WC Chicago 2018: In the cold shadow of their tallest building and finding out their Chinatown is small

For the second time in 2018 I get to go to ‘the windy city’, which in my experience isn’t the most accurate name. It could be I am biased because I live in the wind tunnel that is downtown San Francisco, where the Mediterranean climate causes severe wind gusts every afternoon before sundown, the likes of which I personally have not experienced in The Second City. At least it wasn’t as cold as the last time I was in town

I got in town a full day earlier than I needed to, but got to catch up with old friends, see some improv and have some super tasty vegan grub at the heartiest diner in town, the Chicago Diner. So good. I also got to wander around Chinatown for a little bit, seeing my favorite thing in a large city: The Chinatown Gates.

Of course, this was not all a personal trip. The real reason I had returned was for rejoicing with my WPLife family for WordCamp Chicago 2018

Food and Fun

Speaker Dinner

Friday night we gathered together, speaker, sponsor, organizer and volunteer alike to rejoice in the kicking off of camp officially at Jefferson Tap & Grille. It is always an amazing experience to get a preview of what other people are going to present. There is clearly an excitement in everyone’s voice and a chance for people new to speaking to seek advice. The food was OK, I ended up with a hummus sandwich and fries all night.

Totally not our party in this tweet, but not too far off from what went down:

Saturday

Breakfast was served! Not just coffee and tea, but fruit and more candy than you could/should eat. Some other sponsors brought doughnuts and bagels as well

Lunch on day one was one of my favorite options for catering, Chipotle. I think their quality is OK, but I love the fact that there was a whole vegan section set out and boy oh boy were the options plentiful! More black beans and Sofritas than any conference could have eaten and all the corn salsa I could pile up. If you are an organizer reading this, a taco bar is a great way to include all dietary restrictions and still serve the meatiest eaters.

no actual tweet of lunch, but this is what we were dealing with

For dinner before the official party some of us got to talking about “The Impossible Burger” and burgers in general, so with Joe leading the way, we went over to Umami Burger and chowed the heck down. With a full stomach we set off to meet the rest of the campers.

After Party:

If you would have said I would have had as much fun as I had playing ping pong, I would not have believed you. We went to AceBounce Ping Pong Bar and had a magnificent time of fellowship and friendly competition. It was a cash bar but the appetizers were free flowing and the ping pong was free on 4 reserved tables! I will take this arrangement over too many or not enough drink tickets any day of the year.

And yes, there was WCKaraoke in full effect. Special shout out to my buddy Doug, from the Drupal world, who introduced us to the DJs here t Blue Frog’s Local 22. It was truly a night where it didn’t matter if you had been at WordCamp or not, we all treated each person as if they were part of the WPLife community!

Sunday

More coffee, more snacks and a lot more candy

We were on our own for lunch, so I got to go to one of my favorite chains, which I really wish we would get in San Francisco, Native Foods. The best vegan bulgogi tacos I know about.

Sessions

Digital Therapy
Ellie Saldana

If there is one thing I wish all people got better at, it is emotional intelligence. If people can empathize with one another, so many issues are cleared right up. Instead of fighting and forcing our own way, we have the option to listen and relate to their position and find a path forward. It sounds overly simple and optimistic, but it is a truth that keeps shining forth in brilliant talks like this one. Make sure the people you are talking with know that you are hearing them and for sure take the time to make sure they feel heard. We will all do a lot better if we all embrace this idea.

Raw Notes:
Story about client who was afraid of getting fired from her role because spikes/lulls in traffic
she helped her realize that was seasonal and normal
saves her a lot of issues
Bringing emotional intelligence into the digital experience
Why? Clients feel unheard. Looking for validation
Clients don’t feel ownership over the digital sphere of their business
how:
Pick up the phone and smile
be transparent, even if you are at fault
dig deeper into understanding client frustrations
help clients understand the process
You don’t always have to say yes
a strong client relationship makes it easier
Don’t just day no, NO but…, NO because…
Give clients a win when you can
not all clients are created equal
remember what worked last time might not work this time
your last experiences with them does not mean next one will be the same
Few different kinds of clients
Lone Decision Makers
client is empowered to make decisions on their own
Answers To A Higher Authority
have to report up a chain
accountable to others
Often times not the person qualified to run a site
need to help them look competent to their management
THE COMMITTEE
Hardest one to her
multiple contacts all with different points of view
need help coming to consensus
lot of active listening needed
client needs to do homework to find out that is actually important to the org
they need a unified vision to get the help they need
Conclusion:
Engage the client
Listen actively
Problem solve collectively

Data Science and Web Development
Joshua Alexander

Data science is a buzz word for sure but this emerging field is still pretty young. Let’s not forget that our current output of data is roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes a day. This number is only going up. There has never been this much data to parse. This talk, rather than give the market-y spin on why data science is good, we rooted in the practical aspects of the fact this requires both math skills and computer languages different than those we use ofr web development. The awesome part about skills is they can be learned over time. No one is born with a skill. If you want to learn it and become a top data scientist, then get to it!

Raw Notes:
What is Data Science
Short answer: Mine data to Make better business decisoins
Very indemand
Full stack $88K
Data Science closer to $118K
does require math and most people all like
Math is Mental Abuse to Humans (not really)
math is not bad
just enough to make the machine do the math
Additional skills
JS, Python, SQL, C++, C, Scala – for algebraic equations and covariance and contra-variance
R – OSS stats software and language, SAS, Julia
What do we do with it all?
Case studies
Scenario 1: try and predict sales based on time on day and weather patterns in common industries
Scenario 2 – (Missed it)
You need to do anything that requires data and math operations. The programming end of things you need to be able to make decisions

WooCommerce Success
Patrick Elward

I am fascinated by WooCommerce from a number of perspectives. One of the angles I had not really thought fully about is the logistical overhead that mandatorily comes with actually running an ecommerce store of any kind. Even if you are doing all drop shipping, there is a cost and a management overhead you have to take on. This talk is an absolute must see for anyone in the world thinking about starting an online store of any kind. So much practical advice, learned from actually doing this in the wild. For instance, I would have never guessed the most expensive part of mailing fish was the water weight.

Raw Notes:
I got in a little…
Someone has o take ownership
Many of the tasks you hav with other ecommerce is same with Woo
but Woo is arguably easier
Store owners
Who has an online store now
financial commitments tt operations
Review, review, review
How much budget? 10-15% of annual sales is realistic expenditure for eccomerce operations (not ads, just logistics and such)
Shopping cart vs Woo
Key e-commerce tasks to be discussed before starting
tax levels, ownership…..
Product Management Success
What thy have to sell, right now!
how to display these on the site
many ‘Product Import’ plugins available
how to organize by attribute
setup tags and keywords for sorting
Go through product with the customer and weigh everything
sizes and weights are super expensive if we get it wrong
attribute in Woo lets you assign this easily
Photos must be realistic
it is how the client will judge the product they receive
Reviews matter
they MUST be monitored though
Inventory management is a challenge as well
How to handle ‘out of stock’
hide product or display Out of Stock
who receives ‘low inventory trigger’ and what is that threshold
Drop shipping and custom labels, look into SaaS solutions for that
“Does it save my warehouse money or can we do it cheaper ourselves?”
Shipping management
Fedex, etc…
3 main ways to get shipping costs
per total weight (most common)
Make sure you are only shipping places you want to ship
or charge more
Prelaunch comments
ALWAYS check on mobile devices
ongoing support and maintenance
Common mistakes
budget not realistic

Erasing the Stigma: Mental Health and Tech
JD Flynn

I am proud to call JD a friend. I have known him mostly from the Drupal community, as he is a co-organizer of Midcamp. but more recently I have come to call him brother in the struggle to get everyone to try going to Karaoke events. In Chicago, he leads the charge finer than anyone I have ever seen lead it, rallying everyone and making sure that all are invited and feel included.
In addition to this amazing talent, JD is one of the braver speakers I have known, standing up and speaking truth about something that carries a pretty hefty stigma, mental health issues. He is up front and truthful about what he has gone through and is living proof that help exists and with the right support you can do anything! We are very fortunate in our FOSS space that there is a lot of people who want to see everyone else succeed and are here to support each other. The only way we are going to get over the stigma is to have these conversations and admit we are not broken or bad people, we are unwell, or sick, like breaking a leg or getting cancer. Just as real and needing medical attention just the same. Talk with people you trust about this subject in a supportive way and you will be amazed how many other people feel the same way.

Raw Notes:
Has mental illness,
Most costly health concern right now
lot of stigma
Why should this be important?
Suffering in silence and denial
afraid of admitted it it would make it more real
Thought was perfect health until doctor said otherwise
people
Major depression – every day for at least 2 weeks
very wide range of incarnation
Anxiety disorder – fear of daily activities
PTSD – failure to recover after an experience
a phycologist explained it
RAM vs hard disk
short term and long term memory
RAM is fast and HardDisk is slow
PTSD something stuck in RAM and trigger makes them relive the trauma
I accepted something was wrong – THE HARDEST PART
then got treatment
your first therapist will not likely be your last
must find one that works with you and communicates with your style
got involved in community (band, OSS, etc)
got to be comfortable that not everyone is OK talking about this
Before treatment, thought only crazy people sought help
felt like would mess up everything he touched
was easy to get into a downward spiral
paranoid, afraid of social situations, isolated was self imposed
Misunderstood, thought he as angry when he was just anxious
in a wedding standing up, trying not to screw it up
people thought he was being mean
How has treatment affected him?
the symptoms have not completely vanished but gotten better
lizard brain is still there
lot more comfortable in social situations
I’m not/We’re not alone
Why Tech and mental illness?
tech specifically affected
increased IQ linked to more mental issues (studies suggest)
You would never tell someone in a wheelchair to ‘get over it’
but we socially do this to mental issues all the time
need to be stronger than fear!
Do you think an employer would have negative consequences after talking wiht them about your mental health, most people that yes
as of 2015 17.9% of all US Adults had some form of mental issues
We are afraid to talk about mental health
it is a stigma
afraid honesty has negative consequences
Afraid of getting sent to HR
Why should a workplace care?
Impact on performance, job insecurity
HR does not want to hear about it
We should fight ignorance with information and knowledge
Get the OSMI handbook
In OSS, 50% of survey respondents said they had some form of mental illness
we are people together
not 1s and 0s
we are people
we are not damaged, we are sick
1-800-therapist
psychology today has a search
look for someone who can help, not just tossing meds out

90 Days to Live: Finding Your Place in the WordPress Community
Joe A. Simpson Jr.

You want to hear about an inspirational story? Go watch this talk. Going from almost dead to thriving is the central plot of this session that left me wanting to embrace the WP community even more. It is one of those talks I want to show at a meetup where new people have been wondering if there is a path for them as community members and if it is worth it. It is worth it. Keep believing!

