PressNomics 2019: The value of conversation with the right people in the hot Arizona sun.

I had never been to The Old Pueblo before this trip. If United Airlines had anything to say about it, I would still not have. Long story short, 2 cancelled flights, a missed connection and an overnight stay in Denver, which you can read further about over on my new personal/tech-tinkering blog dwayne-mcdaniel.com. Once I got to Tucson I realized I had only booked a room for one night, but thankfully my status and points get me into the overflow hotel for the event. Pretty quickly, the quality of the setting informed me that I was at no WordCamp, but rather at the gathering of the best and brightest business minds in the WordPress space. I was at PressNomics 6, 2019.

Food and Fun

Wednesday

I arrived on Wednesday just in time for lunch. I joined a wonderful crowd of folks going to one of the ‘official’ restaurants that was expecting a lunch crowd from the event, Wild Garlic. A bit pricey, they had a very friendly and competent staff. Only one real vegan item on the menu, but I left completely stuffed on deliciously prepared quinoa and veggies.

After the day of intense sessions ended we gathered in the courtyard for a happy hour reception with drink tickets and a few appetizers. Pretty soon a full meal was called for and I joined a few folks at the on property The Terraza Garden Patio and Lounge. Eventually a few nightcaps at my hotel with some of other conference folks staying there and I ended day one. No tweets exist of these parts.

Thursday

Breakfast was at the all too fancy The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa where my status got me free vouchers for the meal all week. I have never had more bland avocado toast to be honest, but the coffee was great!
Over at the venue we had iced tea, coffee and teas to keep us hydraded and awake. There were also afternoon snacks. Really solid options but at the price point, I would have been sad it it had been any lesser quality.

For lunch, I found out from my old vegan brother Josh who has family in the area that one of his favorite vegan joints in the world was a few miles away. We gathered a plat based foods enthusiastic crowd and headed to Lovin’ Spoonfuls which not only had an amazing selection and just astonishingly well prepared food, it was also very reasonably priced! If all vegan places delivered such value perhaps meat based chains would quickly go out of business around them.

After a day full of informative sessions a group of us explored one the culinary marvels of Tucson, Culinary Dropout. Imagine someone taking a car dealership worth of property and making a massive restaurant out of it with ping pong tables, cornhole and an entirely different lounge/restaurant inside of it. The kitchen has windows from chest level to the ceiling and we could see exactly how each bit of food was carefully and quickly prepared. They only had one vegan dish on the menu, but it was so well spiced and balanced that it made up for the lack of choice quite well. Also they had great funny named drinks. Thanks to the generosity of James Law for the meal! It is not the only Culinary Dropout in the country and here is a tweet from another one from a previous PressNomics.

After dinner we headed back to the Hacienda del Sol for a little light live music and drink tickets with a full bar. My favorite part of the whole party was the moment when out host, the awesome Mr. Strebel granted me a near god like power when he commanded the bartender to ‘give this man any drinks he wants’ before walking away to find where he had left the extra drink tickets. I went home and to bed earlier than you might expect as the day was long and the next day was an adventure awaiting me.

Friday

After another breakfast at the hotel, I joined a group of folks to go explore Kartchner Caverns. I have not been in a cave in many years and it is always humbling to think about geologic time, where a few hundred thousands years is a blink of an eye. Helps put some things in perspective in all reality. Unfortunately no cameras are allowed in the caves so I have no first hand source for you.

After a very full morning of bussing to and exploring the magnificent natural beauty of the caverns, we went to the place that reportedly invented the Chimichanga, El Charro. They had a full on vegan section of the menu and the margaritas were very good. I ate way too many chips with salsa, but it was a wonderful time. This capped off a really wonderful event. While the evening had a couple more drinks with folk at the hotel, our tale more or less ends here.

One last giant thank you to Jay and Keanan for the ride to the airport. As I am self funding these trips now, every little bit of help helps a lot.

Sessions

Due to the nature of the event, which does not record sessions to make everything a ‘had to be there’ type of experience, I am not going to release my full private notes here like I do on almost all the other posts. The schedule is indeed public, so no secrets there and I want to record some reactiond for myself in the future that might seem cryptic if you are reading along and not me. If you want to see what any of it looked like, I am not including the normal tweet proof of sessions as I typically do, but the twitter stream is also not private.

The Ethics of Open Source.
Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Every once in a while you get to witness something truly historic within a space. THe more I think on Mor10’s words the more I questions a number of things I am doing with my life. After meeting Richard Stallman I have been questioning quite a number of things about my belief in OSS. Morten answered a few of them directly and I now feel less conflicted about some of the choices I have been pondering. I know that is vague, but hearing from someone who has helped train over 1,000,000 people on WordPress say some stuff out loud that needed said was enlightening enough to be worth the whole trip for me.

WP Community.
Rian Kinney

I felt like I was watching a court case based episode of a documentary series on A&E. I mean that in a very surreal sort of way. The emotions ran very high and the sessions went a bit long and I don’t want to reveal much more specific details of the talk here. If this had been positioned anywhere other than right after Morten’s talk I am not sure it would have been as much of a gut punch, but since it did follow Morten’s talk I can say this was the most emotionally charged thing I have maybe every participated in semi-publicly. Keeping an eye on her twitter will be a good activity moving ahead is all I am going to say to close this out.

Security Blunders.
Robert Rowley

Security is hard and we must keep updated to stay safe. The single biggest takeaway from this ‘real life lessons learned’ talk was ‘never trust user input and never, and I mean never, unserialize something unless you have used a hash check to make sure you were the one to serialize it. Other than that, read your dang PHP salmon colored warnings more closely, they exists to keep us all safe.

Tax/Retirement Planning.
Jon Bickerton

I learned a lot about taxes for earnings brackets I aspire to. Also, leveraging property as a business owner is a good idea if you have a lot of money to defer. The truth is you can not get out of paying your share of taxes, so don’t attempt that. You can and should defer your money as long as possible to avoid the tax penalty up front. Good solid advice and several people said that they learned a new tax strategy to investigate with their tax consultants.

Personal Journeys and Mental Health.
Brooke Siem

New name for me and it turns out it is because she is not really a WordPress user. Her story is one of identity and needing to quit the medications she had been assigned as a child as she grew up to get any sense of her own identity and to find a reason to keep living. Moving from a mindset of awaiting death to one of squeezing every moment from the life you have left, she inspired us all to think about the days and hours we have of our own. I have some thinking to do about some of what she said. I can say I am very grateful to all the support of everyone who has helped me get to this point in my life and I am looking forward to thanking each of you in person, hopefully soon.

Stories from the inside.
Maura Teal
Jeff Matson

Did you know that Page.ly invented WordPress Managed Hosting? Did you know they help enterprise customers with infrastructure and DevOps in amazing ways? Did you know they have a new serverless offering called NorthStack that greatly simplifies deploying just about anything for almost no cost and then is metered like Netlify, but promises to be way simpler? If you did you could have skipped this session. But in all seriousness Maura and Jeff did a great job of giving us the inside scoop of why they love doing what they do. Beyond anything Page.ly related they really did an amazing job of sharing their passion for tech and the community they belong to. I kid a bit here, but they encouraged us all that tech might change but serving clients is always going to be central to any stack.

Wrapping Up

The biggest benefit of PressNomics is not the food or fun or even the sessions I don’t think. It is the benefit of getting to talk about serious business issues and questions with very successful folks also there to learn from other successful folks. Getting to pitch my ideas around Process Digital Consulting and sharpen what those offerings even are helped me evolve certain things faster than pretty much any other methodology I can think of. Sure, the parties are legendary and the whole attitude is at once completely relaxed and overwhelmingly invigorating, but the space they creat for valuable conversations is second to none. As of the time of writing this, I am not certain what my future in the space looks like to be honest. But one thing I know for sure, I am going to be buying the tickets as soon as they go on sale for PressNomics 7, 2020.

