Florian Scholz
Florian Scholz

2012: Looking backward

17 Dec 2012

The year 2012. After 2010 maybe the most exciting year ever. In January I moved to a new team at work and from then on worked on sites using TYPO3, an open-source PHP-based CMS. It was something like a reset again, a beginning of something new. And it seems like I often start something new at the beginning of a new year. It was January of 2010 when I discovered the MDN and edited pages. With 2013 in front of us, that means being a “Mozillian” for 3 years already! Time flies - can’t say that often enough. While I wanted to write more documentation and/or work on Kuma or on the “Doctracker”, I also discovered that time is a valuable thing in life. So how to manage engagement in open-source projects, every day work and your life? I’m not sure if I have found an answer this year. The goal for 2012 however, was to finish my apprenticeship, which then will allow me to move on and to have more time. This goal will probably be reached now in January 2013. Something new will begin. Again.

I want to look back at some highlights of 2012. I didn’t manage to write down ALL the awesome things, because I never sat down and took the time. The full story can always be read on my Twitter time line and photos are available on flickr. I will pick some of the best moments here. Let the journey begin… Fasten your seat belts, please!

The new hate-love

So, January and February were really cold. Down to minus 15 degrees and more on several days in a row. I ride my bike everyday, so I really care about weather mostly. At work I was busy with the new thing: TYPO3. It is becoming what I have to work with on a everyday basis the upcoming months. Since an open-source product, I rapidly created first patches and contributed to the code base. It was interesting to compare the process with Mozilla’s. Different bug tracker system, review system and new people. I haven’t found out anything about the community at this point. That had to wait until November.

London #1

March. I haven’t had real vacation for a while. I quickly visited the CeBIT in Hanover for a day and then packed bags for some days off in London. I took two friends with me flying with RyanAir from Bremen to Stansted. Three days of fun: Fuller’s brewery, playing tourist, going out to really nice clubs, sleeping in a very cheap hostel. Freedom. Life in a big city. We’ve got to know a guy from Brasil and played billiards with funny people from California until early in the mornings.

New York City

Only 5 days at home after London. Next stop: Big Apple. Perfect Lufthansa flight with BBC Sherlock and TBBT episodes. Even Currywurst on board. First thing in NYC: The taxi driver kidded me, I was too tired to notice it. With less bucks but no less fun I wandered around in Manhattan the next day. Central Park, Apple Store, Empire State Building, awesome view at the observatory. I sat down in parks, watched people and had some nice food. What a day! The Mozilla developer engagement team met at Aloft Brooklyn, we discussed how to improve MDN, developer engagement and evangelism. Stormy made a really good job at empowering us. The trip ended with the very first MDN hack day at New Work City, a nice co-working space in Manhattan.

San Francisco and the valley

April. Easter fire is the only thing I like about Easter, I think. Nothing worth to mention otherwise. At work I held a presentation about what I was doing in New York City and about MDN/Mozilla in general. It felt like I connect two worlds of my life. My colleagues really liked what I’ve done so far. That was really nice feedback. But the story goes on: Travel time again. Via Munich to… SAN FRANCISCO \o/ I was so happy like never before. I always dreamed to go there once and then I sat in the plane for 12 hours on my way to SFO. Mind blowing! We had a documentation sprint at both, the Mozilla head quarter in Mountain View and at the office in San Francisco. Californian weather was like you imagine it: Warm and sunny. We enjoyed an evening in Sausalito and on April 29, I was extending my stay in Frisco and walked all around the city and then across Golden Gate Bridge. Achievement unlocked; one goal in life reached. Now I was standing in the middle of the bridge next to some other Californian teens wearing Ray-Bans and enjoying life. If you ask me about my best moment in 2012, it was probably this one. I can’t say if it was freedom or just the awesome view of the skyline of such a great city. It just felt good. Got sunburnt, played tourist, wandered around in the evening and then had to say good bye. An Airbus A380 got me back to Europe again.


No, the weather in Europe was awesome, which was really good after being in California. May was super busy and at the weekends I was trying to enjoy the sun. My hometown celebrated Domweih like every year at the beginning of June. It’s a traditional and nice fest, where you usually meet all your old friends. We had fun. But even more fun was the Hurricane, a rock festival in Scheeßel. About 70,000 people were sleeping in tents and forgetting the world around them for three days. We listened to Just-Ice, The Cure, Ärzte, Madsen, Mumford and Sons, Kraftklub, Florence and the Machine and many many more. My very first festival, I definitely liked it. Later in July the Breminale took place, a small festival in Bremen near the Weser, which was lovely, too. Good times. June and July were summerish and that was awesome.