Raw Notes:
Was just getting into WP converting a site
then had a heart attack
still many health issues
been uphill climb
Reboot, Level up, and give back
the community has helped immensely
so how did he get involved?
Story of his brother’s print services business
terrible theme and bad site
fixed it with WP
learned about the supportive community
Joined it
went to all the meetups he could find
LA,
Orange County = women in WP meetup
they film all the meetups
Alex Vasquez actually handed him a mic and told him
WCUS is super valuable as well
can watch remote
Volunteered at LA WordCamp, whole new perspective
lot goes into
one night 10:47 pm, driving back from a meetup
though: Why don’t I make a meetup?
Santa Clarita Valley Meetup was born
slack is also good way to get involved
WordPress.tv
He want sot put on a WordCamp Santa Clarita
Live as if you were to die tomorrow
learn as if you are going to live forever

Meta and Schema: Defining the Content about your Content
Jim Birch

Do you like whirlwind, two fisted, no holds barred, data filled sessions that have almost too much information shoved in your face? I love them. I wish every talk I went to I learned anywhere close to as much information as Jim presented. I will admit I started playing with a couple of the resources he introduced me to and might have missed part of what he was presenting in my notes. If you think you have meta nailed down, good on ya, but still, check this thing out. I am betting you will find a new tool or trick in here somewhere. And for those who have never thought about meta or schema before, prepare to have a new world view opened to you.

Raw Notes:
How do we look to others?
How does content look to others?
what you do for google is good for all the other services
TL/R Specs and validators
w3c HTML 5.2 specs
WATWG Meta Extensions
Open Graph
Twitter cards
schema.org
Meta, from the greek, prefix, concept
like card catalogues
full time gig back in the early days of libraries
computerize
Dynix, early but popular
Enter the W3C defining 5.2 spec
4.2 docs about Document Metadata
6 things
– head element
– title only one
– base tag, element to set the base for something
– link, link to other resources
– style – embed information in the doc for styling
– meta – for everything not the previous 5
all name value pairs, only in the head of the doc
name=> value(content)
There are defined metatags in the spec
author, application-name, description, etc
pragma directives language construct that specifies compiler and other technical information
Other Metadata names
WHATWG
list all that have been applied for and their extensions
You can make your own metadata you define on your own
no one would know it was there but you, but you can do some stuff like priority of search engine
Unicorn from W3C
see how good of a coder you are?
pass/fail for
https://validator.w3.org/unicorn/
Validation
Google meta tag validator for things it understands
title, googlebot, refresh
that is it for google, one document, that is all
Open Graph Protocol
Let’s webpage to become object
required fields
title, type, image, url
Types:
music, video, book, etc
FB has a debugger – important to use for FB to re-scrape content
pinterest validator
LinkedIn – using random variable at the end of url to force them to refresh
(?hfhfsh)
twitter card
rich photos and such
summary
summary large image
player card
app card
they also have a validator
How to implement in WP?
Yeast SEO plugin
add meta and fills in some things for you
can but in Open Graph tags
same with twitter cards
Theme itself can use logic to use image via php code
Schema
Started by google, Open source
way to put structured data on sites, in email messages and beyond!
schema.org
goes on for days
drill down into most of them
Most popular are creative works
can implement a few different ways
inline was first and popular
JSON-LD
What does Google care about?
Google Search Gallery Page
https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/search-gallery
How? Yoast of course
Schema Plugin
JDFlynn made a tool to generate the needed JSON
again, theme can use logic to suss this out
Test and Verify
Google to test

Developing for Gutenberg – Converting a shortcode to a block!
Jeremy Josey

I went to this thinking, ‘don’t we have a shortcode block, is this just a talk about using the shortcode block?’. Well, turns out yes, there is a shortcode block solution but when you step back and look at it, this is sort of like writing in Spanish for your website for a Chinese speaking audience and hoping the translation plugin keeps up and is ultra stable. Writing a plugin to properly leverage the concept of blocks will give overall better performance, stability and ultimately supportability. Fortunately there are an emerging number of resources to help you do this. If you have a plugin, get that thing converted today!

Raw Notes:
prerec: HTML, CSS, React, CLI
It’s OK to get lost
you will have to go over this again and again
Learn JS Deeply
Customizer and Gutenberg are the result
JS API driven interfaces are the future of the web
Gutenberg
what it is
demo of it
block is an abstract term to define units of markup
goal today, convert a CTA shortcode to a Gutenberg block
do you really have to? No…….but,
there is a shortcode wrapper block
but you should!
First, install Gutenberg
have NODE.JS
install create-gutenberg-block
npm install global (see his slides)
will spend most of the time int he source mostly in the sub-block.js file
npm start in right folder
Enqueue block JS in the main plugin file
…. (code)
define category for block
…. (code)
Edit function
meat and potatoes of the block
…. (code)

Plugins vs Themes. Functionality vs Format.
Austin Adamson

This is one of those topics that on the surface is easy, but the more you dig the cloudier it gets. Especially when most tutorials and code snippets say to just toss functionality into the functions.php file. What should a theme really be doing and what are the lines? Again, it sounds simple, but if you changed your custom theme right now could you say with a straight face that no functionality would be affected? Austin shows us a path to that kind of a world through some pretty rock solid examples and analogies. This was his first talk and I have a great feeling he is going to be one of the better speakers out there as he dials in his style because the content is great!

Inherited an old site
When activated new theme
all office staff and content just vanished
oh no
put so much functionality in themes
realized he had been doing same thing
plugins and themes do different things for a reason
what is supposed to do what?
building a house
start with a frame and a foundation
the utilities (water, lights)
lastly we paint
we live there for a while
repaint the walls
didn’t have to call the electrician or bulldoze the whole thing
but we do this with websites all the time
WP core is frame of the house,
plugins are utilities
and theme is the paint
repainting is a new theme
should be just that easy
what is even core?
file structure from WP.org
functionality should not be in themes
example
AgentPress Pro theme, $99
when you get theme, must download a free plugin that gives functionality
registering custom post types, should be in plugin, in agent plus plugin
metaboxes,
gravity forms, output CSS yes/no
turn it off, don’t overwrite gravity forms style
wpmeetup plugin
forces big red button
can’t turn it off, hard to override
theme controls presentation of content
plugin controls functionality

My Session

Let’s Learn Git. No Excuses!

I was super grateful to get to present on Git, really one of my favorite subjects. The crowd was awesome and I got to explain one of the more important things we should all be using. One thing I did a little different this time and feel like I need to do better at for all my talks, is giving a clear ‘do this next’, also called a Call To Action (CTA). I did this in the follow up tweet, pointing people to Try Git using Github’s awesome demo site. In fact, if you have not done that tutorial yet, even if you use git already, give it a whirl.

Wrapping Up

I love Chicago. If it didn’t get snow or down to −27 °F sometimes, I would consider it as a place to possibly spend even more time. But the warmth of the WordPress and the Drupal communities there is so worm, that when I do go it never feels that cold. I might well go back once more this year for WordCamp for Publishers: Chicago Edition but that is still undetermined. I hope I do, since that would let me experience the place in full summer swing. Otherwise I am going to for sure count on being in Chicago at least for WordCamp Chicago 2019! *

  • yes I know this link does not work yet.

WordCamp Seattle: Seeing my first snow of the year and living through the time change

For the first time since I was in Iceland I saw fresh snowfall. Unfortunately it was falling a lot and on the SEATAC airport so my flight got delayed a bit and we sat on the runway once we landed waiting the backlog to clear. Not too terrible of a flight all in all. Regardless of weather, I was super thrilled to come back to the home of Starbucks and Microsoft for WordCamp Seattle 2017, aka WCSEA

This was my second time to WordCamp Seattle and thus my second trip to the Washington State Convention Center. Also, I was just there 2 weeks prior for WooConf and had some pretty high expectations from that event for this community. Well friends, I am happy to report that I was not disappointed! From amazing sessions to fantastic lunch options to contributor track fun and excitement, this was not a WordCamp you wanted to miss. Let’s dig in.

Food and Fun

Speaker Dinner

As per usual with WordCamps, the fun kicked off the night before the event with the speakers and sponsors gathering together and sharing a drink and some food. We assembled at The Elephant & Castle . While this place scpecializes in hearty pub grub, I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of their baked balsamic glazed hummus. Tangy and sweet and creamy all at once. It was so great to see so many people there including some surprises like the amazing Carole Olinger who introduced me on stage back at WC Europe. I was also there with a few members of ym company and I had the divine pleasure of introducing people around. It feels good to make introductions and see people immediately hit it off.

Day 1

Like many conference centers, this place relies on the in house catering to provide conference coffee. Unlike most places, since we are in Seattle, bad coffee is a terrible sin and we got Seattle’s Best which is a far step above most bulk coffee. My colleagues had supplied me with some pretty neat options for breakfast, including some vegan donuts, and the day started out amazing.
Lunch at WCSEA takes an interesting approach that leverages it’s proximity to so many lunch places and I wich more camps would follow this approach. Each day of the conference you get a gift card for $10 to go to one of several local restaurants. $10 is enough for a filling small lunch from any of these places and if you wanted more to supplement it, no issues paying extra with cash or card. I chose Veggie Grill which is a chain I really wished was in SF, but also thankful it is not too close to my house or I would eat nothing else. No animal products allowed on their decadent and robust menu. I really wanted to take all the folks who were on the fence about the plant based food options here. The food is just better.