WordCamp Las Vegas 2019: Where 103 degrees does not feel as hot in the desert and having a WordCamp in a casino

As I landed in Sin City I tried really hard to recall the last time I was there. It had to be more than a decade ago and in some ways the “Marriage Capital of the World” had certainly changed, as I flew in I was kind of astonished how large the dessert town had expanded and how much construction was happening. In other ways though, it was exactly as I remembered it and I had deja vu more than a few times. In one way, it was specifically identical, insofar as my luck not being good while there. Let’s leave that last statement as the only comment about gambling I need to make in this post. After all, I was there not for a crazy weekend of debauchery, but was there for a weekend of community and learning at WordCamp Las Vegas 2019

Food and Fun

Friday

Friday night kicked off as soon as I landed, as I went straight to the speaker/sponsor dinner held at Famous Dave’s. While I am not a huge fan of their menu, which is 90%+ meat based at the moment, though they do have plans to add Beyond Meat to the menu this year, but not yet at this location. I still got my fill of corn, fries and various assorted veggies. It was great to hang out with so many folks I had not seen in a while and meet some net folks there as well.

Afterward, legendary good time planner Mike Demo introduced us to the largest tiki bar in the world by taking us to the Golden Tiki. It was a fun night of flaming drinks and good conversations. It seems most drinks taste better when they come to the table on fire.

Saturday

We were greeted with convention coffee and a tea assortment at the lovely yet aging Plaza Hotel and Casino where the event was happening. It was OK coffee, right in the middle of the pack and nothing to note further on it. We also had branded bottled water, which I always find amusing for some reason. Like am I going to do more business with this hotel because their name is on the water bottle?

Lunch was boxed lunch sandwiched and wraps. I want to specially say a huge thank you to the organizers who made it easy on the folks with dietary needs to have a filling and quality lunch. Part my lunch was a little salad in a cup which was just enough and the cup let me shake the dressing thoroughly throughout.

The after party was in the same venue but outside by the pool. This is the hotel pool and a number of folks, including myself assumed we would have a private party there. Instead we got to share with the other hotel guests and that made for an interesting experience. Still a good time and I actually got to soak in the hot tub for a bit while the thermometer on a building across the way told us the temperature was 104F and dropping as the evening wre on.

While the drinks at the party were great, I ended up needing a meal at some point. Did you know that White Castle has an Impossible Burger slider? I got to introduce some people to it.

WCKaraoke

We tried to get some singing done, but the way Cat’s Meow ran things unless you paid a $30 line cut fee, you would be eternally bumped down the list. It really does not help that between every single singer the staff did a song and tried their best to manufacture a party atmosphere which you can see in the photos. I guess some people like that experience but after a coulpe hours of always being 5th or 6th in line and getting a little sick of the staff singing, some of us bailed without singing. At least they had buy one get one free well drinks.

Sunday

More coffee and the exact same lunch were on tap for Sunday during the event. Afterward, one of my favorite firebrands in the world Beth Livingston and I took to the skys above Fremont Street to zipline all the way way down the 5 block stretch thanks to the Slotzilla Zip Line experience. It was terrifying and amazing and gave me a glimpse into what Superman might feel like with people staring up at a person flying through the air. It was the best bet I made the whole trip. Since I could not use my phone on the ride here is a tweet of someone who did

Sessions

Opening Remarks

Backward Compatibility is Good for WordPress, Not Mental Health
Bridget Willard

Bridget is my friend and we were in the trenches together heading the WordPress Community Marketing Team for almost 2 years. Almost that long ago she pitched me the idea of a talk on mental health and I have been encouraging her to give that talk ever since. I am very glad she did. I have a ton of self doubt and I do find myself being self deprecating a lot. It was startling to realize how much of that I have actually been believing lately. I am grateful that I got to support Bridget here, but in all reality he supports me emotionally as a friend far more than I can write.

Raw Notes:
Been in the space for a while
supportive amazing women
but people with issues
1 and 0s do what you expect
people don’t
What are worthiness issues
Friend’s therapist told her to work on worthiness issues
what does that even mean?
like backwards compatibility
clicked for her friend then
We talk about mental health a lot, but we need some breaking changes
Believes negative things about herself
we are way harder on ourselves than we are to our friends
why does self-talk matter
Self talk is insidious
it changes the things we choose in our lives
do we make friends easily or figure they’ll hate is anyway?
Do we make self-deprecating jokes?
Do we try better jobs? Better clients?
Do we self isolate?
Are we brave in our relationships? willing to trust someone?
are we vulnerable to someone? maybe a therapist, but trust someone
Listen to Corey Miller, Don’t see everything underneath
How do we make breaking changes
have to find the bugs, they are not features
Find someone to talk about it wiht
recognize the patterns in word choice
practice self awareness
journal
write: “I am” statements
what are you goot at?
What do people say about you?
Who do you want to be?
Write it down

Lucky 7: Don’t Do Anything Until You Hear This WordPress Presentation
Joe A Simpson Jr

Joe has one of my favorite origin stories for a WordCamp organizer. Basically, my super short version of his tale is “Joe got tired of driving to LA for meetups, started his own and it got so successful that he did a WordCamp within the first 2 years of starting it.” Joe also has lived the life of a developer who had to learn on his own and lean on community to get unstuck at times. As a result, his wisdom is some of the richest of any speaker I can name. Though this talk was basics for beginners kind of feel, it was chock full of great nuggets and reminders of best practices for folks at any stage of that WordPress life.

Raw Notes:
Luck be a widget tonight!
First visit to vegas like you getting into WP for the first time
it can be overwhelming
Today, he is our welcoming party for WP
2 years ago he got tired of driving 2 hours for a meetup
started his own
they had own WordCamp already
started about 10 years ago, inherited Headway theme blog
WP has come a long way since then
they had budget fortunately
moves to VIP, got to go to summits
everyone helped him when he was new
issue 1
“I bought too much hosting up front..”
there are so many hosting companies
buy small and level up
considerations
what kind of traffic do you expect
are you selling products
is site speed important
will mutliple
“Why doesn’t my theme look like the demo?”
“how do I add a thing to a theme?”
page builder maybe?
“A11y makes me angry”
he got punched in his shoulder once at a meetup about a11y
be advocate for a11y
NFL colorrush example
colorblind and SEO
color should not be only way to ID content
contrast!
Awwwared wining site failes basic contrast checker
free tools from webaim
contrastratio
chrome color contrast analyszer
test tab useage and no mouse
Start with an a11y theme
“Can’t I google a theme to do all this for me?”
redising his brother’s website
Hymaze from somewhere on Google
unmaintainable mess
“I’m still waiting on my client to send me website content”
so many tools to help you write more efficiently
Grammerly – typo and rich text
yoast
all-in-one-seo
“This is too basic, I want more advanced..”
make.wordpress.org
get involved
slack
look for events in your community
libraries lynda.com for free
WordPress.tv
livestreams
quick hits
security
WordFence
iThemes
two-step uthentication
Strong passwowrds
Royalty free images
avoid cowboy coding – don’t work directly on your live site

What you thought you knew about WordPress security! (With real hacked site stories)
Rob Marlbrough

You can not learn enough about security. I don’t care if you think you are an expert, attending security talks are always a good decision. Hearing some of the anecdotes from Rob’s work over the years make you realize not every takes security seriously, which makes it super important that anyone working professionally as a web developer or site owner does.

