A community user’s experience.

Shawn Beasley15. Dec 2010 | Miscellaneous

Disclaimer:

The practical examples presented in our technical blog (blog.otrs.com) and now in the expert category in our FAQ blog section serve as a source of ideas and documentation to show what is theoretically possible with OTRS in concrete scenarios or sometimes even for more exotic configurations. All configurations presented here were developed under laboratory conditions as a proof of concept. 

We can only guarantee testing and implementation of these concepts to be error-free and productive if implemented in a workshop with one of our OTRS consultants. Without this, the responsibility lies with the customer himself. Please note that configurations from older OTRS versions may not work in the newer ones.

The OTRS Group was planning a release party for the beta version of OTRS Help Desk 3, when all of a sudden I was injured and could not manage the party. At this point things looking very desperate. The party was cancelled. Many individuals had agreed to come, at this point a couple dozen.

Now what! The party had to be cancelled.

During my medical leave, a group of users managed to meet and discuss OTRS Help Desk 3 anyway.After returning from medical leave, a user contacted me. This user is very engaged in our community, and he wanted to convey his story and experiences surrounding this meeting. His name is well known in our mailing lists, and he is not only an enthusiastic user, but a good role model for our users. Read about his experiences, hopes, and new found dreams surrounding OTRS. I hope you enjoy reading about his experience, and it motivates you to get involved in up and coming community events.

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Alexander Halle wrote:

It’s now or never! Now that the OTRS Community Meeting lays four months back, I think it is time for my summary before the year end rings through. Not only the year is coming to an end, but the next meeting is already in the works. But, one thing after the other:

Although only six attendees were signed up, on the second of August, the first meeting would take place in Frankfurt am Main. What happened, and why was the meeting a great success?

It all started a little differently. In the beginning of July, Shawn Beasley – Community Manager, OTRS Group – set the plan in motion for the OTRS-3.0 Beta Release Party. My first thought was “Great!”. Finally, a chance to meet other users and prepare for the release of OTRS 3. And, that a couple of dozen people signed up for the release party showed that other users were interested as well. As Shawn Beasley was unexpectedly sent on medical leave, I was surely not the only user that was disappointed to hear that the release party planned for the 25th of July would be cancelled.

The second surprise at this time came on the same day. Frank Tailor, a community member, recommended that a community meeting be held on this day, as the beta release party was hopelessly not going to take place. The meetings main theme would be OTRS 3 and the costs for the meeting room were covered by him. In my respect for his initiative, I decided to support him. A couple of days of hard work followed to plan for the meeting. Shawn supported us as much as possible in his situation and Martin Edenhofer agreed spontaneously to act as a tutor and took care of the technological requirements. The coordination per wiki worked well. Yet another surprise was lurking in the distance. As I arrived at the frankfurt train station and checked my mails, I learned that Frank was suddenly sick and could not make it. The whole thing was starting out great……

After arriving at the Haus der Jugend, promptly at 11:00 A.M., I met up with Martin shortly thereafter. A couple minutes later, Torsten Thau and René Böhm of cape IT GmbH arrived, so that we could begin after a short round of introductions. On the plan of the day was a demonstration of OTRS 3.0 beta 1 and intensive testing. As an opener, Shawn had arranged for a video welcome message, in which his apparent disappointment in his absence was obvious.

The presentation of OTRS 3 delved into the changes in the framework vs. the already announced new features. Major code changes include: Framework switch to jQuery in place of YUI, the table based layout was replaced by CSS and XHTML, and in part CSS3 is now used for a more elegant optic. As a side note, there is s reset CSS file by the name of core.default.css.

Then Martin demonstrated the new modules, which we tested directly. At this point, the meeting took on an unexpected dynamic. All attendees were testing the system thoroughly and bugs were found quickly. Our curiosity drove us from notebook to notebook and Martin was suddenly very busy taking notes, filing bugs, helping us with our tests, answering questions; he was almost overrun. In these moments, I realized quickly that I was outnumbered by developers. My thoughts were: If I were not here, they just may have been able to release the beta 2 during our meeting.

All this aside, I was able to learn much about OTRS 3 and it’s architecture. Three hours and 31 bugs later, we decided to take lunch. The atmosphere was now relaxed and familiar. This atmosphere carried on into our joint lunch. The choice of location for our lunch was now our largest concern. The establishments in the area were scarcely filled, and the food was merely passable. This is something that we will definitely improve upon at the next meeting.

Back at our meeting room, which by the way was a small house in the courtyard because the skyline deck which was originally planned was no longer available on such short notice, Holger Vier then arrived aand joined us as well. Holger is the managing director of büKOM Systemshaus GmbH, and raised the user:developer ratio to 2:3 :) I myself work in the IT department of radprax Gesellschaft für Medizinische Versorgungszentren mbH.

The dynamic and pleasant atmosphere continued throughout the meeting. Our first theme after lunch was the future of OTRS under free licensing. Martin was able to calm our concerns. OTRS will continue to be completely open source. A open core model, or the likes, is not in the works. Mainly, the discussion focused on cooperation and communication and how to improve upon this. Two goals were here in focus: 1) How to encourage users to contribute, in order to increase contributions, and 2) bundling of resources to gain speed in reaching our goals.

We decided at this point that a second meeting should be held. This wish of a second meeting will be realized and there will be more information coming via otrs.org on the 20th of December as well as in the Perl magazine: $foo (available only in German). In fact, a third meeting is already in the works. This resulted in an acronym for our OTRS Community Meeting to lower typing overhead. Things being what they are, we chose to shorten it to OCM.

Around 4:00 P.M., we decided to move to a more casual atmosphere and moved on to a a cafe. We ended up chatting in this social environment until 7:00 P.M. In conclusion, I want to especially thank Frank Tailor. Without him, the OCM 1 would not have taken place. Naturally, I thank Martin Edenhofer and Shawn Beasley for their invaluable support. OCM 2 and 3 are already planned for 2011.

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As you can see, OTRS is more then software, it is an experience in community!

Your Community Manager

Shawn Beasley  

#2
Alexander_Halle at 13.01.2011, 13:10

The original german article was sent in december to "$foo Perl-Magazin" and will be published in the 2011 spring issue. Many thanks to Shawn for translating the article short-dated for the blog :) The OCM-2-announcement will still be released on otrs.org, but the time schedule had to be changed due to unexpected events, I'm very sorry.

#1
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