The beautiful city of Ljubljana, shortened to Lublana by its natives (I wonder why), the capital of Slovenia, was the host to the second Balkans Meeting this year. I had the chance to represent the SUMO team this time, and ended up locked up in a cell in Ljubljana’s military prison. Read on, if you want to know why.
Last weekend was the second installment of the Balkans meeting, and this time it was much more hands-on oriented. We had the full day on Saturday to cover a whole range of subjects from SUMO, product L10n, QA to Add-on development. For SUMO this year was a year of changes in many aspects, and during my talk I used the chance to explain why we did what we did, and how we thought it would bring us closer to support each and every one of our 400 Million users worldwide.
The second half of the day was reserved for sprints and hands-on action. Since we had just released a brand new KB, this was an excellent opportunity to see the KB used in real live, and learn from the feedback. The participants worked mostly on the top 20 articles in the KB, which serve almost 50% of all visitors to the KB and have a really high benefit-cost ratio.
Particularly interesting was the feedback, most of it about the actual localization experience in the editor. Generally it was geared towards making the editor more user friendly (smaller fonts for more text, resizing of the editor window etc) and the localization experience smoother. In the latter case we are looking into a few ways to do that already, for example by providing a Google translated text as the base for the initial translation of the English text.
After a pretty solid 9 hours of work we headed for dinner in a traditional Slovenian Restaurant, with horse meat as a specialty. I didn’t try that, but my meal was delicious. There we also met our surprise guest for the evening, the new Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs, who was adopted as a Balkan member for his Hungarian heritage ;)
After the hands-on the day before, Sunday was used for the goal setting process, which involved a review of the goals from the last time and their usefulness. The goal setting itself was pretty great, we had an etherpad where we collected the goals, the document was projected to the big screen then and live edited by a dozen people, which made for interesting discussions.
I’m happy to say that the Balkan communities decided to name the localization of the Top 20 SUMO articles into all Balkan languages as one of those goals, and I think the new KB had quite some influence here. There will be follow up calls to talk about the details of each goal, but all in all they look pretty good, and will surely give everyone enough to work on until the next Balkans meeting (I heard rumors about Athens, but who knows ;)
So, how did I end up in a cell? Well, that was thanks to Matjaz, our wonderful host from Slovenia. He organize a hostel for the participants, but not just any hostel, it was a former military prison, taken over by university students and turned into a hostel, with the cells left intact and designed by different architects. It’s considered one of the best hostels worldwide, and I can really recommend spending a night behind bars, it’s unusual to say the least ;)
I’d like to thank everyone attending this years Balkan meeting, it was a pleasure to meet and work with you all, and special thanks to our host Mathjaz and the organizers, William and Milos, it was a productive and intense meeting, but with lots of opportunities for informal talks and get-togethers. I really enjoyed it, thanks for putting it all together!