Raw Notes:
care about passwords
they can read table prefix, so not a good path anymore
Real total cost of a hacked webstite
Cost of a hack repair does not include
cost of reputation
shareholder distrust
GDPR lawsuites, CC protection services
Cost of wasted digital as spend FB/Insta ads
cost of wasted tv/radio/print ads
cost of email or other sign ups
cost of memberships sales
Security befoe getting to your website
Network security WAF, at the ISP level, at the data center level
Server securty at the host level
Often hear, I can’t control these things” Yes you can!, you ca change webhosts
prepaid $3/m for 3 years? so what!, still worth changing hosts, one hack site could comst more than 3+ years of cheap hosting
Strong passwords
don’t rely on obvious solutions
Block IP based on behaviour, nimber of failed logins, guessing usernames, looping through known URLs
2factor authentication!
lastpass
Update daily!
security patches are relased daily
hackers are alerted daily to vulnerbility
get free SSL cert for many a reason, SEO, http/2
behind a network scanning/filtering sytem
choose a web host that protects networks and servers
don’t shoose a host based on affiliates only
WordFence is great, install on all sites you manage
Securi: free plugin scans site
reinstalls pugins from repo in bulk
backups can be worthless
no protection is site is deleted from their servers!
Dialy and Off Server and Tested or Worthless!
hourly or continous backup for ecommerce/membership sites
UpdraftPlus: reliable and free plugin
Jetpack and Vaultpress, Backup BUddy and many other quality plugins out there
Free services for WP website maintenance
Free can be expensive, time consuming, stress-filled
Advanced Automatic Updates plugin email alerts failures
managewp/mainwp/infiniteWP
Music lessons website hacked
redirected random visitors 1 out of 10 or so, redirected to porn website
vulnerable cross scripting plugin
recovery: backups for 90 days – still infected
search/replace DB tables to remove injected JS, patched the plugin

She Said, He Said: Hackers’ Guide To Coding
Shelby Sapusek
Jim Raffel

I met Shelby and Jim at the speaker dinner and I knew immediately that I wanted to see their talk. They are the definition of seasoned WordPress site builders. I think between the two of them the have encountered just about every weird situation WP can throw at a person and they were happy to share that battle hardened know how with everyone. There is a chasm between the typical WordPress user and the developer who lives in the terminal and code editor. This talk is a step toward the latter for folks who find they cant do all they need to with off the shelf GUI tools, but also which of those tools can solve some of the tricky problems.

Raw Notes:
Partners for a while
why is coding or hacking necessary?
Our compnay has grown and taking on more complex
Are we coders? If not, are we hackers?
If you have written any HTML, you are a coder
Hackers – negative connotation
Black hat
White hat
Grey Hat – looking for a payout
Programmer – compent cook
caution with coding
always back things up
staging sites
css, PHP, etc, file copies
Consider how changes will impact other parts of the site
Document all changes
safety first
work with minimal number of frameworks, (genesis)
Logo and header change example
inspector – old was firebug
customizer additional CSS
theme editor but DANGER!
what to edit and where
Tools within customizer
CSS and PHP
Custom HTML widget
Additional CSS under Customize, often underlooked
diff tool
Elementor Plugin
drag and drop editor
design pallete pro
Google Maps
Responsive Slider

Inclusive Content Strategy
AmyJune Hineline

This is not the first time I have seen AmyJune speak but I can’t recall seeing her speak at a WordCamp before. I have known her for a while now from my work in the Drupal community and I always look forward to hanging out with her. She has a lot better technical chops than she lets on, but her focus is on the human side of things for the most part, which is the skillset she is shared in her talk. We can’t overthink being kind and accessible to our fellow humans and just hearing the best practices out loud push us all in the right direction. Let’s all use more people positive language!

Raw Notes:
Verna Myers
diversity is being invited to the party, INclusion is being asked to dance
inclusive mean accessable
Visual needs
motor needs
auditory needs
cognitive needs
Meaningful Content
inclusion of all race, religion, contrie of origen
gnerder ID
and all thing
Ableist language
people with a disability vs the disabled
use people centric language
never lazy, crazy, retarded
Gender Nutral
Humankind not mankind
Folks vs guys or dudes
mansplaining is not gender neutral
enter the WYSIWYG
styling is for coders and designers not content authors
WYSIWYG should be for entering content
never for styling
use style guides or stylesheets
an a11y is goal
events a11y for everyone
families, neurodiversity
people who live with disabilities
avoid acronyms
abbreviations
numeronyms (a11y, i18n)
problematic to screen readers
emoticons
screen reads can’t even deal most of the time
buffer and twiteriffic can make
use camel case

Accidental Business Owner: Now What?
Mike Demo

I already mentioned Mike earlier and his amazing organizational skills. He has many other skills as well, which I have not heard him talk about too much, as the only other talk from him I can find my notes for is his ‘Which Way Does Your Duck Face?’ talk. His general advice to get over yourself and go fill the need you see at a price point that just works is much needed in a world where speakers routinely talk about firing clients and rejecting work below a certain threshold. Both those world views can hold true but not for everyone. Mike has a great head on his shoulders and I am downright inspired by him, as well as dang proud to call him friend.

Raw Notes:
Mike was building CMS sites when his school told him no one was using
now in OSS
Epcot, spaceship earth
history of communication
like the web
democratize publishing, making the web and world better
free software as in freedom of speech
If you can dream it, you can do it (not actually Walt Disney)
used to sell timeshares
Fell in love with the community
loves the passion of the community
everyone wants to get to that next level
don’t have a vision of grandure when you are getting started
3 page websites
Accidental business owners: started to learn jus for fun, then built a site for family
plugin 15K active users, can’t kill it
day job as well that id getting in the way
just build without a plan
passion without a way to get there
make a plan for your clients before you start the work
goal of more sales, what does more mean?
clients hate launching websites
never selling single website contract again
“never have to make a new website again”
launching basic website with a large wishlist
goals vs wishlist, pick what is impactful
we are guessing as website designers
people think they know their clients
protect yourself and get the money you are owed
Step 1 get users
step 2 ??
step 3 profit
charge for every change
reprice per the reality that the client presents

How to Outshine Your Competition in Our Exploding WordPress Market
Beth Livingston

This is not the first time I have see Beth talk about this subject, but this is the best version of the ideas so far, as she has been refining it throughout this year of camps. The ideas she is helping people get on board with are in line with the writing I have been doing on my LinkedIn blog about impriving processed and project management theory. She is coming from a very practical standpoint on this subject, taking what works in the corporate world making the concepts easily digestable for all who sell services. Keep your eyes open for her content and check out her site for some awesome stuff right now.

Raw Notes:
millions of websites, hundreds of thousands of devs for WP
lot of copetition
Clients spent a lot onf costinvetment
some of timeline
almost none on solution
compoeting on price is a losing bet
unique value prop
not a call to action
not headline: subtitle
not an explanation ot your service
not an into to your business
communicates the unique value provided to your target customers
what you do well vs what our competition does for your clients
SEO is not a unique prop
What clients care about most
cost/investment
timeline – scope creep, delays
on time and i budget
What business problem will your solution solve
clint management plan
this defines who your ideal client is
ideal client avatar
who do you want to work with?
stop penalizing the client for not understanding how websites are built
help them understand consequences for not following process
have a change budget
define process and consequences for non compliance
use incremental acceptance
set acceptance criteria up front
font on the website
8 essential questions
–could not type fast enough here —
once you have answers to all those questions
give the clients the same list of questions to show the other guy

My talk

Bash is magic # No it’s not

I keep running out of time when giving this talk. There is just more content than time about this subject that just delights me to explain to folks. It is ike revealing t hidden secret club to the world where everyone was actually already invited and all are welcome. Introducing experienced command line users to tools like BackstopJS and behat is also a thrill and so far the comments I have recieved have ben overwhelmingly positive. I think I might need to do something else with this content moving ahead to reach a wider audience.

Building Successful Client Relationships in a Digital Age
Jodie Riccelli

I thought I had seen this talk before, but in a city where I was getting deja vu all over the place I was not sure. Checked my notes and sure enough I saw a similar version once before. However this did not hinder my enjoyment or the quality of content for me at all. It was awesome to be reminded that learning all our skills don’t need to have an immediate payoff, as sometimes it takes years and multiple opportunities before it all clicks. It was also a reminder that multitasking is not a good idea. I have been terrible at this, trying to do to many things all at once. I am actually inspired by this talk to find some more productive habits in the days and weeks ahead.

