WordCamp Denver 2018: In which I learned a lot while preparing to teach something and I talked very fast

Somehow City of the Plains
feels relatively local to me, even though it is 2 full hours in the air to get to and from this high altitude city. Compared to placed like Belgrade or Boston that is basically no real travel time. There are also a lot of similarities between my part of California and that part of Colorado, with all the natural history and airport way outside the downtown area. I was not there for the great outdoors or to sneak into the Underground Music Festival. I got to return to this gem of the West to rejoice with my fellow WordPress community together in person at WordCamp Denver 2018

Food and Fun

Speaker Dinner

No WordCamp would be complete without the speakers, sponsors and organizers getting together for a little celebration for making the whole thing happen. We are all volunteers in this, even those of us who are paid by companies to represent those companies, we still are giving up our weekends and nights and mental energy to make sure the camps happen. It takes a lot of work to organize one of these things, so having a special event where we just celebrate that fact is always a positive experience. This time around we went up to Blackbird Public House for some pizza and craft beverages. Such a great time was had an a new hashtag was born!

Day 1

This camp has a notably later start time, with registration not even starting until 9:00 am, a full hour later than most camps. This meant I could sleep a touch longer and enjoy some coffee before I left the hotel. I gotta say this time around the percolated stuff the volunteers made was superior to the hotel coffee, not an often repeated feat. Candy and snacks flowed throughout the day, thanks in part to the GreenGeeks crew bringing more candy than is healthy for a conference 5 times the size of this one. Lunch was OK. Sandwiches and chips and such.

Sticker Giant’s World Record Sticker Ball

Sticker Giant not only supported this camp by donating lots of awesome stickers, which they do for many a camp, but this time they rolled out the big one! They hold the Guinness World Record for the Largest Ball of Stickers ever!. Coming into the environments at around 231lbs we got to add to it at the event in what was on the schedule as a Goofy Activity. People had a blast adding a whole new layer devoted to the WordPress space. It was a treat to get to help make a record even better.

Dinner and After Party

There has been a noticeable increase in the last couple years of plant based food fans or at least people willing to give it a whirl. Every time I have gone to Denver since making the switch myself, I have been encouraged to go to Watercourse Foods and now I know why. Some of the best prepared and thought through 100% vegan cuisine I have yet to experience. Some of us gathered for a pre-party meal to make sure we had a full stomach before heading to the after party and drinking the wonderful concoctions brewed up by the fine folks at Fermaentra Tap Room. Nothing against their beers, but the real star of their menu had to be the kombucha. Several folks who have never tried it before and folks like me who were so-so on the beverage, were utterly delighted by this bright, refreshing citrusy goodness that they poured. Good job for selecting this sopt and great job to the brewers! Just to not it down, an attempt at WCKaraoke was made over at Ogden Street South, but the evening got away from us before we could make a real collective go of it.

Day 2

The second day was all Workshops. A portion of the previous day’s attendees returned to learn things like SEO and WP-CLI (which I was teaching, more on that later). We were met with coffee and pretty great breakfast burritos, which is one of my favorite breakfast options. The vegan option had corn and mushrooms and I think broccoli. Lunch was pizza. One of the nice things about pizza is that unless you put cheese on it, it can easily be plant based. Unfortunately no tweets exist of either of these offerings I can find, so here is a generic picture of the day with a mention of the food.


Opening remarks

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Loop?
Chris Reynolds

I’ll admit it. I have never understood The Loop for exactly the same reasons it took Chris so long to wrap his head around it: The name makes it sound like a magic black box. At some point with magic, you have to throw your hands in the air and just say “I can’t explain it, it just works.” We, however, are doing computer science! Chris’ slides were not just informative and broke down The Loop better than I have seen in a talk yet, but they were also hilarious. Using knock knock jokes to explain ‘if ( have_posts )’ will be burned into my memory forever. I can honestly say this was a talk that pulled me over a line of understanding and I will be forever grateful to Chris.

Raw Notes:
Issue is the loop make it sound like a magic black box
What is it?
codex definition. HUh?
If have posts : whole have posts : the_post
if ( have_posts())
knock knock, do you have posts?
simple conditional that returns if there are posts, 0 or 1
keep going while it returns true
what are we doing
the_post – sets up the current post
think through all ‘the’ functions
the_ID, the_title, ect
the_posts makes all those work
setup_postdata( $post );
what does it al mean?
the magic
DB interactions
/?s=whosis chris reynolds
SQL query
s post status publish
combine all these things
query = new WP_Query([
‘s’ => ‘reynolds’;
code missing
And even more combining and complex searches and refinements
arrays can even be passed in
using queries
used query_posts
national park service different pats of the help center different parts of site
take taxonomy term and add to the search form so only search in taxonomy
in this case Museum management
difference between this and wp_query
get_post returns: big array of post objects
dump out a query, you get a whole bunch more stuff, array of post is way tat the bottom
it will tell you the SQL query it used to find the posts
you can debug the query itself
beneath that is array of post objects
doing the same things in general but
query_posts (don’t use it!)
set up the posts but does something
codex say don’t use it
it overrides the main query
manipulates the posts you are in, that is bad
Slides: s3q.uswcden2018-loop

The Basics of Building a WooCommerce Website
Jamie Schmid

I love hearing Jamie present. She presents a ton of data and I always walk away with new perspective on at least a few points. This talk met that expectation and I now know that you always, always, always want to have a backup payment processor already fully thought through from the start. I honestly went in with an attitude that “Paypal is good enough for me” and left saying, “Well, let’s make sure I test Stripe….”. Also her quick point on having a client walk you all the way through multiple packaging and shipping scenario is huge. As a small time online store owner, I would never have thought to make a plan for x items vs x+1 items but those shipping conditions matter and will cost a lot of time to figure out after the project is delivered.

Raw Notes:
Intro to WooCommerce talk, her first one
plan, things she ran into people were not expecting
also, general order of setting things up out of the box
Start with planning
Your product, types and attributes
your requirements, POS, billing, accounting
payment processing
shipping and tax
products, not all products the same, what is different
Reqs, do they have brick and mortar? Need POS?
a surprise later is expensive
coming from etsy or Shopify or what?
can it be imported at all? is it easy, almost never.
Payment processing
check the requirements, do you need a backup (yes)
company PayPal, stripe, authorize.net, si this determined?
PCI compliance? this is hard for some hosts
Shipping and Tax.
ask the client to map the whole shipping process
figure out the rules with them
shipping rules, scenarios are import to walk through
Site Mapping, super important
terms and conditions
return policy, they absolutely need this
sizing chart
product pages
Now we get to Build it! If we have all the above info, this is ready to start
The Woo Wizard is actually really helpful to get going from scratch
demo time!
Jetpack and TaxJar
wants to drill into payment gateways
don’t process on your site if you can help it

My Website Is Live, Now What Do I Do With It?
Michele Butcher-Jones

Sometimes you wish someone would just sit you down and tell you what the deal is. Like, what you need to know to be successful and what mistakes you can easily avoid if you see warning signs. Michele did exactly this to a room full of freelancers and agency folk at camp. I love this kind of straight talk. No fluff, no ‘touchy feely’ sentiment, just solid advice, learned the hard way by successfully doing this stuff over a career. This is one of the talks I can point to when people ask me what makes FOSS different than other ways of going about software: We stand up and tell the world exactly how to do it better and never hide what we learned under a bushel. We gotta let it shine!