After Party

Again, as the year before and as many other camps are starting to opt for, the after party happened immediately following the last session on day one. We once again returned to Elephant & Castle for our “No Host” party. I go to a lot of events and I have only ever heard this term in Seattle, leading me oo believe it is a regional phrase. “No Host” means that you are on your own for drinks and food, the venue is just providing the space to use. Not a terrible way to go to be honest. It keeps bad behaviors in check because if you overdo it, then it is your own fault, not ever because you got one too many drink tickets.

It was a great time, but soon enough, some of us wanted to eat dinner so a small band broke off and had some pretty awesome asian fusion over at Wild Ginger. Their wine list is absurdly large, over 20,000 bottles and the staff is top notch. Can not recommend them enough

WCKaraoke

I was extra excited about WCKaroake this time around because it meant I got to go back to one of my favorite karaoke bars in the world, RockBox, where you can, according to their website “Rock Like A Salaryman.” This is my current favorite slogan for anything. There was a great showing from the camp and this might be second only to Chicago for largest turn out for a WCKaraoke this year. I am super happy to be a part of this community!

Day 2

More of the same from day one. I again had good coffee and once again returned to Veggie Grill to feast for lunch. There was some dessert things that happened but I am not sure of the details, all i know is I got handed vegan ice cream with peanut butter. It was incredible. Thanks to my teammate Tessa for looking out for me.

No pics of this ice cream exist, so here is a random tweet about vegan ice cream I found:

Sessions

Opening Remarks:

Keynote

WordPress is a Banquet
Andrea Middleton

It is not everyday I get to hear one of the leads of the whole WordPress Community give a talk. I was super excited as the community itself has become one of my passions over the last couple years. I love being a part of making WordPress even though I have never done a single pull request for code on the project. This was actually the crux of Andrea’s talk and I was super glad to hear this articulated so well. The talk revolved around three stories of people who contribute significantly to WordPress without writing code. No matter who you are or what you think you know, you know enough to contribute to the project. Don’t just sit there, go to make.wordpress.org right now and join the team!

Raw Notes:
Most people are surprised that this free software runnign 28% of the interenet is made by community
lot of people work on WP but no one works for WP
Goes over the teams
Looks like a lot of plates on a table
like a banquet
each of us bring something to create something bigger than ourselves
Not going to talk about the eating part – the using
talk about contributing and the recipes
and what some contributors have found works
One of the goals
I couldn’t do that fallacy
I can’t write code so I can’t contribute
3 stories of contributors with no code!
there is some secret people or unusual attributes required
She wants to show the source code of contributions
humans made of human stuff
1 – James Huff
2004 – Lost and House re new, flip phones, ipods are new
James working at a feed store
macmanx news site
wanted blogs, movable types
James didn’t like it, minor things got on his nerves
WP 1.2
hit bug
answered a few questions on install
he liked helping people
he learned in the process
I learned most of what I know today by researching answers for questions I thought were really cool
User: Can I display only one category on my front page?
Me: Wow, that sounds cool! Let’s find out!
Became a moderator when unemployed
went to work for WP.com
happiness engineer
49,000 replies on the support forums!
start by focusing on what you know, not what you don’t know.
You know something that someone does not know of the forums, even if you just installed WP
Patience
Willingness to help others
Dedication to the project over your own needs
Petya Raykovska
2007
Superbad, iPhone and FB premiered
She was marketing manager for publishers
set up a blog
WP let her do things that until then took a dev to do
in 2011 started a web agency
translated stuff into Bulgarian
she learned a lot about WordPress
she got in deep in a way she
Eventually met the head of translations at WCEU
Editing the Codex
just gave her a page to edit, she did, and she realized at that table of international people
part of something huge that mattered
She ended up running the team
in 2015 polyglots went to translating 30,000 projects
still needed more people
Stayed for the people
they came up with WP Global translation day
the last one was the biggest and she didn’t have a direct hand, she passed it on
it will be bigger than you
Curiosity, Respect and patience a
Bridget Willard
in 2007
Was working at the office manager for contractor firm
WP.com blog personally
in 2008 economy crash – crushed construction market
Started a blog for company and didn’t tell her boss
she ran it on her own
they let her
no tech background, she had a relentless curiosity
networking for a lot of social media
brought in work
undervalued
she had 20K followers, which is crazy good for a construction company
First WordCamp in 2013
Side note – Keeping the price low for WC helps keep it accessible and growing
Anyhow
Bridget kept building and learning and blogging about her user experiences
by end of 2015 she got a job at a plugin
she found her tribe
I got a shout out 🙂
Listening
learning and listening
Intellectually honesty
open-mindedness
start small and move forward
that is only 3 of the ‘dishes’ in our banquet
You are welcome to join us
you are invited
and you can definitely bring something to the table

Accelerating Custom Development with Dynamic Scaffolding and WP-CLI
Ben Byrne

There is no secret that I am in love with the WP-CLI. It is a real time saver for sure, but the real magic of the tool is that you can extend it and make it do anything you want. It is rare however to hear someone make that as an articulate argument or real world example of anyone doing this. Ben hits the ball clear out of the park with this talk on both of those fronts. His team has not only figured out how to make the most out of what WP-CLI offers out of the box, but they have also bent it to their own needs and made it do some pretty neat tricks. I did my best to follow along here and make sense of my raw notes, but you should really find his slides to see the awesome code examples.

Raw Notes:
real name of talk:
“Come hear about this neat thing we built”
building good stuff fast is the issue at hand
Want to keep affordable, non-profit
custom sites, can take a lot of time and effort
A lot of people immediately got o premium themes
overblown for some use cases
hard to maintain sometimes, bugs and troubleshooting
sometimes very hard to customize
Starter themes
+ component libraries are another approach,
preferred way for a lot of people
but at Cornershop
lot of institutional knowledge
hard to maintain library if you are doing a lot
plus all the copy and pasting
Dynamic scaffolding
for their starter theme
fancy way of copying things and configuring them as they set them
warning: your milage may vary, not a best practices talk
just ideas around efficient workflows they have experienced
First goal is to speed development
also easy for new folks to learn
theme should have everything it needs and NOTHING IT DOES NOT – clean code
Avoid reinventing the wheel
avoid tedious, repetitive work (e.g. copy/past)
WP-CLI is the cornerstone of the their work
Broad support and awareness
already offers scaffolding
supports Mustache templating
Easy documentation! – no separate help docs, all in tool
WP-CLI scaffold child theme
plugin
post-type
taxonomy – outputs you have to STOUD
theme-tests – build s a bunch of files
_s
They extended it
built Produce (it could be a package as well)
It extends wp-cli with a new command and subcommands
then run, command inject code into our starter theme, Crate
Basic flow
Make sure starter theme is present
install & Activate Produce plugin
Run WP-CLI commands

Example
customize the admin login
manually it is cumbersome
Quick command lines to automate adding new logo and changing background!
other subcommands
wp produce site-options (bundle of fields they commonly mod)
term-fields – acf fields builder
articles gives you a new post type
10 commands now and still growing
lot of ideas in queue
architecture –
base class with methods, variables and helpers to facilitate building commands
subdirectories for a lot fo things
articles files commands/articles
more
mustache templates
automatic support for WP-CLI is part of why they like it
template with some PHP and CSS
4 variables injected
mustache is name of curly brackets for simple templates
commands are straightforward to extend and build
__invoke is what gets triggered when you type a command
you can skip things that are not needed when you enqueue things
Don’t touch non-generated fields!
makes it way easier to customize bu standardizing what they can touch
moustache.github.io

Stronger Than Fear: Mental Health in the Developer Community
Edward Finkler
OS Mental Illness

Ed is one of the bravest persons I have ever met. He is brave because he is standing up and saying things that absolutely need to be said. Mental health is just as critical as any other kind of health, in some ways even more so. It is easy to see someone with a broken arm or other obvious injury and give compassion and sympathy. But mental health issues have a terrible stigma imposed by our fear and ignorance as a society which prevent us from even wanting to acknowledge this is a real problem. Ed shared his personal experiences, ones I am all too familiar with and never really talk about because I too have a fear of being stigmatized. It is time we openly talk about mental health and realize we all need some help and know people that are in need of some support and help. If anyone out there reading this wants to talk, let me know. I am always willing to be there to listen and support you if you feel you need someone to talk with about anything mental health related. Be brave.