Raw Notes:
loves to learn
worked at a car wash
learned to detail cards
then upsell the customer
music promotion
myspace
she learned WP and GIMP to make artist websites
sales for a small agency in Philly
magical coming together of skills at that point
then moved to WebDev Studios
She is not everything though,
not a great speller, not the one with all the answers
paul barnwell
My students don’t know how to have a conversation
in a world of digital life is there any more important skill?
Don’t multitask, be present
record calls, take notes later
video or in person
close all the things
feather triangle string
segment the room
just moving through segments, want to engage with each group
breaking down the audience to connect with her
imagine you are holding feathers and need to move the feather to back wall
Triangles are the joints
string is your head, string out the top of your head
Choose your words wisely
this is why we are the bst vs this is how we can help
problem vs challenge
pick up the phone
zoom is my friend
saying ‘I don’t know’ is not just OK, it is essential
what measurable goal can we set
be authentic
remove qualifying word and phrases
thank you notes or cookies
principle of reciprocity
the psychology of persuasion
thank you notes increase registration
productivity rule
if task takes less than just 2 minutes, just do it now
say think you
file paper away
looking away for a minute “eye care chrome extension”
The four agreements

Wrapping Up

As I start wind down my life of constant travel to dozens of events per year, I am taking stock more and more of the opportunities that each and every one of those events has granted me. I suffer a but at seeing the trees but not the forrest. This trip put a few things in perspective for me and I could not be more grateful for the folks who have been there for me along the way. The biggest revelation to me is that I have spent so much time absorbing such a wide, wide range of subjects that the road ahead seems like it has way too many option for me. Picking one is going to take some more thorough thought than I have been giving it for the last few months. I have know idea what the future looks like but I am planning to plant some roots and figure out what that feels like before too much longer. This trip to Las Vegas might be my last for the foreseeable future but I hope to retain the friendships and connections I made at WordCamp Las Vegas!

WordCamp Minneapolis 2019: Seeing Friends In The North And A Good Time At The State Fair

The last time I visited Mini Apple was way back in 2018 for Twin Cities Drupal. I am a fan of this town for their progressive politics, growing vegan foodie culture and efficient public transportation. It is on my short list of places to possibly move one day. I landed at MSP early and got to see some old friends before I attended the reason I was really there, WordCamp Minneapolis 2019.

Food and Fun

Thursday

Speaker Dinner

Though there was a day of training this year, which I was not part of, the event officially stated for my on Thursday evening, at the traditional Speak/Sponsor/Organizer/Volunteer dinner. It was great to see so many folks I know and to meet some new folks as well. We gathered at the The Trading Floor at Fueled Collective, which is in the old Grain Exchange. The Trading Floor is where, at one point, they actually bought and sold grain futures in Minneapolis, which is the seat of all things agricultural for the whole region. A beautiful building turned into a giant and bright co-working and event space. A few of us ended up at Tracey’s Saloon for a nightcap before getting ready for a busy next day at camp.

Friday

Coffee, tea and water awaited us there at the McNamara Alumni Center, the host venu. Coffee was good enough in my opinion, so I stuck with that for the duration. Lunch was upon us before we realized it and the vegan option, which was very filling included salad and a quinua dish. I will never complain about quinua if I can get enough of it, which some catering struggles with for some reason. This was serve yourself so I was pretty happy. Afternoon snack was a build your own granola bar, which was OK.

WPVegan

Being so close to one of my favorite vegan/vegetarian places, Hard Times Cafe I of course had to make an attempt to rally the WPVegans. There were a lot of cometing distractions and only a small but hearty bunch of us did succeed at getting some of the best vegan seitan in existence! We also played some Foodtown Throwdown, my current favorite game.

Some of us ended the night at Otter’s Saloon to attempt some karaoke, but sadly, we arrived too late to sing.

Satruday

Saturday was a repeat of day one’s coffee and water service, but this time I had a bit of breakfast at the local vegan friendly craft cafe Simpls. Go support this place if you are in the area. The vegan breakfast sandwich was so good I am going to be craving it and trying to replicate it back home.

After Party

Lunch was provided as part of the after party, since it was a half day of sessions. We gathered over at Loring Pasta Bar & Restaurant for some craft drinks and a pasta lunch. Vegan options again were available, which were anchored with a pretty hearty and tasty spaghetti dish. The space itself is massive and has a claim to fame that Bob Dylan used to live there when he was a student in what is now their ‘Red Room.’ It was great to have so much space to mix and mingle and reflect on all we learned at the event.

Also, while not officially part of the camp I got to join a couple WordPress colleagues for a good time at the Minnesota State Fair later in the evening. It awesome to be part of the opening weekend and I even got to see Herman’s Hermits perform. Definitely worth the visit!

Sessions

Opening Remarks

The Developer’s Spectrum – From Junior to Lead
Jeff Holland

Sometimes things that seem obvious are hard to define, like what does water taste like? Or what do you mean by Senior Develover vs Architect? Thankfully Jeff gave us a low down from his vantage point as someone with a lot of experience on a large team at USA Today. I found it pretty helpful to be able to put myself on the scale of somewhere between Junior and Mid Level based on what he shared, and depending on what we are talking about. If you are on a growing development team, or are just curious about it, this might help you navigate as well.

Who is on the team
The Junior
right out of bootcamp
very mallaeable
you can teach them ‘your way’
they are quick learners who work extra hard
spending hours outside of work hours to learn more
pair well with senior devs
experiences are somethign they look forward to
very risk averse
have to draw them out and comfortable with ‘I don’t know’
Process change is difficult
first time using Git, or Jira, or communication tools
lot of questions about ‘how you do things’
They identify with their code
they take it personally
need to help them to feel seperate from their code
stay blunt but explain things in code reviews, not much criticism
“Here is how you can do it”
and tell them don’t identify with your code
The Junior is fresh out of school or changing careers
Ambitious, ready to talk about new ideas
Solved something – have some sense of accomplishments
Apt to make mistakes
On;y address one solution to a problem
have to peer review with them
Unaware of edge cases, debug errors and not know what to test for
over confident quickly once they start seeing patterns
Errors lead to imposter syndrome
How do they get better?

  • They need to code
  • Study and Read, but they need to read code to see how others are doing things
  • Pair program
  • meetups – meeting others makes you feel less isolated
    How to scale?
    Improve your skills
    Learn new languages
    Learn to context switch
    Mid Level – The workhorse of your team
    Very competent in their domain
    industry, languages, problem sets, etc
    Reliable output of work
    Predictable
    Shiney new ting syndrome
    Reliable
    Consistant
    Overconfident
    Over reliance on their favorite tool
    Focus on a piece of the puzzle (tunnel vision)
    How Midlevel grows
  • Try new things
  • Mentor
  • Take on Challenges
  • Speak or Write!
    Mid level Scale?
    Personal to team level
    The Senior!
    Able to take on new things
    Architecture over implementation
    future thinking
    mentor
    They are patient
    helpful
    wise
    knowledge know things
    wisdom, know when to apply that knowledge
    focused
    intuitive
    always discussion, don’t huddle them together
    shortcomings
    The old way works fine
    can over engineer for business needs
    Strategize
    Streamline
    The Lead and the Architect
    the roles at the top
    Lead manages dev work and communicatio with other teams
    Hels build team member’s skills
    insulates and advocates for the team
    keep people out of meetings
    make wins visible outside of the team
    insulate team from problems
    Lead spends less time in code
    The architect manages the infrastructure
    Need to juggle the industry trends with org needs
    has to do it without working with all teams

My Talk

Bash is magic # No it’s not

I love this subject. There is no higher compliment to me than to have someone come up after a talk and say “You made Bash fun and a lot less scary.” Though one of me other favorite bits of feedback was from someone who uses the command line everyday saying they learned something new as well. Learning together is the heart of open source and I am so happy I get to share that learning experience with the community.

Automating Site Creation
Dan Flies

My notes for this are short because you should just go check out the code itself. I was introduced to Dan at the speaker dinner and I could tell immediately we had the same genreal passion for tech nerdery, which I mean as the highest compliment. People of our ilk like to tinker and find new, elegant ways to solve issues in general. His support of my talk, which was delivered right before his, was also encouraging to hear, as some of what he spoke about assumed oyu had a general understanding of Bash and how WP-CLI commands work. He is managing a lot of scale and watching a devops master explain the tips he has learned about error checking and speeding up the build process was just pure gold. If you are managing more than a handful of sites, this talk and his code might just change your life!