Raw Notes:
when you inherit a site, they are clueless a lot
Expect them not to know and have to explain these pieces
Hosting and FTP info
logging in for the first time
what plugins are there and why?
whats in the media folder
what is a post vs a page, people will ask!
What theme?
always use a child theme
‘it’s what makes it pretty’ when explaining to clueless client
update the site as soon as information changes
security for your sites
update! Update! UPDATE!!!
security plugins
regular checkups
always make backups
off server backups
without doing this, you can(will) get hacked
lose traffic and interest if not updated

Keynote: Why Community is More Important than Networking
Angela Bowman

A Keynote at the end of the day? Yes, that is what they did and I applaud them for it! I love the idea that we can learn all day long and then, before we go our separate ways to get ready for the after party or back to our families, we can get in one place and be on the same page with one big, well presented idea. And boy howdy, was this well presented. Angela took us on a journey and I think illustrated to a lot of folks that no one is born and expert in WP, or anything else. We all learn from and are encouraged by the people around us, so let’s get to it and start encouraging more people. Let’s connect more. Let’s stop asking ‘what do you do?’ and start asking ‘what do you love?’. We have so much knowledge to share and so much to learn. Only together can we keep advancing and growing.

Raw Notes:
(I got in a little late thanks to cleaning up the sponsor booth)
her history, working with Nonprofits
learned some CSS
then learned about CSS
started on WP on v2.0
outside the box thinking
alone, didn’t know anyone else doing this
meetup group of graphic designers
pivoted her life
partners and supporters
possibilities grow so much more
learned dos and don’t together with Bethany Siegler
started teaching classes together to learn
first WordCamp in 2010
WP is bigger on the inside
her first talk soon thereafter
camps are not just about free shirts
also about stickers and such
people put a lot of hope into WordPress
got to learn from each other
build relationships, it is why we are here
don’t begin conversations with what do you do?
something different
asking what they do outside of their job
how can I help you vs what can you do to me
You never know how you are going to affect other people

My Sessions

Nobody wants a website. They want results!

I ended up talking really, really fast. Jamming the same amount of information into half the time it took me to give the same talk last time certainly interjected a lot of energy into the thing. It was fantastic to have a pretty big room reverberating that energy back to me. I loved all the feedback I got afterward and it was super awesome to meet so many new people. I hope I can give this talk a few more times before it evolves into another form. Thanks to all that came out!

WP-CLI – Don’t Fear The Command Line

Giving workshops is fun, but I would put it as a bigger challenge overall than a talk. Both definitely take preparation and time and a lot of mental energy, but in a general lecture style WordCamp session you rarely stop and help someone try to figure out to debug a composer issue. I hope people got a lot out of it and I was thrilled to do it, but wow, I sitting and writing this later the same day I delivered it, I think I need to put many hours into a revamp before I submitted for a 3 hour workshop on this subject again. I also thought that I might just require everyone to install Lando before we started so we would all have the same issues in the same environments. Still, very glad I got the opportunity to learn as much as I did while doing this and hope others found it useful as well.

Wrapping Up

Denver is an interesting town in a lot of ways to me, but the real joy is the community. Being a shorter camp and the fact that I was there solo meant I saw far fewer talks than I normally do, but wow, those hallways conversations that I did not take notes on for public consumption taught me a whole lot. Speaking to people about what they are passionate about and helping to further some of their thoughts around this market and various technology points. I always learn so much. I think that if WordCamp.org was an accredited university I would have a Masters by now.
I am already looking forward to the next time I get to go to Denver for any reason, and though it is a full year out I am already looking forward to an even bigger and better WordCamp Denver 2019!

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 Europe 2018: Belgrade in the rain and understanding jet lag in whole new ways

I do not often get to go to Europe. Not as often as I feel I should. Visiting a place with so much history, with such a differing culture, I always feel so small and inexperienced. This feeling comes with some small level of frustration, resulting from the forced immersion in foreign culture, foreign currency, and foreign everything else, especially time zones. At first I was a little too out of my element but was grateful I found footing quickly. I was superbly happy that there was one thing that was very familiar to me, my amazing WordPress community, who all were gathered for WordCamp Europe 2018

Food and Fun


Arriving in Serbia, between the Sava and Danube rivers after a brief layover in the Munich Lufthansa lounge, I was met with one of the hottest days in recent memory for the city. Fortunately for me I quickly ran into some of my WPLife folks who had a tremendous idea for cooling off, getting some awesome gelato and espresso. It was a fantastic way to start trying to fight the jet lag, which would prove to be a pretty intense battle throughout my entire trip.


Part of the reason that I am so in love with the free and open source community is the spirit of cooperation and competition between the service providers. I work for a website operations platform Pantheon, which can be seen as a GoDaddy competitor from a certain point of view. However, our offerings really address different concerns and use cases at the end of the day. In the spirit of an open and cooperating community the GoDaddy team opened their local office space to anyone who wanted to co-work. I took them up on the offer and got to see so many awesome people and even got some direct help on my Postitnow project on the matter of tagging from the always gracious and oh so talented Alain Schlesser. They even bought us all lunch!

One of the things I was repeatedly told about Eastern Europe was that there would be no vegan or even non-dairy options on the menu anywhere. Based on my experiences in Paris last year I came in with a bit of hopelessness that I could keep to my plant based food options. But this was a completely unfounded fear since it turns out that a) Serbia has some of the best produce I have experienced outside of California and b) vegetarianism is clearly starting to win across all cultures.

Also, I am not alone in this struggle to consume more sustainable and responsible foods in the WP community. I was invited by the just swell Monique Dubbelman to a fantastic vegan dinner at the funky and quality focused Mayka. Sunflower cheese is pretty great though a tad salty. The Belgrade Stake, seitan based, come with an ‘eggplant caviar’ that I am not entirely sure how they made but I will be attempting in my home kitchen in the near future.

Thursday –

I got much more to say about Contributor Day later on, but for this section, just focusing on the food. There were the weird, tiny cups of coffee you only can get from European catering, served and oh so many pastries and fruits for fueling us all day long. the catered lunch options were spot on and very dietary restriction friendly. It was so great to feel welcome and know others felt it too.

Speaker Dinner

It wouldn’t be a WordCamp if there were not a Speaker/Sponsor/Volunteer/Organizer dinner. As a backup workshop presenter I got an invite. We got to party at the top of one of the tallest buildings in all of Belgrade, at the Top Of The Hub, Restaurant and Lounge. While there were some vegan options, including a pretty terrific blackened tofu that even the omnivores were raving about. It was amazing to meet so many new people while seeing so many familiar faces and raising a glass with them all.


In my experience, Europeans take their pastries very seriously. I was not prepared fully for how seriously, indicated by the sheer quantity of options at the Sava Center where WCEU was held. There were also so many beverage choices that if you got dehydrated, that was on you.