Raw Notes:
this talk if for the people who work with tech
How many people wear glasses?
Are you comfortable talking to your co-workers about glasses?
How about diving? Talking about it?
Cancer?
Mental health? A larger number than he thought would
talk about your own mental health
difference between talking about mental and physical health
Generalized anxiety disorder – flight or fight is extreme in non extreme situation
like a lion going to eat you is OK to have reaction
but how about buying lunch?
Walking into a new bar for the first time
overwhelms
ADHD – low frustration threshold – ten minute “snit fit” when things go poorly
good at constructing false situations in his mind,
Therapy helps – talks about how and why he does the things he does
some of this is advantageous to his job
security issues, empathizing with users
able to make disparate connections faster
it can take everything from you though
hospitalized and had to do outpatient therapy
forced him to quit a job
had o step away from stuff that is normal for him
Feeling alone is a real part of it
especially in a crowd
depression kicks in
afraid of people getting tired of him and leaving
lot of people feel that way as well
that is what we are fighting
WHO study – burden of mental disorders is largest in North America across all catogies
People do not feel they can talk to their peers or employers about mental health
most people think it would affect their careers
there is some evidence that there is more mental health issues with tech professionals
Sick workers don’t work
it benefits the org to have better employees
mental wellness = better employees
people want to work with people who respect them fully
1. Get the OSMI handbooks for free
ebooks on getting your workplace improved
2. Speak openly about Mental Health subjects
you have a lot of influence o the community around you
you would be surprised how many people open up if you open us first
3. Tell people that they matter
we are social creatures and need affirmation
those are tings you can do
we are talking about our colleagues and friends
suffer in silence
some disappear
and we are left to wonder and regret and try to understand
Fear is the only thing that allows this
we have to choose
give in to fear and be quiet, it is easier
pretend it does not happen
meet inaction with action
meet confusion with understanding
meet indifference with compassion
Yes, we need you, lot to do, go check out the
osmihelp.org

Women in WordPress Panel
Miriam Goldman
Francesca Marano
Rachel Cherry
Bridget Willard
Tessa Kriesel

I have a ton of respect for anyone that is ever in front of an audience on a panel who is willing to share their experiences. The sheer talent of this group of individuals made this an awesome one. It is almost like they planned an ‘Awesome people in WordPress’ panel and it just happened to be all women. I wish we lived in a world where that would happen by happenstance, but I am very glad that we made sure in fact it did happen this time by planning an all women panel. I showed up and I listened and I took a lot of notes and walked away with some awesome stories to share next time I encounter anyone feeling like they are limited in what they can do because of their gender. I am super grateful to this panel for giving their time.
I did my best to capture what was said and represent exactly what I heard verbatim here without commentary.

Raw Notes:
Miriam intro karate and ballroom dance
Tessa is 10 years a dev, works at Pantheon
Bridget Marketing Freelancer, WPBlab womenwhoWP, apple music CD of her music
Francesca from Italy, siteground manager, building sites since 1999, freelancer 6 years, meetup organizer, global WP community team
Rachel works Disney, build shopdisney, was in an ad campaign for slack, in NYT!
– What was a major challenge and how you overcome it
Mariam: job people didn’t take her serious because she is small and look a newbie in some ways
persevered and now people take her more serious
Tessa: Her attitude is sassy and outspoken, been an issue with
Outspokenwomen.io
Bridget: Being taken seriously as a marketer, marketing is as important as code, WP does value words!
she went to meetups and talks and taught herself a lot and she is taken more seriously now, friends spoke dev
Rachel: People assume she is a designer or marketer only, she is a dev though, not taking seriously, she had a boss who was intimidated by her
she as trying to make the world better and he made it harder on her, only wanted his opinion validated, she kept on keeping on and ultimately she left on her own terms to go to a dream job
F: Imposter syndrome, very real
first job was picking oranges at age 20
she became freelancer because she didn’t
Siteground tell her she had a impressive resume
she is surprised and delighted, felt good
– What is greatest achievement?
M: Doing so many talks and conferences
T: teaching herself code and site building in a super small town
B: year of transitions, biggest achievement is believing she is worth being valued and worth investing in herself this is the year she is not going to be afraid anymore, that is awesome, we are awesome
Stop apologizing for being awesome
F: born in the herring capitol of Romania, teaching herself English and bettering her life is greatest
R: didn’t;t ever thing she could do this for a living, wanted to be a band director, no access to real education, born in Alabama, she taught herself along the way, worked way up to where she is now, Higher education work, stuff she does at Disney, sometimes she is the only woman int he room, recognizing that she deserves to be there. Feels good to not feel out of place, safety is the main reason teams get better
– how to get started as a woman in WP
All: Just do it!
R: Diversity talk – person speaking is not always expert, just person who said yes
F: sometimes you don’t even need to say yes, just tweeted and got on
R: that’s how we got this organized
Q&A (I had to go get on booth duty 🙁 )

What WordPress is Doing to Keep Your Site Safe
Aaron Campbell

Once again I got to see a new talk from the awesome Aaron Campbell and hear about the deep dark secrets of the security team. This is a special subgroup of the Core team that does not operate as openly as the rest of the Core group and with good reason. They are the team concerned with all the terrible stuff black hats are trying to do against WordPress installs and trying to stay one step ahead. Next time you hear someone say “WordPress is insecure” I would recommend citing this talk. WP does more for its users’ security than a lot of other projects and thanks to their backwards compatibility commitment, every WP user can get the latest and greatest patches ASAP after release, ahead of the black hats targeting their site for those recently surfaced vulnerabilities.

Raw Notes:
Talks about what you have to do
this talk is about that WP is doing for the user
Goal is not really site secure, it is keep users secure
makes what they are doing more difficult than just the site
security team
50 volunteers
most have day jobs around security
Code review is def part of it
constantly changing
bad actors are always coming up with new ways to break things
bug bounty program https://hackerone.com/WordPress
a secure, safe way to surface and fix issues
some real successes with it already
increased number of reported issues
reporters feel appreciated
paid out about $12K in bounties
average bounty $350
better tools HackerOne – used to be an email chain
make sure it is fixed right the first time thanks to testing
there has been some struggles too
only about 16% of reports are valid
information overload, 5 out of 6 are invalid
high touch – lot more time per ticket
time is the limiting factor they struggle with the most
some things we do better than other projects
Relationships
plugin devs
can help
Hosts
WAFs
able to help protect WP sites before the actors ever hit the site itself
want to protect millions of sites thanks to WAFs and Hosts
4.7.2 – millions sites protected before there was even an issue
does not want it to be a fair race, lets get a head start on security
they are pretty good at that
Automatic updates are fast
tens of thousands of updates a minute
If you are turning off auto updates OK if you got 24/7 staff working with host, that is reasonable
But if you don’t have staff and turned them off from fear o site breaking, that is bad
99.9% of new updates success
.001% failure rate
rest are retries
you are far more likely because you were late on updating to get hacked than have a broken site
and with that Q&A

Picture Perfect: Getting Beautiful Images Without Violating the Law
Timeca Briggs
Zainab Hussain
Christine Winckler
Lisa Stewart

I was very interested in this talk mainly because I borrow a lot of images for my talks. Mostly my use falls under Fair Use since I am using them for scholarly reasons and not commercially. However, this talk made me very aware of some of the things I have been overlooking when considering the implications of doing image searches for gifs and such. For instance, I have been taking CC (Creative Commons) licensing for granted if I saw it CC licensed at all. Turns out you should always do a reverse image search to see if it is really CC licensed or if someone just re-uploaded with a new license on it. This is done all the time and not legit at all. You will be liable if it come up for litigation! Be careful out there and maybe just make your own pics to be sure you own the rights.

Raw Notes:
Copyright vs copywrong
Copyright is the legal right
exclusive, yo have the right to use and distribute the image
exclusive but not absolute
they do expire, then go to public domain
copywrong
cr not to ideas just the specific written down thing
copyright is not universal, it is territorial
Copywrite is automatic without registering
but registering makes it way easier to prove you have the rights
also registered lets you get damages above normal damages
How to find the images
think about what you really need, too tall/too short, what do you need it for and costs
Think about compelling composition
this can subjective, go back to your style guides
make sure it addresses an emotional needs
need to know their needs and how you solve them, images reinforce that messaging
How do I find free images
First up is Google image search, easy to see these
flickr is actually really good as well
another great source is wikimeida – lot of public domain that require no attribution
as well as paper trail on how it was used in the past
unsplash has over 500,000 shared images you can freely use for a variety of reasons
lots of options these days
Use trusted sources because they will have terms that explain licensing in one page
google does a good job of this, but has disclaimer, not 100% but it helps show your good faith efforts which protects you somewhat
Watch out for other people re-uploading an image they don’t own under creative commons license
try reverse image search to see obvious violations
Make sure you are regularly reviewing your use and the terms
sometimes they change but more importantly sometimes you change
some licenses are non-profit specific for example
some specific verticals have certain rules
Licensing for images are NOT transferable
make sure you are not buying on their behalf
if they don’t use it then
tips for non-photographers to take their own photos
Assessment. Know what you need
want to be super organized
orientation, resolution, number needed, budget, etc
blogpost have to have an attractive image that has something to do with content
matching images
sometimes easier to just take own pics
Lighting is super important
daytime if you can
know your subject!

My Session

“Discovery, Discovery, Discovery, Discovery! The Most Important Part of the Project”

I was super happy to deliver this talk only for the second time. The first time was back at Stanford in the Spring. I have developed a similar talk around this subject as well, but with a Motorhead theme. The real highlights for me on this talk are hearing the Q&A feedback and suggestions. As Rachel Cherry said in the Women in Tech Panel, it is not always the be all expert up on stage, it those of us that raised our hands and volunteered to contribute. I firmly believe that the real experts are in the room, collectively knowing more than I could possibly store in my limited brain. The other part was, since this was loosely based on Ballmer’s “Developers” speech I got to close the thing out by having everyone chant “Discovery, Discovery, Discovery, Discovery!” Truly one of my crowning achievements this year!

Contributor Day

There was not a dedicated contributor day at this camp, it was instead a dedicated track on day 2. This has the plus side that there is a lot of foot traffic that would not be there otherwise, but it also means that you have to choose between contributing and seeing sessions. This is a hard choice. Since Andrea had called me out as one of the leads for the Marketing team I decided I better roll up my sleeves and help out. Very glad I did, helping people get started and having some interesting discussions with both the Meta and the Core teams. So many good ideas were born that day and I can not wait to discuss them more deeply with the rest of the team formally at WordCamp US contributor day!
If you are reading this and want to contribute to WP, hit me up, I am more than happy to guide you towards the right path if I can. So happy to be a part of this team and can not wait for you to join in to also experience the feelings of awesomeness that come with contributing.

Wrapping up

I learned a lot this camp even though I missed all the lightning talks to go be part of the contributor day. That is a lesson unto itself that I struggle with, FOMO: fear of missing out. I realize intellectually I can’t do everything and am going to have to make some trade offs. In my head though I feel like I am missing all the best things by doing the other amazing things. This camp actually did a good deal to help me settle down and just be able to focus. This is mainly due to my amazingly talented teammates from Pantheon who held theo booth down and kept the steady flow of folks informed on what we are all about.