Like Bash there are good reasons to use it
scale
need scripting
code at github.com/danflies/wptoolsdanflies/wptools
Using PHP to run WPClI
Bash scripts got messy quickly
but all WP-CLI run in exec()
scandir
wp theme install, doing it locally
2> DEV NULL
installing plugins like he does themes.
if theme is alreeady active check
using exit codes from is-active
activate and check if activated , then active plugin list
ARRAY_FILTER_USE_BOTH
Default_settings
array[name => value]
key example in repo
adding pages managing widgets managing menus

Alternative datastores – When CPT, Taxonomies, Options and Object Meta aren’t enough
Gary Kovar

Ever since I saw {Felix Arntz’s talk at WordCamp Portland](https://www.mcdwayne.com/2018/11/05/wordcamp-portland-2018/) last year about the WordPress database structure, I have been more interested in talks about the subject. Most of the them are of the nature about how to work around the limitations inherent in the Post and related fields structures. I can foresee this being a future overhaul for WordPress, where we set out to fix the structure and make it much more tuned to getting individual Gutenberg blocks in and out of individual fields in the DB. For the time being, using alternative data stores when you can seems to be the prevailing path many are focusing on.

WP Storage
WP Stores Datain MySQL
WP has strongly Defined Models
Posts
Taxonomies/Terms
Users
Comments
Options
one table per data type
SP does not do it that way
gets ugly quick
MySQL oversimplified
custom tables/views
list with the rest of tour WP Data
no extra config from host
allow you to store your data the way you intend to use it
Elastisearch
Great for search
Super Fast Responsive ime
External Service
Eventually Consistent
can miss things in shards
Redic/Memcached
Lightning fast
May not be persistant
key value pair
Geolocation
requirements
Location CPT with lat/lng Field
Ability
query slow
make a custom table
change where it looks up certain things
Geolocation – elastisearch
GetPoint
lat/long
Task Runner
Requirements
make the site run faster
danger
Tsk runner redis
Add a key/value for each task
taskname plus uuid
multisite stuff
Requirement
I want to post something to 1 site in Mltisite and how it on Other Sites

Keynote: Collaboration and Communication: Success in Community and Business
Cami Kaos

Cami is someone I consider an inspiration. Her no nonsense attitude toward pretty much everything I have ever dealt with her on is downright refreshing. AS a speaker she is witty and always has fantastic slides. As someone who is now working from home, as that is my office these days, I really appreciate her advice on work/life balance and just all the general tips she gave in this keynote. For sure a great one to check out if you are working from home as part of a distributed team.

Edd of a long day keynote
not 100% serious, going to tell jokes to entertain herself
Distributed work
found herself in a scary situation
been out of the workforce for a while and was getting a divorce
made a name as a mommy blogger and podcaster
didn’t want to disrupt being full time mom
wasn’t sure what skills to mark
customer management and retention
built on WP
co-working space in an accelerator for startups, next dae at pub with good wifi
other main contrib. in Denver
boss was out most of the time
she became a distributed employee
part of a movement
different kind of workforce
being normalized
WP is what she does and with tech makes sense to work form anywhere
Distributed school as well
distributed work has beed around for a while actually, with mail and telephone
distributed 201
strength and weaknesses of a DW
a bunch of her co-works and friends from working from home slide
working for a distributed team on a distributed project
the good
no brick and mortar
more convenient for employees
good for opening up to larger set of the best people
underrepresented groups and diversity are enabled by
very few people like to commute
removes the late for work part of the equation
additional me time or time for family
What about work life balance
more relaxed schedule
but have to be mindful, it is work to maintain work/life balance
The bad
most frequently
how do you know they are working if they are not at their desks all day
Communication is the way
call center productivity 13% increase when could work from home
increase was due to reduction of sick days.
Distributed or disturbed
time zones are a real thing
not a happy thing to work with
no great answer, just kinda sucks
The Ugly!
Not bathing for days
take care yourself
happy hour zoom
get a coworking desk
dedicated work space
alternate login on your computer
if you know you need social activity, schedule it
Going to gt coffee shop
morning ritual
if he has to relocate he does it once in the day
limit context switching
Culture!
brick and mortar learn to work together
Distributed teams need to be built with intent
loss of sense of belonging is core of feeling isolated
mission statement that means something to you and building community to reflect it
Tools
IRC
78% of people she surveyed miss it
know how to have a workaround
Slack, WP, Google Docs and Zoom
In her survey other peple brought up
zendesk, helpscout
githb, basecamp, trello, telegram, twitter, instagram, FB, Mastodon, Asana, Calednly
email
All communication tools
social is important to follow along to other people’s lives
Distributed companies do well
Stakeholders, clear vision of company
Also compensation
benefits, insurance, money, retirements
hopefully find something you care about working on
Resources are self explanatory
working with a communication
easier in company than a project
when there is a meeting, P2
slack small conversation
digital breadcrumbs to get where you need
include everyone in the project, makes it more accessible in many ways
welcoming place
Passion Project
Teamwork
Better together, what can they learn from one another, projects and companies
Great ideas come from anywhere
next million $ idea
passion
communication is key!

Code Organization and Optimization for Blazingly Fast Rest Applications
Pete Klein

I ran into Pete the day before his talk and the very idea of accessing data for specific use cases intrigued me. Ultimately, the CMS is just a fancy GUI to model and access a database, so changing how you access that data in a progressive, timesaving per cycle way makes a lot of sense. I really appreciated how straightforward he was with the limitations of this approach and how it is not a one size fits all situation, which is a trap many less experienced devs fall into as they chase the new shiny thing. If you are optimizing front end search or any anonymous content, Short Init is definitely worth exploring as a code pattern.

fast queries vs the RestAPI
Primer on the WP DB structure
guide on easy benchmarking
primer on $wpdb an MySQL in operator
OOP
what talk is not
Universally applicable
A step by step walkthrogh of Rest
user authentication
have anything to do with WP caching
Not a lecture, as questions
code examples setup
VSCode
PHP Intellephense
Composer
ACF
An Example:
Travel Review App
Destination custom post type
feadured content
editor content
region taxonomy
Our Rating – post metadata
hotel link – post meta
Reviews Post Type
WP DB structure, been the same since 4.4.2
terms have term meta
our endpoint
— see slides, moved fast —
2 ways to implement
REST API
Short Init
measure speed
Apache Bench built in to mac
ab -n 100
science of waiting
nngroup.com/articles/response-times-3-important-limits
update: 6 seconds before you lose all attention these days
navite = 343ms
short init = 58ms
quick comparison: default WP
register_rest_route()
Data access WP_Query
get_post
get_the_terms
get_the_posts
look at functional code
-code-
now the short init way
endpoints are stand alone files, not theme or plugin code
skips all the authentication and such
files start with
define DOING_AJAX
define SHORTINIT
Require_once ../wp-load.php
All data access is done through $wpdb
ID’s as array indicies are used to return results
no WP_Query
no WP_Usr object
can’t be used for complex querys
good for frequently hit, unauthenticated queries that need to be fast
Search
Featured Content
User Profiles
Anything on a homepage or first page of an app
Code Examples again
Collections
INtro
techopedia.com/definitoin/25317/collection
it’s a bucket
that holds data
has methods to fetch and access that data
just making it clean and reusable

Who Needs Themes When You have Blocksets
Wil Ranney

Having sidestepped actually using the current WordPress code editor, thanks to Markdown and WP-CLI, I have realized recently I am not up to speed with some of the current thinking about the direction blocks are generally headed. This talk gave a pretty compelling argument that we should be thinking about block collections as a different path to the same outcome Themes gives us today. It feels we are in an in between time, where blocks are not quite understood enough by the masses and are being imagined differently by the advanced camps. It will be interesting to watch the story of the editor unfold over the next few releases.

