WordCamp US 2018: Deja vu all over again and being happy

WordCamp US 2018 logo

For the third time in twelve months, I was afforded the opportunity to visit The Protestant Vatican, capitol of The Volunteer State. I am not sure, but I am sure this nickname influenced the choice of venue for the largest gathering of Open Source volunteers around WordPress in the US. As I touched down on a cold afternoon at BNA I was so very excited to be back because I was thinking of all the amazing people I got to hang out with and all the amazing times I had the previous time. I also had a touch of a concern I would be comparing this trip to those and it might color this trip with the tarnish of nostalgia. I am overjoyed to report that though the trip was thick with familiarity, I had the happiest, best time you can imagine WordCamp US 2018

Food and Fun


I got to arrive a day early than my duties demanded, but this gave me an awesome opportunity So good to catch up with some amazing people.
Alley Taps smooth covers of pop songs with a little soul from local up and coming artist Falyn.


This was a setup day for us and the Pantheon booth. I had the opportunity to have lunch that day with one of my favorite people in the whole world, in or out of the WP space, Josh. We had a very satisfying #WPVegan mean at a place I would love to give more support to, Coco Greens.

Thursday evening was filled with so much fun. First, my team at Pantheon met at Whiskey Kitchen which has a crazy good whiskey list. Especially good list if you like bourbon, like I do.

The community had their first official get together on Thursday night as well at the Speaker/Sponsor/Volunteer/Organizer dinner at the venue Music City Center. Huge props to the catering for this effort. Having a vegetarian, mostly vegan, table separate from the offerings for omnivores was super convenient and made sure it would be hard to cross contaminate. It was really super great to connect with so many people who I had not seen, in some cases, since last WCUS.

We snuck in a little Karaoke after that as well.


Coffee and tea flowed like the mighty Cumberland River, which flows through the city. Conference coffee being there is good enough and I will not pass any judgment beyond that. Coffee aficionados told me there were more gourmet options available a short walk away.

Like all other WCUS lunches, we had a pretty hip jazz band serenade us as we ate BBQ and, for some of us, really thoughtful vegan options.

After the first day of sessions, Pantheon threw a little happy hour for the community at The Flying Saucer Draught House. This place is covered in plates of people who have had tried 200 beers. There are people that have done this 10 or more times as well with special honors on their plates. We didn’t quite drink that many beers but it was fantastic to hang out with the community.

After Party

The organizing team decided to move the official after party from Saturday to a day earlier for a number of reasons. I was not really on board at first, but honestly, I think this was a great move. Once again we gathered at the Adventure Science Center. Too many good times to relate them all here, but the fried tempeh and taco bar were fantastic!


After the ‘State of the Word’ and the end of day two, Pantheon got together with some of our partners for an appreciation happy hour at Kitchen Notes. It was awesome to have some Fried Green Tomatoes and the absolute best pita chips I have ever experienced. Honestly have no idea how they made pita chips that awesome, but if you are in the area, I dare you to go and get them and report back your thoughts.


There were other parties but I was doing footwork to make sure our original plan for a community karaoke party would still work. Turns out, thanks to Santacon, of which I am not at all a fan, we could not get into the first option or the next two backup spots on the list. Literally could not get in the door since they were over capacity at a couple places. Fortunately, the community will to make this happen got us into Wanna B’s Karaoke.
It was amazing. This is the crowning achievement to date of all my work to get people together to sing. Thank you all who came out to sing.


Bridging the Design and Development Gap with CSS Algorithms
Lara Schenck

I have never stepped back and thought “is CSS turning complete as a language” before. But once I did, thanks for Lara, I am not sure I am ever going to be able to unsee it. It makes me want to dig in deep to CSS3. This talk also delivered the single best explanation of the CSSOM and what ‘render blocking JS’ actually means. If you have never thought of CSS as a ‘real’ language, it is time to think again.