I really dig Seattle. From the fact that I never see see the sun, to the awesome coffee options, all the way down to Pike’s Market and the many goodies that are for sale there, this town has a lot going on. Making it even better is a pretty amazing and wonderful WordPress community that puts on a pretty good camp. I am super happy to get to visit and hope to visit again well before WordCamp Seattle 2018!

WordCamp Denver: A very full schedule and a few surprises

WordCamp Denver: A very full schedule and a few surprises

For the second time in 2 weeks I made my way back to the mile high city but this time spent most of my time there in a much different part than I had in the past. Previous adventures had lead me to the downtown area, close to the 16th street mall but this time I found myself in the Southern neighborhoods, close to the beautiful University of Denver campus. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip that found me going directly from the airport to the speaker dinner and from my session to lunch and then the airport, so not a lot of time to explore the awesome trails and get in a little nature this go round. But overall this was a great experience and I did learn a bit at WordCamp Denver 2017.

Speaker Dinner:

My flight got delayed about 2 hours, which normally isn’t a huge deal, but this trip I had not left myself much leeway for such a thing. As a result I arrived at the speaker dinner direct from the conspiracy filled Denver International Airport with bags in tow but was met with a very warm and wonderful reception by the camp organizers. They even had the kitchen accomodate me with some non-dairy cheese and mushroom pizza. Tip of the hat to Ernie’s Bar & Pizza for a really good spread. It was fun to see so many familiar faces and get to connect with a few new ones. The exhaustion of the road soon hit me and I left to check in for my 75th night at a Marriott property.

Day 1

Getting to the venue was a breeze as the team had signs out very early and took the extra step of chalking WP logos on the ground so people could find their way even easier. This was a great accessibility move as it made getting to and from the parking lot a much less intimidating feat.

The coffee was particularly good in my opinion, even though I didn’t have much. I don’t know if it is a Denver thing or not, but every coffee service I have experienced there puts out little tiny lemon slices for your tea. Forgoing the team and just having some fresh lemon juice in my hot water kept me hydrated and refreshed most of the day.
Lunch was preprepared sandwiches, chips, a couple salad options and cookies. The vegan quinoa salad was my favorite part of the meal. The University of Denver campus is very well maintained and we took advantage of the summer sun to dine on the quad as many a student has done over the years there.

After Party

The after party was advertised as a taco party, which I normally love. The menu though didn’t seem super veg friendly and combined with the later start time for the party it seemed a good idea to find alternative dining. I was very glad to be joined by some other plant based food fans at the highly rated Thai Pot Cafe.

The after party was at Cochino Taco. We got to enjoy the patio and a pretty well stocked bar, using copper tokens instead of paper drink tickets, which I really appreciated. As most folks who know me know, a vodka soda ‘tall’ is my drink of choice and I almost always just go with whatever they have for well. The house well vodka at this joint was Reyka from Iceland. It was a pleasant surprise and the bartenders were very proud of the quality in all they made. If you are ever in that part of Denver, go give them some business.
It was a great time catching up with folks about their day at camp and swapping stories and plans around contributing. I was glad to see one of the participants from the previous week’s WP-CLI workshop and got to talk about the pull requests he had made at the previous week’s camp. It is exhilarating to watch folks go from user to contributor and to be part of their journey. Share what you know with folks and let’s make the world better together.

Karaoke

A few of us actually made it out to sing some #WCKaraoke after such a long day. We went to Sobo151 and got there just as the Bronco’s preseason game was wrapping up and they were warming up the karaoke equipment. Not the largest event ever but happy to report we saw a 33% increase in attendance over the previous year’s festivities and had one person sing for the first time ever. Very much a great part of any WordCamp.

Sessions

Opening remarks:

Most of the time I don’t write any comments on opening remarks, but this camp had one of the best pre-keynote warm ups I have seen. It started with Gordon Seirup getting our attention with an anecdote about his original misunderstanding of the nature of WordCamps. He did a fantastic job of warming us up. At one point he had us introduce ourselves to folks around us. It was a very nice welcome, especially with so many folks experiencing their first WordCamp. It set a very nice tone for the rest of the event.

Keynote

The Future of WordPress
Zack Katz

I was very glad to hear that they got Zack to speak at this camp. I had not heard him speak before but reading up on him a bit before the camp he seemed like someone with a lot of experience and knowledge around this space, hopefully meaning he would have a solid opinion on our future. He started with a crash history of of WP and I had never heard anyone articulate this forking of B2 and the reasoning behind it so clearly. It gave me a new perspective on the origin. This definitely colored the rest of the presentation as he painted a world where Gutenberg and Customizer are giving the admin a lot more flexibility in the near future. If you have been wondering where the project is going, this is a must see talk.

Raw notes:
Gravity View, Small team, 5 people all over the world
WP makes it happen
History of WP
His WP story
Future of WP and You
A fun surprise
In 2003 Ma.tt was a college student
lot of photos
B2 – was cool, allowe to be upated
B2 maintainer dissapeared and it stop being updated
Matt could either wait for the dev to come back or he could take b2 and make it his own
Mike Little thought one or 2 people might be interested 🙂
Zack started in 2007 making GravityViews
worked at Fast Signs
learned how to do web design, PHP and mySQL
best tool was his phone
he cold called and got clients
was building static pages
and clients wanted to change content themselves
they wanted a way to manage their content, CMS
Then clients wanted custom functionality
the custom code he built became Gravityviews
he has 38 plugins on wp.org
Future of WP
Matt is pushing us back to be the best in publishing
Gutenberg: from text to blocks
blocks are consistent interface for all the elements of your site
everything is a block now
Gutenberg demo
feels normal and cool
It is the future of content editing
The Customizer is how to change view
Not much at the moment, but future is how to interact with your site
Edit existing content with customizer soon
Really cool live preview demo
Customizer Change set have multiple people and multiple changes scheduled at once
this is 4.9 core!
Implications: page building is in core now
for Page builders need to either embrace customizer or do their own thing
get involved now with Gutenberg, this is the future
and there is a lot more
The four freedoms of Open Source
the contract of using WP
1) the freedom to run the program in any way you want
2) you can study code and change it
3) share it
4) modify and fork with a diffrent name

What I Wish I’d Known About Freelancing
Nathan Ingram

The very first time I heard Nathan speak it was at WordCamp Denver 2016, where he gave a talk that remains to this day one of my favorite talks. It was a treat to get to hear a new talk from him that was jammed full of amazing advice to the freelancer and really anyone that has to manage their own time, which I think is everyone. There was one quote that I am going to remember and recite as I am thinking through priorities: “People are more important than projects!” I know this is true but as someone on the road a lot and with a fair amount to get done, sometimes I forget this. It was great to be reminded of this and to hear that I am not alone in this struggle.

Raw notes:
You don’t have to know everything, no one does!
Become a person who is good to know!
Stay out of debt
Checklist manifesto
Put everything in a list in order and that means you can streamline
and when you onboard people, you have process you can pass on
difference between owning job and building business
Focus on process, not heroics
There are seasons in freelance work, don’t waste the slow times
We stay in a cycle of stress, must make best use of time and dont freak out
business will come back
The ‘someday list’ when slow times come, you can do that list!
being busy is not a badge of honor
Don’t forget what matters in life,
lost opportunities for family and friends don’t come back
midset shift that it is good to be too busy to have leisure, a status symbol
People are more import than projects!

After the Post: SEO, Images, and Meta Descriptions
Mendel Kurland

There was some technical difficulties in this session room as Mendel got underway and he had to deliver without his slides. Fortunately for all of us Mendel is a tremendous storyteller and a natural entertainer, so he handled the projector outage with grace and charm. He told us an intense at time story of being scared in bear country and avoiding crocodiles before having a nice relaxing time by a lake. Afterwards he broke down the story into some component parts and explained the layout of a story arc. This is very much along the same lines as the story spine I teach in my session and was glad to hear a variant perspective that still conveyed the same underlying value around the importance of storytelling.

Raw notes:
Technical SEO go to Yoast
instead we are going to be talking about telling your story with your content
3 things
1) being descriptive and interesting
Writing for humans, conversational and eas to read, some
basics of story anatomy
Tells a story and then explained the story arc
also is an article part
intro to a topic H1, H2, H3
2) Enjoyable and illustrative
shows progress form boring Lorum Ipsum -> Bacon Ipsum – pic -> animated gif
more info
more interesting to look at better for SEO
generate this stuff
3) making things sharable
click to sweet, share icons
basic plugins
write your own meta, just gives you control, not SEO tip

Creating & Telling Your Brand Story
Pamela Herrmann

Every camp lives on a spectrum of all technical and all business side. This camp is more focused on SEO and business side of things than technical skills. This meant, much to my approval, that there was time for multiple talks on storytelling and I was glad to hear Pamela lay out her thoughts on the subject. She focused on a character driven story approach which I had not encountered before and felt like it came from a much more literary view of things rather than a theatrical one, which I am more accustom. I walked away with a new perspective, which I believe makes this a very succesful session.

Raw notes:
Story
brain science
reptillian brain, conundrum
want to talk to middle brain
cast a net, just under the boat – leading with science for IVF vs how changes family
instead think of fly fisherman
highly targeted
Garret White Wake Up Warrior
knows who he is fishing for
how to create a brand story
Joseph Campbell Hero’s Journey
3 element to her Hollywood
1- the character, the desire and the obstacle to the future
Rose from Titanic example
ordinary world- what makes them relatable (reliable?)
fabricating your first customer profiles
Rose is pressured into marriage, high society, free thinker, etc
Translate into brand story
Weight Watchers – because it works
2- the desire
Chuck from Castaway
goal is to escape the island alive get back home
Design arounf 4 goals
Win
Escape
Stop
and Retrieve
Dollar shave club example –
the desire of the customer is
quality, save money, delivered to door
shave time and shave money
Focus on the result // the plotline
connect the dots, create the glue
3- the obstacle
Ray from Field of Dreams
Plowing under field – now his home and livelyhood is in danger
AirBnB
overcoming objections from both sides of transaction
No fail template
story spine! 🙂

My Session

Workshop: Let’s learn Git. No more excuses.