Toronto and Niagara Falls

August. Two months in Europe. Time for another trip? Indeed. The MDN team was inviting me to a planning meeting in Toronto, Canada. We’ve prioritized features for the Kuma platform. Writers, developers, contributors together in fruitful discussions - the outcome of this meeting was really good for MDN and thus for the web. Toronto is a lovely city as well. Again summer feeling: About 30 degrees. Got sunburnt again, wandered around, was on top of CN tower, took the red tourist bus and a made short river cruise. Ali, David, Jeremie and I also went to Niagara Falls which is an hour or two away from Toronto. Maid of the mist boat tour and dinner at the falls view restaurant were highlights of this excursion. Empowered by all the awesomeness David, Jeremie and I spent the last morning in a Starbucks and were still discussing MDN and Mozilla related things. That was amazing and then somewhat hard to say goodbye but we’ve met again: In Warsaw, Poland and in London, Great Britain.

Days off: Bike ride to Hamburg and Lübeck

Still August. A week after being back in Europe a friend and I made a tough bike tour: More than 130 kilometers on one day to our first stop: Hamburg. I’ve been there before often but Hamburg is always worth a visit. Besides the obligatory tourist things, we’ve also been to a really nice musical called “Heiße Ecke” about the story of the red-light district in Hamburg. We even had Currywurst in the theater because a Currywurst stall was part of the story. Worth seeing! Next bike ride was to Lübeck, another 70 kilometers or so. I stopped in Büttenwarder and then Lübeck was, well, somehow boring. Pretty at night, but that’s about it imho. Back via train.

MozCamp Europe

September. Train time again, 9 hours in total. Berlin-Warszawa-Express to MozCamp Europe for a weekend. Met awesome Mozillians again, got reminded what our mission for an open web is, attended interesting sessions. The “we” feeling at it’s best. Never was so passionate about my Mozilla-related work; MozCamps really show that there is something big and good you are part of all the time.

London #2

Two weeks later. Travel time again. Via Amsterdam to London and perfect view from the plane above the city of London. I took a friend with me amd we stayed for six days in a nice hotel near Leicester Square, where the Mozilla office is located. First three days I attended another documentation sprint and was writing about Web APIs mostly. We visited London Eye and had awesome food in general. Ali has a good taste. After the sprint I wanted to see a bit of London too, we took the tourist bus like I did in so many cities this year already. London is nice. On Monday evening I wanted to go to a musical I had heard of before: The Beatles. Oh my god, that was a good one. It was like a concert and the Fab Four really looked like the original ones. Unforgettable. We’ve wandered around on Tuesday, visited the Tate Modern and Madame Tussauds, which I liked as well.

Final countdown

Back at home I had a wisdom teeth removal and a lot of work in October and November because of final exams and final papers for my ending apprenticeship. A good break was the Ärzte concert in Oldenburg, which was really funny. It was also the time when I had to decide where my journey should go on after the apprenticeship. Difficult times, very difficult. Some private hickups in addition.


November. TYPO3 Camp Rhein Ruhr. As I said, I mostly work with TYPO3 at work and in November two colleagues and I went to Essen. The location, the Unperfekthaus was very artistically and I attended my very first TYPO3 Barcamp. I had the chance to compare another open-source project with Mozilla. Of course, Mozilla is way more bigger, but there some essential things Mozilla understands to do better in my eyes. Transparency and real openness as main points. If your “community” is a group of some core people, it’s hard to enter this group and conversations aren’t public per sé, then it’s definitely not the way I have learned to love it from Mozilla where everyone counts the same and can bring in fresh ideas. The good thing is, I’m not the only one who thinks like this. I had conversations with long-time TYPO3 people and found out that they want to change something. I’m impressed how much I’m concerned about community and what a good job Mozilla does - it’s not self-evident.


December is slowing things down. Less work, only exams and a decision has been made: For now I’m continuing to work on TYPO3 sites for my current employer. I’ve written final exams already and the oral exam is in January. I feel like I need to sort myself again and getting ready for the new things. I’m now looking for my own apartment to move to Bremen in February or in March, which will reduce commute time between home and work and will probably make me more self organized than living with my parents like I do now. So, I especially look forward to New Years Eve and to 2013. There will be something new - I know it. May it become as fabulous as 2012 in whatever direction.