New Job at Mindquarry

March 1st, I will start my new job at Mindquarry as VP Marketing.

Mindquarry’s Open Source product is enterprise social software, simply called “Mindquarry”. It supports spontaneous collaboration by including a Wiki, task tracker, file management, etc. The software is MPL licensed, version 1.0 will soon be available to the public. There’s an early access program available upon request.
The company was founded in 2006, it is located in Potsdam, Germany close to Berlin. The main investor is HP Ventures of SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner.

I’ll be in charge of strategic and operational marketing and community relations.

What I like most about this new job is:

  • I move from an Enterprise 1.0 Open Source company (eZ Systems and its eZ Publish ECM) to an Enterprise 2.0 Open Source company (Mindquarry).
  • Having 5 years of PHP programming experience, I am now looking forward towards working for a Java company. Although programming is not part of my job, I am very interested in digging deep into the code to really understand the application’s inner workings.

I actually have known one of Mindquarry’s co-founders for a few years via internet: Lars Trieloff. We only recently met in person. His expertise always impressed me.

I created a dedicated Mindquarry RSS feed for my future postings about Mindquarry, also served by the newly created Planet Mindquarry.

At this cross road of my professional life, I would like to especially thank the following persons who always supported me:

  • Zak Greant
  • Georg Richter
  • Aleksander Farstad

Thanks guys! And of course, thanks to my wife, my biggest supporter 🙂

Relevance-based Ranking of Search Results in eZ Publish

Thomas Nunninger did some research in better ranking of search results within eZ Publish. He implemented a nice test implementation with some fancy AJAX drag&drop. Feel free to try out the implementation. By doing so, you also help Thomas to get some more test cases for his diploma thesis.

Should you be interested in more information about his implementation, read his recently published article Creating a Search Engine.

Call for Papers: eZ Conference 2007

BÃ¥rd published a short note on his blog that the call for papers for the 5th annual eZ Conference is now open. Deadline for submissions is February 1st.

The conference is worth attending not only for eZ Publish or eZ Components users and geeks, it is also interesting if you’re interested in content and knowledge management or PHP/LAMP in general. Last year, I enjoyed talking to guests such as Martin White and Anne Jubert, Rasmus Lerdorf and David Axmark – and some more of the 350 attendees.

Goodbye eZ systems

… and thanks so much!

I have had a great time at eZ systems, both from a professional and a personal perspective: Having started as a System Developer in Nov 2004, I learned more about the technical details of eZ publish. My following roles included consulting, training, conference and customer presentations, pre-sales, etc. After 1 year at eZ and having gained a good overview of most business areas, I became part of headquarters management and ended up being the VP Communication, doing strategic governance of all global marketing and knowledge management at eZ systems.

Now it is time for me to start something new, with a different focus, where I can apply and further extend the broad skill set I was able to develop at eZ.

Article "PHP 5 Enterprise Edition" available online

I just found that my article entitled PHP 5 Enterprise Edition is now available online. It has initally been published in the
International PHP Magazine.

From the introduction:

Today, J2EE could be named the de facto industry standard for the development of distributed multi-tier architecture applications. It is backed up by industry leaders like Sun, Oracle, BEA, and IBM. This article will compare PHP’s software stack with what’s available in (and for) J2EE, to overcome the typical Java versus PHP discussions that usually focus on language features, but do not take into account the overall picture. Basically, this article assembles a PHP5 Enterprise Edition (PHP5EE).

Although this article is almost 3 years old, it is still very interesting to read. Especially when reading the following sentence or projection in the article’s summary:

In no way should this article be a dispraise of all the good volunteer work that happens in the PHP community, but it definitely needs more successful companies in the PHP market who continuously climb up the ladder and extend the PHP software stack.

Considering that since the article has been published, two companies (eZ systems and Zend) have started to create their own libraries aka frameworks to extend the PHP software stack (eZ components and Zend Framework), I would say that PHP is on the right way and that my article was quite influential 🙂

eZ systems' new strategy and the PHP market

Today eZ systems published an article entitled Platform and Solutions Strategy by Aleksander Farstad, CEO eZ systems.

This article sheds a light on the big picture why eZ systems develops the eZ platform and how this relates to the eZ publish CMS. It also talks about eZ systems planning to offer various other software solutions on top of the eZ platform.

In this blog entry, I won’t talk about the article itself because it speaks for itself. Instead, I will have a look at how does eZ systems’ strategy relate to the PHP market?

Mature market

First of all, eZ systems is the first company in the PHP application development domain that I know of, which actually announces such a long-term strategy. I am not talking about purely technical sofware roadmaps, I am talking about the combination of business and software development. This is a novelty in the PHP market.

This shows that the PHP market has matured substantially, that companies like eZ systems have grown big enough in terms of resources and experience so that they can envisage a long-term strategy of that scope. It also means that there is demand in the market for long-term planning, mature enterprise-grade software and related services.

The PHP-way

When looking at the eZ platform, the PHP platform by eZ systems, one could argue that PHP simply follows Java and that this is what J2EE offers. Nevertheless, there is a good reason why eZ systems does not simply port J2EE to PHP or any other software platform: there is something like the PHP-way of doing things. eZ systems has a market track-record of 6 years in PHP development, they know about the best practices that have emerged by using PHP.

PHP developers think in a different way compared to Java developers. There’s a subtle difference in approaching problems, that can make a big difference when you look at the actual solution. What the new eZ systems strategy tells us is: PHP has reached a level where it has proven that it can serve as a serious alternative for solving highly complex software problems.

Market-driven approach

About 2 years ago, International PHP Magazine published an article of mine about “PHP5EE” where I wrote, that it needs more companies who further develop the market for generic PHP platforms. We are at this point today.

Note that PHPLIB and PEAR are both community projects. Yes, they also had a commercial background, because in most cases they evolved from customer projects, but there was no business model behind those projects, rather a community model. With eZ components, the PHP components library by eZ systems, the first serious project in that area driven by one company has been introduced.

This evolution is in sync with the typical evolution of an Open Source market that starts off with community-driven projects being accompanied by more and more similar company-driven projects.

For example, PEAR provides object-oriented PHP libraries and has established a community. It has actually proven that there is a need for something like that in the PHP world and that it can be done with PHP. A growing market for OO PHP libraries evolved and there came up the need for a party doing constant maintenance, guaranteed support and related services. This is where eZ components backed up by eZ systems came in.

Raising the standard

eZ platform will be more then just eZ components, it will also include the eZ application server and various
functionality plugins. With eZ platform, eZ systems will raise the standard for what a PHP platform is supposed to be. Companies that still neglect PHP might then consider its usage. Due to the fact that eZ platform will be Open Source, there is a big chance that the whole PHP market will profit from that.

Winners of eZ awards 2006

Just a few days ago, at the eZ publish conference 2006, we had the very first eZ awards night.

The eZ awards is a prize awarded by eZ systems during its annual conference to give special recognition to key people within the eZ ecosystem.
It was a great show, the winners were overwhelmed and the audience had a lot of fun celebrating.

Check out the eZ awards pages and you can tell from the pictures how great an event this was.