TYPO3 Surfcamp 2024

Categories: Event Report, Community development Created by Lisa-Maria Schedlberger & Julia Gruber
Young developers Lisa-Maria Schedlberger & Julia Gruber share their first-hand experience of fun-in-the-sun at TYPO3 Surfcamp.

TYPO3 Surfcamp is a rather unique form of training that stands out distinctly from typical web development conferences and seminars. We spent a week in Fuerteventura with 30 other young developers from nine countries across Europe. We all relished the opportunity to get to know the TYPO3 community, delve into the world of surfing, and, most importantly, actively contribute to a future feature of TYPO3 v13.

Coding in Paradise / Thinking about Sets

Mentors and participants arrived on Saturday afternoon and activities kicked off right after breakfast on Sunday. We were divided into six groups and given the following task: 

Build a new feature in TYPO3 v13.1 called Site sets. The feature should be installed into the existing TYPO3 setup, and should be able to be adjusted to user requirements and design preferences with minimal effort. 

Each group tackled a fundamentally different theme, covering a wide range of sets catering for landing pages, portfolios, websites for restaurants, sports clubs and corporates, as well as an intranet for public institutions.

Once we were grouped, we got straight to work. Each group was assigned a mentor who supported us throughout the process and answered our many questions. We started by gathering specific user requirements and having an intensive planning session before we started to code. We presented our progress each evening in a plenary session, where we could exchange learnings or address specific issues. It was fascinating to see how different the approaches were from each group, what they focused on, and how quickly the projects evolved each day.

We had to overcome some challenges to work as a team. There were language barriers and varying levels of knowledge and experience with TYPO3. We also had different approaches based on the way we usually work in our day jobs.  However, we soon realized that working intensively on a project with a common goal makes a team gel quickly. The mentors played a significant role in this process. This project was a very exciting experience because many of us don't have the opportunity to work in an international team within our own companies.

Surfing the Waves Instead of the Web

In the mornings from Monday to Wednesday we were allowed to swap our laptops for surfboards and prove our surfing skills. What sounded not-so-difficult in theory was quite a challenge on the water. Surfing also made it clear why Fuerteventura is called the "island of strong winds." However, we soon celebrated small successes and managed to ride some waves successfully. We would like to thank NALU Surf at this point, the surf school that supported the organization team by sharing ideas for activities on Fuerteventura. NALU Surf motivated us to give our best in surfing and not to get discouraged if a wave was too big or completely overwhelmed us.

Work First, Then Pleasure

After spending the day surfing and coding, we had many evenings with social activities. We had the opportunity to get to know the TYPO3 community and Surfcamp participants beyond borders, as the participants came from a total of nine different countries. On Tuesday evening, we spent time at a sanctuary called AMICAB in Fuerteventura. There we enjoyed some drinks and DJ music while watching the sunset. On Wednesday evening, we tested our general knowledge in a game of Jeopardy, which included categories like "TYPO3 History" and "Easy but mean - IT". Thursday evening we spent at the beach to watch the sunset directly from the sea and toast with a beer to the progress of our projects.

"La Pardey" in La Pared

By Friday, all teams worked intensely with the goal to extract the best from the last day for the evening showcase. We were all keen to show just what a diverse team, who had only met a few days before, could achieve in a week. The results were impressive. Although some projects still needed final touches, by the end of the week, we had six different sets that met the goal. They could provide the basic framework for a final website through installation in TYPO3, and could be utilized and deployed with few adjustments. We celebrated our success with a typical Canarian "street party" in the small town La Pared in the west of Fuerteventura. The café next to our hotel was transformed into an outdoor bar including a DJ for the evening, and TYPO3 took care of the drinks for the celebration. What a wonderful way to spend the last evening together!

Open Source and the Community Behind It

On Saturday, we could hardly believe how quickly the time had passed as we gathered to reflect on our learnings. We actively discussed what had gone particularly well that week and what we wished had been different. Since the TYPO3 Surfcamp was an experiment, no one really knew how the teams and projects would develop, and the mentors were very keen to hear our feedback. Later, we had a session with Benni Mack and Andreas Kienast called "How can I contribute to the TYPO3 Core", where we learned step-by-step how to actively contribute and engage as a contributor.

Open source software lives due to the people who actively contribute to it. Therefore, it's important to actively participate in the community. This involves connecting across borders, exchanging ideas on various topics, and learning how to contribute to the project. It was a pleasure meeting the people behind TYPO3 and being part of this unique community! 

Thanks TYPO3, Thanks Fuerteventura

After an intense, work-filled week and a surf course that included a few "wash cycles", we can say that the TYPO3 Surfcamp experiment was a complete success. The unique opportunity to meet so many young developers and mentors (the "old hands") at a beautiful place like Fuerteventura was a wonderful experience for everyone. We all will fondly remember this camp, are proud of our results, and look forward to actively using our developed sets in v13 in our daily work.

We would like to thank our mentors Olly Hader, Benjamin Kott, Benjamin Franzke, Benni Mack, Susi Moog and Andreas Kienast for guiding us throughout the process. And of course, special thanks to Carsten Siewert, Benni Mack, and Susi Moog, who were mainly responsible for organizing this event, and to the entire TYPO3 Association for this event. Thanks also to all the mentors who supported us so vigorously in this process.