I got to teach Git as part of the three hour Sunday workshop day. I love teaching Git. The first time I taught this workshop I was a bit nervous, but this time I felt way more solid in the updated materials and anticipated some of the questions better. It was a complete thrill to take one student, who had issues even installing git on their machine, all the way from git init to submitting a successful pull request. Not bad for 3 hours on a Sunday morning. They left feeling very confident they could use this tool and planned to teach it to their significant other. Everyone gave me some great feedback and I learned a few new things along the way. I got one question I had no idea how to answer, so we just replicated the issue on my machine and solved it together, which felt amazing. I am hoping this workshop gets accepted at more camps in the future so I can keep spreading the love.

Wrapping up

Given this was a one day camp, I spent a little more time in the ‘hallway track’ having some great and meaningful conversations with community folks. It meant I saw fewer sessions and meant I didn’t have any time to hang out at the Happiness Bar, one of my favorite things this community makes happen.
I left Denver pretty tired, as I found little time to myself and no time to see mush of the natural beauty that is hidden all throughout the urban landscape. Still, I walked away very happy with the trip and am already looking forward to next year when I can return for WordCamp Denver 2018!

WordCamp Minneapolis: Hashtag confusion and so many familiar faces

WordCamp Minneapolis: Hashtag confusion and so many familiar faces

I make no secret that Minneapolis is one of my favorite cities in the world. In fact, other than my beloved San Francisco, it is the only place that even comes close to feeling like home anymore. This could be from the simple midwestern pleasantness, or the left leaning co-op believing local esthetics replete with vegan options and bike lanes all around, or the fact that I know so many people here. Likely it is a mixture of all those factors and more. It made it very enjoyable to return to the larger of the twin cities for WordCamp Minneapolis.

Food and Fun

TCDrupal

One of the amazing synchronicities I have experienced recently, the fact that the Twin Cities Drupal Happy Hour was taking place the first full evening I was in town. It was an absolute treat to reconnect with some of my Drupal family, many of whom I had not seen since Chicago or Baltimore. I was especially glad to see Tim Erickson, who is the direct inspiration for my ‘improv for developers’ talk and I was super glad to tell him my experiences delivering it in Paris. Really could not have done it without his input and support. I rarely drink beer but had a really solid american stout at Wild Mind Ales. It was an ideal way to pre-game for the rest of my weekend!

Speaker Dinner:

I left my Drupal kinfolk to go hang out with the #WPLife family at the Speaker/ Sponsor dinner to officially kick off WordCamp. We gathered at the Modern Tribe office which just so happens to share a patio with Norseman Distillery. Norseman provided us with some pretty amazing punches and made their entire amazing spirit menu available for purchase. I found their local grain based vodka mighty smooth, smoother than Tito’s though not nearly as available at your local market. I was even interviewed by podcaster and fellow speaker Rebekah Smith. Made a few new friends and got to play giant Jenga with some old friends while munching on some pretty good BBQ rice and beans. Chicken, pork, cornbread and mayo based slaw was also served. Sorry to say I didn’t write down where it was from. If I find out I will update this post. We didn’t stay out too late as Friday morning was starting early and this is a very busy camp, so we said our goodnights before it went too late.

Day 1:

Friday morning brought some pretty good conference coffee and tea with a selection of granola/snack bars. I was very glad to get some caffeine before the floor opened to the attendees, as there were a lot of them and it was an exceptionally busy morning at the booth.
Lunch was a taco buffet from Taco Cat and the line stretched out for a mile it seemed. At first I was very nervous I was going to go hungry and need to find food elsewhere. I was more than relieved when the lines died down rather quickly and there was a lot of food left. I ate way too many chips and amazing salsas and grilled veggie tacos. There was enough left over that we had surplus to pick at all afternoon, with all hot foods kept at proper temp with sterno.

Coffee Social

Day one concluded with a coffee social what had us playing board games and relaxing on a cloudy Minneapolis evening. There were donuts that spelled out WordCamp Minneapolis St. Paul. There was also crazy good cold brew coffee and infused teas from Quixotic Coffee. Given that day 2 of the event was going to be extra long and capped with an after party, the organizers made the very wise decision to have an earlier and more mellow event on the first day of the camp.

It turns out that the camp took place a block from one of the more veg friendly restaurants in the twin cities, Hard Times Cafe a really, divey place with no meat, no booze but sells tobacco. If you are in the area, check it out and get the THT (Tempeh, lettuce and tomato). The coffee is pretty awesome as well.

Day 2:

Day two started out with even more coffee and granola bars, but we also had left over donuts for extra energy!
Lunch was again tacos, but this time from Qdoba. The quality was on par with the previous day as were the leftovers. Missing was the mile long line as they catering folks set up early and we had at it as quick as sessions let out. Great job by the organizing team. It is rare I have been better supplied with sustenance at a WordCamp.

After Party

We were hosted at the the offices of Rocket55 for our after party. We had a very good selection of local beers and some yummy boxed wines to wash down falaffel and kabob wraps. Dessert was cinnamon pita strips with a frosting dipping sauce and chocolate syrup. I would never think to put cinnamon and sugar on pita before but ya know what, it works. I watched a valiant Super Mario Brothers attempt and played chutes and ladders, a game that teaches kids the random unfairness of the universe and takes much longer than it should for the most part.

WCKaraoke:

One of my favorite places in the world is Otter’s Saloon and we went there on a very too crowded but oh so fun night to sing together some WCKaraoke. I am always amazed by the talent and heart of our community. #WPLife is pretty sweet and put the icing on the cake of this camp.

Sessions

Day 1 Panel: Staying Sane In Tech

Rob Walling, Cory Miller, Ed Finkler, Sherry Walling

This camp took an interesting approach to Keynotes and had opening panels each day, focused on a couple different topics. The first day dealt with mental health. I only got to see about the first 20 minutes of this as I had a few other duties to attend, but what I saw was awesome. We need more open discussions about mental health and the real challenges we face in this industry. The more we can discuss this the better off and less isolated we will all be. Cory Miller once again shared his Iceberg method, which I first saw back at Raleigh, and I heard many folks talk about that throughout the rest of the event. Thanks to all our panelists for helping the community have this conversation.

WP-CLI – Save Time by Managing WordPress from the Command Line
Shawn Hooper

Oh boy I was excited to finally see this presentation live and to see the modern up to date version. Shawn is a crazy good presenter and I found every moment riveting. If you are a camp organizer reading this, invite this man to drop knowledge on your camp.

Minds BLOWN in the front row. One person had such a meaningful ‘ah-ha’ moment he actually shouted about it, to his embarrassment. But we were all feeling the same way with him in our awe of this tool, so it was a good shared experience.
Here are some of the things I learned in this ever evolving session and things I will for sure be incorporating in my talk:
explaination of the paramaters (what I have been calling flags) notation meanings
wp core verify-checksums (Check if core is hacked)
wp plugin search “any string” (searched the repo for keywords)
wp cap list (shows full list of capabilities list for a role)
wp cap role add/remove
wp cache flush
Do this demo in this order to blow more minds:
1 db export backup.sql
2 db site delete : show site gone
3 db import backup.sql
WOW
search-replace “Hello world” 🙂 🙂 🙂 (better deo than broken site IMHO)
Serialized arrays? Simple; it skips them, does not look.
search-replace “hello” “goodbye” –export=changed.sql – only changed in the exported DB
wp server (runs the dang WP included built-in php server!)
wp doctor (woah, didn’t know this was a thing, fixes some basic stuff reliably)
wp any-ipsum generate-posts

Cowboy Coding – Best Practices
Gary Kovar

I went into this session just to see what the heck he was going to saw and because Gary completely committed to the bit by wearing a cowboy hat the entire camp. You might know that working where I work I have a very strong bias against ‘just doing it on live’ and I had a fear that this would be a talk about not needing Dev or Test servers. I was quickly relieved when he explained that you really should not be doing this but there are times when you just can not avoid it. When you do hit these rare exceptions, you really have to go very slow and make sure on that site there is never going to be a reason to straight up cowboy code ever again. In fact, you could make the argument that if you are just going to direct change code or config on a live site it takes a lot of extra work and know how to do it right. Such as you must learn bash and learn it deeply to be abel to command line in. You must learn Vim, since you are likely going to be dropped into it on any random linux server. You must know tools like the wp-cli to be effective and make site wide changes. You have to know JS for doing any work on a modern website without blowing it up. I left feeling like every developer on earth should watch this walk. If you can avoid it, avoid it, otherwise go slow and get that site in version control ASAP.

Day 2 Panel: The Importance of Open Source

Aaron D. Campbell, Karim Marucchi, Lynn Winter, Mike Demo, Rian M. Kinney

Going to be honest here, I didn’t see this. But the conversations that spilled out of it were pretty great and on a subject that matters a lot to me, not just professionally. If we don’t actively keep the conversation going on the challenges and benefits of FOSS, there is a danger of it receding. Really though, I am only including this panel here so I can show the following tweet in context:

Configuration Management: WordPress Configuration in Code
Tessa Kriesel

Basically, stop overwriting your dang DB when pushing things to production. This used to be the only way to leverage a dev or stage server in a professional workflow, but the state of the art has advanced in the last few years. The best practice is to version control your configuration by moving DB config into code and pushing it forward. WP-CFM is a pretty solid plugin that does this for your WordPress sites. Don’t keep overwriting the DB, push the config via code FTW!