There was so much amazing food for lunch. I have no idea what the omnivorous options were because the vegetarian and vegan options were in their own section. I am not going to keep droning on and on about how our hosts gave plant based options but I find myself just now realizing that I am only verbose on it because it is unexpected, though it should not be. It is kindness. And expecting less that should be a disservice to any organizer. I will refrain from gushing through the rest of this post.

Leaving the venue proved to be a bit of a challenge for some of us.

Do you like ping pong? Thanks to the awesome people at Savvii, the whole community got to come out and play at an event they called WordPint. While my host had paid for wine and beers, I couldn’t help but take advantage of the exchange rate and very, very affordable local prices on highest shelf liquids.


One of the things I learned previously ‘on the continent’ is that karaoke is not as well adopted as it is in the ‘new world’. I originally had a bit of despair that all the avenues I investigated left me befuddled at best. Fortunately there exists a most resourceful and energetic man named Vladimir Ranđelović who introduced me and the WCEU crew to SongWars. Imagine playing “Rock Band” with four singers at a time with multiple teams playing a round robin style tournament. This is not the karaoke I am used to, but my goodness, this is one of the most unforgettable nights WCKaraoke has ever known.


Day two of sessions brought so many more pastries, fruits, coffee, beverages and rice cakes. It also brought another amazing day of food.

If I could say enough good things about my colleagues, it would take more pages than the whole sum of the world wide web currently have capacity to display. What I can say is it was a true honor to find spectacular vegan food and completely unexpected Experiment unfiltered wine at Radost. This very elegant eatery is also the home to a delightful family of cats, who entertained us endlessly as we dined.

After party:

I could try to explain the after party, but there would be no way to convey it all in text. So here are a few tweets that I think summarize it.

Sunday tour:

Serbia is so full of history and amazing sights. I am grateful for Mike Demo for organizing a walking tour of the city, including the Nikola Tesla Museum and the Serbian Orthodox Church. It was a delightful way to spend a Sunday. Capped off by a wonderful last group diner with the awesome Tina Todorovic and Dejan Markovic and a few others at the tapas joint Ambar.


Contributor Day

The main reason I was very excited to go to Belgrade was not the food or the fun or the sessions this year. Those things are all important and I am grateful for all of it, but the real reason I think WordCamps should exists is Contributor Day. A day we dedicate to work on the project collectively and share in the energy of making WordPress together. This is the heart of what Free software is all about. Free as in speech.
Though we are building for a tool set to be used on the internet, the WordPress community and what we are building is far from just code and electrons. We had this shown to us by the internet not working almost all day. Even when we could connect, it was terrible. But you know what? That did not stop us from writing new copy, or from making plans, or from doing the thing we really had meant to do all along and connect as people.
I have rarely been prouder of my team and how far we have come in just one year. Taking the on-boarding process down to a single PDF printout and giving new users clear and simple steps to get to contributing. Things we wished we had, we made. Things we wanted to see, we invented. Getting to be part of the pioneers that made the next level and generation of community happen is unlike any other feeling I have ever had. I am so thankful for it I can barely contain it.

As far as what we actually got done, I am going to be really lazy and just link us over here.

Opening Remarks

JavaScript APIs in WordPress
Adam Silverstein

Fist session up and I thought I had enough caffeine to keep up with anything. Then the session started and Adam went so fast that he actually had to build in rest points to his talk in order to slow down. Basically there is a whole world of WP features that live right in the developer console and are exposed on every page thanks to the REST API. Some things are well documented, some are not. Overall, there is a whole world to explore here. This is an area I know I want to learn and will eventually have to if we keep making everything JS, but other areas are just calling for my time a little more these days.

Raw Notes:
Really about functions and utilities and
On github.com/adamsilverstein/wceu2018
Ma.tt told us to embrace JS deeply
Deeply = learning frameworks and build systems
Hello WP JS
RestAPI and Gutes,
hello window.wp global where JS features live
the wp name space
in console
lot of objects to play with
objects tools
docs are coming, workng on it
demo code
ads.txt plugin
more code, see github
text to rich code editor
you can customize the media editor
very complex, not good docs
from Felix
periodic data transmission between client and server
runs at regular pace
data back and forth on schedule from multiple apps
very well documents
some hosts disable heartbeat due to server stress
import category of posts
2 main event, send and tick
5 seconds heartbeat is near enough real time for updates in a progress bar
customizer api
very well documented, start with the handbook
workhorse in WP
client helper library for REST API
wp.a11y – speaks to screenreaders, important to JS heavy sites, annouce events to screenreads
WP NPM packages
gutenberg is making packages
lightweight and efficient EventManager for JS
Gutenberg hooks
pretty OK docs right now
github repo is good, but all falling out of date
fill slots with custom components
manage and interact with state
similar to DOM construction and HTML
slew of tools in JS and APIs
NPM lets us build for WP and out of WP and in Gutes and out of Gutes
Q&A – When will it be merged?
A: April, don’t know what year… 😀
learn the chrome debugger

When to use the API
Sean Blakeley

Many a great point was made in this intro talk about the consumability of the REST API and I really like that he is talking about grabbing individual elements from any post programmatically. If you know anyone who is just dabbling with the idea of the REST API and WP, this is really solid content to help get them motivated and the creative use cases flowing.
I kinda hate to say it but the biggest lesson I learned from this is do not trust animated slides and conference centers. He still did a fantastic job even though his slides would not cooperate. But as a result, I think I need to rethink some of my animated gif based slides now.

Raw Notes:
SCRUM based, 12 years or so in WP
API use in existing projects
Why: what: when
Why use it?
Devs and for the WP project
prior to the REST API WP was a monolithic block box
APi let us move data in and out of system, liberated data
so we can integrate with other services and systems
innovators dilemma
smaller software projects are going to disrupt and dominance means slow to change to react
WP needs to challenge it’s own dominance, REST API and Gutenberg do this
what is it?
API is like a power socket in the wall
not useful into something is plugged in
translation of what we want to another audience
imagine sports company
want to use WP to make content
also want to ingest news feeds
select and publish some with summary and contextualizing
performance overhead is too much for WP directly
build a content API and do not change the WP layer
API delivery system
simpler architecture
start up wanting to show details of swimming pools
public queryable API
elastic search
WP as the GUI, the real work done by alternative storage system
Existing systems
Fairfax and HumanMade case study
presenting integrating experimenting
plugin Site In Numbers
chunking into zones
push and pull into the JS layer
Using the Rest API to integrate into systems
sage ecosystem case study
advice service
Ionic app – run by WP site
WP as a game engine??
football matches
interconnectivity of objects
time and how it persists in the virtual world
Gutes: As we have moved into modular chunks,
POst and Pages are black boxes
display or not
Gutes splits content into discreet blocks
transients as a way to store data
a-sync transients by 10UP
start integrating with other services that was not possible before

Content security policies: a whole new way of securing your website that no one knows about
Miriam Schwab

Do you remember the moment when you realized “Oh, I should be using HTTPS on everything!” If you have not had that moment yet, sorry for the spoiler. This talk effectively was a wake up call about CSP. It makes so much sense to just whitelist assets that the browser should be able to load, think about the render blocking elements you could halt before they start render blocking. I also kinda feel like I should have heard about this before. It is actually on my to do list to figure this out before my next post goes out, I will report how it goes in the post wrap up then.

