This week we are travelling around the globe and are visiting Michael Schams in Australia. Maybe some of you know him, because of the books where he is a co-author. But he has to tell a lot more to tell about TYPO3 and his activities.
Marcus Hi Michael. Tell us a little bit about yourself: where do you currently live and where are you from?
Michael Hi Marcus. Currently I live in Melbourne. I am from Germany originally, but I moved to Australia in 2008 and live here since then.
Marcus: How did you get in contact with TYPO3? Did that happen in Australia, or elsewhere?
Michael: The company I worked for in Germany many years ago was approached by a client who asked for a quote to build his website in TYPO3. We only had a vague idea what TYPO3 was and I had a closer look and played around with it. This was in 2003 or 2004 and it was version 3.x if I remember correctly. We submitted the quote but did not get the job in the end. Anyway, I was hooked to it already, and when I moved to Australia I had the luck the find a company which does most projects in TYPO3. I still work for this company today.
Marcus: Is there a community in Australia? How large is it?
Michael: Unfortunately, TYPO3 is pretty unknown in Australia. There are a few companies which claim to do TYPO3 work on their website, but most of them just list TYPO3 beside other systems such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. to have a more attractive profile. They are not really into TYPO3 to a large extend. Therefore the TYPO3 community is very, very small. I am in contact with a some people, but they are spread through the country and Australia is big… really big 🙂
Marcus: Does the TYPO3 community meet regularly anywhere in Australia?
Michael: I have organised several user group meet-ups and small release parties in Melbourne since I arrived here. However the number of participants has always been very low and you usually can not attract people who do not live in Melbourne. Who would jump on a plane and travel many hours just to have a couple of beers and a chat about TYPO3? As I said, Australia is a big country 🙂
Marcus: How do you contribute to the community in general? In which areas are you active?
Michael: I studied Computer Sciences in Germany and I hold a master’s degree, but I am not a software developer by heart. There have been several areas which I contributed to over the last few years, without writing a single line of PHP code. I authored the official TYPO3 Security Guide in 2011. This was a collaboration between the Security and the Documentation team and I still keep the guide up-to-date as required. Another project are the TYPO3 CMS What’s New Slides. I manage a dedicated team that documents new features and major changes of every new TYPO3 version and translates the slides in various languages. From time to time I also publish articles in journals about various topics such as IT security, Cloud Computing and TYPO3 CMS.
Marcus: You also published the English version of the “TYPO3 Extbase Book”.
Michael: That’s right. I work in close collaboration with Patrick Lobacher, the original author of the Extbase book. We published the “TYPO3 Extbase Book” in German and English and we are working on a “TYPO3 Certified Developer Book” at the moment. The latter is the official exam study guide for TYPO3 developers who want to prepare themselves for the certification.
Marcus: What is the status of the Certified Developer Book at this moment? Do you have an estimate, when it will be published?
Michael: Well, Patrick’s German version is already published. My English version is almost complete and currently an editor proofreads it. Hopefully there is not too much to revise when I get it back. Without making any promises, my aim is to publish the English version early 2017.
Marcus: Will there be an “in progress version”?
Michael: Patrick and I publish our books at Leanpub, which uses the concept of “publish early, publish often”. The idea is that readers do not just buy a book, but “subscribe” to it. Whenever an author updates a book, for example a new TYPO3 version requires some adjustments, all readers receive the new version of the book for free. This concept also allows for the publication of unfinished books (“books in progress”). It is quite possible that I release the English “TYPO3 Certified Developer Book” without a completed proofread as an “early release” (raw and partly unedited) and publish updates over the following weeks. If you are interested, Leanpub’s book page shows our progress.
Marcus: You also mentioned “Cloud Computing and TYPO3 CMS”. Can you tell us a little bit more about this?
Michael: Every TYPO3 site requires a hosting infrastructure. Over the last years cloud-based web hosting has changed the way we plan, implement and maintain the infrastructure and enables us to use interesting features at an affordable price. I launched the TYPO3-on-AWS initiative with a focus on Amazon Web Services (AWS) a while ago. It started with machine images at the AWS Marketplace in 2013, which you can boot up with a click of a button. They feature a modern Linux-based server with an empty TYPO3 instance preinstalled and preconfigured and ready to use.
Marcus: Basically a virtual server with TYPO3 at AWS.
Michael: That’s right. The access for system administrators and TYPO3 integrators is not restricted in any way: the system provides full “root” access via SSH and administrator backend accounts in TYPO3 CMS. You can also choose the geographical location and the size of the server and you can scale the instance up and down as required. You can start and stop the machine and you only pay when it is running. In addition you can add further services/components offered by AWS to transform the basic setup to a high available, high performance and robust environment.
Marcus: What are these services for example?
Michael: AWS offers services such as database servers (MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, etc.), a massive storage space, a content delivery network, load balancers, domain name services, web application firewalls, free SSL/TLS certificates and much more.
Marcus: This sounds interesting – maybe I could write an article on typo3worx.eu about this at one point?
Michael: I have some ambitious plans to expand the TYPO3-on-AWS initiative in 2017, so the community will likely hear more about this project soon, and I would be more than happy for you to write about it!
Marcus: Are there options to support your activities? If yes, how to do it?
Michael: In fact I am always looking for translators for the TYPO3 What’s New Slides, even for languages which already exist (sharing the workload is always a good idea). If someone uses AWS for TYPO3 hosting and has experience in load balancing or other AWS products, I would love to hear from them.
Marcus: Do you have any TYPO3 events on your agenda, where it will be possible to meet you in person?
Michael: Due to the fact that there are not many TYPO3 events in “Down Under” and I have not planned my next trip to Europe yet, there is nothing on my list at the moment. However if anybody from the TYPO3 community visits Melbourne (or lives in Melbourne), feel free and drop me an email and let’s try to catch up. The first round is on me 🙂
Marcus: My final question: what other activities and hobbies do you have besides TYPO3?
Michael: Hiking in Australia! I fell in love with the Australian nature and wildlife and I am fascinated by koalas, kangaroos and amazing national parks (I usually avoid venomous spiders and snakes though). Unfortunately, I do not make enough time for enjoying it – I should go more often.
Thank you, Michael
Thank you, Michael for taking the time to answer the questions. It is a pleasure to have you here in this series. I wish you much success with your book and cloud projects in the future. Hopefully we meet somewhen in “real life”.
Thank you, readers!
Thanks to all who were reading until here. I hope you enjoyed the this issue of “Friends of TYPO3”. If you have got more questions, I should ask, please drop me a note. Also if you know somebody, who should be interviewed. You can contact me via Twitter (@MarcusSchwemer), e-mail (email@example.com) or TYPO3 slack (@mschwemer).
Last, but not least: Here is Michaels “Steckbrief”
Name: Michael Schams
Current living place: Melbourne (Australia)