were not enforced. The PSL was created to provide a compendium of recommended, high-value TYPO3 professionals rather than a generic list of internet companies and individuals who were familiar with TYPO3. With a domain as powerful as typo3.org officially linking back to recommended agencies, it became apparent there was a need for a more rigorous system to maintain the list’s integrity.
How Do You Get On the PSL?
There are three basic criteria necessary to be included in the PSL.
- 1. The company must be a TYPO3 Association member (silver to platinum level);
- 2. The company must adhere to the TYPO3 trademark guidelines;
- 3. The company website must use the TYPO3 CMS.
In addition to the basic criteria, a company must earn three out of five Soft Criteria points (below).
The Soft Criteria
Once the three basic criteria have been met, applicants must also demonstrate three out of five of the additional Soft Criteria points:
1. Employ one or more Certified TYPO3 Integrators
- 1. Employ one or more Certified TYPO3 Integrators;
- 2. Have an extension in TER;
- 3. Financially contribute to the TYPO3 community;
- 4. Support or is involved in the TYPO3 community;
- 5. Have at least eight TYPO3 website references.
Many agencies find it difficult to employ a certified integrator, as there is a lack of professionals who have completed the certification process. The TYPO3 Association encourages certification for integrators (those implementing and templating TYPO3 websites) and has been administering the certification exam since 2008. In addition, Developer Certification is in the works and might be implemented in early 2013.
2. Have an extension in TER
Code quality is clearly an area of concern in the certification process. Extensions eligible for the PSL review must contain at least one FE or BE plugin, must use the API consistently and correctly, must follow the coding guidelines, and must include code comments. While coding is an art and art may belong in the domain of personal preference, there are principles of craftsmanship that cannot be neglected. Although every qualified coder understands the difference between best and good-enough, sometimes it’s too tempting to go for the quick fix, the dirty hack, or the works-for-me-solution. However, a listing on the PSL is a statement about quality and extension coding in a reflection of that quality.
3. Financially contribute to the TYPO3 community
TYPO3 as a project depends on financial contributions in a variety of ways. Some agencies choose to pay a core developer for some time, some sponsor a code sprint or an official TYPO3 events like T3CONs or T3DDs, some give additional donations to the TYPO3 Association. A question often asked: To be a member of the TYPO3 Assocation in itself is not sufficient.
4. Support or is involved in the TYPO3 community
Community involvement may seem like a fuzzy criterion, but nothing is more important than involvement. The TYPO3 community has put a lot of time, work, and effort into developing both the TYPO3 project and the typo3.org website. Supporting the community is rewarding for both the Association and to those who contribute; after all, it provides you with the most powerful backlinks there are in the TYPO3 world.
To meet the support/involvement criterion the reviewers evaluate whether the candidate adds substantial value to the TYPO3 community. Successful candidates do more than attend TYPO3 user groups or events. On the other hand, organizing a TYPO3 camp or participating on one of the TYPO3 teams easily fulfill this requirement.
Most TYPO3 teams are looking for help on a variety of levels. It’s easy to make contact with the team and query how you can contribute. Needs include both coding and documentation, so almost anyone can provide something of value, be it a screencast, some basic documentation, or actual lines of code.
5. Have at least eight TYPO3 website references
Providing website references is one of the easiest criteria to meet, since the client size or the design quality of the sites are not evaluated.
Does Everybody Get In?
Less than half of companies who apply to be included in the PSL are accepted on their first application. Many of those who are rejected have simply failed to provide the necessary information – an oversight that could have been avoided had they read the How-To and the FAQs before making their application. However, companies that are rejected are invited to reapply with updated information at no additional cost.
One of the more common reasons companies are rejected is because they haven’t kept their company’s TYPO3 installation up to date. A company still using TYPO3 4.4 raises a red flag ... any agency that doesn't have the expertise or knowledge to keep their site updated is hardly a competent candidate for the PSL.
Who Does the Review?
Currently the PSL team includes: Frederic Gaus (Flagbit), Stefan Willkommer (TechDivision), and Andreas Wolf (ikt.werk). After an application is submitted, one of the reviewers will look at all the application to ensure the basic information has been provided and in order. If not, the review will contact the candidate and inform them where they will need to touch it up.
Once the application is complete, it takes about one week for the candidate to be accepted and the PSL updated with their information. Although when the new PSL was launched, there was a bit of a rush and listings were initially delayed, the volume of applicants has become more reasonable and so from application to approval the process only takes about seven days – presuming the company meets all the criteria.
What Does It Cost?
There is no charge for the listing itself, however the TYPO3 Association charges € 200 for the review process. Every listing in the PSL is reviewed annually to ensure compliance with the requirements and therefore the fee is required annually.
The fee covers the cost of the review, which is clearly extensive. Therefore, if an application is rejected, the fee is not refunded. The reviewing team offers significant latitude by allowing candidates to get into compliance. But as criteria are quite clear, most candidates should be able to ensure compliance before they submit their application. Indeed, only rarely is there a need to fail an application completely, since few submit an application without being aware of the requirements.
Enlist for the PSL!
So think about it. Are you a T3A silver member or above? Do you have 8 TYPO3 websites out there? Have you added an extension to TER or sponsored an official TYPO3 event? Then you are probably only an application away from getting listed in the most elite repository of TYPO3 professionals on the planet. Go for it!
Thanks a lot to Bill Tenny-Brittian for proof reading, editing, and improving this article.