Raw Notes:
Either going to love this or sleep through it
WP Garage
most attacks XSS
Cross Site Scripting
Load their code in your browser
once in that state, has access to your storage, dom, cookies
persistent Originate in the DB – comment injection
reflected: originates in the victim’s request – bad link
DOM-Based – everything on the browser side
OWASP top 10
XSS the user is the victim, not the application
session hijacking/cookie theft, account takeover,redirects, unwanted ads,
a11y extension in the UK and EU mostly
line of script to use
hack library and turned into crypto mining
user resources
a cryptominer for your site
slower devices
100% CPU, etc
55% of orgs affected
How do we protect ourselves and users?
CSP constant security policies
just say what the good stuff is and what you want to load
very few people using it now
not included in the whitelist, does not load
CSP Syntax
Strings specifying type of resources
content-security-policy: default-src ‘self’ https:;
only allow https assets
script-src ‘self’ https://www.google-analytics.com
unsafe inline
unsafe eval
script-src ‘unsafe-inline’ ‘unsafe-eval’
Nonce or Hashes more secure way to do it
subresource integrity – SRI
hashing to allow only when properly matching
don’t use
x-xss, x-frame,
how to add this in?
Server level headers,
a functions
meta tag – can’t be used with everything
also htaccess
header information and how content securit
keycdn has a tool
CSP evaluator from google
SOPHOS security headers
WP plugins Security Headers
https headers
SRI plugin
Report URI – tools for generating headers
telerik fiddler – only one that can read site and tell what need to add to security policy
adoption, 23,690 out of top Million sites
another way to test – script, plug into console


Keynote and Q&A with Matt Mullenweg
Matt Mullenweg

There already is so much written about this already that I don’t feel I can add too much to the conversation. I will say that I am very, very happy to hear Matt and I have the same favorite feature in Gutenberg, copy and pasting Markdown.

Staying Healthy In the Digital Space
Christina Varro

Not even going to lie, Christina gave one of the most useful talks I think I ever saw on the topic of figuring out WordPress update management tooling back at WordCamp Seattle 2016. I should publish those notes, that was before I started this blog format. The world has certainly evolved in 2 years but management tools are slower to change than the front end and it’s JS wizardry. Anyhow, I was excited to see her talk about something else other than tech because I knew she would bring her pragmatic approach to any subject and it would be awesome. Turns out I was right. Well researched and full of little tips and healthy habits, this was a talk that, since it is a lightning talk, you can send around to any department at the office and to any of your relatives and they would probably benefit. Now, sit up straight.

Raw Notes:
Eye strain
improper computer use
20-20-20 rule
position the screen
late night work
artificial blue light from monitor disrupts
wear blu-blockers
avoid looking at screens for 2-3 hours before bed
turn down all lights 1-2 hours before bed
expose yourself to bright lights in the daytime
take a break
make an effort to connect to a person in person
Set boundaries between work and personal
back pain and wrist pain
Sitting is more dangerous than smoking
More you sit, the more your blood stops flowing
Stand up every 30 minutes
spend 15 minutes per hour standing
drink water
invest your office set up
learn to sit properly

Easing the anxious mind: dealing with anxiety in the workplace
Laura Nelson

Another lightning talk. They move so fast. It was solid content and took a lot of bravery to stand up on a stage and do something like this in front of a crowd that big. But I know it helped someone, because it helped me. Hearing that other people have unrealistic worries sometimes and that I am not alone out here with the struggle is pretty encouraging. I hope we have talks like this at every camp.

Raw Notes:
Generalized anxiety disorder she manages
define anxiety
often banded around as worry or stress
anxiety is a constant
1. Keep a diary
a worry journal
in real time
rank them and ‘n/10’ score
exhausting stuff
2. Make plans and stick to routine
hard as a freelancer
give yourself time to think about things
3. talk about it
it can be hard at first
You are not alone
60 Million people in the EU suffer from anxiety
4. Be kind to yourself?
give yourself a break
what’s a reasonable adjustment
1. Work starts when they get there, start later
2. Keep a nice working environment
3. promote a healthy work-life balance
4. listen

WordPress and Inclusive Design
John Maeda

John is one of my favorite speakers in the world. His vision is pretty clear as it underlays every talk I have seen him give. That mission is to help us all make a better world through thoughtful communication. I don’t know if he ever would describe it so abruptly but that is what I see in every talk. His passion to do things that make people think rather than fit into the predefined patterns has driven some very interesting conversations and I think put us on a path towards his goals.

Raw Notes:
inclusivity is hard since it requires change
pushing our limits
fashion always pushes limits
design pushes you to think differently
forces interaction by questioning how it is supposed to be
Wapuu silhouette – some anger but creator loves it since people are using it
without change we only have death
wants to start an Automattic design award focused on experience
issue with design in tech – shallow design
engineer and dev, does not work, re-fix it until it does work
too tired to make it usable
too tired to make it feel good
spray design on it
trying hard to make it look not bad
deep design is not like rocket science, it is 4 things
discovering the problem
hypothesize how to fix
deliver the solution
listen and look at how people use it
we love shipping it, we do not like the feedback
we are very focused on delivery
in deep design must spend time on listening and discovering the problem
all about creative, not about the money
but after a while, should he worry about the money
got his MBA
found that it is important to understand the money
Apple control of aluminum and process
not many aluminum
ability to bend wood
teaforte tea bag vs green tea in traditional bag
analogy for our modern day
FOSS vs Free but I will spy on you
best way to enhance that core service is the experience
everyone copies what is better, like the iPhone x clones
we are in less than 5% of the world that

Intro to Drupal (for WP folks)
David Needham

Yes, I do get to work with this guy. My expectations were high, having seen him talk on a few occasions before, but David brought a new level of everything to this session. From the first words out of his mouth drawing us into a story of how he met Drupal, and all OSS really, to the clear explanations he gave of how Drupal works in a different way than WordPress does, David held the whole room transfixed. I have been trying to explain the differenced between the CMSes for a while, but not have a whole slew of data points and this presentation to send them to if I get asked again. He even gave case studies, which I think are the best way to learn the value of a thing. We do have those in WordPress as well by the way (working on more and looking for new ones still).

