Earlier this month Balance Internet participated in a Magento contribution day held in Melbourne, hosted by David Manners, Community Engineer from Magento Commerce with Maxim Baibakov, Head of Development and Mal Williams, Technical Director Balance Internet.

The Balance team spent two days with David, we were able to gain insights into the Magento 2 development roadmap and at the same time make contributions to the Magento 2 core.

David, originally from Scotland by way of Sheffield and now Germany, joined the Magento Community Engineering team in the second half of last year.

Heading up Community Engineering events predominantly in Europe, David hosts contribution days working with a highly engaged and vibrant community of Magento developers.

We were lucky enough to spend some time getting to know David while he was here.


Hey David, thanks so much for travelling to Melbourne to run this contribution day with the Balance team. How are you enjoying Melbourne so far?

Melbourne’s nice, it definitely feels a bit like home in the UK, and it’s also entirely different from the places I usually travel to in Europe, so yeah it’s great.

Tell us a bit about your role as a Community Engineer, what’s an average day like for you?

So, my role is all about community engagement for Europe. I see it more as a training role, teaching people how to contribute.

There’s kind of no such thing as an average day for me. I could be working with people to coordinate events, working with people to get pull requests in, or even working on a specific project. My daily aim is that that we have more contributors than this time last year, and new people getting involved.

In the same breath though, I’m acutely aware that I don’t want people to burn out on contribution. A lot of the work I do is trying to get companies to see the benefit of contribution in work hours. I want people to enjoy it, and not see it as a chore or something that they can’t commit to.

Tell us a bit more about how you first got involved with community engineering last January, and how you’ve gone from being a Magento Master to wanting to provide feedback about Zend frameworks to today.

I’d been making lots of contribution beforehand but not ever to Magento, but I’d always wanted to. I like refactoring stuff and making things more modern, and around that time Magento announced they were going to start doing open source on GitHub.

I thought it was an excellent opportunity to keep in contact with code, I wasn’t doing much project coding at that time in my career, and I wanted to. I wanted to test out Magento, keep myself up to date and feel fresh and connected to Magento again.

I treated it as a side project and at the company I was in previously, my role was flexible enough to allow me to do this. I incorporated contribution into my daily work which was quite nice.

Through that time I got to know the team quite well, through the projects, and through meeting them at events. Then, when it came a time they were looking for someone, they reached out to me, and it was a good fit with where I was at and what I wanted to achieve with my career.

I really wanted to own something, and that was one of the main reasons to join community engineering. I like to actually ‘own’ stuff.

You joined Magento Community Engineering in October last year after half a decade of working with the platform. What made you want to contribute to Magento in the first place?

When I moved to Germany within my first three weeks, I was at my first hackathon. It’s so much more a part of the culture there, and I’m trying to spread that message and encourage the same attitude to training and events globally.

What’s one of the significant Community Projects that’s taken off?

From a project point of view, the Multi Stores Inventory (MSI) is a huge thing, handing it over to the community has been cool. For a long time it was the only project we were running, but after seeing the success of it, we are doing plenty more. I love that it’s the community working with the core architect team, it’s cool.

From what I hear, the community engineering team seems to be growing, how big is the team right now?

We are sitting at around ten right now, and continuing to grow.

Different people get different things out of contribution days, what do you personally see as key successes of the events you and your team run?

I love that its community working with the core team – devs globally get to talk to the core architects and that’s a great thing. If you want to know what going on what the core team are doing, contribution can be the perfect opportunity to get deeply involved.

The most significant success has to be having Magento developers worldwide involved in the Magento discussion. You get these situations where Magento know the market, but we don’t know the specific details of that market sometimes, and how people are using Magento. Are the insights we get from the community are just incredible sometimes.

Hearing those details of how the platform is being used can sometimes blow you away; you’re like, thats awesome.

I know that you champion developer welfare, do you think these contribution days have a positive impact?

Definitely! Giving developers a chance to influence positive change in the platform they work in. Also, when devs feel like they can shape the face of the platform, it’s a real way to get them engaged and involved.

Do you have any advice for any Magento Developers considering contribution?

If you are annoyed with Magento at times, then get involved, help to shape Magento and shape the future of your company.

You’ll notice there are times when you can contribute, and then at other times you might not be available because of intense work / personal/ social commitments, and that’s ok.

Do you have more dates planned for Australia for the rest of the year?

No, unfortunately, not until early 2019 at this stage. Community Engineering is growing fast though, so watch this space.

From the team at Balance Internet, many thanks to David and colleagues from the Magento Community Engineering team for Contribution Day.

David Manners is a Community Engineer at Magento
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