Lightning Talks

I absolutely love lightning talks. I was delighted to learnt hat there were multiple lightning talk tracks at this event giving me a chance to see almost double the normal number of talks. On a certain level, yes there is very limited time for these, 15 minutes total per talk, including Q&A. This gives the presenters a laser focus though and they get to their central point immediately. As you will see here, sometimes this does not equate to less overal material covered, just a faster delivery, which is awesome if you like drinking from a firehose.

Is your data dirty?

Jenna Totz

Not dirty as in adult X-rated. Dirty as in causes ecological damage. It is super important to consider carbon footprint! Every tweet you send gives off .02 grams of carbon. Each email produces 4 grams. Every search generates 8 grams into the atmosphere. I never really thought about each online action I take having that kind of direct impact and it was a bit startling. Especially since I use Google to find almost every page I land on, even if I know the URL. I will be reconsidering how I use search moving ahead.
There are several organizations that focus on helping people understand their carbon footprint from online use, such as the Green Web Foundation and tools like Ecograder.com from Mightybytes. Efficiency of web use directly is better energy policy.

Surviving a Crisis of Confidence
Nathan Ingram

Please take a minute to answer these 10 questions:
1. Are you ever worried people may find out you’re not really as capable as they think you are?
2. Do you sometimes feel pressure to know the answer to any professional question someone might ask you?
3. Is it hard for you to accept compliments about your work or accomplishments?
4. Do you secretly compare your abilities to those around you and feel like they’re better than you?
5. Do you ever feel like the reason things went well is because you were just in the right place at the right time or knew the right people?
6. Do you ever think that if you can do it, anybody can?
7. Do you agonize over even the smallest flaws in your work?
8. Do you become defensive when you are given constructive criticism because it makes you feel inept?
9. When you have success, do you privately feel like you’ve fooled them again?
10. Do you ever feel like you really have no clue what you’re doing and you’re afraid people will find out?

If you answered yes to any 3, there is a good chance that you are experiencing Imposter Syndrome. This is very real.
He used a very interesting escalator analogy.
We focus on the people ahead of us, forget there are poeple behind us
“Here is a secret, the people ahead of you have the SAME CRISIS of confidence that you have.”
We compare reality to other’s personas, especially at live events. Everyone puts your best foot forward at events, so don’t think ayone has issues.
Tips on how to escape it:
Remember: Nobody knows everything!
You know things that others do not and vice versa.
1. Be realistic
2. Be perceptive, everyone is good at something
3. Be Helpful We are all in this together! Reach out to those around you on the escalator. Become a prson who is good to know. helping others builds confidence. be humble!
https://nathaningram.com/wcmsp for all the slides and the full length presentation

Becoming a Community Builder: A WordPress Story
Raquel Landefeld

Sometimes you meet people in the community and it seems like they have been there forever. That they are in a position that you could never be in because you started too late and are not one of the ‘first movers’. I know I have felt that way many times in both the WP and Drupal spaces. I am very glad to have sessions like this one where Raquel discusses her path from ‘just someone’s wife’ to being the thought leader and community builder she is today. The short version is ‘be nice to everyone’ and ‘be sincere’ with what you are trying to do. This is a great one to show anyone new to the community.

So, You Want To Sell Online?
Zach Stepek

You have to make some big decisions to sell things online. Like what to sell. This is a deceptively hard decision. It boils down to why you are selling it: Passion or Profit? Not mutually exclusive, but mostly it is an either/or proposition for most people.
Once you have that sorted you need to find customers. Traditional marketing used to work, but now need more personal touch. Email marketing has slight bit of personal touch, but not enough. SEO is good overall but not a full marketing strategy, got to stand out. Pay Per Click used to be the gold mine, not now. Video is very powerful and getting cheaper to produce all the time. You want a Branded experience. Make sure your brand voice is evident in everything.

Embracing Page Builders
Tyler Golberg

Tyler made a really good case for page builders in the right situations. Yes, page speed might suffer and that is a serious drawback, but the convenience and time to delivery is the reason many poeple embrace them. Some people let their ego get in the way, meaning they feel it is cheating to use tools like Beaver Builder or the like. Sometimes these tools break and when it does, you are stuck in a world of short code hell. There are other considerable risks and less ability to customize specifics. But a slightly less tuned interface, if it is faster, is an OK trade off for him. I can’t say I disagree for a certain type of site.

Starting your first online business
AJ Morris

Tells the story of Liberty Jane Fashions
There is the version of their history on their site but the version that Aj tells is far more personal. It started as just a way for a mom to connect meaningfully with her daughter who had recently discovered the American Girl dolls. Her mother had shared a love of sewing with her and this was a meaningful for multiple generations, giving this a very emotional bond. At some point the clothing was noticed by other moms and a business was born. Every decision made after the first one to sell that first outfit was driven by the same passion to drive meaningful connections between mothers and daughters. The details of how it scaled were interesting but the underlying truth is you must be personally and passionately connected to your business if you have any hope of thriving.

What I learned raising 2 Million Dollars for Politicians–and How it Applies to the WordPress Community
Lindsey Miller

She started with the advice her first manager told her: “Preachers, pubs and politicians always pay up front!” Seems very sound advice to me. The rest of the talk was her sharing her experiences as a very successful fundraiser at a national level, based in Washington DC. It all comes down to personal connections. You must cultivate a genuine interest in people. Remember their names and details about their lives. Everyone loves this kind of acknowledgement. Ask questions and actually listen to their answers. You are trying to create connections. Only after you have made a real connection can you realistically make your case, asking them to do something, like give you money for a cause or invest in your business. Very solid advice that seems common sense, but was very well articulated.

My Session

Let’s learn Git. No more excuses
Man, I was hecka nervous about this. I read so many dang tutorials and docs in prep for this that at one point I lost perspective on how to structure it. Eventually I landed on going from first principals, meaning going forward with commits, backwards, then branching and ending up with working with repositories on machines that are not yours. I hesitate to use the term ‘remote’ after this talk because in fact everything is local to git. This is one of the harder concepts to a beginner and one of the things that makes Github/Git confusion so pronounced.
Here are the commands I covered:
git init
git status
git add
git commit
git log
git diff
git checkout
git revert
git reset
git branch
git merge
git remote
git push
git pull
git clone

Feel free to copy my slides for your own use.

I learned a TON doing this talk and am very grateful for all the feedback. I ended up going too fast a few times and after all my prep work to make all the demos animated gifs, I forgot to explain what people where seeing, instead explaining the theory behind the command while people where reading the slide. This failed. I now know better and next time will be way smoother.

Contributor day:
Well, there was one. But I felt rather ill, so I bailed right after it started. :/
Still:

Wrapping up

One of the best parts of this camp was seeing a ton of crossover from the Drupal community at this event. From the organizers who for sure are firmly footed in both communities, to the ‘first time attendees’ who I have known from Drupal for longer than I have been in WP space, it was delightful to see the family of PHP CMS coming together. Made for an extra special time.

I always feel at home in Minneapolis and this time confirmed that it really is my people. Midwest is the best, though the left coast is the most coast! I am not ready to move away from my SF any time soon, but glad there is somewhere that would not feel foreign if that day should come.
Super big thanks to Drew Adam and Tessa for making me feel extra at home in the the Pantheon Minneapolis offices while I was there.

WordCamp Boston: Learning so much in Boston in the summertime

Last time I was in Boston, I was really in Cambridge for the most part. I returned for the second time this year for WordCamp Boston 2017 and got to see the nightlife in bean town proper. Once again this camp took place at the Boston University’s George Sherman Union, which features an amazing gigantic pipe organ! It was amazing to see my #WPLife family out there and meet so many new folks. I didn’t get to go to as many sessions this time around, but I stayed super busy at the camp and have so many thoughts. Let’s dig in.

Food and Fun

Friday night

If there is one thing you get used to at any WordCamp or DrupalCamp it is the tradition of the Speaker (and sometimes Sponsor) dinner. Typically the organizers invite the speakers to meet and greet one another. I always love this part because speakers, in general, are super busy during the event itself and this is the best chance to catch up or get to know them in the entire weekend.
Well, WCBos is a little different insofar as they still believe in this idea as you will read a little further down, but there were no pre set plans on Friday. This fact did not go unnoticed by some of the road dogs and we quickly made plans to check out Citizen Public House. Very glad we did, as they had a huge selection of fine spirits, a terrific menu and outstanding service as they gracefully handled an uncertain party size with people trickling in throughout our time there. If you find yourself anywhere near BU, check them out! It was fantastic to get together and catch up with those I knew and had the pleasure of meeting several new friends as well. Well fed and refreshed, we were officially ready for day 1 to begin.

Day one

The morning was met with the normal pastry, fruit, coffee catering you know and love. Well love is a strong term. I was thrilled when the GoDaddyPro crew pulled up with growlers full of iced coffee, which was tremendous. I didn’t get the name of the place they ordered from, but it was fine!
I was delightfully surprised by my vegan option at lunch. We had brown bags prepared for us and I, unsurprisingly, had a wrap of some kind. Surprisingly it was ‘meaty’ with thick eggplant slices and a generous amount of hummus and came with an oatmeal raisin cookie that satiated my sweet tooth, which had been triggered by all the donuts being offered that morning. Afternoon snack was ice cream and lemon sorbet.
Picture of a vegan wrap, a red aple and a half eaten cookie

After Party

Immediately after the final session, ending at 5:20, we migrated down the street a ways to the Brighton district and the White Horse Tavern for a very well attended after party. This local sports pub had a lovely patio and really friendly staff. There are some advantages and disadvantages to starting an after party immediately after a camp day. On the one hand it means your attendance is going to be much higher, as the stride of being together isn’t broken and the rest of your life hasn’t had the chance to seep in and distract you away. but I find it makes for a higher early attrition rate as folks need to go get a ‘real meal’ since hungry crowds tear through appetizers which only whet the appetites after burning so many calories swimming though so many bits of new information and conversations. It also means you don’t have any recovery period from the day. I, for one, get exhausted interacting with people and need little pockets of quiet and reflection to recharge. It does not mean I don’t enjoy people but it does mean that without a break I am noticeably more exhausted when my head hits the pillow and I find my mind less at peace as it churns through examination of the day. All in all this was a great, very well run party and I 100% applaud the organizers for making a very inclusive and well attended after party! I had a great time.