Raw Notes:
Is CSS a programming language?
Some people say yes, some strongly disagree.
Imperative is the how, the control flow
Declarative the What , no control flow
imperative, JS, Ruby, C++, Python
Declarative, domain specific, SQL, HTML and CSS fall here
CSS is a domain specific programming language, 100%
Turning complete in 2018
also, Math, variables and functions and conditional logic
specific conference talk from person in Netherlands
But everyone can learn it
but if all math not going to get everyone in it
Programming is a nice green pasture
the languages are pools in the pasture
in Nov 2018 most people still think CSS is not a language
Browser internals in under 5 min
person talking to server
get data
client http request server byte stream
inside the browser get byte streams
code points turned into tokens
assigns to the DOM tree and the CSSOM
those combine to make
Render/Rule tree for all Dom elements
Render blocking
JS must be executed when encountered, so disrupts the render
Layout draws DOM elements
Layout to Paint
like tiny images
Composite, smooshed together into one presence
imperative JS
CSS went from whatever, to CSS the programming language
Only have a hammer approach before
now have mental model for what the browser is doing
white board marker now
psudo coding boxes before touch code
inputs, algorithms output
ocean image to specific position
CSS, Grid, Flexbox, var, calc
She got a job and learned so much
now old code seems really bad to her
got the job from WordCamp discussion meeting
Yellow light time
Algorithm: well defined computational procedure takes input and gives output
Long method code smell
too much happening to let anything be useful
cut into litter chunks
single responsibility principle
Like kitchen tools
CSS terminology
property: value = declaration
A CSS algorithm is a well defined or set of declarations that take input and visual output specific thing
Algorithm: Clearfix
aspect ratio
assume the size of the container,
arrows with borders
Fluid Type
you can do it in CSS!
CSS algorithms?
what is a word for this?
another way to say it
grid algorithm
Utility namespace
kinda like an API
core patten namespace possible
how do you write CSS algorithms
1 Plan on white board
2 Brute force solution that works
3 walk through
Write smelly CSS
Figure out the algorithm
Give them name/selectors
anything can fit in this structure
be careful how to talk about CSS
CSS is weird -> CSS is the issue and faulty
just no true
CSS is declarative and domain specific
Mindful CSS bell
Read the spec
bridge between engineering and design
Engineering, Design and Product
if all speak different languages it is hard
user interface is the thing people touch
You can’t really learn JS in short time
CSS and HTML you can learn in a few hours

Moving the Web Forward with WordPress
Morten Rand-Hendriksen

There are sometimes talks you see that are so brave, they define comparison. In my mind, this might have actually been a more important session than the state of the word. A gauntlet has been thrown down by tis team and I am very excited to see how we move from here. It is super exciting to be part of a conversation that will literally shape our future as a project and the internet as a whole. This is one to watch for certain on WordPress.tv. Also, join the WordPress Governance Project

Raw Notes:
2015 – responsive images were not set thing online
WP introduced it in core
shipped to 20% of the web
changed the charts algorithms on the reporting
but seems that after WP 4.4, Responsive became normal
we have not been best custodians of the work
5.0 breaks this responsive agreement
flagged in 4/17
Matt says Responsive should not have come to core
he agrees maybe
2015 tech is not what is going to get us to the future
we are 32.5% of the web
what got us here, won’t get us to 50%
what got us here was deep commitment to OSS
solving problems in an interesting way and a lot of luck
what gets us to next level is how we work together
story of a desire path at his HQ
this is how the web works, paving cow paths
WP is the cow path
instead of looking at a new and better spec,
look at what people are doing and formalize into a standard
when we make WP decisions, we are making them for the web
What does democratize publishing even mean?
Democratize = introducing democratic principles,
o make available to everyone
publish means make a content available
making content available online accessible to everyone
values of the internet are the principles of WP
Tim Berners-Lee definiton
WP can realize the promise of the web
Participation and representation
who speaks for WordPress?
who speaks for the user (the PEOPLE)?
Corporations speak for us with specific interests and goals
we say nothing while everyone speaks for us
no answer to who speaks for WP
We must claim our seat at the tables of power
it is for every user of the web
to do that, we must first know what we stand for
democratize publishing….what are the necessary conditions to achieve the mission
He has a proposal
3 governing principles
1. Accessibility
Was grand idea of web was to make all books and journals in science available to share
2. Privacy
capability we must grant our users
3. Open Governance
for the internet, we need to take part of the conversations
I don’t want to talk to you about these things
Not going to talk, inviting other people to talk…..
Rachel Cherry
she is the person who says RollTide online
but Accessibility is a passion
A11y is something that can be quite frustrating
“I can’t use your website and it is our fault”
no one can say we have not build an inaccessible site
and we need to come to terms with that
easy to get to this way, stackoverflow to get it to work
but is it working correctly?
are we messing up the DOM with JS?
how do we force tooling?
Scans in core, will make better for all users
huge % of how people work with WP is Themes and Plugins
We must understand ARIA as a spec
would love to see a work were A11y is not in plugin, not in the repo
Leo Postovoit on Privacy
thinking about first the core idea
people see data in ways to do whatever they want
need to ask questions about how we use data and the data itself
we do not understand the difference between if I go to the library
no one needs to know my books
but online not the same guarantee
now we have laws
it is the privacy by design that is the fun part and how we can work
we must nudge this ball forward.
Open Governance
Chris Teitzel
He was inspired by Matt’s talk
he said get involved
but not much more
Heather Burns
contacted her at WCEU, wanted to collaborate on how to talk governance
spiraled to other CMSes than WP and Drupal
open conversation on what we stand for and how regulations work
we are all reactionary
Let’s improve together
influence the people making laws
they are not the people with the knowledge of how it is built
Morten again
5.0 was the last time we should make decisions only for ourselves
with responsive images we found the edge
e want a seat at the table not to drive the conversation but to
WordPress Governance Project
join in
node and Drupal (early)
AMP just announced
what do those models look like for WP