Used to use Divi
Conversation at WCUS 2017
Divi is a theme, not a plugin
how would they use Gutes
layout packs
Limits of themes: static sections
headers
each theme in WP treats this differently
4 different design systems
working on replacing widgets with blocks, but why stop there?
another limit: proprietary code
Another issue: Global Settings
customizer a good step, but aspect ratio change is hard
Most things we use themes for can be reduced to blocks and blocksets
group of blocks arranged in a way and stored together
reusable blocks
not in the main WP menu yet
export these blocksets as JSON
“Pages are wrapped inside themes, where blocks operate inside pages”
rarely do you see theme settings for single page
Page level theming is what we want
projects always get stuck on content
we don’t need a block repo, we need a blockset repo
New, better blocks
Gutes Blokcs – ultimate addons for Gutes
Stackable – gutes blocks
Page Builder Gute Blocks – coblocks
Kadence Blocks – Gutes page builder toolkit
Blocks Lab
Premium Blocks for Gutenberg
Gutes Bloks and Template Library by Otter
ACF Global blocks
Give some time to help make it better
One more case for blocksets and not just blocks
Wix, Weebly, Squarespace all have blocks
Like Divi a few dozen blocks and layouts
can’t compete with the community to make it happen

Gamify task management. Take your turn, strategize, and WIN!
Justin Foell

I kinda really love board games and I have been pretty focused in my other writings about process management and better workflows. So, to see a talk that I would actually like to give at some point was both validating and just downright inspiring. The term ‘gamification’ threw me off a bit but thinking about how games have rules and patterns that are identical to project management principles feels exactly right. I need to get my hands on that Kandan the board gameand that Project Management board game I discovered at NERDSummit this year.

Linux on his personal machine!
Gamify Taks Management for the win!
tasks and tickets, he uses them interchangeably
hates Candyland/Shoots And Ladders
all chance
let’s talk about strategy games
Jeremy Ward Board Game enthusiast and stickler for details
complex games
some could be considered punishable
Before we start, what is the goal
we have to cooperate and communicate
Pandemic game example
Can openly trade cards
good analogy
Victory points!
feature launch or a theme redesign
product launch
full site launch
make sure the goals are clear
also we have to know the roles
Project Manager (dealer)
Production Team (Devs and Designers)
The Client (the Driver)
project manager does board setup
this is not your out to say “that is the PM job”
everyone needs to know setup and rules
game example – complex
know what the standard information is
when managing tasks, flags, statusus, labels
a meaningful view of what is going on
Can we reduce complexity?
Setup is a big part of gaming
Epics/Milestones/Sprints/Features
simple terms
an example in Jira
so customizable, can be cumbersome very quickly
if set up simply, it is one of the best solutions out there
Jura, Milestones are Epics
Theme Redesign
Customize Content
Backlog – adding tasks
potentially a long list of stuff
clever way of hiding the stuff you are not working on at the moment
try to hide the mountain of work below the fold
agile development – we will go through terms
Agaile sprints, just set amount of time, wek or 2 or a month
resonable amount of tasks completed in that time
typical gameplay on outside of the box, helps with planning
setup time not counted in there
take the tasks we want to and add to sprint
you get to set the rules of this game
might not hve sprints if just reactively doing tickets
kanban – timeboard
To Do
In Progress
Done
invented by auto industry to make sure supply/demand was efficient and manage workforce
Pro tip, game called Kanban
once set up, default screen you see
addint another status with the + button
winemaking game with seasons
planting, growing, harvesting, vinting
phase moving from one place to another
just got to be aware of what is going to make this cumbersome
Take your turn
Order or flow of ticket as it moves from person to person
have to spell out which people and which roles will be doing wich actions
software example

  1. Client requests a feature
  2. Project manager enters ticker into Backlog
  3. Dev provides an estimate
  4. Client approves budget
  5. PM assigns dev based on workload(prints/ToDo)
  6. Dev does work (in progress)
  7. Lead dev revies work
  8. Client reviews the work and it gets deployed
  9. PM completes it
    Castle Panic game example
    Draw Cards (pick a task)
    Play Cards (do the work)
    Move the monsters (Hand it off)
    moving the tokens are fun
    Trello does this too
    jira owns Trello now
    Remember post-move actions
    last step should be reassigning it to the next person
    Do necessary documentation, tell people what you did
    links, screenshots
    Add/Remove label or a flag, etc
    Reassign it to the next person in line
    Who’s turn is it?
    Sometimes there is a lull cause people are masterminding a plan to win
    not asking who’s turn it is is bad
    asking it is right thing to do when in doubt
    it is important to know when it is your turn and what todo on your turn
    My CLient Refuses to use our Task Management System
    Coach them on the rules
    Remind them that it’s their project
    play the game for them (when they go to the bathroom), play fair and good
    Celebrate the wins
    Review tasks at the end of a milestone, let each dev or designer show off work
    Talk about what went well and what coule be improved (adjust the rules)
    Provide a peer-to-peer reward system
    peer to peer feedback better than top down
    Take our turn, Strategize and WIN!

Wrapping Up

I rarely have to say anything negative about a hotel experience but I need to get this pne off my chest. The Moxy Downtown Minneapolis was a terrible experience for me. Thursday night going into Friday the fire alarm went off at 1:30am and due to an alarm malfunction they could not turn it off on the floor I was on. I had to change rooms at 3:00am. My new room had very thin walls and for the next 2 nights I had some noisy neighbors. This all added up to the least sleep I have gotten on a roadtrip in recent memory. It might be a hip, kitschy vibe but my stay there was the opposite of why I want to stay at a hotel.

Other than the lack of sleep this was a fun trip. It was great to see everyone and I walked away not just learning some new cool stuff, but I also walked away excited other folks are as into process management and project management optimization as I have been recently. As my life changes and I am recognizing my frequenting of so many WordCamps might be winding down, it makes me appreciate every second I spend out on the road to support the community even more. I have no idea when or if I will every return to Minneapolis, but I look forward to that day. Maybe it will even be for WordCamp Minneapolis 2020.

While not part of the camp, this got published while I was there:

WordCamp for Publishers 2019: Warm Ohio nights and a lot of community socializing

I was born in the Buckeye state and it is not a place I visit too often. There is not a lot to draw me back and living on a coast and traveling as much as I have in recent years has given me few opportunities to come back. Last time I was in the Columbus area was way back in 2016 for WordCamp Dayton, which was before this blog existed. That trip was a game changer for me as I met Josepha there, learned what a happiness engineer did and really, for the first time, saw what WordPress Community was all about. That took me on a path of Developer Relations that saw me learning new skills almost daily. I got to share those skills and still learn more this time around in Columbus at WordCamp for Publishers 2019.

Food and Fun

Tuesday

The night before the event officially kicked off there was an opening reception at Arepazo Tapas Bar Grille. Various fried appetizers and meat on toothpicks options as well as communal beer pitchers and a few gallons of margaritas. Very proud to say that we didn’t let the margaritas go to waste and everyone at the end made sure we extracted the maximum value.

Afterward, some of us had a little more refreshment and fellowship.

Wednesday

Arriving at the venue, I found pretty reasonable coffee and tea as well as a small fridge of sodas and LaCroix and such. It kept us going for the morning. Lunch was a local food truck, Nazca Peruvian Eats. Very simple, but filling for me, vegan option of rice and beans and corn and olives. I did go back later for some plantains at the very end. Very tasty all around.

We got back together in the evening at Two Dollar Radio Headquarters for some really nice vegan cafe food, some drinks and some board games. I brought my new copy of Foodtown Throwdown and got to introduce several people to the ‘build you own food truck empire’ game. The cafe in all reality though is a bar/bookstore/book publisher run by the nicest people. For sure go and support them if you are ever in Columbus again.

WCKaraoke

Some of us did find our way to an Irish bar to catch their Karaoke night. We went to Cavan Irish Pub, home of the $2.50 well drink and $1 Jello shots. I had no Jello as that contains gelatin which is gross. Can’t find any tweets on this.

Thursday

Coffee and tea and cold drinks awaited us again. This time for lunch we had fresh made pitas from the Pitabilities food truck. I had some tasty fries and a falafel sandwich. A single foodtruck did take a bit of time, so they extended the lunch period by 15 minutes.

