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2018 (Early) Year in Review


The end of 2018 is almost here. Looking back at JUGCN, we've covered some great topics and held our first JoomlaCamp Chicago. We are looking forward to even better 2019, with more great topics and JoomlaDay Chicago.


Joomla User Group Chicago North has been around for many years, perhaps with different names, but always here for Chicagoland Joomlers. A few years back, when I stepped into the leadership role, I didn't know what I was getting myself into. All I knew is that I wanted to be apart of the community that brought together so many people to build fantastic Joomla! websites.

Our Members

The Chicagoland Joomlers are: beginners, implementers, web designers, web developers, business owners, marketers, and more. The experiences and viewpoints that they have brought to our discussions have influenced our selection of topics, speakers and events. With the addition of online access, we've gained members from all parts of Chicagoland as well as neighboring communities.

We welcome everyone regardless of skill level and always look forward to meeting new Joomlers.

Our Sessions

We changed up our format some this year, in an effort to accommodate our members. In the past, our meeting place had limited ability to stream sessions online. With the move to my offices at Danico Enterprises, we are now able to include those who cannot join us in-person. Our sessions are lively with great questions from our members and I always come away having learned something new.

Sessions this year (so far) included:

  • Tips and Tricks for Optimizing Your Web Pages, a working session where we answered questions and applied optimization tricks a site in real-time
  • Forms - Which Extension is Best for You, a look at the form extensions available for Joomla, with tips on how to choose the one for your project
  • Joomla Features and Looking Forward to the Next Major Release, an early look at the upcoming Joomla 4 release
  • Joomla SEO Extensions, an overview of the extensions available as well as core features available for improving your site's SEO
  • Calendar Battle, a comparison of the different calendar extensions available, with tips on how to choose the one for you
  • Joomla Custom Fields Deep Dive, we explored custom fields and walked through adding them to our JUGCN site
  • Extension Overview: EasyArticle from StackIdeas, we installed the extension on our demo site and walked through setting it up to help a member looking to use it on their website
  • Multi-Platform eCommerce: Ecwid, many thanks to Jason Nickerson and Joomla User Group Florida for sharing this presentation with us. The timing and information could not have been any better, as a member was asking about an eCommerce solution.
  • Marketing Automation, many of our members are business owners and are looking for ways to streamline their marketing efforts. This session provided some ideas on how to leverage their Joomla site.
  • Jinbound and OSDownload with Steve Burge, so grateful to Steve Burge for being our guest speaker to discuss to extensions from JoomlaShack for our members.

We've posted all past presentations on our website, you can access them at: https://joomlachicagonorth.com/presentations

Closing out 2018

We're not yet done for the year. We have a Joomla Certification Exam, a Holiday Luncheon and a session on Valuing Your Joomla website.

To take the Joomla Certification Exam, you must register by November 30th. Following the exam is our Holiday Luncheon to celebrate the group and say, "Thanks".

This last session is a new one from Avery Cohen, Metrist Partners, who presents annually on all the things we need to know to get the sites we build found by their target audience. He has done SEO trends for the coming year, the Evolution of Search, Marketing Your Website, and more. We are looking forward to his new session on Valuing Your Joomla Site on Dec 12th at 11:00 am CST. The session will be online and in-person. Register Now to join us.


This year instead of JoomlaDay Chicago, we held our First JoomlaCamp Chicago event. You may have read about it in last month's issue of Joomla Magazine. We are looking forward to our next one in 2020.

We are ending the year with a Holiday Luncheon, a way of saying thanks to the JUGCNers. The event will be December 8th at my office at Danico Enterprises in Arlington Heights, IL after the Joomla Certification Exam.

Looking Ahead to 2019

Changes coming in 2019 include Carrie Dodt joining the leadership team of JUGCN. She has been a big help throughout my time as group leader and I look forward to continue working with her to spread Joomla love.

This is the time of the year when I look ahead to, the sessions, the potential guest speakers and other activities to help bring Joomlers together. We have a backlog of topic suggestions from our group which include:

  • CiviCRM
  • Helix Framework
  • T3 Framework
  • J2Store eCommerce Extension
  • CSS Grids
  • Tools Your Joomla Agency Needs
  • Droptables vs ShackSheets
  • Fabrik
  • Joomla 3.9 Privacy Tools
  • Joomla 4
  • MyJoomla
  • Watchful.li

If you would like to be a guest presenter for JUGCN, covering any of the topics above or one of your own, we'd be happy to have you. If you have a topic but are a little shy to present, let me know that too.  Contact me.

Thank you to the other JUGs for sharing advice, sharing information and providing support. It has been invaluable.

Have a great rest of 2018!

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