Raw Notes:
His origin story
in a class, a professor made them write a CMS
then said “That is why you don’t write your own, now use an OSS one”
everyone else chose WP, he was encouraged to use Drupal
he got involved in the community
volunteering is very important
What is Drupal?
Dries in Belgium created one fo the first social networks
a website where friends could share things like photos
he open sources it and that is what Drupal came from
6% of the top 10K websites
that is where it excels, at the top
over 1Million devs and growing
Free as in beer
free as in speech
free as in puppies
A website also requires feeding and care
D8 is object oriented
Symfony PHP framework
known as being hard to learn, but standardized now
but a professional PHP from a different project can learn it faster
small business owner at a camp hiring Drupal experience
but since D8 move, as long as they know OOP PHP they can work there
A new person with no Drupal background made a core commit on first attempt since he knew PHP OOP
Drupal is modular
the ecosystem is different, no commercial modules
no ongoing support contract around the modules
Also means less fragmentations
OSS from the Drupal community means all the code back to D.O
Drupal is themable,
extremely customizable
down to a per piece of content basis
box of legos, makes it harder to approach
built in data structure, specific content and field calls
meta around that
very good for data analysis or connecting to multiple applications
Structured content
core, very key to how it all works
build your own data structures
and access/roles is built in
staff directory example
Chicago Park District example
facilities – name, type, photos, address, photos, hours
data created elsewhere and pulled in
editors also editing
pushed out to a few other places
kinda ugly interface to be honest
but configurable in any ways to display anything
slideshow, sidebar footer, whatever
block display
custom admin tables
Hong King Trade Development Council
using Views to build a dynamic front page on their site
Drupalcal to meet the community
free Drupal training online too
experiencing like a different country
see the world a little bit different
advocating checking out other communities and out of your comfort zone
in conclusion, the website for his class
it ended up doing very well and
had a fully functional ecommerce store for fake things
not here to convert you
motivation is to show that we are similar
more alike than different
grown together
Drupal had content types: WP Post Types
Drupal query building: WP has this too actually from Plugins
Gutenberg is also being thought of in Drupal form a different philosophical point
but get out there and learn

Origins of Design Inspiration
Simon Cooke

You sometimes see talks that explain a technical trick or pattern that makes the mind really focus in on details. And sometimes you see talks that speak to how the universe works and how we need to widen our perspective. This talk fell into the latter camp and I walked away with a pretty different understanding of how I should be thinking about time and my day then when I walked into the room. Perhaps you don’t resonate with the findings but for me, I found that the ‘morning focus’ and the ‘evening creative’ pattern was spot on. It made me question a number of things along the way. Still processing all this still at the time of writing.

Raw Notes:
Bob Dylan quote
Finding something,
like inspiration was a think
Egyptians thought it was a spirit
Greek thought ti was something that followed you around, genius
map of the mind in modern times
looked at Design theories
many ways to bubble up ideas to the top
at Pragmatic they use “design thinking”
David Kelly thought leader around this
5 sections
Ideate <—-where we will spend most time in this talk
things start with rough sketches
digitize and
mussli (SP?) mewsly?
mind-mapping input in new chrome windows
ideation is brainstorming
input and output
I don’t believe the value of brainstorming is the ideas generated
value lies in the shared perspective of the people who participated (paraphrase)
Tim Sheiner of Salesforce
Lot of tools available, may be equal, but some can be more inspirational
The Process:
Start with our own habits
Daily Adventures
change it up, do something different, introduce simple change to change frame of mind
drink something different, new coffee shop, take a different path
Rhythm, normally about timing
creative are creative peaks 7-11am AND 4-9pm
ideation meeting, don’t do it at 2:00pm
Daniel H Pink book “When” on mood swings supports this theory
that curve is split in 2
morinng spike is hyper focused state of mind
most ah-ha moments though are in the evening peak 4-9pm
creatives minds need time to chill out, less pressure
brains get to wander and connect the dots of all experiences recently
that is where creativity really happens
Influence is the past major point of ideation for him
Influence = inspiration
they are equal
transformed in equal quantity
digital environment
physical world
digital – screenshots of phone, lot of visual and written content
very much influencing him
other digital content, blog posts, httpster.com,
WOGD – high quality content
jotting a lot of notes at night
in morning then process it
podcasts and audiobooks
Physical world up next
fun, slides and stuff
should feel comfortable in your working space
but can not compete with volume of written data on digital
but different
experience as much as you can of the physical world
community, there are the people around you
friends, family, co-wokers, Campers
Tools – find the ones that work for you
Process – tweak a few habits and find a rhythm
Influence – influence = inspiration
challenge, help someone find inspiration in you and find inspiration in them

Anatomy of a block: Gutenberg design patterns
Tammie Lister

My notes are not the best on this one because it is hard for me to watch demos and try to capture what I am experiencing. There was a lot of really awesome stuff but it reads flat on the page. This is THE talk you should show your designer friends who are questioning the 5.0 editor and the thinking that has gone into the UI.

Raw Notes:
Not a technical talk
about the ideas behind design of Gutenberg
basically everything is a block
all we should have to learn is how the blocks work, then we will know all of it
roots of it, sketch of it
basically based on the whole experience of WP
blueprints (shows a design sketch of the thing)
element bar
sidebar blueprint
status, revisions, all the things you expect with WP
adding block
shared and reused blocks
walked through nested block and other blocks
blueprint of a standard block
bar, menu, and arrows
sidebar can be moved and placed as you prefer
Doc sidebar is same as in block sidebar, always there
primary and secondary action
toolbar has primary actions
things it should not function without it
secondary are anything else
any block can become any other kind of block
work moving transform into one place
Unselected placeholders
selected and with content
unselected but contains content
basic anatomy of a block
Gallery block
much closer to true WYSIWYG
every bock should give a preview
and show you what to do intuitively
Blocks should adapt
blocks usable on all devices
Where should blocks live? Plugins so they can be reused!
leave the themes alone
Direct manipulation
receive immediate feedback
expected user experience
Block Styles
editor block
when should you build a block?
there are also other ways to do it
potential ideas are boundless
making content with not much or
Tips – new user experience guide
a bit of a story
thanks for all the contributions

Beyond Gutenberg
Matías Ventura

When you read the phrase “currently leading the Gutenberg editor project” in a bio, that is probably a speaker who’s session you should attend. I will admit my notes are a little lax on this one due to the jetlag yet again, but this is one I am really glad I saw live. The ideas and topics flowed fairly fast as well. The demos were hard to capture as well and should really be seen. We are getting so close to that final release candidate that makes it into the auto update, maybe. Lots to do, but then again there is always a lot to do.

Raw Notes:
how the things have been made and how it is going is goal of talk
30 releases in one year
200+ contributors
3000+ code merges
how to bring a blocked based experience without fragmenting the community and content
took a while to arrive at blocks
optimize for the user
content first
no lock-in
incremental developer
Semantic web
since WP inception this is central
block editing is concern of manipulating content but not for display it
HTML as the format
page as the privileged entity and more meaningful experience
lift up and manipulate blocks
slightly higher order HTML
we are using native HTML tool manipulate content
block attributes
demo time
maintaining since last time he talked is columns block
markdown FTW
reusable blocks
scales up
seeing a lot of plugins creating blocks
needs testing help with
nested blocks
layouts and
child blocks
API tools to allow mixtures of blocks and templates
reusable layout units
locking templates is new as well
experience new page mock up from Mel Choyce

Wrapping Up

In the Lyft back to San Francisco, I felt the cool air and familiar hum of a car made to be driven in America driving over truly Bay Area roads and I felt at home. I don’t know if I really appreciated what Belgrade offered and what the time really meant to me there. So many amazing new friendships forged and memories made. From the sessions where I fought sleep to the dance floor where I introduced someone to crowd surfing. From the pouring rain that overwhelmed a city’s public transportation capacity to the vacant alleys that Google Maps thought I should squeeze through. From the moment I landed to the moment I unpacked, this has been one of the more memorable things I have ever gotten to do.