WordPress from a Drupal Perspective
Chris Teitzel

Raw Notes:
Drupal is hard
Play to your strengths
built a site for an app Thememonster
was in Drupal by coincidence after that
didn’t pick it because it was hard
learning WP learned it was not insecure and not that easy for everything
WP strengths
Design and usability
privacy in core
media management
Robust plugin and theme economy
and yes, Gutenberg
Drupal still needs to do these things and do them well
Drupal strengths
Data architecture – content modeling that happens to make websites
core APIs – forms API for example, makes forms super easy
VIEWS! – DB querying UI
Rest API in Core
need to play to our strengths
we can learn from each other!
Open libraries should be shared in between.

Stamping Your Open Source Passport
Drew Gorton

It is my great honor and privilege to work with Drew. He is not just my manager but he is a human being I respect and look up to. His guidance and support have made it possible to keep going with multiple parts of my life. Hearing his story, so well articulated, makes it pretty clear why this is. Check it out when it hits WordPress.tv.

Raw Notes:
Grew up in small America
fish and rice
moved to Spain in his teens
fish and rice vs Paella
later in life taught English in Japan over a number of years
another of fish and rice was sushi
elementary school kid would have hated to think about sushi
WP events about 3 years ago
he was also from Drupal
same travel experiences and differences served him well
tech is OSS and that is special kind of tech
Free as in liberty
one thing common, need people to survive and thrive
another interesting thing WP is made of OSS itself
PHP, MySQL, Linux, Apache/NginX
many other tools CMSes like this
57 different ones says Wikipedia
Drupal community is open and there are good events to go to
Or how about PHP events
– SymfonyCon
– Sunshine PHP
Generalist events as well
An Event Apart, AgentConf, JSConf Hawaii
Travel gracefully
– listen first
– learn, not convert
– Guides can be a great help!
– Meet the locals
– Share your journey

Scrum for developers
Jenny Beaumont

You like Agile process? Yeah, you bet you do. If not, this talk might just change your mind. Get more done, more effectively, no matter how large your projects or team by adopting these core principles.

Raw Notes:
Devs work form home
don’t like meetings, don’t wear pants
got to collaborate with your teams and clients through
SCRUM comes from Rugby
Agile is not the same
interrelated though
cultural hurdles and stereotypes:
idea specific to developers
causes to feel alone
fear of change
Managers can also have a bad rap, get in the way of work
Scrum addresses this with cross functional teams to organize
normal part of value driven process
lot of meetings in scrum, but all have goals for focus
need to understand what we are building a why.
are our customers getting value?
rather than build a whole thing, build small increments
deliver quickly and get feedback
meetings sets goals for sprint without defining how
what we can reasonably deliver
daily scrum is daily and only last for 10-15 minutes
Scrum team
Product Owner
Scrum Master
Dev Team
no managers on team
no one tells the dev team how to do it, they create their own path to the goal
with that freedom brings responsibility
autonomous, need to trust certain things are true
power to get it done
commit to the whole goal
you work hard
that shows in the work

My talk

Nobody wants a website. They want results!

If anyone thinks they have ever had a talk that was better received, I would not believe them. Not for a moment. The feeling that you are connecting to most everyone in a room and to see so many nodding heads and so many people taking notes was amazing. This is something the bright lights of Paris didn’t illuminate. This talk is the one where I realized the true power of the stage was to inspire conversation after the session is done. I hope everyone has the opportunity to feel that. There is no other feeling quite like it and it is electric.

State of the Word

I am not going to publish my raw notes for this one. There are a lot fo write ups about this talk. If you are itching to read one, I am suggesting PostStatus Stat of the Word report as the official one. Here is how I experienced it from my seat via my favorite tweets.

Wrapping up

There was so many good things that happened to me, it is impossible to get them all in here. So, I will be making a year end sum up that will include some of the things I have been telling everyone about, like my inceptions project, the overall win of WCKaraoke, the WPVegan thing and so many other amazing stories that deserve their own spotlight.

As for this trip, I am not sure how it could have possibly gone better. Seriously. I had such an amazing time and there was just so much love in the air. Nashville might be known for music and more and more conventions in the near past, but I will always remember it for the family of Drupal and WordPress that I got to meet and rejoice there. I do know exactly know what the next year will look like and I can never be sure where life will take me, but I feel a lot of optimism that whatever happens, the community will always be near and dear. I am also certain that I am already looking forward to WordCamp US 2019 in St. Louis

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