After the last sessions were done and we went to drop our stuf off at the places we were staying, we regathered at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing for some pretty nice house made brews and I indulged in some spicy palomas. We did continue on after this but the twitter documentation is lacking so I will just leave it at that.

Friday

After the 2 gull days of sessions, the camp continues with a half day ‘mentoring’ experience. We arrived back at the venue and got the same coffee and drinks reception. Lunch was not originally part of the plan but the organizers made it happen last minute. I had an avocado poke bowl from Poke bowl from Viiza. Others had a variety of fish or chicken in theirs. Soon after lunch I had to split, ending my social times with the WordCamp folks this time around.

Sessions

Opening Remarks:

Creating a Better Editorial Experience with Gutenberg
Jon Heller

I love any talk that gives a history lesson and this was a great one. Understanding where we come from is really one of the only ways to come to terms with what we have now. It is not like someone sat down one day and from scratch said “I need to make Visual Studio Code” it was a build of of other technologies and a desire to optimize and combine the best features to make a better experience than being dropped into Vim (not that there is anything wrong with that though). Embracing the now and not clinging to the past will make sure your clients are happy into the near future. Embracing the future though and thinking of what Gutenberg will become and starting to plan your work around that can make sure you not only survive into the future but evolve to best extract value from it.

Raw Notes:
Stop fighting your CMS
Same issues on all platforms
been doing this for a minute
on many platforms
Drupal,
coneLobster, NetBeans, Bluefish, HotDog,
had to know HTML to use
tough to do it in the early days
savage state
art history lesson
rough around the edges, but cobbled together what looks OK
days before CMS
table tags
wysiwyg
bad name, good idea
evolves more,
arise of the CMS
hard to manage and hard to update
Elliot, Advanced Custom Fields
layout challenges and specific reusable fields consistently
freeform editors make it messy
data is not easily extractable
sort y price or filter is hard
ACF allows fields to be reusable
events
history of short codes and manual repeating ACF
fragmented
content vs blocks
2 solutions ACF vs WYSIWYG
not idea editor experience
around this time, other players emerge, like Squarespace
Medium
Gutenberg emerged from that
as a large scale effort with a lot of weight to it by Ma.tt
skepticism, lot of fear of messing up your website
blowing up the site concern
plugin experience classic until 2022
legacy content just keeps existing

Beyond the Metabox: How Gutenberg Can Bring the Editorial Experience to Life
Kevin Fodness

Speaking of that future, this talk was a natural follow on and focused on the blocks themselves and how they can be leveraged for better developer experiences. Let’s face it, the ‘old way’ of metaboxes is kinda peicemeal and honestly clunky. While just as clunky to many as it stands right now, Gutenberg has the potential for so much more. The technical discussion of PluginSidebar should be of interest to anyone currently building WordPress.

Raw Notes:
Is a hotdog a sandwich? Is an editor a sandwich?
He is in charge of Alley’s JS practice
post types?
Pagebulders – universally terrible
shortcodes
Why are pagebuilders a bad idea – pic of dumpster fire
shortcodes are injectable
17 screens on metaboxes
that is how they edit content on a site
it works
it is just parsing it visually is hard
Gutenberg to solve this
WYSIWYG but other benefits
custom blocks, 1 half of the experience
use built in whenever possible
kitchen sink post to show how it works to clients
modify based on feedback from that
image block, can add on any other fields as needed
only custom once built in or extended blocks no longer solve issue
–distraction–
a lot of the room uses customized Gutenberg blocks
extend your own custom blocks like you extend the built in blocks
feed-driven block with live preview
block call backs,
two concerns
what editor view look like? what happens to save methods?
latest content from feed view, better editorial experience
background color, you can limit the color pallet
callout block example
something that was a short code, much easier to manage as a block
block editor in core, Gutenberg is the just the code name
posts that do or don’t support content
utility post type, template licked block saved to postmeta, includes CSV data uploader
no free form content area
no content area, no Gutenberg
make a custom block that uses the meta data marry with template locking
can’t move, reorder or change layout,
PluginSidebar
register per plugin, config specific for your site
metaboxes go into the PluginSidebar
break into sections
can see conditionally loaded by post type or other attribute
because ReactJS, respond before saving
supports all fields, including custom
good candidates: SEO (Meta title, description)
Open Graph Twitter Card text and images
Display options that affect the entire page
looking ahead
where is dev going?
next version, ability to extend Document sidebar
PluginSidebar will be used for Plugins
don’t be afraid of the future of Gutes
Not the Gutenpocalypse
Gutenberg Ramp

Top Cases in Internet Publishing
Lucia Walinchus

I got to play a federal judge for part of this talk. If I gave out most memorable experiences from a talk awards, this would be in the top slot. After role playing, and ruling differently than the actual judge did in that case, it was a bombardment of case titles and legal facts that were just fascinating to me. Privacy and data protections are great things to talk about and to get up to speed on how those cases are currently, as in still in courts right now, are playing out was tremendous. If you have even a passing interest in where case law stands today with internet issues, this can act as your primer.

Raw Notes:
Play a game, we are all fed judges
who wins in case of suit of clicked agreement for state x sue for state y
185 F.Supp.3d
in RE facebook biometric information privacy litigation
US District Court N.D. California. 9th circuit
choice of lau clauses are usually client favoring
internet publishing
wild west days now
two separate court systems
Federal and State
trial-> appellate->supreme
NY and TX are weirdos with their naming
common misconceptions, on;y state laws can be decided in state court
fed can rule on state laws
persuasive vs precedent
judge can listen to another district, but not necessarily
Appeals are retrials
Trial courts determine issues of material fact, but an appellate court can determine how the law applies
Rosenbach vs Six Flags 2019
Rivera v Google
Nimesh Patel v Facebook 18-15982 on youtube
liquidated damages provisions, $5K per violation
Sandman vs Washington Post
Court says reprinting Phillips’ opinion is not defamatory
Rorschach test
international law
Lord McAlpine trending? Innocent face
UK publishers are liable for republishing the libel of others
online journalism handbook – don’t publish when in doubt
Wright v Ver
Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation v wall-street.com
solved longstanding conflict in the circuit courts, sided with the 10th and 11th circuits Now you have to get your copyright registered to sue.
takes months to do this, but you do have rights before you do
getting occasional copyright on your works
Rimini Street Inc. v. Oracle
Post “Blurred Lines” cases
Ed Sheeran, Katy Perry,
Led Zeppelin,
En Banc hearing
Kraftwerk – metal on metal case
Allen vs Cooper, can states be sued in federal court for copyright law violations
Case involves alleged copyright violations of footage from the excavation of Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge (shipwreck on a sandbar)
UBSoffshorebank.com – cybersquatting
Domino’s vs Robles 18-1539 – visually impaired ADA violations
ADA online is still hard for the courts, unlike physical space, which is settled for the most part
sqoop, website for federal court case search
can follow cases and it will keep emailing you
prove you are a journalist and they give free subscription
Recap by free law project
rarely $15 a quarter minimum
CourtListen fro the further reading
The Content Trap (bharat anand)
Information Doesn’t Want to be Free (Cory Doctorow)
EyeOnOhio.com – sign up!

Leveraging WordPress as a Digital Sports Publisher
Theresa Spencer

How do you build one of the most trafficked sports sites in the world? With WordPress of course! Theresa did a fantastic job of laying out the tool chain they rely on and how they leverage various components. While theory and the latest tech are always fun, I find the most practical lessons I hear come from the case studies of battle tested approaches and implementations. It also is preferable as a talk substance because there is no ‘greenfield’ assumption, like with a JAMstack site where you can assume you are starting fresh from at least some of the code base. Case studies are always showcases of Big Balls Of Mud which is always going to be predominate reality of any legacy system.