Thank you everyone who made it happen.

I have no idea if I will make it back to Belgrade or even that part of the world again. I never really thought I would make it there in the first place. Next year, same conference is going to be in Berlin and I have always wanted to go there as well. Hopefully I will see you before then, but if not can’t wait for WordCamp Europe 2019

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

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

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

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

Food and Fun

Speaker Dinner

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

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


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

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

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

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

After Party:

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

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


More coffee, more snacks and a lot more candy

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


Digital Therapy
Ellie Saldana

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

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

Data Science and Web Development
Joshua Alexander

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

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

WooCommerce Success
Patrick Elward

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

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

Erasing the Stigma: Mental Health and Tech
JD Flynn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plugins vs Themes. Functionality vs Format.
Austin Adamson

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

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

My Session

Let’s Learn Git. No Excuses!

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

Wrapping Up

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

  • yes I know this link does not work yet.

WordCamp 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!

WPCampus Online 2018: Amazing content I got to watch from home while helping out a little too

I will start out by saying I do not work in higher education. You might find yourself wondering then why I am such a fan of WPCampus. The truth of it is that I find the problem sets that the WP developers and admins have at universities absolutely fascinating. They have some of the most complex issues to solve with regards to permissions, compliance and delivery, coupled with an “as close as you can get to free” budget from administrations. Every time I hear about a situation where a single dev is managing hundreds of sites and is being pulled in multiple directions by all the stakeholders, I want to extend a hand of comfort and do what I can to help. That is why I volunteered at this year’s WPCampus Online.

This amazing and free event is put on by an incredible team of volunteers lead by the one and only Rachel Cherry, who has this infectious enthusiasm for helping higher education have the best time with WordPress. I signed up to be a Room Monitor, which is a volunteer position to make sure certain information gets announced in the chat window for the rooms as the presentations were happening as well as be on the lookout for abusive behaviour. Very happy to report I had a very uneventful shift as only the nicest and sweetest people were in attendance and all the comments were well within the code of conduct. There were a couple technical hiccups, as there always will be with any online conferencing system, but we got through them all and had an amazing day.

If there is a downside to this event it is there is no social event afterwards since we are all in different locations. Since I was at home for the whole event I will forgo the normal structure here of commenting on coffee, lunch and parties, as the event itself didn’t directly involve those things. So, let’s get right to my notes.


Note, all the sessions are recorded and up on the link from the session titles below.

Which Way Does Your Duck Face
Mike Demo

Not the first time I have seen this talk and I am sure it will not be the last. Every time I glean something new. The biggest take away I think this time was something I have been thinking about with Load and Performance testing, and that is having too small a data set. If you only have 100 visitors, the behavior of any one can skew data. If you have 10,000 visitors, 1 visitor is not going to throw off any number, but dozens of users behaving the same way will for sure be significant. Or maybe not! Demo explains this point more eloquently than I can here, so please do take the time to see this one!

Raw Notes:
WP is a community and we are all here together
A-B Testing
Shake you up
Who has done A-B?
What did you do? Change something conversions change but you don’t know why
change multiple things and nothing works
that is typical.
Have to have a goal written down
a SMART goal
and then controlled tests
Correlation is not causation
Using a tool helps you test one thing at a time
Tells about the drop shadow on a site that made all the difference
but you have to write it down
You have to have real traffic, thousands and thousands of visitors
too small a sample set can mislead you
there is software for this
Every once in a while you will be shocked
You can test EVERYTHING and should
He rolls out his master list of things he tests
it is long
If a test can’t fulfill a goal, why would you do it
Sometimes unprofessional
colors, don’t forget WCAG (Accessibility standard)
low brightness vs high brightness
never know unless you test
Static vs animated
stock vs amateur
layout options
one CTA vs another
Must be open to examine ‘brand standards’ as you work
can’t get stuck in “this is the way we always do it”
mirrored images?
duck image facing left vs right (name of the talk)
facing right had much higher conversion
80% higher
you do not need to concern yourself with the way
the goal is all that matters
if the needle moves then you are winning
if you get sucked into they why you are just making much more work for yourself.
Be careful with trust logos
early rounds of American Idol contestants do well with trust logos
Get this free book
Q: One test at a time
A: yes, you need to control what you are testing, use software that can tune this for you
don’t test a subset of a test
more important to have enough traffic to test each thing
Make sure you write down your goals and keep thinking about the larger goal
‘Number 1’ in google is big to chase but is that really getting them better ‘results’
The one things your site should not do is let your site stay static
test and fin out what works to get you to your goal
caution in using plugins for A/B testing
you don’t want google to index testing
third party hosting tools are way better for the browser agent side, not server side

Unbundle Your Institution: Building a Web Ecosystem
Eric Sembrat

I was excited to see this presentation because I mostly know Eric from his awesome work over in the Drupal Community. The PHP CMS Community is smaller than you think sometimes and it was amazing to see this crossover and see Drupal get some love at a WP focused event. Aside from that, Eric has a pretty sweet beard these days, making this video kind of a must see for that and a cameo by his two adorable dogs. Also the content was super great. Thinking about WP (or Drupal) as part of your solution, not boxing yourself in as the whole solution, is a very smart approach and I loves his insights. I know you will as well.

Raw Notes:
Eric has a sweet beard
Works at Georgia Tech
nice partial view from his office
Ignoring other applications
WP is great but it does not do as well as some other custom apps that are fined tuned for that
for instance
If campus has Drupal in place for website management
and you want to offer a quick way to roll out sites
WP site network works very well in general
vs Drupal multisite which takes a lot of time
and no way to know how long to customize and add new fatures
if you have same amount of staffing, which would you choose
instead of competing for time
see all solutions and learning to love them and see their pros and cons for specific use cases
A prebuilt Learning Management system vs building your own platform
Without a guiding hand, people silo up and reinvent the wheel
over and over
A web ecosystem
making it easier to consume all the info you can present
through new services and tools
blend campus identity across any application
Where does the web infrastructure live?
On Site
does not mean all your platforms ned to live in the same place
security is paramount
updates and support
all need to live harmoniously
What tools helps the team do their job better
2 primary formats
Less, code helpers
living breathing code snippet approach
2nd one is content repository for code sharing and revisioning
allows collaboration everywhere
single sign on for instance, share how that is done everywhere to all teams
Campus Web Dossier
if you want this kind of project, this is how we do that on this campus based on the success we have seen
4 levels of complexity
brochure level, just quick landing pages without building anything, just content
Component based web sites leveraging a CMS
custom-fit applications, largest components, single purpose
DAM, CRM, Repositories, etc
Reusability id key to this, should be able to share across all the levels of complexity
Want to share config and assets within each level of site
also want to share throughout the spectrum
down through al the services
Reusable components
theme and branding consistency
good examples:
news and event tools
directory tools
Logo repositories
Documentation really saves everyone a lot of work
Docs are the binding glue and encourages us to reuse them
4 forms
how, why, where, when
and the community is the subject matter expert
they are not the creators
but they are the customer and first person to give feedback
contributors who drive knowledge decisions
build a Community-of-practice
Caveat: This takes a lot longer to see results in general,
just slower since more people and things involved
Figuring out your goals
what is missing, what are people not doing since there is nothing there currently
Must think about end users
and your stakeholders and experts
Advertise your end goal
make this known
showcase the benefits and current limitations
Get user input
what works and does not work to them
segmented and controlled groups
if decentralized you need to build partnerships
shout out the benefits
Proof of concept, show it
Pushing for change
begin by being the change we want to see
You can’t predict the future but you can plan for change and for growth
Drupal 8 symphony and twig
new way of thinking is seeping into the CMS but core concepts been in place for years
In general thinking of end users first and reusability tied to that when designing

