WordCamp Boston 2018: Summer is wonderful in Boston and teaching people Git is awesome

For the 2nd time in 3 weeks I got to go to “The Athens of America
and got to go there in perhaps the best time of year to go. This time around I was met with very pleasant temperatures and pleasantly surprising light traffic. The city was kind enough to reroute some predicted thunderstorms for us as well, though it did allow a little rain to get through. The people were in full summer celebration mode this time around and it was a joy to be around so many cheerful folks in general. It made for a great WordCamp Boston 2018!

Food and Fun

Pre-camp WP friends dinner

This is one of the fee camps that I go to that does not do their speaker dinner on the night before the camp kicks off. In fact they don’t do a speaker dinner at all, they do a brunch for us, more on that later. This left me an evening on my own, which I will admit has the potential to be a lonely time. Very fortunately for me, one of the most thoughtful folks I am proud to call friend Mike Demo did some groundwork and invited a number of us campers together to a dietary restriction friendly joint near the harbor and only a few minute walk from the old part of town, Warehouse Bar & Grille. A few of us found our way to a few of the oldest bars in the United States where we were treated to some amazing covers by the ‘Best event band in Boston’ The Sweet Beats. It was a wonderful kickoff for a wonderful weekend.

Day 1

Coffee was Starbucks, which always tastes burnt to me when served from a Cambro. Fortunately they had some solid tea choices as well for my caffeine fix. While en general trying to reduce carb intake, the sesame bagels, one of many pastry and fruit options present, called out to me. It was a pretty good fuel for a very busy morning of setup, greetings and Happiness Bar fun.

Lunch was a bag lunch. I had a pretty tasty and spicy red pepper hummus wrap from the university catering with some chips and an apple. No tweets I can find show the camp eating together in the big auditorium where it was served, but it was a beautiful sight. Instead here is a tweet that features one of our afternoon snack options.

After Party

As in the previous year’s event, which I was also lucky enough to attend, we adjourned immediately after the last session down the road to the White Horse Tavern. Having limited plant based options I did a quick side trip with fellow herbivore and local history expert John Eckman down a few blocks to Whole Heart Provisions. The place knocked my socks off with their inventive flavor profiles and killer (but kind to animals) crispy brussel sprouts. Back at the White Horse, we got to enjoy a summer evening out on their back patio and even indulge in a few rounds of corn hole, which just so happened to feature Rachel Cherry’s favorite football team.


Not only did we go back to [Limelight Stage and Studios][http://www.limelightboston.com/] for some karaoke fun, but we got to see some of our favorite local regulars while there. For some folks there, it was their first time to ever go out and experience the magic that is the empty orchestra. Some folks who had been passive observers in the past got up and sang for the first time and some folks did old favorites that delighted the whole izakaya. I really do love the energy of this place and I would rank it above Otter’s Saloon as my favorite non-San Francisco karaoke spot if they carried soda water. Still, with such a large turnout from the camp, the experience will rank as one of my favorites.

Speaker Brunch / Day 2

The second day of the event kicked off by the speakers and sponsors and volunteers gathering back at the White Horse for what I would accurately describe as a simple but pretty OK breakfast buffet and really stellar coffee. I hesitate to call it a true brunch because the bar was not open during our special event and no mimosas, the defining beverage of brunch, could not be had. It was still really good since it featured one of my favorite foods of all time, fried breakfast potatoes. Waking up fully by catching up with some old colleagues and meeting some new folks was a real treat and put us all in a great mood for the second day of camp. Huge props to Cory Maass for kindly giving me a ride to the camp afterwards.

Dinner and coffee:

Since Day 2 is a little more than half the day, no lunch is provided. Just a snack break with pastries and more coffee and tea. This meant that by the closing remarks many of us were famished. Again, Mike Demo gets some praise from me for putting forth an option that could meet my diet, Blaze Pizza. This ‘Subway for fast fired pizza’ type establishment not only wins in my book for having great ingredients, but also for having a terrific social media manager that engaged our tweeting and has a great sense of humor. We finished our meal with a trip next door to get some coffee at Blue State Coffee. It was terrific to squeeze a few last moments with my WordPress family before heading off to the airport to return home to my beloved SF after what felt like a blur of a trip.


Opening Remarks:


The Gutenberg Journey
Tammie Lister

Even with my going to as many sessions as I have about the WordPress 5.0 editor, AKA Gutenberg, and having just heard her give a highly related talk back at WordCamp Europe. This time Tammie gave a much more broad appeal talk about the why of Gutenberg with some great updates on the project’s status and less about the individual features. I walked away with a lot of optimism for what comes next as far as the end user experience.

Raw Notes:
easy to get started but
harder to learn fully
the WP Way is not always what we want
we deal with it and work around
is coping really the way?
It all started out with just words
was a flat way
now we want to publish rich content
Blur of White story
truly tells story
should be very easy
we are too reliant on many
held together with hope and Tetris
creating amazing work but hacking around blockades
this happens to all software
a rethink is needed from time to time
WP was unchallenged for the longest time
new planets being discovered in the publishing universe
not only the obvious choice anymore
SquareSpace, Wix, etc biting at the heels
not self hosted but orbiting and pulling in users
people don’t want the hassle of caring for their own WP
Gutes is not a miracle cure
but it is a step to push us into the future
the foundations are the packaging
Thinking in parts and patterns
components – humans are great at this
principles are the same, all pattern recognition
Block by Block HTML editing prevents breaking whole post
safe container for content
once you understand how to use one block, know how to use all the blocks
Placeholders are very critical to the system
prompts to engage with the block
this allows for templating
less confusing experience than what is right now
true WYSIWYG path
direct manipulation
change it, you see it
we expect this now actually, we are super use to seeing this due to apps
touch devices trained us to think this way
we have need based options
if want to eat soup, don’t need a utility tool with lots of options
bad experience leads to trust problems
just doing what is needed is primary to the experience Gutenberg is striving for
expected options
not kitchen sink, just what most users will expect
Safe exploration of new options, good for learning
the delight is what we want with Gutes
WP right now is people just coping
move on path to people thriving with the experience
accessible experience is good for everyone
key to this project
tips – welcome guide
the little nudges are helping educate
editor needs to work across any device
mobile or apps are essential
performance is even more important on mobile
WP can be molded to the experience you want it to be
extending the CMS is very key
Gutenberg makes this more accessible
The Journey
3 phases
1. Editor – the one we are in right now
has taken longer due to the need to rebuild foundational level tings
2. Customization – more page builders – templating
3. Theme – not really determined
going to be a really exciting time as we get further along
most stats only show what has happened
v1.0 8/29/17
been 30+ releases
3, 128 closed issues
3,861 PRs closed
8/6/18 v3.2 – feature complete
bug fix and iteration now
teams all across the web have joined this journey
Many folks have shaped the direction of the project
atomicblocks.com – new theme, set of blocks and plugins
even on its own its a great Gutes theme
testing and feedback been in the heart of the project
many different resources
booths and user testing
helping guide the
the path ahead
lot more work left for sure
-4.9.8 Try Gutenberg callout
-Feedback and iteration – all the wider feedback
stress cases expected
-Ready to get into core
alpha and beta releases
-5.0 – the thing all this phase is leading to
then start the next phase
a busy time for everyone in WP
The Future
personal views, not necessarily facts
the theme elephant needs to be dealt with
we will see more of a shift to style guides
maybe config files but not a lot more in themes
where editor and customizer start/stop will blend
themes create good boundaries
Gutenberg will get us t where we should ave gotten by now
come join the journey

Blobs, Chunks, and Blocks: Structured Content in the Age of Gutenberg
John Eckman

Whenever I get to tell my favorite stories, John and The Southern V always is on that list. A really down to earth and selfless guy who just happens to have a ton of experience running a super successful agency that donates a lot of open source code and furthers the projects in the process. Still, even knowing him as I do, I have never seen him talk about a technical matter and in fact I have not seen him give a session since I started this project of publishing my notes about what I see. This talk was a brilliant use of the case study model to explore multiple ways to solve an issue while discussing the wider implications of these lower level decisions. As someone who does not think a terrible lot about taxonomies and re-usability of components in general, this was a wonderful exploration of how someone should be thinking about it.

