5 years at Hippo and 5 years of open source

Posted by Jeroen Reijn on October 9, 2008 - 3 min. read

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, because I wasn’t really sure what to write about my past 5 years. So much has happened and there is so much to mention, but that would mean this would be a longggggg post. I’ll just create a (short) summary of my entire story for now.

My main reason to start at Hippo 5 years ago was because I wanted to do something with Java and the web. Hippo provided both and offered a great learning environment at the same time with all the open source products they used in their software. While working at Hippo, I learned a lot about Apache Cocoon, an open source framework, which was one of the core open source products used within Hippo driven websites. Before that, I wasn’t really aware that Apache was a lot more then Tomcat and the HTTP server. While getting more involved within the Cocoon community I was up for my first real open source experience.

The Cocoon GetTogether 2003 was a place were I met all the people behind the names that I had seen on the Cocoon mailinglist. The GT2003 was held in Ghent (Belgium) and it was my first of the many to come trips related to working with open source projects at Hippo. Later on, I was able to travel to Dublin and Rome for Cocoon/Apache related conferences with the ApacheCon in Amsterdam 2007 as a highlight. In Amsterdam Jasha and I gave a presentation about Cocoon. I was just elected as an official Cocoon committer a month or so before that and tried to give my share of support to the Cocoon community that had given me so much those past years.

Cocoon wasn’t the only Apache open source project I was going to end up using at Hippo. So far Lucene, MyFaces, Slide, Jackrabbit and Wicket have also been part of my daily work. Then of course we also have our own open source projects, like Hippo CMS and Hippo Repository. I think it was a great move to make both products open source, because it helped the products to become more mature and it allowed other developers to learn much more about the product then if it would be a closed source project.

Looking at Hippo the company over the past five years I think was great to see Hippo grow from the small (only 6 people when I started) to the +/- 40 people that I’m working with today. I think Arje, Tjeerd and Jeroen are doing a great job with this. I’ve learned so much from them and the other Hippos around me that the current environment is very inspiring. Also the projects that we’re doing now with Hippo are getting bigger and bigger. That’s one of the reasons why we’re currently working very hard on a first final release of Hippo ECM platform, which is coming up very soon.

Looking at my self, I can say I also grew from being a developer working on small websites to developing large applications/websites, guiding partners with their Hippo implementations, doing some consultancy and giving training sessions about open source Hippo software or on the use of Apache Cocoon.

I’m looking forward to what the future will bring us with Hippo ECM coming up and our goal to become one of the bigger players in the ECM market. I guess in 5 more years I can tell you the answer to that question.