Headless and Brainless WordPress
Ben Moore

I was not sure what to expect from this one going in. I had never heard of this brainless concept before. But of all the talks I saw and tried to capture in notes this one stuck with me the most and I have been thinking about the ramifications ever since. Why not get the best of all worlds at once by letting WP load once so you get all the authentication and power the CMS gives while letting JS do all the lifting of the display on the browser end? I mean, this is core to the idea of the new front end editing experience of Gutenberg but until Ben laid out this in practice, completely devoid of any mention of Gutenberg, did this finally sync home. If you are debating building a decoupled application right now, watch this presentation before you do anything else.

Raw Notes:
Higher level ways to use JS to make
WP is a blogging platform the same way Google is just a search engine
WP very stable
From 2.0
user management
Data traction
basically have to use it now
pulls in content and lets you reuse resources properly
and the WP REST API is the biggest tool to make those other 2 work together
limbless- just little sections of site are just using a little JS
admin ajax
some flexibility, but every new page load has to rebuild from PHP
the back end back-end and front-end front
if limbless is a little going on
Headless is a lot
Anything that can make an HTTP call over the wire
Only data over the Rest API is pulled in from WP
headless therefore only sends data over the REST API
you have complete freedom to use anything you want in the front this way
caveat not using the WP feature sets, might have to have people sign in 2x+
multiple hosts
you have to maintain everything
New buzzwords
brainless solution
n first page request, WP loads the page, but just a shell
shell is going to lead in JS and static assets
one little snippet that instantiates the JS application
you get all the WP features and then JS taks over from there
as you click around not doing full reloads, just JS moving things around.
there are caveats
can’t build out native applications
when disperse front end living on individual phones
front end isn’t being hosted in one place
Brainless does not work here, limited to WP common tech (PHP, MySQL, Apache)
but incorporating node
We are building things that have never been done before
the best practices ar still being figured out
if we follow the WP philosophies rather than technical standards we will be fine
WordPress Philosophy
Example/Demo time!
SEO question and SERP
this is getting better but yes issues still
Google figuring it out now
using this tech for just a site may or not have benefit, specifically Angular
around SERP
Gutes is leveraging the RET API heavily
impacting the tools directly
WP and GraphQL has a lot of potential
more that needs to go into it on the WP side to get full benefit
needs more demand before it will mature
these single page sites brainless sites – theme or plugin?
your custom code should worry about extending the back end tech
front end should be theming components

Please Don’t Freak Out: Managing Change Moments Across Diverse Groups
Steve Ryan

I originally was not in this talk, so missed the first 5 minutes or so. I had missed the part of the description that the core of this talk was about getting your users ready for Gutenberg. I have been thinking a lot about this topic recently, including the fact that [we should stop calling it Gutenberg] (link needed to the core-editor channel where this debate is raging)**.
This talk gave a general, no nonsense approach to dealing with any large scale change that is coming. How to deal with it logically, emotionally and from a practical perspective. If you have any major changes coming in your organization or systems, this is just a great talk all around.

**Not going to link that, go join the conversation here

Raw Notes:
Change management
leading a change is like this cowboy pic
being on a horse
very concerned
Goal is to drive the herd
One horse, one rider, one path
One rider: rider appeals to our logical self
just figure out the critical moves for your audience
think about content as blocks instead of full page like Word does
learn to rearrange as needed
new blocks in the right hand menu
earn to use 4 blocks – text, headline, image, youtube(or soe embed block)
start simple!
connect with community for questions
Rider’s face is very sharp
sharp focus get exhausting, tired easily
avoid decision fatigue
only tell them what they really really need to know
try not to bog them down with too much info
people know what a block is via legos or minecraft
don’t attempt to define it too much
why it is important to be a block is a good discussion but not helpful to new non-tech users
don’t intro technical things to a non-technical audience
don’t point to the end goal of democratize internet the end-point
Don’t turn it on ll at once for everyone for everything, people are going to get tired quick
don’t dwell on the massive change, let people adopt it in a realistic way
if you are delivering the change to an audience let them know a week out, then a day or 2 before, let them know what is going to happen!
follow up messages as needed, delivering messages where there is help available
just in time message serves as a reference point
for those who miss it the first time and they don’t log in for a while, that “in case you missed it’ email will be critical
Scour your sites for things people did that are awesome or cool
then brag about it!
find the people who adopt it and get permission to get that message out
lot of clapping and a lot of praise
use that as the point on the horizon we are moving towards
not ‘democratize internet’ but ‘better content layout like you see here’
make it more logical
One Rider One Horse
the Horse is the emotional aspect of the experience
You have to feel it, the change should feel worthwhile
cause is hard to find sometimes, especially if no immediate payout
Do it as a gut instinct
in order to affect the change in target audience have to find the feel
find a cause
introduce the change moment in relation to something you are actively try to remedy
stuff always out of date
if we are talking about a new post editing experience, build more attractive pages that are easier to use, more users more students they win
5 minute makeover trick
answers “Do I have to redo all my content I own?”
sometimes answer is yes, sometimes no
but a demo that just makes use and let people see what you can do in a short time
makes it less scary
look at that, looks easy now
oh, I see what else we can do…
that is reaction you are going for
learn how the horse moves
small moves
lots of encouragement and praise, leads to move moves
if you can get a handful of people moving in the same direction
they whole herd moves
when encouraging people to move remind them they are not alone
if ever a time to build a community around a change movement, this is the time
small moves can be fun
The Path: one foot in front of the other
roll out in stages
no-code approach turn on or off the plugin
way to ‘get me back to what I know’ buttons in the tool bar
filtering what bits of content are best for Gutes right now
really target releases for narrow group of people
script does not have to be that complex, just turn on and put in handful of hands
get results and move ahead on other groups for feedback
1 on 1 or 1 on 4 is great f you can take that time to do it
best way to get people ahead on a path of change is
make a checklist, make it clear
introduced the concept, scripted some moves, checklist gets them home safe
when you get to that final palce, you are rounding the
Gutes does not have to be a scary thing,just nudging into new direction

Developing a Culture of Mentorship
Tessa Kriesel

The first time Tessa tried to give this talk during the day technology was against her. She persisted and gave a stellar presentation a little later than originally planned. Very glad she did overcome the technical hurdles as this is always an inspirational subject. If the organization we belong to don’t directly provide formal paths to mentoring, it is even more on our shoulders to help those around us to raise their skills and get meaningful experience. I know I would not be where I am today if I many, many patience and wonderful people had not helped guide me along the way. Tessa does a pretty fantastic job of giving us all a roadmap of how we can help make the world a more inclusive place where all ships rise.