Raw Notes:
Interested in the concept of structured content
lot of great opp
We’ve been here before
presentational logic and structure in one blob
makes reuse difficult,
but faster to create
content broken into small structures components
separate presentation and structure
facilitate reuse
more planning needed to execute
in 2013, he argued WP is blobby but can be made chunky with ACF and such
enter the Gutes
blocks are making it easier to edit content
but is it making us more blobby or chunky
can get us to easier to develop and use
and preserve structured content
looking into code
it is better than blobs of html we had before
some structured
hypothetical case study
Metadata vs Data
Meta – Album- artist
-Review – author
WYSIWYG editor in content
Very blobby
no reuse
Not much consistency
very fast and simple
don’t do this
if doing a one off post, not a bad idea though, bad for a site
round B – could shortcode to insert Album
structures the data slightly
use shortcode UI
still pretty blobby
hard to access data inside the shortcode
hard to track relationship of shortcode to posts using it
better way to do this,
review CPT with specific post meta and taxonomy
template for CPT
more consistency
but what about Multiple albums in a review
in print this is just there – review can account for multiple albums
Round 3 (pre-Gutes)
Review and Album CPT w/relationship
artist or label as CPT or Taxonomy
enables reuse: Show other albums by this artist
Editing is more complex, create album first then review it is mandatory here
Enter the Gutenberg
Round 1
custom blocks for albums
editors can but it anywhere
but inconsistent
but no reuse
Better than the old blobby way?
round 2
Reviews CPT and Block template
consistent layout
some reuse of sections
round 2b reusable, shared, saved blocks for albums
Underneath the hood, saved blocks are just CPT with clock content
not easy to see if they exist already
still pretty blobby
Round 3
reviews and albums as CPT
Album CPT could still use a block template
set taxonomies on review based on Album CPT pull
decent reuse
round 4
Reviews and albums as CPT
if Album does not exist, create it
set taxonomy and relationships on album save enable editing a a blovk
Get the editing experience of a blobby system where you edit the things you want
preserve the structured data to be able to reuse it
Why does it matter?
Future proofing
what happens when new devices get introduced and necessitates different combos of output
New features
single record for each object
Enable relationships
show other albums by this artist
show other albums by category
show other reviews of the a
block based editing can improve the experience
closer to WYSIWYG
more flexibility to move things around
Block based editing can make WP blobby
proper content modeling and planning are required

The Basics of building a Gutenberg Block
Amanda Giles

Given that the theme of so many of the sessions this year slanted toward the WordPress 5.0 editor, project Gutenberg, I decided to embrace it and sit through some sessions that I knew would be over my head technically. This talk, while all topics I had sat through before, actually brought a few concepts together in my head rather nicely. Amanda’s code examples, all in ES5, which needs no build step, made a little more sense to me and I am starting to grasp these concepts, even without having learned JavaScript deeply. I still have yet to actually do anything with this knowledge other than write about it and discuss conceptually with my peers but I do hope to get to explore coding something in the not too distant future for the Gutes.

Raw Notes:
Gutes history
Anatomy of a block
comes with standard blocks
save and reuse blocks
it will soon appear
plugin now
WP 5.0
4.9.8 callout
classic editor plugin
write your own blocks
almost entirely in JS
PHP is just to bring in files
abstraction layer over React
ES% or newer
ES5 2009
ES6 2015
ES8 is the current
they want a release a year
ESNext is the currently being worked on version
JSX is another component, JS XML-like syntax
needs a package manager
node, webpack, etc,
Many Gutes Block tutorial use JSX, but not all
this demo is in ES5
no build step needed
syntax differences
example code
Gutes handbook shows ES5 and ESNext
build a CTA in Gutenberg
block, background, button, etc
on the backend, in admin,
5 steps to building a plugin
1 create plugin main file
2 register backend editor JS, CSS
3 register frontend CSS, JS if dynamic
4 in PHP:Register block type using register_blovk_typle()
5 n hooked JD file, call block in editor
steps 2,3 and 4 happen all together
tagged to the init hook
before we get into JS part
comes with JS libraries as globals
others too
single JS call containing our complete block code
General info about the block including title, icon, category, keywords
code samples code samples
many resources presented at the end

Use Your WordPress Powers for Good
Michelle Ames

Michelle is one of the nicest folks I know and her passion for teaching people how to WordPress is pretty inspiring. She speaks a less technical jargon in her talks and makes the subject of ‘how do I get started or advance in this stuff’ extremely approachable. Getting into the weeds of the code and technical matters is great, once you are ready to receive that, but this talk was really geared toward folks who are on their way there and are not sure how to get down that path on their own. The short answer is there is no reason you need to do it on your own! That is the raw power of our community. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of people ready to answer any and all WordPress or industry related question so we all win together. If you are down the path already, make sure you are remembering to help those who are not as far along the path of the WordPress way.

Raw Notes:
We have all made bad websites
bad clients
made a little money
but we have fun
but we can do more
we can mentor people
introducing people to WP
giving them advice
that is how Michelle learned
this is what she taught her daughter’s friend
later hired her
maybe can’t mentor
teach classes
nothing to a bad website
why are you teaching other people, are they not competition
nope, internet too vast
she has never been in the same bid as anyone she knows
charge more and teach people
hold a clinic
basically happiness bar you are running yourself
teaching some basics, sometimes they decide they just need to hire someone
like her
one a month Co-Working
just work on won stuff in the same room
gives you a set of resources and not working alone
exchange ideas
Teach someone like someone taught you
Speak up at a meetup
speak at a meetup
got hacked, fixed it, hacked again, learned why, fixed it right
tells this at meetups
organize a meetup
pay it forward
Pay it back to WP
participate in the forums
you likely know the answers to some of the questions
help with videos
can share around even if not as good as WP.tv quality
Help organize or volunteer at a WordCamp – the real heroes of WordCamps
Help out at the Happiness Bar
You can just show up and help
she had impostor syndrome
quickly gave way when first person asked about CSS
Participate in a hack-a-thon
What else we get from giving back?
we get clients from it!
new jobs!
warm fuzzies
getting started:
go to co-working
participate in WP Forums
help someone else

Subscription and Membership Based Income using WooCommerce
Ross Viviano

Lately I have been getting more and more interested in the inner workings of Woo. While I knew it could be possible to have a subscription and content behind sign up, I was very fuzzy on how that actually would work. Ross lifted the veil on this and I have a much better handle on this topic now, which I am super thankful for. A good WordCamp session is worth reading a hundred docs, and for me at least, I retain much more.

Raw Notes:
Recurring vs one time payments
more predictable revenue stream
some clients think easier to match their needs and expectations
one time payment system is scarier
what is needed
do need a payment gateway
Stripe or PayPal
paid Woo plugin called Subscriptions
payment gateways are not all created easily, needs to have subscriptions built into it
25 officially supported one
Prospress has great docs to add to a plugin
as a personal note, important to have multiple gateways
install and setups
Simple Subscriptions
expire after
sign up
free trial – adds time to total expire after
sale price
default subscriptions
viable subscriptions
similar to variable products
add attributes to that subscription
recurring donations for a nonprofit
1 month-6 month-yearly
create variations from attributes
that makes 3 different subscription products
editing monthly subscription, drop downs
multiple variations possible
the possibilities are very extensive
customers can change per
if customer has more control inspires more confidence
status of the subscription and sub number and other meta
was as bulk editor view
lot of control over this screen
subscription details page
customer subscription status
everything can be customized
new email types
4 new coupon types that come with subscriptions
good for rewarding customers
Allow switching subscriptions
go from one plan to the other without re-sign up
simple subscription
recurring, varying periods
full sign up fee when switching
like shipping use case
Memberships is another plugin
by SkyVerge
other plugins for this, but these are the 2 best
why is this needed, if using Subscriptions, you don’t
but can restrict content on site based on groupings
Groups plugin is interesting too
length based memberships
posts category tags
pricing tiers tied to membership
import/export CSV – push to email marketing tools
memberships and subscriptions integrations
subscriptions enable recurring billing
team them up and you can grant access to content based on subscription level
able to use a free trial period
memberships supports that upgrade/downgrade model
only members of the level
example product: Meatball Pizza Bowl from Olive Garden
manage section shows details of subscription
if accessing pages not in subscriptions, no access
remember everything is a post, order number and sub number can’t be the same
every order is a post essentially
there are plugins to get sequential
-Subscribe All The Things
can add subscription options to non-subscription type options
product bundles, mix and match bundles
subscribe to a cart before checkout
-Follow Ups
-WooCommerce Subscription Downloads
Teams for WooCommerce memberships

Just for reference here is the mentioned Meatball Pizza Bowl:

(Slightly) Advanced Topics In Block Development
Josh Pollock

When Josh gives a talk, I do my dang best to keep up but I am so far beneath his technical prowess that I don’t actually absorb all that much while in the session. However, once I sit and think about it and reread my notes and think about it in context, I think these talks are a major driver of my development as a technical person. Josh is also a truly great thought leader around how things can be implemented in a sustainable and scalable way. He thinks in terms of ‘beyond WordPress’ and how to interact with the entire rest of the internet and that is exactly the kind of thinking that is going to make sure WP stays relevant long into the future.

Raw Notes:
How do we
yes this is complex to learn
but it solves so much
should npm/yarn/etc?
dependency management
sanity is restores
node_module get big
takes code and make it into browser safe
full featured builder
helps get your files compiles and bundles
can transpile latest JS(babel) and anything else
also for CSS
hard to learn
fast moving eco-system
cont, let, arrow,


every block is becoming own packages
npm i @wordpress/element
using react right now
all this stuff is put on wp Global
don’t have to build my own
if you enqueue these things can do on admin
or can npm install all these packages
you want core to lead things on the page, have to tell webpack not to bundle this on screen
in a WP plugin npm i -D @wordpress/name
in React App? npm @wordpress/name
the webpack alias is used in Gutenberg core code
Using Jest and Enzyme
component testing
Snapshot testing
DOM testing
a11y testing
compares functionality snapshots to let you know when it breaks
easiest way into react
Scaffolding tools for Blocks
“I sort of understand webpack. That’s probably enough” – Josh Pollock
wp-cli scaffold
wp scaffold plugin movies
wp scaffold block movie –tile=”Movie Block”
on github:
Create Gutenberg Block
hot module replacement
Composing blocks
creating blocks out of modular components
modular building blocks – thinking in react
more usable and more testable, only one concern
using WP state management
Example ‘Checkbox Controls’
Passing data back up
Inspector Controls

Hiding the Pulleys and Strings
Jesse Friedman

I went into this talk without reading the description based on the fact that I see all the PH CMSes I am involved with as ‘glorified string manipulation’ at its heart (credit to fellow Pantheor Ronan Dowling for the paraphrase). Also based on the fact that Jesse’s twitter handle is @professor, so I knew I would learn a lot. I sat down and was met with something different than I had imagined but something very valuable. I hear a lot about personalization but this talk maybe the best definition of the subject, complete with actionable examples, I have every heard of. If you are interested in Personalization, make sure to check this one out when it hits WordPress.tv!

Raw Notes:
Personalization is not one thing
lady brought in a giant iMac into a Starbucks
a reorder button is not customization
predictive analytics and tracking and predicting actions is key
everyone thinks only the big companies are doing
who is visiting your site
what is their intent
Not everyone is there to purchase that product
don’t tie me to the thing I bought, it might not be for me
Goals of a blog
subscribe and comment
share and stay
Albuquerque journal case study
increased engagement just by turning on related posts
Jetpack made this simple and automatic, reduced server load actually
Back to blog example
what pages visited
did they scroll all the way down ( mark posts as read)
did they do a search?
did they click any links (categories or tag)?
did they share?
did they comment?
let’s take the subscribe button and change it to something personal
grab the category name and sub it in to what page they landed on for subscribe button
understand the path the user has taken
every tag has it’s own RSS feed
you can subscribe to any tag feeds
add feed auto on comment forms, lets you reach back out easier
email follow up with commentators
akismet + manual looking at data lets you control this easier
thanks them, recap their visit
give them back quick share links
customized search page
customized 404 search page
bring in customers
call or Directions
make a reservation
they are there for hours, directions, menus, specials, reservations
just want to get in and out of the site and server the data fast
goal should not be to have time on the site
Boston restaurant Pop Razzi
he just cared about up to date
but let’s look at 2 users
1 is 500+ miles away while closed
2 is 10 minutes away from a location during business hours
we should think of them differently with different goals
level of intent
proximity coupons
Ecommerce sites
search is key
Google actually handles most search actually overall
nice prompt if repeated visits to a type of page
cart abandonment is an area we are focused on a lot in this market
coupon codes are popular now
no one uses this trick: in the email is a cookie
you can track open rates
if you tie a cookie to expiration date you can better understand intent
you can tie that to a campaign to fire off another email
2nd 2nd chances
(I had to go at this point due to setting up for my workshop)

My Session

Let’s learn Git. No more excuses.

When I first heard that I was going to be able to teach a Git workshop at this event, I honestly thought maybe 12 or at most like 15 people would show up and roll up their sleeves. About 50 people showed up. As with every other time I have presented this subject there were people who needed a little more encouragement than others to actually embrace the command line and ‘force-of-will’ their way through this rapid fire curriculum. I was kind of astonished that I saw very few people drop out, which I think mostly was to attend another session that started half way through this workshop spot.

I want to take a second to say the thing that most blew my mind about this experience was the willingness of folks to help their neighbors through the rough spots. I had not asked for, not prepared any assistants for this class (see opening paragraph of this section). Without the dedication of a few specific people who just dropped everything and helped monitor the room and give personal attention to a students that were, in some cases, on the verge of giving up a few times, I don’t think this would have gone nearly as well. This is the very heart of our community. Paying forward the help we all got along the way to stand as tall as we do. In my overexcited mental state wrapping up the class and answering lingering questions from attendees, I did not record the names of my special 2 helpers and can not cite them by twitter handle or, shamefully, by any of their monikers, but your efforts will never be forgotten as long as I can recall this event. Thank you to you if you are reading this. You know who you are.

Happiness Bar

There are few joys greater in my mind than helping a person understand the path forward on a problem. This is the fun of working a Happiness Bar shift. From basic CSS modification to how to go about selecting the right theme to how to default your homepage to be a static page, I was pleased as punch to get to answer any and all questions. I even got to have a great discussion with Dave Ryan about the differences between shared hosting and isolated container architectures along with some other community members. I know I have said it before, but if you do find yourself at or near a WordCamp in the future, sign up for a shift or just go hang out for a bit. I think you would be surprised how much you can learn.

Wrapping Up

I want to call out one person who didn’t get a mention otherwise in this post and that is Mr. Rich Hill. I don’t want to steal his thunder, but he is working on some content that I got to participate in that I think will very much help further many a community conversation. I know it helped me gain some valuable perspective. He is one of the folks giving his all to try and solve a real need with his mind mapping based solution.

Boston is really one of my favorite cities and so many good things happened on this trip, that even with the lengthy report I am still leaving off many details which I will treasure forever. The community is beautiful in what is truly a City on a Hill
with so much rich history and forward looking innovation. I can’t wait to return and reunite with my New England compatriots, hopefully, at a minimum for WordCamp Boston 2019

WordCamp Miami: Gators, Good Community and why is it so cold inside every building

For the first time ever I traveled to the Magic City. Having been to many other cities in the Sunshine State, I was looking forward to being at one of the largest of the WordCamps and see my WPLife family there. What followed was a few days of blazing sunshine, amazing adventures and a few sad notes. All in all though I am glad I traveled to the FIU Campus to attend WordCamp Miami 2018.

Food and Fun

Arriving a day or so early, I got to visit with my community family and had so many good times. The highlight of all of this was my invitation from Carole and Alain to go on a Fan Boat tour of the Everglades. I had some reservations about this but was very relieved they had found a very legit and overall friendly to the animals native amarican owned and operated Buffalo Tiger Airboat Tours who offered no ‘gator wrassling’ (real thing offered by some of these outfits) or other such shenanigans. Seeing alligators and getting to ask our guide all sorts of questions around their habitat and behaviour was such an amazing experience. Also huge props to Marc B for driving and giving us all a lift back.

Pre-Camp Meetup (Cancelled)

There was a shadow that hung over the camp and that was the tragedy of the pedestrian bridge collapse. I wanted to mention it here and show reverence for the folks who are still in shock and suffering from this event. Here is a link to a story about what happened.
Out of respect, the organizers cancelled the pre-event meetup that was scheduled. I applaud this decision and think it showed grace.

Some of us still met for a small dinner and discussion. It was good to be around like minded people that night and we all reflected on how lucky we all were to have our health and our community.


Friday I got to go visit the Pantheon co-working space at WeWork in Miami. It was awesome to get to hang out with my amazing co-worker Lizzie, who I rarely get to see in person. This is one of the main issues with remote teams overall, some of the best people in the world you only see online most of the time.

Speaker Dinner

Friday night brought us back together to mentally ramp up for a full, full weekend. The speakers, volunteers and organizers got together at Dave and Busters at the Dolphin Mall. Not a lot of plant based food options at D&B, but the mall had Cilantro Fresh Mexican, which is the only place in the whole mall that had a ‘Vegetarians Welcome’ sign up. I just said “I’m vegan” when ordering and they were happy and accommodating about it. Back at D&B we got to play all manner of games and connect over quite a few libations. I was a touch sad when we had to roll out and go our separate ways to prep for the next day.

Well, I wasn’t so sad, some of us went the same way for one more night cap before bed. I had this amazing cherry barleywine at MIA Brauhaus. I was sad when I had to go home from there though.


Coffee, coffee, coffee! I love my coffee in the morning and it was OK at Miami. Lunch had a vegan wrap and BBQ options. I was super happy to get sweet potatoes and corn as well. I love me some sweet potatoes.

After Party

Right across campus, after a very full Saturday we went to the on-campus Chili’s. I was a tad hesitant about this, but $3.00 drink specials all evening and a really robust option for us plant based food lovers in form of a toco bar with veggie burger chunks, beans and rice with all the trimmings. In another room there were pool tables and some light karaoke happenings going on. There was also a massive patio with iguanas in a small pond below. Really a great time

Some of us found a WCKaraoke party as well afterward


Coffee was coffee, but there were also bagels. Good ones too.
Lunch was a touch of a let down for me as all options included meat or cheese. They were also all bean based, which for me is not an issue, but I am aware some people have legume allergies. Fortunately fellow plant enthusiast Matt Clancy ordered some tasty but not at all spicy Chinese food from Ho Wah. I completely understand accessibility to food is not the cheapest option and a lot of budget went into the literal 20 pounds of shwag I got, having options for any followers of the strict versions of any of these religious practices would be good as well.

Happiness Bar

While not a session and some people would argue does not fit into Food and Fun, I wanted to call out the awesome experience I got by participating in the Happiness Bar. This is one of the most rewarding parts of any camp. People come in with real problems and they leave with, in best case, real answers. In the worst case they leave knowing how to better look for answers. I was super happy to help one person with WP-CLI. They really wanted to get it working locally and thanks to the fact they were already using Local by Flywheel we get them to a working terminal in less than a minute. It was a proud moment.


Quick note: Wow this was a very busy camp. So busy, that I only got to get to a handful of sessions and they were all a bit shorter than I was used to. As a result I think only these four have enough notes to post.

It’s ALIVE! How I built the Wapuu Bot using Javascript, Slack and the WP API
Rick Tuttle

Everyone loves Wapuu. I don’t think this is too arguable. The little, normally yellow unofficial mascot of the WordPress community is pretty well recognized and inoffensively cute. But do you know the backstory? It is a fascinating read. Rick took this lovable critter and turned it, with the help of Michelle Schulp made a slack bot that could provide value to the WCMIA community with real time updates and responses when people interacted with it in channel. Very cool stuff. I didn’t take a ton of notes on the implementation details but that is what WordPress.tv is all about!

Japan 2009
then coffee wapuu thank to Michelle Schulp’s design
cafecitowapuu twitter account was born
slack app, send a recieve mesaages between endpoint
spanglish ‘no es facil’
WCMia site feeds this slack
can search @wapuu find ____
returns values
pulled WC schedule from the website
mongoDB for a caching layer
more fun to assign him a personality instead of just a pile of code
Wapuu is a ‘Bot user’ in this case
also a bot user app that can reply directly or mention in ambient content
Natural language processing is hard, lot of exceptions
schedule data from WP (npm request-promise)
fetch from wp-json/wp/v2/sessions
cache schedule data (formatted JSON) in MongoDB for quicker/easier retrieval
App used monk from Automattic
WP is really becoming a content repository
finds mentions and posts
likes serving up coffee
load of api and other resources/services used in slides
one of the hardest things is getting started

15 in 15 – The Story of WordPress
John James Jacoby

When you only have 15 minutes to give the entire history of a 15 year old project, you are going to leave a few details out. It was very interesting to hear what he left in though. He claimed there is a longer version of this talk, but I can’t find it on WordPress.tv at this point in time. Basically ‘it’s ugly’ – ‘it’s less ugly’ – ‘now it’s blueish’ – ‘the post editor works’ – ‘admin works’. Of course he said it far mor charmingly than I could.

Sourceforge code there but maintainers gone in 2003
Original wp.org was just ugly (very ugly)
slowly got better over time
dashboard was primitive
no theme support
adoption of 1.5 started growing
Dashboard area in WP 2, blue was introduced
post rows manage
meta boxes
no visual editors, precursor to post preview
custom field metadata exposed first time
if we cound re-write WP it would be like BBPress – ma.tt
2.5 first real Admin redesign
this is when some people first took WP seriously
2.7 revisions nitrdcused
still Kubrick in there
WP 3.0 Post editor, inwrtos to 2010 theme
3.2 ‘my account’ is JJJ’s fvorite things’ in WP

On Building Community From Twitter to IRL
Raquel Landefeld

Raquel is one of the best persons I have ever met, especially with regards to community building. I hold this concept pretty near and dear to my heart. It is always a pleasure to see her present as well. I loved her very straightforward advice, which I captured pretty poorly below given that I was hustling pretty quick between sessions and other duties that day.

We hide behind social media
What are motives?
what is the purpose?
connecting with people is what it is all about
not collecting business cards
intentional connecting and human relations building
make friends by being friends
shift focus to create relationships not just grow business

How To Get Involved in Open Source Communities
Karla Campos

I had not ever met Karla before, which I think is a symptom of never getting to go to Miami before. I felt an instant kinship with her, even though we didn’t get to interact too much. I could tell from her talk we shared a lot of the same values around what we are doing here. Making the world better one commit and one conversation at a time. She had a lightning talk, so not a ton of notes, but for sure a great rallying point at the camp that spurned a few good conversations. Worth a watch once the recording is public.

Wanted to build craigslist
found Joomla
got a job as marketing director Telemundo using OSS
May the course be with you.
Helping Others
Creating amazing things
popularity – for sure if people know about it, it helps
community – she didn’t know anyone in Miami, WP took her in

My Session

WP-CLI: Don’t Fear The Command Line

I have given a version of this talk a few times in 2017, but this year I stepped up my game a bit and built in a couple magic tricks. The first trick was I got through all 83 slides in under 25 minutes. The second was building a ‘racing script’ that build a pretty neat looking demo site in well under a minute, 24 to 39 seconds depending on variables i have no control over like wire speed and such. Matt Mullenweg himself snuck into the back of the room and I was super honored he mentioned my talk during his Q&A later in the day. I was also very happy to introduce a bunch of people to the scaffold block command for the first time. Such an amazing tool and it is in such a good position to help us well into the future.

Wrapping up

WordCamp Miami is one of the largest camps. One of the reasons it is so large is the number of children in attendance at Kids Camp. I didn’t participate in this and only am mentioning it here in my conclusion. It is one of the most inspirational parts of the whole darn camp. The literal future of the project and the internet itself rests in the hands of these kids and kids just like them, who are learning how to build plugins and manipulate JS. It is very exciting to know that we are not about to ‘age out’ as a project.

Miami was hot and there was a lot going on. Not sure I captured the event wholly here and that was never my intent. Will I be back for WCMIA 2019? Time will tell.

WordCamp Phoenix 2018: Amazing coffee and contributor day fun

experiences the cold humidity of an Arizona spring. It had only been 4 months since I was last at Galvanize and I will be honest, I had my doubts about going from a ~200 attendee event to an over 500 person event in such a short turn around. Well, I was very pleasantly surprised and impressed with their organizing team’s efforts to put on a spectacular WordCamp Phoenix 2018!

Food and Fun

Speaker Dinner

I missed it. Due to some logistic issues I had to fly in while this was happening. While I am bummed I missed it, it was the only disappointment I found related to this camp and it had nothing to do with the awesome organizers or camp itself. It looked amazing and I want to give an extra special shout out to the coordination team who made us some of the best, individual personalized, speaker gifts of all time! I got a monogramed passport wallet and bag tag, since I am always traveling. I thought a pic of Isaac’s was a little more interesting visually for the purposes of a blog though. Anyhow, Thank You again for the gift Organizing team, lead by Raquel Landefeld


I’m just going to be lazy and repeat what I said about the amazing Luana’s Coffee Yard “They know what the heck they are doing. If you live in the area, go give them your money!” Just the nicest baristas ever and their coffee quality is second to none. Snacks flowed as well as plenty of cold water, which helped me keep hydrated in the dessert as I chatted with the morning rush of people.

Lunch was served as a giant taco line with OK options for those seeing plant based foods. Still a little hungry I found that there was a burrito stand, called Mi Salsa. Family owned and featuring their “mother’s secret recipes”. Some of the best salsa I can remember having and the more I talked to them the more I liked their company. It is not everyday you feel good about giving back to the local economy and get world class food in the same transaction.

Friday Night had no official plans, but some of us got together anyway for some food and celebration! Since it was unofficial I will only leave this tweet to remind myself of the event


More awesome coffee and snacks and snacks.
Lunch was way better on day 2 in my opinion, Japanese options. Soba noodle salad, rice and more veggies than I could eat. They kept piling them on and I had to actively tell them ‘that’s too much!’. I feel good about any lunch where I have to wave them off from filling my plate with plant based foods. I also like they are doing as much local sourcing of their menu as possible, so big shout out to Conceptually Social

After Party

I am always looking forward to any official after party, never denying that as fact. The after party last year at WCPHX set the bar pretty dang high and I am ecstatic to report that this year the party was arguably even better! Again it happened at Phoenix Public Market Cafe which has the nicest staff and great overall quality of everything. The video game truck was back again and we got to do more VR and Rock Band fun. GoDaddy went all out and brought their party bus where we got to do WCKaraoke (see vid below)! It was an amazing night of being together and celebrating the camp life!


Opening Remarks:

Imposter Syndrome: Stories from Two Different Perspectives
Sheila Hoffman
Dashon Hawkins

It is rare that you come into a talk late and are immediately thrust into what turns out to be the most important part of the whole thing. At least to me it was the most important part. As soon as I walked in the room I was told as part of the whole group, to find a partner and share a time we felt e had imposter syndrome. Immediately I engaged with a fellow camper and shared one of my stories and heard hers. This made me feel less alone in my imposter syndrom driven moments of doubt and engaged with the whole room at once. No one there didn’t have a story to tell. We all face this horrid condition at some point and the only way I think we can overcome it is together.

Raw Notes:
(I came in a little late)
Defining Imposter syndrome
Exercise to share with neighbor your experience feeling it
We ALL had stories
“Comparing the cutting room floor to the Sizzle reel”
Tech needs to know more than any one person Can know
WP community is great for knowledge sharing
Not just luck, Imposter Syndrome makes you think you are just lucky
IS is an act of violence to yourself
risk exposure
Stop playing safe
Greater risk is not knowing how capable and worthy you actually are
Q/A became people sharing stories
IS leads to Smartest guy in the room pissing contests
trying to look smart wastes time
Learn from students
Keep at it
What you have to do
Dev world is a big ocean
stay in the water until you master your lagoon
then swimming in other territories is so similar you can do it

What The West Wing can teach us about building products
AJ Morris

I walked into this room, having not read the session description, thinking this would be a case study on government applications of WordPress. Since it was AJ, I knew it would be a solid talk and I went more for that reason. I was correct on that second assumption, but the West Wing AJ was referring to was the 1999 Aaron Sorkin TV show. It so clearly illustrated the process of actual value creation in the product building process that I am not sure I really understood it at all before entering the room. The biggest take away for me was the idea of moving from a MVP driven process to a MVV one. Minimum Viable Value. If you can’t measure any value from it, is it really functioning? That thought shook me a bit and I am thankful to AJ for this talk.

Raw Notes:
5 steps of a product
Plays example clip from The West Wing
It was all about the ah-ha moment of ‘I can fix that’
These ideas come at us from all over
further clarity propels it forward
Going away and thinking about it and come back
Example idea he had
sending people coffee
sample subscription service is the idea
part of building product is clarifying the idea
if you move ahead too soon, will run into many issues
learn to say no to non formed ideas
You can have a lot of ideas, but they are all ideas
an understanding for a product needs more than that
enough clarity to move ahead
then Value Propositions.
Clear and up front
wp101 – learn WP the easy way
Provide enough clarity to make the defined end user clear
What could we make at a mim to get our product to function to prove it is solving a problem
Unsplash MVP example
free ‘stock’ photos
3 hours from idea to MVP
tumbler + $20 theme
10 photos by local photographer
uploaded for free use
Traffic? hackernews post
2 hours later 20K downloads
free dropbox overwhelmed
over 2 million photos are downloaded a month
tested and validated very quickly
Replace viable product with viable value
if value then people will pay for it
Knowing what to build
start simple, single product
Don’t do ti all at once
get it out the door asap
keep iterating, while constantly solving bigger issues
constantly communicate the vision of the grand problem to be solved
Ship it quick
product market fit means being in a god market with a product that can satisfy that market
Customer Feedback
feedback boxes
reaching out directly
usability testing

My Talk

Discovery, discovery, discovery, discovery! The most import part of the project

I was super excited to give this session again. I made a few refinements and think this was the best version I have made yet. Still, part way through I realized I could be making a few points better by further modifying it, there is always room for improvement. Huge thank you to every person that gave me feedback afterwards, it really helps and is encouraging!

Overcoming Your Fear of Sales
April Wier

If there is one thing that was beaten into me over the years of my time in sales it was ‘Always ask for the sale.” Also known as “Always Be Closing”. The easiest way to lose a sale is to not engage and get the sale. Getting over yourself and your fear of rejection takes courage, determination and a lot of stamina! Just do it, the rewards are far greater than the downside, but you have to know that it will take a mind shift to get comfortable with it.

Raw Notes:
It is terrifying to do sales because of fear of rejections
it is not just you, 80% of people also fear this
to solve this
Frist you got to get your mind right
Get over the idea of “I am bothering people”
Are you talking yourself out of sales?
Stop being a credit manager
don’t worry about if they seem like they should buy it
pool sales story
Pricing for what you think they can pay is all in your head
make more profit by charging what you are worth
In your head it is easy to only think about how the interaction will affect you
instead you need to focus on benefitting the client
Immersion therapy, must do this enough to get comfortable doing it
if it feels as scary every time like the first time you are not doing it enough
Do you want fries with that, repetition removes
You job is not to sell,
your job is to solve problems
Difference between ‘do you want to buy’ and ‘how can I help’
For whom do you solve problems?
Not the universe
once you have clear vision of who has what pain points you can solve, it makes it easier
They need a trusted guide, make them look like a genius
Ask about their business
Ask about their pain
Find what they didn’t like about folks they DON’T buy from
find out what they like about folks they DO buy from
Listen to what they say when agitated
THEN you ge to talk
bend your story to their concerns
hustle and communication story
Classic Sales Techniques, updated for the digital age
Going out of business ->
I’m booking up quickly, I can only take on one more project
Foot in the door ->
Tripwire product, little thing you can sell them that establishes trust, selling a session to find what they need, Keyword research high value and builds trust
Stalking the Client ->
Continue to demonstrate the prospect’s value to you
Sending article and stay top of mind without being annoying
He who talks first loses ->
Still works
What are some other old school techniques?
Make sure you are a fit
turn away business if bad fit
you want a relationship where you can make a difference
only so much time on the calendar
available start date = moving target
if they don’t have time to meet, that is a giant red flag
flipside of scarcity is abundance,
there are many, many opportunities

Yes, And: How improv basics build stronger teams, foster creativity and make the creative process more fun and less frustrating
Amber Pechin

Yes, I do in fact love talks about improv, and not just because it is something I have talked about at camps all throughout the world. I love it because every time I see a talk involving the core concepts there are always people who are uncovering for the first time the ways the key concepts apply to all areas of live, not just the stage. The ah-ha moments around being more positive, making your partners look good and ‘YEs, And…’ are just delightful. Rather than focus on a single role, this was a great general presentation covering those core concepts in a pretty engaging talk making it ideal for a group of people across multiple functionalities who want to learn about these things together.

Raw Notes:
(came in a tad late)
not about being funny
Learning some basic improv tools and muscles
4 rules of improv
1 Yes, And
2 Listen
3 No wrong answers
4 I got your back
Bonus rule
if it is not fun change what you are doing
creativity can be painful but it should eb fun pain
She started doing stand up
got told that the high of performing is like nothing else
chase that high of being in front of people
and through creativity
nailing specific goals
Changing from less about the me and all about the we
Interactive session!
Alphabet game example
You should know the rules
Our job as creatives to to come the best idea
in business feels like competition to come up with best ideas
Goal is not be be funny yourself, but to make each other look funny
The most valiant thing you can do as an artist is inspire someone else to be creative
when everyone is winning the client is happy
no wrong answers – learning
failure is opportunity in disguise
we are highly skilled at suppressing action, good improvisors develop action
when something seems off we stop exploring
the magic comes from going to explore an idea
we overthink our way out of acting
Listen! It is super important
silence is golden
The third thing is usually the best idea, don’t rush to fill the gaps
give the process space and time
it might be awkward at first
yes, and
the and is the hard part
Allowing people to operate without having to explain themselves constantly turns out to be like the rule of agreement in improv, it enables rapid cognition
think so fast you can build ideas
Need diverse thoughts and teams

Why Expression is So Important Content/Strategy/Marketing
Tanya Moushi

When we have the courage to express ourselves, there are a lot of ways that can play out. In the best possible world, this means we are bringing forward the best and highest ideals we possess. The fear that it will not be this or that we are not good enough prevents us from expressing ourselves at all. When we don’t express ourselves, there are only really negative ramifications for ourselves, our organizations and ultimately the whole of society itself. This session was jammed full of encouragement and I think anyone who is in their heads around getting their voice heard would be uplifted in seeing this on WordPress.tv.

Raw Notes:
THink about biz same a speople
blog of energy and ideas
moves into a physical manifestation
german word – being, existence and also being with (both at the same time)
Are you open to feedback
periods of ideation and periods of feedback
as an individual, expression is an act of bravery
everything exposes you as you push out the ideas
Imposter Symdrome – “I’m not good enough”
don’t drop things you love because you are not a pro
don’t stop doing art or sports or anything because you can’t compete and have monitary value
for a society expression of the community is important
drives innovation and understanding
The Value of art thinking
orgaizational level
imagination game (or vizualization)
Empathy Mapping
Contextual immersion
Emotional method acting
point is to get to a point where ou really understand
individual level
Asks + Gives
“What if instead of using our jobs to pay for our lives, we use our work to express the highest part of our being”

Contributor Day

I LOVE contributing to the WordPress project. I cherish any chance to sit together to hack on making the code better, the docs more readable, and all the other small improvements that add up to a better ecosystem. At first I was a bit sad that there wasn’t one planned on the official schedule. Then I had a conversation with Aaron Campbell, who is lead for the security team, and we concluded there should still be some kind of contributor get together. We talked over options with some locals and set our sights on Cartel Coffee Lab as a location for Sunday morning. Without a lot of fuss we got more than a dozen folks to swing through throughout the morning. I was very proud to onboard a new person into Slack and help her find her team. I personally got to lend a hand on some serious work done on a project to help with onboarding for core contributors new to Trac. Could not have done this alone and I am super glad to be part of a global team that feels as strongly about this whole Free and Open Source Software thing as I do.

Wrapping up

If I had to compress my feeling into a single sentence: “It was a blast!” So many amazing people and so many meaningful conversations. That last part, the conversations that come from just being in between sessions, what some people call the ‘hallway track’, might just be the most valuable part of this or any camp. THe connections we make go well beyond the professional and I feel I am walking away knowing family members I had just not yet met. It makes me a little sad that they held this event in February since it will be a whole other year more before WordCamp Phoenix 2019!

WordCamp Albuquerque 2018: Seeing my first show of the year and a coin flip to decide on a workflow

When you tell people you are going to The Duke City, they have a lot of various things to say about the food, the culture and about hot air balloons. The one thing no one ever mentioned to me was that the city has an altitude higher than Denver, sitting at 5,312 feet. I discovered this fact when I first arrived at my hotel and felt a bit dry and a tad light headed, as if I was experiencing a touch of altitude sickness. Google confirmed my suspicion, and I felt a lot better after a brief rest and a few glasses of water. Happy to report this was literally the worst thing that happened to me the entire trip as I entered the new year of travel season by participating in an amazing WordCamp Albuquerque 2018!

Food and Fun

Speaker Dinner

As per the norm, kicking things off proper for the camp for me was the speaker dinner. We got a special treat by going to the largest restaurant in the whole are, El Pinto. It is less a restaurant than a gigantic adobe compound that serves authentic New Mexican cuisine. WE had chips, salsa, guacamole and margaritas as we gathered and chatted together, organizer and speaker and sponsor alike. Then a buffet line opened for us and we had a sampling of their finest popular dishes. The corn salsa was the best thing I had and if I ever get back to this city I am for sure going to return just for a pile of that wonderful stuff. Time goes by quick when you are really enjoying yourself and what felt like mere moments after I arrived we had to end the night. Special props to the kindness of Nathan Ingram for giving me a lift home. Along the way we checked out a potential, but not great and will remain nameless here, WCKaraoke spot.

Unfortunately I can’t find a picture on twitter of this event, so here is a nice representational tweet:


Albuquerque is home to Prosum Coffee Roasters. This roaster, who strives for working directly with farmers and prides itself on sustainability, is a good solid few steps above Starbucks consistently burnt offering and a lightyear beyond some conference catering options. Snacks were around but I didn’t partake of anything but a few peanut putter filled pretzel bites.


I have a love/hate relationship with food trucks. On the one hand I love how the restaurant comes to you and in the case of WordCamp for Publishers in Denver where a food truck festival was going on across the street, the lines were short and service speedy. On the other hand if you have too few trucks offering too many things, the the queue gets very long and lunch becomes an ordeal. I am happy to say that this camp fell in the upper quadrant of my the food truck experiences. There were 2 trucks from The Treet Food Institute, each only offered 2 or 3 options, which they were able to speedily crank out and managed to get us all fed with plenty of time to spare. I had the vegetarian tacos without the cheese and they were spectacular and gloriously spicy.

At one point about half way through service a third truck showed up from PopFizz, with gourmet popsicles and homemade choco-tacos featuring inventive creations and flavor combinations. I had a pineapple habanero pop that was at first perfectly sweet, chased by an intense burning heat that made you want to take another bite of the frozen treat.

After Party

You can’t have a WordCamp without an after party and the organizers delivered a good time at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Grand Hall. Drink tickets and cash bar accompanied spring rolls and meatballs. I even found a free book bin making me wish I could read Spanish better, some of those titles looked interesting. All too soon we got swept out the venue and a couple of us ended up at some Karaoke and got to see the end of a UFC event at Punky’s Place inside Silva Lanes


Foundation Day:
I was not there for this. I flew in that day and set up the sponsor booth. Twitter was a blaze with positive comments and I was told over 100 people were there to learn some WP basics in this single track workshop series. I love that these days are filling up at camps, a good sign for our future.

Cain & Obenland In The Morning
Konstantin Obenland
Michael Cain

If you like wacky morning talk shows and like WordCamps, then this is literally what this is. Check out their site. Always a good time, we get insights into the world of WordPress not only from our talented and very knowledgeable hosts, but also from a variety of guests. This time around I walked in the room in time to see Mendel Kurland of Camp.press and Hiking with Geeks and also works for some web hosting company.
If you have never witnessed the zaniness in person, fear not, it is on WordPress.tv.

Raw Notes:
Came in late due to booth duties
Mendel Kurland special guest
Just a fun time
interview poked some loving fun at Mendel
Q- how has GoDaddy been adapting to be better at WP
A – Aaron Campbell hire, sending employees better in the community
intensely important ways, hiring contributors, and be with the community
level up the community
A lot of small companies do business with small dev shops, decided to important to support that group of devs, make their experience better, that is GoDaddy Pro
global sponsor as well
Been to over 100 camps
Q-advice for new campers
A-keep yourself open to conversations and learning, asssume everyone else is open to this as well
Q-favorite parts of WC
A-until now, the cain and obenland show, but being a guest is terrifying 🙂
Plug for camp.press
Last section
less than 1/3 of room had heard of it
New Core Default Editor in 5.0
JS based editor
Blocks, and blocks, and blocks
unify all the various contents into blocks
lot of bugs now, but working out
no more post types, widgets, etc
One thing different than short codes- blocks can have prompts, no longer have to fully know how to use, prompts guide now
Does the dirty work for you
lot of default blocks but many more being built
one day will get rid of sidebar and widgets and short codes
custom functionality from plugins
Gutes demo
pre-gutes theme?
works out of the box but not fully using it properly though
New themes will be more and more themes to leverage this soon

Using Arrays as Plugin Variables … Or Why I Should Patch Core
Brian Stinar

This was a brief talk but super dense. Basically, ‘what if you build a form that lets people populate a bunch of WP-CLI and other script calls that create custom sites on demand?’ Well, the answer turns out is, yep, that works very well! Thanks to the stability and predictability of the CLIs, you can do ‘boilerplate’ type scaffolding without the overhead of having the unneeded parts of those templates. For sure check out his project on Github.

Raw Notes:
Created a site from a form
how did this happen
custom code in there too
lots of boilerplate approach?
lot of decisions and clunky like that
used 100% JS to invoke enque hooks
super fast and reliable
Code under GitHub
100% Gravity Forms dependent right now
could hook in others

John Maeda

I first heard John speak at WordCamp Boston last year and it stood out among keynotes as more of an inspiring conversations I have every heard with the community. Rather than a lecture about generally why we need not worry about the future of the project, John took questions, submitted on paper, mostly anonymously, during the talk and answered our concerns directly. It set him apart as someone who really honestly cares about us succeeding as a community. When I found out he was the Keynote here I was overjoyed. The talk centered on one of my favorite philosophical points of FOSS, The Cathedral and The Bazaar, which I firmly believe should be required reading in our schools. He ended with a teaser to the forthcoming “project Muriel” shift in how Automattic and hopefully the rest of the WP world starts thinking about user journeys. No link to anything exists yet, but the tweet below sum it up.

Raw Notes:
Student of change
Gave us all his cell # to text him questions throughout the event
People are not ready to change until there is provable reason to make things better
Give space for emotion
why are Automattic folks making clever “cheshire wapuu” shirts?
Need an emotional tie in to the community and people
Mind the mobile
one big issue, stuck int he desktop world
trying to solve mobile issues from the desktop, everyone is mainly using phones
The net used to be super locked down
confined and complex
First military
then academia
in 2008
when smartphones got traction then everyone had access to that information network
devs trying to free this network stack
no single mind could understand, but the chaos was interesting
one MIT network was in fact called Chaos Network
it will continue to be decentralized and complex
anything around for a long while, you get tech debt
London water system loses 40% along the way
Internet is different
Cathedral and the Bazaar
why did linux win, why did open source win
because it is too complex to understand as a single person, but as a group, we can make it together
WP is canonical dev approaches to SW
people that fill in that gap make it all work because we are working with everyone’s best interest in mind
Bazaar is messy and emergent
Cathedral is top down and controlled
companies firmly believe in the cathedral, boss’s boss oks changes
before 2008 not as many computers, because of smart phones, everyone gets access
bazaar makes most sense, the experience gets better faster
solving end user problems not just dev and intended specific user problems
Design by committee has issues and compromise
realizing that you have to be good for specific segments and do that instead of everyone really
Theory: Google is really, really good design
WP used to be the best at design
we need to reawaken that potential
WordPress will be Good Design For All
working on how to make this happen as a community
Why? The parts are good
VR and Voice are already usable with WP
already there, programming by Alexa voice commands possible
devs love new technology
Issue is sometimes we are not solving for tomorrow, just today
AARP realized years ago that the way people aging and how old they were getting changed
We need human “wow”!
how does Open Web survive? Needs to for all freedom for all
lot of things were not designed for people, but for technologists
how to improve? Project Muriel.
how to make products more inclusive and emotional and delightful but data driven
best practice standards for using in your cathedral approach projects
lets just talk SW
focus on the Strength Weakness
Hard to know who to design for

Chris Lema Interview: Ashleigh Axios
Ashleigh Axios
Chris Lema

If you know anything about Chris it is likely that he likes cigars, wears a hat a lot, and is an awesome blogger. What I had not really realized until this camp was how good of an interviewer he is. The difference between a bad interview and a good interview, as explained by Nardwar, is research and preparation. The way he lead this conversation made it sound like he and Ashleigh were old colleagues sharing memories rather than a formal interview.
Ashleigh is a delightful human being with some fabulous stories about her time working with former president Barack Obama. From the time she helped him pick out his picture for twitter to the delight and surprise their whole team felt when Bill Clinton tweeted back at him for his first tweet. She also gave some amazing insight into design principals. This is going to be one of the ‘do not miss’ WordPress.tv selections for years to come.

Raw Notes:
We should ask what end users need, nobody thinks that is a bad idea
implementing that is hard
Sometimes government gets it right
how important precedent is, huge thing
policy precedent is an interesting thing, listen to your constituents
how policy is shaped
why not how policy is communicated
cultural changes are hard
How important is listening for inclusion
super important
must discover and create space for it, hard in a democracy
wethepeople platform took a lot of discovery
Base foundation is listening and intentionally allowing people to share
People already paying attention are already there
want to bring in other voices
Issue with “won’t Fix” status
makes it less inclusive in WP
non-accepted code submissions make it geel isolated and not growing community
need to get out of the internal bubble mindset
always a learning curve, how to we manage that
Why WordPress and Automattic?
Based on the time of recognizing tech community importance
democratizing to give people better voice
need people sharing voices and engaging in new dialog
can’t guarantee that people will stick around, need tools to bring in new people
any change happens from community driven
lot of commonality with the way people think about it
better civic dialog inside
need to do this across the internet, communities,
that is why WP is important, 29% and growing
What did you take away from your experience in design school?
can’t grow if you don’t learn
must have mechanisms to hold lessons dear and learn from them
Tips on doing more reflection:
Document along the way no matter how informal
think about why you are doing thing and answer these questions in docs
as you learn and adjust and get new data, you can better track momentum
at first feels silly, but over time pays off huge
Makes teams more focused and when new ideas come through you can better vet them
Community and conversations are a big deal
one of the ways they started to battle pay discrimination was trying to shift the firewall of people discussing compensation
Having open dialogs are the key to so many things

My Session:

WP-CLI: Don’t Fear the Command Line
Slides and such

I LOVE giving this talk. Had a full room and some amazing feedback. Thanks to all who came out. Only issue is I ran the heck out of time. Only 30 minutes total, including Q&A, just not long enough. I am in the midst of rewriting it for WordCamp Miami. Can’t wait to unveil the 2.0 version!

Help! There’s Too Much Spaghetti in My APIs
Dennis Snell

I went in expecting a talk about spaghetti code, which is far less delicious than it sounds but leads to exponentially more stomach aches. Instead I walked away with a brand new appreciation for how we can, and likely should, be thinking about the REST API. When you get down to it, the internet is not about the images or words themselves, but about how we are using them. Clicking, pointing, dragging, filling in forms, etc. These ‘events’ make much more sense to design around rather than the ‘objects’ involved in the transaction. Instead of checking for the states of every object, let’s just design states that include those objects. Literally flipping the issue on it’s head but to much cleaner scenarios with far fewer lines of interdependent code. If you are writing for APIs this is an interesting topic to bring up with developers, designers and clients alike, since they can all explain what they want to do.

Raw Notes:
REST API, why is it important and what we need to do
We have done a good job of building posts and users and such in REST
Object vs action
things vs actions
API is easy for a post, a thing
but harder for submitting a post, doing a thing
let’s talk about processes
processes that do stuff, that can fail, that can do all sorts of things
Hypothetical Post Content Analyzer plugin
analyze writing and provide feedback
premium suggests images
What happens when something changes when calls are made,
move back to free, server dies,
Let’s talk about State Machines
State machine API approach
state = await fetch{…
gets a single type of data
return JSON
with state specific data, time, inactive, complete, alerts, finshedAt
Lot of data
Waiting -> processing <-> complete | inactive
modeling processing let’s us abstract into discreet semantic units
each has properties that only exist in that form
jump between states but only along certain business rules you can define
await and then return
if refresh page while submitting, causes error
in state machine, no longer a user interface dependent on browser,
UI updates not because of transition but because of the status that gets pulled
easier to translate what you want to do to developers
describing states is better than describing objects
no need to check 100 different places in JS, just one
list of endpoints needed to know them all
with state it needs a lot less
no duplication, all logic from one spot
Encourage writing in a more modular way
In many cases inactive states, error states, issues, live on their own
helps to write code consistently with the browser
API becoming hollow shells

Design Patterns with Advanced Custom Fields and WordPress
Daniel Schutzsmith

My one and only gripe with this, or any talk of the day, is the name. If there is an award for mislabeled talks, this might be the all time winner. If he had called it what it really was “How Amnesty International US became more usable with Atomic Design Principals” (or something like that) that room, even though the last talk of the day, would have been overflowing I think. I love me a good case study, because it is literally the story of how tech was applied. Getting to see the journey he took as a designer and developer from the old way to the new approach taught me so much in such a short time. In fact, my notes are so short here only because a couple times I caught myself straining my eyes at the projector screen while my brain was wrapping itself around the design principals he was explaining and I was grasping for the first time.
Do not miss this one once posted on WordPress.tv! If there was a better way to end a full day of sessions, I have not attended it yet.

Raw Notes:
Starting with a case study of the Amnesty international rebuild
that story, where do we start
Looked at what worked and did not
looked for similar design studios
just happened to be next store to Amnesty in NYC
ethos was good
both refugees and REALLY good at design
focused on transformations for orgs
Watched users through GA and heat maps
found only 15% bounce rate
about us and careers were a surprise thing a lot of people clicked on
used HotJar
smiley face message box at bottom of the page to communicate with design team, cool HotJar feature
Need to A/B test
Reasons for a design system
Support brand
Naturally agile
ease of use
design agile
very quick iterations
administrators need a better experience
specific places to put images, makes like more manageable very quickly
ATOMIC design
Atoms, Molecules, Organisms, Templates, Pages
visual ways to show content
Creating mobile app example
Bootstrap 4
devs hate it, but design it makes alot of sense, one common core system to work with
reusable and contrib to a single system
no matter the vendor
Had to look at global brand and what to adhere to
the Big Yellow Book
all the branding guidelines for all sites in the world for Amnesty
Used modules (not Drupal, though it was on D6)
really chunks of design
end results were easier to reach since modules laid most of work outline
just slot in proper stile

Contributor Day

About 25 people gathered for Contributor Day on Sunday. It was held at a different location, the FatPipe AQB co-working space. Very roomy. Had awesome coffee and leftovers from the after party as well as some of the snacky foods left over from the camp. It was great to see a few new people get onboarded and brought up to speed with how to contribute. Since my focus in on the Marketing team, that is where I got to contribute.
Here is the write up I did for the Marketing team:

Marketing Team Contributor Day Recap from WC ABQ
Team members present:
@mcdwayne, @Kitty, @angela, @heatherm

The main focus for the camp was working on:
“Navigating Trac guide for new people core.trac.wordpress.org”

@mcdwayne and @Kitty took on the task of turning @flixos90’s presentation of beginning use of Trac into a Google Doc:

Meanwhile @angela attended the ‘getting started as a core contributor’ session. and took notes of the general overview she received for Trac:

@Kitty worked out an outline for a new user guide, including minimum criteria for the intended guide user, which was discussed in depth by the rest of the team over lunch, resulting in this document:

After debating the merits and disadvantages of a single doc for both outline and draft vs using a second dedicated doc for the drafting of the guide itself, only to find ourselves equally divided on preferred approach, we flipped a coin and went with the 2 document approach. Draft is here:

Wrapping Up

This was a heck of a great way to kick off the year. The sessions were incredible and the people of the SouthWest are always so nice. Shaking off the rust of writing this blog after about a month off felt good but also took me longer to publish than I intended. Reminding me that I only have so much time and can only get so many things done.

I am very much looking forward to 2018 and I can’t think of a better way to have kicked it all off. This was my first time in New Mexico but I sure hope it is not my last. At a minimum I hope I can return next year for the all the fun and excitement for what will be a bigger WordCamp Albuquerque 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.


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.


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.


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:
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
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
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!