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The Challenges of JomSocial Development

JomSocial is officially a 1 year old project. 1 year is an awfully young age for a software and we are proud to be where we are today. It might not have been perfect (and I will personally, without any second thought, admit that..) but I believe we have made it through and offer a product that are of great value to our users.

Developing a general purpose component that serve a HUGE number of different needs is not as easy as it might look. Different people has different requirements and to satisfy every single one of our user is a mammoth task.

I would like to take a moment here to discuss some of the development challenges of JomSocial... and share the triumphs.

Our first and biggest problem is also our greatest leverage. Joomla!, our core platform, can be implemented in thousands of different ways. The number of templates, plugins and modules available for Joomla! is just mind boggling. We spend unbelievable amount of time daily to fix every single tiny css and JavaScript conflict reported. Most site owner tweak and develop their own css, making it even harder to fix.

The second major challenge is to balance the various feature requests from our user. Despite being offered " as is, in its current state, without any implied warranty or features", over the past year, we have made every single JomSocial updates available as a free download and would strive to continuously do so in the future.

JomSocial are being deployed in thousands of different communities with greatly differing needs. What 1 person view as an extremely essential feature might not matter at all to others. It was extremely tricky to balance this. To make it worse, each new feature also has an ongoing hidden cost, in term of additional support that we have to offer and continuous code maintenance. You might not see it, but it is there.

At the end of the day, all these challenges are nothing compared to the joy & pride I feel, when I see how many lives have changed, how many communities flourished, how many people connected across the globe and make the world a friendlier place - all through JomSocial.

So, in this spirit of reflection and appreciation, as we celebrate our 1 year birthday we would like to give back to society and be a part of a bigger purpose.  For every 1 copy of JomSocial Professional Edition sold, we'll donate that $1 to the United Nations World Food Program to fight world hunger, which is something that I care about passionately. This will be in line with our mission to connect people and make the world a better place. This program will start in January 2010.

Again, we would like to thank you for all your support in making JomSocial what it is today, and we wish you a great year ahead and do expect some great releases next year!

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