Raw Notes:
Business Stakeholder – map to project success
IMplementation : The product
custom features
primary category
category menus
video player embed button
Shortcodes- tv schedule @ content/ad partners
Widgets
Plugins –
WP Content Options
AMP
Apple News
MostRecent Feed – Popular Posts
Featured Images
Publicize
Add SEO Meta Tag
NESN.com
original written and video sports content
Broadcast network initiatives
partnerships
Tools –
CMS
SP Content Options
Shortcodes. RSS
Engagement-
Reach
Direct
Publicize (jetpack)
Taxonomies
Add SEO Meta Tags
Keywords and Google News Keywords
direct – apple news
AMP framework
Reengage
Measurement: KPIs
agreed upon internally
Google Analytics as a way to measure
Pagevies vs users vs sessions
keyword analytics
top 5 views of sessions of AMP vs Apple News, etc
Future
VIPgo and Multisite
Gutenberg

Storytelling Essentials Every Content Creator, Developer, and Publisher Should Understand
Nathan B. Weller

I almost didn’t include this in my final report, as my notes cut off when he specifically asks us to stop typing and just follow along, since we would be going through a lot very fast. If you like Joseph Campbell “Heroes Journey” kind of stuff, you will love Nathan’s synthasis of it with several other story theories. I know I did. Too much to try to recap here, to just go watch the dang thing which is already on Youtube.

Raw Notes:
Learning opportunity, story editor
essential lessons he has learned about storytelling
preconceived ideas of what storytelling is
those relationships went poorly
first pat
crash coarse in storytelling theory
2nd part
He asked us to not take notes and just pay attention,
doing that.

“Newspack: Listen First, Develop Second,” a process of creating a custom news vertical for WordPress.com
Jefferson Rabb (Automattic)

I don’t need to run a news site online, not do I want to. But if I did, and I was picking a new platform to do it on, what I heard about Newspack in this talk would make me do a formal discovery and investigation. I love hearing about stable and meant to scale platforms. As it hasn’t launched public yet, I am very curious to hear what emerges from battle testing. Maybe next year we will hear that. I do love tha this is an attempt to lower the overhead of tech so ‘journalists can focus on journalism’!

Raw Notes:
Team lead at Newspack
small to medium news rooms
WordPress for News Rooms
Developed with Automattic, funded by Google and philanthropic
Charter Cohort of twelve publications
First sites launch in late September
Normalize, standardize, modernize editorial tooling
Why us? Tooling is what e know, this is where we can contribute
The rich WP ecosystem is blessing and curse
We can contribute by shrinking it down to manageable size
The Fear
NHR research ‘tech confidence’ is a large pain point
legacy solutions mean impossible to change
custom themes and plugin creation relies on dev resources
Rigid site structures make it difficult to experiment
Opinionated approach
not trying to play God
curated set of tools
opinions of design and even business
constantly evolving
Reducing complexity
General use tools can be complex and confusing
we can abstract complexity behind purpose driven UI
Visual Design
“One Theme”
belief that the visual delta between news sites is small
customize the visual features that express brand and personality
this will be an iterative approach
a bridge to Gutenberg
Unabashedly Gutenberg-forward
Conversion utility
Education as a feature
Show our customers the value of Gutenberg
Blocks-based homepage building
it is open source
it is for full time newsrooms
serious projects
Conclusion
positively change publishers relationship with their website
devote more time to journalism
clear a path for business experimentation
evolve with the community

“Managing Site Networks,” a spotlight in prioritizing and focusing for a collection of sites
Beth Davidz

This was a lightning talk but was jammed with a lot of really great information. Beth and I subscribe tot he same personal belief that organization and communication are the core to getting anything done, so naturally I agree very strongly with her message of personal Trello, controlling scope and having a firm time line in place. If you have been thinking ‘I gotta get more organized’ you can watch this little talk as a solid primer.

Raw Notes:
How many sites?
will be cute cat
one more thing, more and more
can’t keep track of them
then you are crazy cat lady
prioritize and organize
get intel
get to know client
project
goals
musts and expertise
audit, issues
what does client really want?
Tools and solutions
Strategy
Organize
what’s _
priority, happen now
is a must, simple, hard, ghih impact
Project tracking tools
Trello
jira
Post-it Notes
Calendar
Google Docs
to deliver any project, there are three factors
Budget?
Are you getting paid enough to do it?
Don’t control at least 1
Deadline, Scope Budget

Conquering Lighthouse to Provide a Better User Experience
Seth Alling

I didn’t honestly take the best notes for this one, but it was a fascinating talk. Again, it was a history, and not one I knew before the day. I actually distracted myself with checking out Google’s release notes and blog posts about the major initiatives while Seth was talking. Fast is good. Fast, good A11y, being a Progressive Web App with good SEO is better. Good thing the tooling is freely available in the browser mos of us use.

2008 DDG
2009, Bing and Google real-time search results
2010, Caffeine- faster search results
2011 Panda – drop low quality search results
12% of all search results affected
2012 penguin
Drop SEO Spam search results (penguin)
Added knowledge Graph
2013 More accurate search results (hummingbird)
largest code change since 2001
conversational search
2014 pigeon, better local search results
2016 Possum
2017 popup penalty
2018, Lighthouse comes out, mobile first
IS light
Trellis from Mediavine
makes progressive webapps out of the box
mobile first
quality theme is mandatory
3 second to get server load is terrible
good hosting is needed

Defining Fast: The Hardest Problem in Performance Engineering
Zack Tollman

Thinking about queues and how to measure things might seem like it would be a dry subject. Zack was anything but dry in his delivery and this was one of the more entertaining talks I have seen in a while. His lighthearted fonts and simple diagrams made the meat of some, what could have been very dry, technical analytics discussion. Again, my notes could be more thorough, but so many little things I had not thought through sent me looking up related articles to read later on things like Real User Monitoring (RUM) or how people are relating speed to business value. Really thought provoking stuff.

Potbelly Sandwiches
Menu Master,
their system
Order
Over
Make
Pay
he hates lines
went one day after lunch rush
no ipad guy
order
8 minutes to get the sandwich
Load event misses animations and tracking pixels
visually ready
we are in the
Golden age of performance metrics
Too many metrics really
Tools are fantastic
Key h1 to load, visual readiness
TTFB
First Meaningful Paint
First CPU Idle
Time to Interactive
Philip Walton
User centric performance metrics
Test frequency is important
2.1 million test in last month alone
RUM – Real User Monitoring
Variance is provided by this process
people bring their own variables
You have to look at the data now!
lots of ways to look at it, have to do the hard work
mean, median, average percentiles
standard deviations
do they need the raw data?
comparison data might be a better approach
business metric correlations
hard to pin a 1:1 speed = more $
Defining faster defines your performance culture

My Session

Making WP-CLI Your Own: Extending a command line tool for your own needs

After lunch I taught a workshop, really a follow up to the workshop I originally co-ran with Daniel Bachhuber in 2017 a WordCamp For Publishers in Denver. The first parts went really well, people followed along with the theory and when we tried extending a plugin, mostly people were able to play along and realize concepts. However, once we started to delve into the world of Packages, which require Composer to work as expected, then the whole thing kinda turned sideways. Still, the feedback I got from a few folks was that this was a game changer of a session and they see a lot of possibilities. I am going to count this one as a win even though it was not the best attended thing I have done.

Mentoring Day

Instead of a Contributor day sprint, the camp decided to try a Mentoring Day, where people could sign up to be mentored on a subject or mentor someone else on a subject of expertise. I signed up for a few and had a good conversation out it. Mostly though I think most people used it as co-working time and that was very pleasant as well. It is always good to be around others and the free coffee was bonus!

Wrapping Up

It was a very good time to be back on some nice summer nights in Ohio and make some new friends. To be honest though, now that I am trying to make it as a independent consultant, I think the biggest value for me was realizing that when you go to an event focusing on larger scale and much larger organization, with soem even being public companies, was to understand where I don’t fit. While I had the best time and love this community, now that I am no longer hocking a still pretty great hosting platform, I am not sure that this event was really something I would pursue in the future. I am very glad I did this time though. But I hope, very earnestly, to see each and every person I met and reconnected with again in my future travels. Who knows, the desire to go hang out wiht the amazing organizing team alone might override all other considerations and I might just head back to WordCamp for Publishers 2020, wherever it may be.