WCKaraoke!

“After the party, there’s the after party” – Remix to Ignition. I got to hear a spectacular version of this sung by one of the local regulars to our spot of choice for WCBos WCKaraoke party, Limelight Stage and Studios. While only beer/wine, this place had a full izakaya menu. There are many private studios you can rent out but we were there to use their main stage that night. This place was happening on a weekend night, but fortunately for us most of the people there to sing were in the private rooms which let 20some of us campers sort of take over the main stage area. I was delighted to read on twitter at one point that WordCamp Ottawa was not only having their own WCKaraoke party but actually where challenging us in Boston to ‘show them what we got”. Which of course we did!

Sunday Brunch

As I said above, the organizers believe in the speaker/sponsor get together fully, but they are unique in the WC world (as far as I know) with having a speaker brunch, with is logistically possible thanks to an 11:30 start time for the camp itself. We got together at Tavern in the Square for a delightful brunch buffet. I ate way too many waffle fries and not nearly enough fruit. There is no lunch on day 2 so I figured that was a good idea at the time. The iced coffee they served up was tremendous. Next time I am near there, I am going just for that. Full and caffeinated we headed to the venue to. . . .

Sessions

Keynote:

Design and inclusion John Maeda

This talk immediately took an unexpected format, as it was not your typical “here are slides about a thing” setup. Instead he asked folks to find the red slips of paper that were distributed and write down their fears. Then he collected them and directly addressed them. His logic: “To talk about the future you must address the fears.” While I don’t think he, or any one person, has the full answer to many of these concerns, he gave everyone in that room a jumping off point to articulate our fears and begin a communal dialogue about our future overcoming them. I was very glad to be a part of that room. I will put my raw notes below this paragraph, which you will see are a tad disjointed as the topics changed rather rapidly. Highly recommend watching this when it gets on WordPress.tv.

PHP based, not the new kid on the block, but still solid and massive use First exposure to the community? Fears of not knowing what up, inclusion If someone tells you Open SOurce like WP is not secure, remind them that all systems have vulnerabilities we just DON’T KNOW! Facebook does not disclose their flaws for example Many older people use all upper case since it is more legible, not all old people are yelling at you. Lose new users with changes like Gutenberg Resistance means somebody cares it means people care when you meet it, get excited things are moving fast, don’t be afraid of that, be afraid it it moving too slow the way we age is not the way the world really works things speed up, not slow down

Plugins panel:

Adam W. Warner, Christian Nolen, Lisa B Snyder, Lauren Jeffcoat

Of of the things I really appreciate about this camp is the panel discussions. Rather than have speakers with prepared statements and slides, we have thought leaders and a moderator answering questions around a specific topic. In this case we got to hear very good questions, both pre prepared and sourced from the audience, about plugins. Some questions of note: What is the safest way to update plugins? How to get the last % of way there for projects? How do I go from stage to live? How to determine what is a ‘good’ plugin, how do you evaluate? What are your favorite plugins.
It turns out the answer to almost all of these begins with the phrase “it depends” since the topic of plugins covers such a wide swath. This is a great one to watch at home when it gets uploaded.

My session

Open source panel Dwayne McDaniel, Jared Novack, Mel Choyce, Steven Word

I was very fortunate to be invited to moderate the open source panel at the event. When I was told I would be moderating, something I had volunteered to do if needed, I was not given too specific instructions on how to structure the panel or what topics around Open Source would be suggested. Given this opportunity I steered the conversation to 3 main areas. 1) What is Free and Open Source Software and why does that matter 2) How each person has contributed and how anyone can contribute and 3) what does the future of Open Source mean for WordPress. I feel pretty strongly about FOSS and I was thrilled to hear this passion from my fellow panelist as well. The biggest thing I wanted people to understand is that the community is that makes open source technology possible and it is up to each and everyone who is in the community to keep that community growing and vibrant. Without that, open source is just a pile of text files you can go look at.
Unfortunately I can find no pictures of this panel at this time.

Day 2
Keynote:

Democratizing Software

K.Adam White

I was excited to see this man’s name as the day 2 keynote presenter. Even though I have gotten to hear a number of his talks over the years every time I learn something new or find a new perspective. This was no exception and I left feeling inspired.
He talked about the reality that while anyone theoretically can code, not everyone gets the opportunity to code. Starting from there, he took us down a road of how those that have the opportunity to go this route learn as they go. I found it really interesting to hear his explanation that PHP, which stands for Pretty HTML according to him, is mostly learned through HTML and sort of in a backwards way in WordPress. This stumbling into it does not work for any other language like JavaScript, which is why that seems as hard as it does to most people starting out.
He also touched on the importance of a highly skilled and specialized community acting as a backbone to allow every person to develop their own niche, further strengthening the whole body when collaborating.
The best line from the whole talk I think though is “WordPress is for learners”. WP become a learning community. That is what we are even doing going to camps, either learning new skills or sharing the knowledge that we have with others. I am very grateful to be part of such a vibrant, supporting culture.

Contributor Day

I am working on a separate blog post about this. Will link here when it is posted.

Freelancing Panel

Amanda Giles, Jennifer Nickerson, Kyle Maurer, Adam Silver

I always enjoy these panels. Not a lot to say as the questions varied wildly as the answers. Go check it out when up on wordpress.tv. Here are some tweets about it though.

CSS Grids are here

Juan Pablo Gomez

I am always quick to admit that design is not my strong suit and something I know very little about. I still hold the first part of that to be true (as evidenced by this site’s layout [twentysixteen FTW!], but the second half of that becomes less true every single time I go to a camp thanks to amazing presentations like this one. He started us off with a quick history of design tooling, starting with raw HTML, going through Flash and Responsive design and added a few critiques of the resulting world. He holds a premise that as we have simplified for accommodating ‘all‘ devices, we got too simple and all sites started to once again look too much alike. But now, here in the present and looking into the future, we have grids.
Firefox was the first to embrace this standard and all the others, even Microsoft’s Edge, have since followed.
At it’s core it sets to achieve the goals that Responsive introduced. Which I am going to oversimplify as ‘have the browser do the math’. This is seen in things like the use of ‘fr’ or fractions to set column and rows dimensions, template elements, implicit and explicit mixed use of elements and repeat built in. He also took care to thank the thought leaders that pushed this standard and made his work possible, like Jenn Simmons. The Q&A was delightful. If you are even the slightest bit curious about CSS Grid, this is the intro talk for you.

Automating WordPress Updates With Visual Regression

Andrew Taylor

You know what robots are really, really good at? Repetitive tasks. You know what repetitive task is really boring and tedious but the entire security of the internet depends on? Updates. Let’s make the robots do the work.
The short version, which Andrew has spelled out in detail in his blog and github example repo is this:
wp-cli update plugin/theme –all is awesome but dangerous. Doing it in a staging environment is really good path, but manually testing gets monotonous, neglected and frankly impossible at scale. Continuous Integration services can be set up with testing tools to test every page, every time when doing updates. Further, it can report and automate emails to you and clients who you are charging update maintenance fees. It is a win-win, since they get frequent updates, you get far less manual effort required and there is a ton of safety built into the process to never take down a live site with a update ever again!

Happiness Bar

I looked back through my notes (Thank you to github for making that so simple btw) for any mention of happiness bar and I realized that I have never written about what goes on at these things.
For those who have never been to a WordCamp, there is a designated table or space for volunteers to basically hold open office hours for any and all WordPress related questions. And when I say any and all, I mean it quite literally.
At one point two of us were diving into a javascript issue with a single asset load malfunctioning on the most recent Chrome update. For a good 20 minutes we dug and dug. Finally we made some suggestions of solving this but they left with the issue still affecting live traffic. I was overjoyed the next day to have the person find me to report that one of the solutions we suggested had been implemented and the issue was solved! There is nothing quite like that feeling of “we fixed this together”!
Other questions ranged from HTTPS issues, design suggestions and plugin related discussions. As quite often happens with any technical discussions I was introduced to several bits of software for the first time and got to spread my love of the WP-CLI and LastPass (well password managers in general but that is my go to). You meet folks from all walks of life and stages of their WordPress learning curve. While it is awesome to know the answers to certain questions from memory I absolutely love having to look up information and show people how I got to the solution. No one knows everything, but Google knows where to find any bit of technical knowledge if you learn how to ask.
If you are going to WordCamps and want to get in on this action, definitely reach out to the organizers and let them know. This is such a vital part of what makes WordCamps special.

Contributor Day

I am working on a separate blog post about this. Will link here when it is posted.

Wrapping Up

While I am awaiting the Gutenberg to harden a bit more I decided to start using the markdown language editor, if you see something weird (other than my spelling and grammar) please let me know.

This was my 16th conference in 2017. Not a significant number in and of itself. I have 10 more trips booked at the moment and likely will have 3 to 5 more added on to make me hit or get really close to my arbitrary goal fo 30 for the year. So this trip was the 53.3% mark on that path.
So much has changed since the last time I was in Boston for this event, not just in the world and state of the Word, but in me as well. I often think of the words of Sean Tierney from back at Pressnomics Paraphrasing – “People come and go like seasons and you don’t always know wYou can never be mad at summer for passing though.”
I have gotten to bask in the glow of so many bright and warm individuals in the course of my adventures and I hold each memory dear. I do get a longing feeling sometimes when I think about the fact that I only see certain people so few times a year and some people I might never see again. I can’t say thank you enough for being part of my journey. It has made every step of it worth it.

I seriously am looking forward to my next chance to visit the old city and find myself in the silicon valley of the east again. Hopefully sooner than later. At worst, it will be for WordCamp Boston 2018!