TYPO3 at Universities

During the last two days, I had the opportunity to participate in a meeting of a special type of TYPO3 users: German universities.

Thanks to RRZN / University of Hannover, around 50 people from allover Germany met for an event called “TYPO3 an Hochschulen” to talk about various topics regaring the use of TYPO3 in universities.

Besides a couple of known faces, a lot of people, who where new to me, participated and presented various kinds of topics in two parallel tracks. The type of talk varied, besides introductions to Extbase/Fluid or Git, showcases about Solr/Nutch or Shibboleth integration, also some interesting case studies of the whole TYPO3 ecosystem at the presenter’s university made their way into the schedule. It is interesting to see TYPO3 installations having around 50,000 active pages - or people administrating 150 similar, but different installations in a small team. You know, each institute in a university expects its special treatment ;-)

Together with Helmut Hummel, we had a talk about TYPO3 CMS 6.0 and how universities can participate and influence the development of TYPO3 (in our opinion) (slides). The main message of my part of the talk was: inspiring people to share!

I think the meeting is a very good step into the direction of more cooperation and collaboration between the universities and with the whole non-academic community. More frequent regional meetings have been discussed in the closing session, as they already exist in Baden-Württemberg.

Prior to the meeting, the organizers had to limit the number of participants to one participant per university (and I guess a few were left out completely). As this was the first Germany-wide event of this kind, the huge interest showed the general interest in cooperation within this sub-community. I think future events will be planned having the large number of interests in mind.

Furthermore, I hope that I will meet a lot of people again during next year’s triage of TYPO3camps or TYPO3 Developer Days. That was one of my messages, as I think, like it happens to me during every event, all those people also travel home with a lot of new inspirantion, solutions, and new friends.

The feedback that we got was also really nice, often interesting, but also often expected: Having an LTS version is crucial for most universities and 6.0 is a big fear. To my knowledge, there’s often little own development of extensions going on inside the universities theirselves. So what I heard was really not surprising. TYPO3 CMS 6.0 brings a lot of changes, but also stays compatible in a lot of ways - that’s one of the benefits of TYPO3 CMS that we don’t throw all API away with each version :-)

The need for long running versions of TYPO3 does not only exist in unversities. I can understand that it is hard to do updates once or twice per year, when there are like 2000 editors that need to be instructed in the changes. So the majority of universities clearly wants to stay on LTS versions (if I got it right).

I hope the lengthy, final discussion about how to stay in touch will lead to some action (discussion were about a closed or open mailing list, or better a forum, and what to (not) discuss there, etc.). I think the biggest consensus was to have an official, open list on typo3.org infrastructure (like typo3.ug.german-universities I would suggest). So let’s see, whether we (=Server Admin Team) get the request within the next days in order to create one (our address is admin(at)typo3.org btw. hint hint).

So finally, thanks to Thomas Kröckertskothen and especially Martina Ahlswede for their initiative to host this event (and sorry for myself playing “Tante aus Marokko” (*) and the weekly cycle of registering and then cancelling my participation). I’m looking forward to see such events also in the future!

Event web site: http://typo3-tagung.uni-hannover.de

(*) the German version of “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain”