WordCamp Sacramento 2019: Enjoying the culture of downtown Roseville and dealing with the terrible traffic to get there

Every year I drive to one and only one event from San Francisco and that is in the drive to River City. And every year I am reminded why I don’t drive in the Bay area. Leaving at 1:00pm I thought would let me beat traffic, but I didn’t account for the largest student strike for environmental rights ever put together messing with San Francisco traffic. Long painful story short, it was 4 hours of driving to go the 106 miles from my house to the venue. Fortunately that was the worst part of the weekend as I had a fantastic time once I got there for WordCamp Sacramento 2019.

Food and Fun


Friday night the speakers, organizers and volunteers gathered at Siino’s over in Lincoln, CA. Only the salad didn’t contain dairy unfortunately but the drinks were comped. More importantly, it was the chance to see old friends and meet some new ones.

At some point I brought up the idea of bowling as the dinner was ending and a small group of us ended up at AMF Rocklin Lanes. This is the classic family bowling alley you can take everyone to at random on a Saturday and get a lane, play some video games and try your luck with the claw machines. A pretty epic time where everyone got to participate!


In addition to the coffee and tea you would expect, there was also iced tea and ‘spa water’ available to combat the dry heat of the Sacramento area. WordCamp Sacramento is well known for having an abundance of snacks at every table in sight. From Corn Nuts to Nerds and Laffy Taffy to Oreo Minis, there was no reason anyone would be in want of a snack the whole time. If there is a downside is that by the end of the say everyone has a sugar crash. If I am being completely forthcoming here though, I left the event with enough pilfered candy to last through the end of the year.

While I was a little let down by the lack of vegan options at the speaker dinner, the camp more than makes up for it at lunch but having food trucks that can cater to any and all dietary needs. There is even a whole post to prep attendees on what to expect so they can plan appropriately. This should be the model all camps adopt in my opinion. Well done.

Another thing that is fairly unique to this event, and that is the lack of a formal off site After Party. Instead, they have a networking reception immediately following the last session. I am always torn on this approach but I do really like the inclusiveness of it. There is no alcohol provided which is good for a number of reasons, but it makes some folks desire to go find a drink elsewhere sooner than later, but it alleviates the issue of encouraging drivers to have a drink at all. The appetizer and dessert spread was pretty alright, with 3 types of hummus.


Of course, dinner called us out of there sooner than later and I got a few other plant based food enthusiasts to go have a very colorful meal at the local vegan specialty shop Zest Vegan Kitchen. There were no boozy drinks, but awesome tea and kombucha. Later in the evening some of us found our way to the downtown Roseville area but no more will be said about that here.


Sunday met us with more of the same beverage service. A later start to the day, where the first session was not until 11:00am, meant there was no lunch, but there was an official snack break. Of course the snacks flowed all day long on the tables as well. I am kinda glad that not all camps give so much candy to be honest. It makes WordCamp Sacramento kinda like Halloween where it is OK to have so many sweets.


Opening Remarks

eCommerce: What Do You Start With? Audience, Products, Store?
Chris Lema

I have had the pleasure of hearing and reporting on Chris’s talks many times now and almost all of the talks he gives start out in the middle of a story for dramatic effect. This one had a much more traditional agenda laid out as this was a much more methodical ‘how to’ with some very thorough concept explanations. I learn something from every talk but this game me a new perspective on how online stores can be started that I had not considered before. When this one hits WordPress.tv I can imagine it being one of his most watched bits of content.

Raw Notes:
No right approach
most common is make product first
Historicaly Cost Plus model is what people use to
makes knowing price and costs easy to understand
THe challenge with being product-centric is that its hard to know when you are actually done
and mot people don’t start their marketig until the product is done
Mexico vs Brazil cell phone story from his dad
simple tech issue, but they sccrambled to remarket to Brazil
Other challenge with product-centric is the you can end up building what is possible to build
but that may not be what people want or need
If you have a team of folks who can build stuff, it may be a perfectly fine route to take
in recent years, there has been antoher strategy
Audience-first approach
when you have an audience already established, it’s easy to sell stuff to them
challenge is nothing is immediate
it takes to build an audience from scratch and there are not garauntees it wil work
Anh you have to have content marketing chops
you need to quickly evelop and it takes time
expensive and long game
if you already have a team who can create content this strategy may be the perfect way to move things forward with an audience-first approach
story of rainmaker platform
handful of affilate sales, Chris was one of those
the money was crazy good
There is a third approach
most people don’t talk about it
a Store
validation up front
take pre-orders
collect cash up front and validate concept in one shot
challenge is if marketing copywriting isn’t perfect, can seem like a rip off
nobody likes that
story of buying a video series that got cancelled, felt ripped off
best thing about a store first approach is that is can be a middle of the road approach
strategy, Resources, Risk, Benefits, Watch-out for,
product first
Development, developer, build the wrong thing, pricing and marketing, featuritis
Audience First
strategy, creative and writers
loe ROI/Cancellation, On-Launch-cash infusion, giving away everything
Store Fitst
pre-orders, Marketing, Audice Blowback, need is validated quicky,spending too much

My Talk

Bash Is Magic # No It’s Not

As I am winding down the year and am about to remove this talk from the repository of talks I submit everywhere, I am becoming more grateful for the opportunity I have had to learn Bash as deeply as I have. Knowing that I can literally make anything happen on my computer with a little logic in a script makes me feel like I can take on the world sometimes, especially when I feel like so many other bits are out of control. Getting to share my love of this tooling has been the best experience I have had so far as a speaker and I am so glad to everyone that has come to see this talk.

Speed Networking: Meet Other WordCampers And Grow Your Network

Another amazing thing that happens at this camp is the formal ‘speed networking’ session where we break the room into circles of no more than 10 people, then each person gets 1 minute to explain the following points:

  1. Your Name.
  2. Business Name.
  3. Who You Serve.
  4. What You Do.
  5. What You Need.
    Want to get good at pitching your company? This is a great way to lean to do it quickly and succinctly. I highly recommend you try this at any event you throw in the future.

Getting Into Position Zero: How To Leverage Content To Rise Above The Competition
Lindsay Halsey

There are not enough lind words to say about Lindsay as a person. Also, I am having issue with compacting my praise of this talk into a few sentences. Hearing so much practical information delivered so quickly and with such conviction, earned from real world experience, is just delightful. It has made me reconsider how I deliver blogs and content overall moving ahead. I had not considered the approach of being the featured snippet as something I could even attempt, but the SEO implications are just one of the benefits to this methodology. I need to do some serious work but the road ahead is much clearer now. This talk alone was worth the trip to this camp.

Raw Notes:
She works in SEO
heping people rank high in google
but it is possible to get to position zero
above the first free listing
featured snippet
content google extracts from site to google.com
format of the list view
parapgraph format
table format
it takes up a lot of space
now marketers and business seeing value
angling ot get into it
0 is the new number 1
why? increased engagement
clickt hroug hrate is quite high
establish brand expertise
position zero results are often used in voice search
11% os search results have a nippet and it is the first thing a lot of people clieck
how do I acheive position zero results?
it deos not matter where you are now, foundational building blocks
follow the process
ID keyword opportunties
create in depth content
publish on site SEO
amplify the content and SEO
1 ID keyword opportunity
Keywords that have a featured snippet
keyword you already rank for
if already on page 1, already on googles radar
why, what, when, who, was, how can is should which where are vs without will
asks google the topic
answer the public
qualitative keyword research
matrix of questions based on those starts
where to download WP themes for example
very specific peice of content to create
longform content
and art and a science in depth vs high level
2 In Depth Content for the win
that raises higher in the search if ou are not focused on a single content
share expertise
other people echo that the content is expert content – authority
business has trust, address on page
Sharing your expertise
longform cotent targets at least 2K words
unpack the topic
context is essential
outline, title
break the topic down into sections
what why where questions
if structure the framework, then google can extract value out about each component
context is king
put in 2 word phrase and image search
filters by other topic suggestions
words google already uses, take note for your writing
snippet bait
depends on your goal
1 Paragraph (81% of featured snippets): 40-60 word blok of content

  1. list 11% of featured snippets
  2. table is lowest
    3 Publish with good on-site SEO
    content right below the question
    making life super easy on the user
    don’t be a politician, yes or no in first sentence
    give the content right away
    elements on the web page helps search get content meaning
    titels tag anam meta
    who will win the click?
    ad tests
    sentence of content in link on search results
    that is meta
    Unique for all pages
    include a focus keyword
    title tags between 15 and 4o characters
    Meta descriptions in sentence formats
    think like a marketer, think about competition
    Structure via Headers
    H1 main title
    h2 what are wp themes
    snippet bait
    deep dive into answer with internal and external links
    snippet bait
    deep dive into answer with internal and external links
    recipe website
    alt text – more context about images for search results
    be descriptive
    avoid keyword stuffing
    explude ‘imageo of;
    buttons and icons use alt text
    Internal links
    spread ranking power throughout your site and show the search engine with pages are the most important
    Don’t forget Off-site SEO
    we used to be isolationist SEO folks
    expertiese authority and trust
    2 biggest area
    link building and social media
    rey on relationships
    build authority and trust bu getting your professional relationships to give you a high five online in the form of a social media share or even better a link
    deep link example
    tossing a link in the middle of content that links to articles
    collectively get all the network to rise
    How to I help my clients with Position 0?
    It starts with education
    Unpack an example within their industry
    work together on the first post
    get them excited about the results
    Can I really do this? YES!
    identify position 0 opps
    create in depth content
    link graph, internal links

Drip, Drip, Drip to Convert Website Leads to Sales
Amy Hall

I am not in a state where I want to leverage the drip campaign yet, but I fully plan to in a future endeavor soon. Seeing her clean layout of how a proper campaign should engage the prospect or customer was very helpful in visualizing the process. It also gave me some ideas on how to think about onboarding from the client perspective instead of things I as the vendor would want you to know or do. Providing value is challenging but is well rewarded when done correctly.

Raw Notes:
65% of business say generating traffic and leads is the biggest challenge
Drip campaign
series of emails automatically sent over time
every subscriber starts the campaign at email #1 and progresses though the campaign
object is to keep your name in front of your readers
one of the touches needed to get some one to buy
welcome campaigns
educate customer about your product
confirm appts or reservations
onboard new clients
she runs 4 to 10 email campaigns educate them
you have a captive audience in an onboarding process
96% of visitors who come to your website are not redy to buy yet
drip vs nurture campaign
sales campaign
a series of emails based on reads behaviour and automatically sent over time
each subscriber gers emails specifically created to walk them through the sales process
The object is to sell your products and services
answer their fears and apprehension
abandoned shopping carts
membership renewals
reminders to use a software or a service
re-engage with customers what arn’t opening or clicking on emails
Tha ability to segment emails lists and individualize email campaign messaging are the most effective personalization tactics – ascend2, 2016
Give people what they want when they want it
use segmentation to make it useful
personalize the emails with first names or Products preferences for better conversions
Transactional emails receive 8 times as many opens compared to regular marketing emails
plan your campaign
how any emails will you send?
what will you sell?
in what order?
whats the time frame?
what are your triggers?
what will success look like?
Easy drip campaign sequence example
groups and tags
group external organizationf ro your groups
pepole can pick waht groups to be in
only place subscriber can see what groups are is on subscription form
internal organizational method
you select these, subscribers never see these
activecampaign is #1 in deliverability
mailerlight is next
number 3 is constant contact
mailchimp is next in line
very small difference in deliverability
automated email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher…

Checking Under The Hood: Auditing Your Website For A Smooth Ride
AmyJune Hineline
Sean Dietrich

This was a methodical talk that walked people through a thorough approach to understanding the issues of a website, from a code and a content perspective. I think a lot of folks in the room were excepting a little more ‘use this plugin’ and less ‘look at the code’ but this is how the pros do it and I am glad this talk had a mostly full room. Also, there is no magic plugin for Accessibility, which was another focus of the session. Making sure that everyone can use your site is the goal and it is a good reminder it is a moving target that we all must do our best to hit.

Raw Notes:
39% of people disengage if not attractive layout
39% will stop engaging if images missing or take too long to load
When they get a new site, they audit it
preliminary checks
versions of things, top logged wrrors
healthcheck page
review modified files using WP-CLI
check for patch documentation
Examine the theme
file structure, organized
functionality tied to theme
a page builder in use?
flatt CSS, SASS, etc?
JS best practices?
Check SEO
Using stiemap?
Search Console
what is Pagespeed rank
Assess code quality
run custom plugins though PHP codesniffer
check for code comments
Review code for possible improvements
Read the docs
is there any documentation?
How does it get set up locally
what tools/dependencies are needed
Test your eccessibility
Ensure all users, regardless of abilities, can interacti in a meanigful way
Push the performance
review hosting and are they are on the right plan?
why design for A11y?
26% of people in the US live with a disability
KEyboard only nav
spik features in app?
Does keyboard focus work
images contain alt-text
are tables used for more than tabular data?
does the screen reader read all the content as presented on screen?
Can test be resized without obscuring any content
Landmark regions properly defined between Aria and HTML5
FIrst rule of Aria is avoid using Aria and do it natively in semantic HTML
Visual Needs
Motor needs
Auditory Needs
Cognative needs
Content is an important as code
Global stage
English is a privledge
Aim for 9th grade reading level
20 words per sentence and 5 sentences per paragraph
break up content bullet points and lists
captions, subtitles and alt-text
H1-H6 in order
Audits are important
audit consists
understand why users are using the site

The Power Of Recurring Income
Nathan Ingram

Nathan used to be a preacher and it shows up when he is fired up about a particular subject. He has this desire, really a passion, that everyone should be tapping into recurring revenue vs going after new business as the only way to feed yourself. It is downright inspiring. The analogy of Blockbuster vs Netflix model of repeat sale vs subscription really drove the whole point home to me. He even provides a free worksheet to figure out how to get on the recurring revenue train sooner than later. A lot of value in this talk.

Raw Notes:
— in the room about 5 minutes late —
“Recurring revenue is the foundation of a successful freelance business”
Is every dollar worth the same?
The more predictable the money is the more valuable it becomes
recurring is value
blockbuster vs Netflix
repeat sales vs recurring revenue
Car dealerships. How do they survive?
service department
GM autocredit is most profitable
carwashes even moved to this model
ore consistent revenue stabilize your finances
more profitable relationships positions you into a valued partner
How to create service for recurring revenue
Starting place is WP care plans
no reason not do do this
Hosting Services, why you should!
You control the environment
more productive and there are no surprises
You are leaving money on the table
every site needs it and you built the client relationships
it is better for your client
one contact, no blame game (they are going to call you anyway)
Not seting up the server rack yourself in the basement
Partner with a trusted web host that provides phenominal support
VPS/Dedicated or Managed WP
Offering WP Update Services
THis is a valuable service
Regular proactive updates
Compatibility issues
Use a centralized management dashbaord to update multiple sites simultaniously
automatically on a schedule
full site and easy restore
backups should be stored offiste in cloud storage
Offer security services
secure server
lets encrypt
WP Security plugins
creating other services
3 basic questions
what do my customers need?
What services cn I create to meet those needs
what resources do I need to perform those services
packet of worksheets
6 page booklet

Death Star Security: A Live Look At How Sites Are Hacked
Chris Teitzel

If there is a person with more experience or authority on certain aspects of security, I would love to meet them. Chris brings a lightheartedness to a very grave subject and makes it fun to learn terrifying truths. I will admit my notes are a little sparse on this one as I was busy trying out a few of the things he suggested we try out. This is one every singe person designing any kind of system should be made to watch a few times. There is no such thing as too much security know how.

Raw Notes:
How the rebels blow up your deathstar
3 things he built there
Storm Trooper
Customer Targeting
taking email and injecting in without sanitization
inherent trust in user input is DANGEROUS!
update uption email commander
you many forget where input comes from
using terms like blog_name and Remember Alderan
user add with admin priveldge
if you are not watching and these options get set
never assume users are limited to your inputs
DDOS DIstributed Denial of Service Attack
time intensive operations
Can exfitrate data on the screen or sessio cookies
trick user into action on a target site they are logged nto
CORS, don’t allow origins to come in unless I set them
nonces CSRF blockers
wp_nonce_url (acionurl, action, name)
easy to check them back
sanitize inputs
handle options with care
use PHP codesniffer to find errors
Highlights syntax errors and helps you writte better code
Viusalize insecure code

What Trying To Farm Taught Me About Open Source
Vasken Hauri

I wanted to go to this talk mostly because I was curious how he could tie mushroom farming into open source. What I left with was pure inspiration to go and tinker more and make software do what I want it do for my own needs. I also wasn’t aware of the new breed of smaller family farms that ae emerging to provide open source food for us. Seriously. The Monsanto corporation has copyright and patent on much of our food to the point it is an act of punk rebellion to feed ourself without their approvals. I have neve been more inspired to support local farmers more in my life as an expression of my love of Open Source tech. Plus Vasken gives a great history of how software went from open to closed to open again.

Raw Notes:
Things he cant farm
tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, squash, fruit trees, kale
things he can farm: Mushrooms!
2 restaurants as customers + farmers market
tech early days apple
Farming is doing something and not knowing if it worked or you messed up for months
Tech moves at a ridiculous speed
a lot of the same lessons
older industries like agriculture can tach us a lot about how things change
old school farming
plant seds
fence the plants, weed the weeds, chase off rabbits
save some of the seeds
graze the land
plant something new
repeat, over and over
lot of work
repetitive work, manual
no way to automate the whole process
we must innovate
scaling mechanically
tractor combine
more mecahnization
reduced labor
increased amount of land that can be farmed be one person
encouraged monocropping
chemical farming
reduced labor
enabled monocropping
replaced soil health with chemical inputs
old vs new way
larger farms
expensive inputs
perfect veggies with no gross bugs
kale 40 day growing cycle
20 types of pestiside on average kale
still a lot of work
smaller margins due to higher inpot costs
chemical pst and weed resistancce
infertile soild require more inputs
higher costs mean loans, debts, foreclosure
A killing season Monsanto be herbicide
resistant weeds
dicambra resistant soybeans
a lot of farms lost crops
escalated a fight to murder
but I’m at a WordCamp
back to history of computers
earliest computers
large mechanical problems
altair 8800 a few K of RAM to program
a few grand up front and royalty model
without basic you had no OS
copyright law was very vague in early days
“you are all theives’ Bill Gates to computer users
Apple vs Franklin Computer
binary code is not copywritable until this case in 1983
franklin orignally won
appeals court overturned and now software was copywrightable
7-8 years of locense gold rush
a lot of people got shut out
took a lot of people
they can’t just take your code and hide it
this made Linux possible
because people could build on and contribute to code
without people yanking it away with license
since 2005, 15,600 devs have contributed to Linux
As of February 2015
80% of Linux kernal devs are paid
Microsoft 144K employees
45% are engineers
a lot fo them now do work on OSS
closed source software
built for mass market bu a company looking to invest and targeting the largest possible market
by contrast
additive contrib is guaranteed not to be exploited
enables the hobbyist to become professional again
hog farmers run it through anaerobic digester to compress methane,run trucks and tractor
post modern farming
emphasis on high quality
smaller farms with less investments
more reliant on labor and expertiese
direct connection with consumer
more specialization
WP if free like the original seeds
OSS jobs exist becuase eople need specialized
Jobs building core
just like farming, OSS puts the calue back in you, the creative engineer, designer, strategist, and not n the software
starting in farming or OSS
try somethings and maybe fail
succeed at something
focus on that
optionally add more things

Wrapping Up

As I prepare to leave California for the next set of adventures elsewhere in the US, I find it fitting that WordCamp Sacramento is one of the last events I am going to do for the year. It is the closest camp I have to my own home city of SF, but it is far enough away that it feels alien every time I visit. I have no idea what the future holds exactly but I am grateful to each and every person I got to hang out with and who has supported me emotionally along this trek. I know I am far from perfect and I do try to improve everyday. No idea if I will ever again make that drive from SF to the central valley, but if I do I will be looking forward to another WordCamp Sacramento at the end of that drive.

WordCamp Sacramento: The time I didn’t have to fly or stay at a hotel to go to WordCamp

I spend a lot of time on the road going around the world to WordCamps and I make no secret that I love it. But I do wish that I had a hometown one. San Francisco last had a WordCamp in 2014, right before I got involved in the community. I am very fortunate that just 80 miles or so from my house though is one of the largest WordCamps in the West and they were more than happy to let me call it home for the weekend for WordCamp Sacramento.

As the title suggests, I did not have to make extensive travel plans. Instead I rented a car and called up my old buddy who lives downtown for a place to crash. It was pretty neat to be able to drive from the office to the camp straightaway. I realize that this is how most people, in general, experience getting to camp, but for me it was a novel thrill. Sacramento itself feels a lot like San Jose to me, to the point I called it SJ more than a few times. There is a pretty major revitalization going on in the downtown corridor where we were and we benefited from some pretty awesome restaurants as a result.

Food and Fun

Speaker Dinner

As with any good WordCamp, this one kicked off the night before day 1 with a speaker/sponsor dinner. We gathered at Hot Italian, which is home to one of the Big Ass Fans which used 75% less electricity to do the job of 38 fans! We had pizza, including gluten free and vegan varieties, and gelato or sorbettos. We were treated not only to good food but also some quality music from a local musician named Forest. It was great to see so many familiar faces and to meet to so many new friends. What a great way to kick of the camp.

Day 1

The coffee was OK as we starting things up. One of the unique things about this camp was the venue prohibited the event organizers form directly handing out food if it was not being served by the Conference Center catering service. To get around this ban, all the sponsor’s were given bowls of snacks and candy, refilled by the volunteers, so that all the attendees could get their cookies, energy bars, and oh so much candy without issue.
Lunch was served from three food trucks, for all 500 attendees. Sort of reminded me of the WCEU after party. The vegan options were supposed to include falafel, but they did not. I was able to get some vegan tacos, but I was very, very glad that the snack bowls contained Oreos and Nutter Butters to round out my meal.

After Party

The ‘after party’ for WCSacramento was a Networking Reception with tacos, chips and some agua frescas. It was awesome to connect with folks who were fresh out of sessions about what they learned while it was still totally fresh in their minds. Since the camp drew people from all over NorCal, it was an interesting but thoughtful choice to not have an afterparty that had no alcohol or made people kill time before an event at a separate venue. For sure not your typical after party, but was very inclusive and for that I applaud the effort.


Since the taco option was light and non-vegan friendly, I got together with one of our favorite #WPLife camp sponsors, SiteLock, to throw a little after party dinner. We went to Capitol Garage, which is a funky diner/cafe with a really choice vegan menu and plenty of other dietary options as well. We had a great time and as we celebrated a fantastic first day at camp.


Of course there was #WKaraoke as well. We went to The Distillery which I found out was just a clever name since they did not distill any alcohol there on premise. Fortunately for us they definitely sold it though.


I was not able to get a session submitted before the deadline for this camp. This meant more time for hallway track, Happiness Bar time and going to sessions. I didn’t actually get to as many sessions as I normally do at camps, but happy to share what I learned.

The Future: Why Open Matters
Aaron D. Campbell

Aaron is one one of my favorite speakers since he has a laid back style that puts the audience at ease. He picked a topic that is very near and dear to my heart but which can open up a whole can of worms in discussions. I have very good feelings about the future of Free and Open Source technology, but as he discussed there is a lot of work still to do. I was very happy he ended with some definite action items we can take back into our day to day lives. He even wrote a whole blog about this over at his site

Raw Notes:
QBasic Gorillas was his intro to open code
breaking it and shift-f5 to compile
1991 – Tim Berners Lee and Commercial Wed Consorstioum
12th Century
Bernard of Chartres – dwarves perched ont he shoulders of giants
Start by building on what was already there
Isaac Newton Paraphrased 1675
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants
Waitbutwhy website
growth of knowledge before language
how tribal knowledge works
pre-language was very slow
post-language amount of knowledge grew exponentially
The internet is the single most effective information sharing tool in all of history.
open systems have some dangers
Closed systems are owned by companies and they control the data
they will only do things that benefit them as a company, not really a bad thing
If don’t like it leave
Net Neutrality
closed systems sit on top of the web, Net Neutrality is really about the way the core of the internet works
lot of separate networks joined together, is basically how it still works
Let’s talk about the ideal, not the legislation
Treat all data the same
Historically sometimes common knowledge gets it wrong and only a small group gets it right early
if we don’t allow everyone the same voice online, can stop this from happening
taking away people’s right to make decisions by force is wrong, is it also just as bas to prevent them from learning a thing?
The internet is not the future
The internet sets us up for a better future
What can we do?
Use Open Platforms
spread the word – many people don’t know this is important, tell them
Vote – Be Informed
Vote with your $$$

Using WordPress As A Decoupled CMS For A Single Page Application
Treighton Mauldin

I always enjoy a talk on front end anything. This mostly is from my bewilderment at visual design. Learning how something is actually implemented demystifies this a bit and in a pleasurable to my brain kind of way. I especially love case studies where I can see actual real world results and peek at the code. This was a pretty good example of that and if you are thinking of building in React (or any other JS library) to work with the REST API I would for sure check this out for some best practices he learned from good ol’ trial and error.

The original stack
The issue – lot of bloated AJAX calls
Lot of load in and too many AJAX calls!
Fighting around the templates an issue
decided to build a developer specific single page
Used the Rest API
WordCamp Plug: session at 1:40 on REST API (from Andrew Taylor) for more on Rest API
He is not talking about REST API dev, just using it
React is all JS
ES6 syntax
just normal JS though
In REACT pass everything as props
map over them in an artifact component,
on individual article pages just pull in the content
Can server side render JS so it loads faster
Rest API lets you very quickly make ‘endpoints’
allows you to just get the info quickly, without pulling all the normal post metadata

Distribute Allthethings: WordPress And The Era Of Multiple Content Channels
Jake Goldman

This was the second time I had seen this talk, but Jake is a very good presenter and the ideas he laid out were so good I wanted to get a second dose to absorb more of what he was laying down. Very glad I did, as this was less geared to a publishing audience, as it was when he delivered it at WordCamp For Publishers and I could wrap my head around his overall point a little clearer. It is going to become even more critical in the near future to not tune your WP install for presenting to the browser faster and faster, but instead to be able to pipe out content via the REST API in a coherent and reliable fashion faster and faster. The future is very cached, very well organized and delivered very quickly.

Raw notes:
Distribute all the things,
big enough to conquer any problem, small enough to care
Why is this important?
10UP tells stories with digital media
thinking about how you telling their story
Traditional as well print and network news media
newer brands like the Oprah
Modern Digital First as well – 538
From their infrastructure to their audience and rev team, thinking that when the digital publishers succeed, they succeed.
Encyclypedias Britanica and Encarta
things changes underneath them
concepts of putting your content in multiple channels is not new
Associated Press, special access needed, lexus nexis and similar followed
Early was just another way relatively basic secondary channel
‘web specials’
email news distribution, RSS, WAP, low bandwidth
the App era started desktop channels
then RSS extends, XML RPC, JSON
not just platforms like iPhones, but accelerating with special platforms, like CRMs
interoperability is the key
roughly now
Jakes 2 axis paradigm for modern distribution channels
Axis 1
the open web has turned to crap and we can do better but same thing, (evolution)
A response to (revolutions)
Axis 2
open – different ways
constrained – best to let us control the content
as move from LL to UR
complexity increases but opportunity grows
this is not static, always shifting
newspapers changed the world, completely open when new
now pretty standard, not even really evolving
TV same thing
then the way things have been done
html5 represents web technologies
but not the future, iteration
Kindle tried
Apps thinks there is a lot of room in space for opportunity
youtube, constrained but right in between evolution and revolution
AR and VR is the most open right now, newest frontier, most complex though
where does the digital CMS fit in?
First web CMS as give requirements to devs, they build it
next build a text editor that does not need human element
the CMS as the hub of a multichannel strategy
next thing for CMS is to solve for this problems
MUST have a good writing experience for the CMS
Ecosystem of third party integrations
API and data accessibility
trend is only accelerating
and increasingly proprietary
ecosystem of integrations is even more important!
what does this mean for the future
review: yesterday solving for content creation, organization storage and presentation
channels pull out presentation layer
editors are pulling out the content creations
the future is very focused on storage and API and data accessibility
nobody really creates in the CMS directly anymore
as the channels converge in engagement levels, do we spend time in the CMS worrying about the final ‘design’ of content?
standardized template will be norm
1) presentation layer and content creation is less relevant, how to sort is more important
editorial UX is higher value than rendering
2) extensibility is vital
3) custom is crazy, economies of scale apply
these are vibrant in the ecosystem, many options!
watch for new announcement of tools from providers/companies like google
will mention WP a lot
4) Platform and content control is even more important
with private players competing to ‘own’ consumption, an open platform protects publishers from third party business interests and choices
(what would happen if Apple bought Medium)
Q&A: ultimately Gutenberg will be less relevant as we move away from content creation in the CMS
don’t fragment your channel unless segmentation is obviously a right move

Coding For The Masses
Justin Busa

Every now and again you come across a talk that you wish you had heard at least a year before and also wish that everyone who touches code had also heard. This is one such talk. If you are thinking of developing anything you are going to release out into the world, go watch this talk. There was so many good things on his slides, I didn’t capture them the best, go look at them here

Raw notes: (I stepped in a little late)
…Limit the frequency of large releases
minor releases, patch release
users want to update with confidence
pushing minor updates with more frequency and less content
don’t include too many releases in minor releases
do updates on Tuesday or Wednesday
Foster an ecosystem by providing APIs
Make docs available
write clean code thats easy to read and follow
Make your code base public and accept pull requests from others
Don’t pass the buck
New features
be selective with the features that you ass
build things that help solve your user needs
too many features can make a product hard to use
new features directly impact support
don;t add a feature just because someone else did

WordPress Performance – Foundation and Tactics
Matt Vanderpol

While some of talks I have seen focus on various plugin approaches or singular focus strategies such as caching, I really appreciated this talk because it took a much broader approach. He started out with a very interesting premise, that we can, in fact, create time. Not literally, but every millisecond we give back to our users when they are not awaiting our pages to load is the same as creating that time for them. He then went through many best practices to look at performance with development and testing tools, focusing mainly on his go to solution WebpageTest.org. Even though he focused through the lens of this tool, the larger patterns he discussed are just a best practice approach to tuning. Very glad this session exists. For sue check it out when it hits WordPress.tv

Raw notes:
Creating time, not for you, but for your users, not just better for your page rank, better for you users
Research for


Overview, perf-matters.squirrelwp.com/ as a Concrete example
rickety foundation means bad site
need good foundation
Fast web request components
fix different parts, need to understand them
Analytics is a good place to start
benchmark of where people are coming from, all the details effect performance
Lot of tools for this, like Pingdom, Google Pagespeed, etc
problems on these tools
a single set of heuristics,
gives you a score which may or may not represent website performance
WebpageTest.org is the one he likes best, using it for this presentation
he thinks it is best because:
1) real world test
2) actual devices used
3) Change parameters, like locations, what kind of network, types of networks, etc tailored to your real analytics, first view only or repeat to test caching
4) film strip output, frame by frame breakdown
5) Test history
you can run your own private instance if you want
it is a free service, you will likely be in a queue
hard to quantify a score, does not give a one true score
Now, looking at WPT output to see how and what to fix
some scores
some metrics 1000 is the minimum, this is not really time, but close
waterfall chart is the key output
content breakdown, everything that is not html
image analysis – taking it with a grain of salt, resolution not certain
always double check your analytics for tuning to your real users
Waterfall – graphical representation of all events that it takes to display a web page
Vertical lines are events
after DOM is loaded then JS starts churning
DOM = document object model
events – window.load and width of vertical line where it starts and how long it took
JS execution length is important to note
A good recommendation is run a test on the theme demo site when selecting themes
Time ti first byte TTFB
this is time for browser to make request, resolve DNS, transfer HTML to browser, first byte hits that is TTFB
caching fill make this fast after this point
cache later in process, it can obscure other data points when you are tuning
static content not cached
may be difficult to
(most of room not using a CDN in any way, 1/2 knew what it was)
long waterfall example
This is best way to keep checking if changes makes impact
Optimizing images will speed things up
should be optimizing your images
bigger issue is content images
concatenate resources, might not always speed things up, good case for checking with waterfall
page cache with WPRocket does a lot of other things like concat resourced automatically
browser can not do anything until it gets the HTML, best interest to get all the HTML as small as you can
CDN – he likes KeyCDN and Cloudflare
browser caching
lazy load images
http/2 – very common now, allows parallelism, multiple JS files can be loaded in parallel
Summary – analyze, fix, test, tweak, test

Demystifying WordPress Multisite: When Is Multisite A Good Choice And When Is It Not?
Mike Fitzpatrick

Working where I do, we have a pretty specific view of WordPress Site Networks, also called Multisite. I was very curious about a couple things. Mainly, how this approach is seen by industry professionals who use it and more importantly, what use cases they think it is a good fit for and which are a ‘never do this’. I was very happy to hear the way Mike described it was very much in line with how I have been thinking about it already. Basically there is a use case where all the sites have the exact same code every single time, no exceptions. At Pantheon further think that scale is also a real consideration and under a certain size a network does not make as much sense as a common upstream and automation strategy around updates. I left with a much richer understanding of this approach and feel I can have better conversations moving ahead.

Raw notes:
First 15 sites on MultiSite right after it made it into core
very opinionated talk on what he will and not do with WP-multisite
should you use it or not
1/3 of room has used MultiSite
Don’t use MS if…
too many plugins
350 car dealers on single MS – individual plugins on each site, test bed
200 plugins at one point, a mess
nightmare to administer
make it for one use case and one use case only
this is why WP.com is only for blogs
Do use it when you have a silo-ed use case and want to have repeatable sites creation process and management
more time to deliver functionality, easier to scale within silo
trade offs: with their use case each new functionality they wanted would spin out site into its own site, charge for it, then manage one off as a separate site
domain structure
Subdomain vs path based
he has never found a reason to use folder/subdirectory path, he always used subdomains
actively have to research and pick your path
Setting up MS
deactivate all plugins
add MS in core, wp-config
adds network setup under tools
install gives you code to copy/paste into wp-config and htaccess file
point domains
going to need to put a way to add a way for wildcarding to work, have to do it under subdomains
Roles within Multisite
car dealer is the typical client, they will break things if you give them the chance
give people the least amount of access possible to begin with and let them ask for more
super-admin role is unique to MS
give roles some serious thought
2 ways to deal with Plugins
network activate
or not
There are some reasons to not network activate, for example , slider plugin if you change on one site can be added to all of them, make sure you are sure if multisite compatible
other reason to not network activate is if you are looking to monetize
want to charge more for plugin/functionality, do it on a per request
or use plugins that allow for pay path to get the functionality
admin plugins
which plugins are activated on which sites
site creation plugins
backup plugins
network or individual sites
Anti-splog (name of a plugin to prevent bots from building fake sites)
monetize plugins
charge for functionality, etc.
Ect, ect
add on new user
Admin menu pro
new blog templates
Domain Mapping – abc.com – 123.abc.com – want to point jsmith.com – when request jsmith.com directs to 123.abc.com
Snapshot WPMU dev
backup individual sites
shared hosting – hostgator (ewwww)
reseller perspective – really quick to pick up sites that fall over, shared hosting isn’t that bad
from a cost perspective – make sure one install is one MS, WPEngine works this way
WPE is shared hosting on basic packages, but offers Dedicated solutions

Speed Networking

One of the sessions I attended where I took no public sharable notes was the ‘speed networking event’. We split into groups of 10 and had a minute each to tell everyone who we were and why we were at camp. I loved getting to hear so many diverse reasons and from people at all stages of their WP path. Really a terrific idea for any camp, easy to organize and let us network in a structured manor that I think was less intimidating that the classic ‘throw everyone in a room, give them food and hope for the best’ approach so many networking events I have attended use.
Here is how they described it:
Don’t worry if you’re an introvert… We’ve got you covered! This is a structured session with facilitated networking, which means you’re not just going to be wandering around introducing yourself to people, feeling awkward, or wondering if you’re interrupting a conversation. Instead, you’ll be following a system that we provide so you can confidently speak about what you do and what you need and look like the pro you are.

Wrapping Up

I do hope that there is a WordCamp San Francisco again one day, sooner than later, but for now I feel I got my ‘home region’ WordCamp itch scratched. It was great to see so many folks I recognized from the WP-SFO meetup at the camp. I also really appreciate the sheer number of brand new to WP folks that showed up, it felt like over half the camp was there learning about WordPress for the first time. This is exciting since it means we are growing as a community. There is a lot to do and if we have a lot of new hands on board constantly we will make lighter work of these challenges in good time. While I can not say I was a huge fan of the drive back and forth and I did miss my United Club lounge visit I normally get to experience on these trips, I can say with absolute certainty that I had a blast at WordCamp Sacramento and can’t wait till next year!
Also, I will make sure I watch the deadline for speaker submissions a little closer 😉