Raw Notes:
Her story
small town in MN
helped teach a class for Girl Develop IT
they liked her style and she started doing more
very satisfying
Job outlook is strong 162K jobs right now
2026, 188K jobs expected
this does not count turnover and retirement
most jobs 60% require some kind of experience 2+ years in a lot of cases
how can we expect jr. devs to get experience?
16% of jobs 1 year
only 23% required no experience
how they getting this experience?
be the change we want to see in the world
mentor more devs
why your org should hire more devs
Team Morale
mentoring is exciting
new people are excited by getting to do anything
Passion is infectious
new ideas and ways of thinking, very optimistic
with that being said, how to start?
Write better job descriptions
don’t require years of experience, but instead on personality traits
Don’t require involvement
some people don’t enjoy teaching others, be aware of your team’s interest
Managers are NOT mentors
need an open relationship they can confide in and relate to
make sure communication channels are open
maybe slack, maybe checkin box
track progress and make goals
don’t just create initiatives and hope they succeed
must have follow up
Build a program, not just a one off
Turn the mentored into mentors
So, in terms of actual Devs
say your company does not have an initiative and you want to still help
Why would you do this?
Grows your network
meet interesting people along the way
Feels good man
selfish selflessness
get out of your comfort zone
meetup or local event, or even just leaving your house
going to meet great people and maybe free beer
Do more
Mastering your own skills
teaching means you have to understand it deeply
life long friendships
Where to find people
Colleges or schools
code schools and bootcamps
easy ways to opt in and opt out helping with these programs
code schools have very motivated learners
Local orgs and groups, this was Tessa’s path
Girl Develop IT, Yes we code, Women who code are three good options to start
may though
Hackathons! a lot of fun great way to really get to know someone
Conferences, this can be overwhelming if you are introverted
Why and Where, so let’s talk about good tips for being a good mentor…
Boost their confidence, empower them
remind them what they have done so far and help them feel better
Don’t say ‘do this and not do this’ but guide their career path
educate them to make better decisions
Be available! This is super important, and hard not to overcommit
Share resources with them
share books
Working Code Examples
Live coding sessions – help them work through issues on a real project
shows them the best path approaches
Collect and share resources periodically
will get a dialog going

Building A Training Schedule Platform and Expanding It To Everyone
David Kampmann

First time I have ever heard Mr. Kampmann speak and I hope it is not the last time. He faces a unique set of challenges in his role, which is really a catch-all of anything to deal with training. A role not too dissimilar to one my colleague David Needham faces as head of Pantheon Training and one I am very familiar with as far as the gap filling goes. It was awesome to see how he methodically approached this issue and overcame the obstacles of no budget, no real experience building such a system and finally not having a deep background in WP development. Even with those obstacles he still manages to leverage the WordPress ecosystem to solve a complex issue in a very elegant way, with a future roadmap and maintenance path putting him in a great position for any future challenges that emerge.

Raw Notes:
From SD
training schedule platform, they do a lot of in house training
First, his title is Instructional Facilitator
not sure what that really means, but he is faculty support and development
running lean
gives him a lot of responsibilities and he is wearing many hats
anything under the sun without a person n charge he takes on
this is how WP fell into his lap 7 years ago
WP seemed like the simplest solution
his LMS and CMS was not up to the job
not a lot fo people in his area, but a lot going on
students expect a lot
tech institute, applied learning in demanding careers
new tech all the time
back before WP for scheduling sessions were 1:1, no massive workshops
too busy teaching
Manual tracking was a huge headache
central list was constant headache
made a wish list
After a lot of looking at so many things
DO NOT go down the path of using the existing class reg
event management software is expensive
WP seemed to seem promising
WP Event Manager Pro – $70 a year pro
support is biggest thing you get
Logged In – Active Directory Integration
new accounts
just works minimal config!
WPFull calendar is simple and clean
Force Login
email confirmation
iCal integration was key, makes smart phones easy to deal with
There were things people didn’t need,
turn those things off
keep it nice and clean
no new event making from end users, no new event submissions
but after a year asked people if they would like feature x
they don’t know what is possible because they didn’t know it was avaialbe
most people just said no to all that functionality
custom settings
Event links to the future, near future only
Biggest wins:
only one login (not a new one)
iCal reminders worked well to get users to attend
Easy path to communicate fro reschedules etc
easy process for credentialing
some hiccups:
Multi stage events are not fun with this system
Matching school website look and feel, this was part of the goal, this is frustrating
Difficult completing Extra Signup Steps
Mandatory fields help but not total solution for those xtra bits
New initiative this last year
Campus professional development
Personal dev for all staff
New targets and new challenges
now more people involved, used to be 2 people total running it
more time slots, year round as opposed to just summer
more variables for workshops, multistage is one, but new things emerging
outside registrations, payments from registrants – can be supported but lot to worry about around policy
need to train people on how to use these new tools
training to train
lot of things to know and they will have to explain these things moving ahead
location, location, location
where does this all live?
academic subdomain
does not feel super inclusive
tracking is different
need to track professional development as well as credentialing
need to pull data and use it in a different way, no solution yet
less to duplicate the better
full roll out happens this spring
this is all new
got to teach people how to use it
May 10th is big day of workshops and the true test for the system

At Home in the Cloud
Jason Cauwels

I am one of the people who thinks “why of course your infrastructure should be in the cloud.” For me it is partially motivated by self interest since I work for a website management platform. For those who do not have my vested interest this is a very perplexing question with a lot of variables. It was pretty great to see the way Jason and his team approached this issue and the very forward looking approach they took to solve a very real scale problem. As we see more and more of the sites being built start to adapt a JAMStack sort of approach, it is very informative to see the real world performance results that distributed caching has and the impact for end clients. I would love to see a follow up case study with this system in a year or so, I bet the results only get better as they tune the system further. Awesome content!

Raw Notes:
First presentation ever at any conference!
When sharks are raining in LA
50K people trying ti hit website
overwhelm resources
had an emergency blogger site that could take over
was slow and very manual
minor notices, would not convey the importance of notifications
mobile and desktop sites mobile didn’t have alerts unless other site took over
the complete publishing environment was only known by a few
complex to use
in an emergency they needed:
mitigation for spikes
needed visual messaging
UX and design needed to be responsive
emergency notifications were on homepage
branding should be consistent across all sites
Admin and usability, WP was there
security and tech considerations
resilient, reduce downtime, increase speed of page-loads, move to the cloud
moving all www to AWS
over 1000 Redirects
traffic and scale are major concerns
are their new security concerns?
planned and unplanned events
did they have resources
new initiatives
do they have the skill sets needed
build a page or an app that pulls from WP
How did they choose AWS?
to be honest, did an RFP process
liked all of them for all sorts of reasons
biggest reason, was central IT had a master contract with AWS, should use them
what about all those concerns that followed?
discovery process
had to understand all the options
then they got the idea what if they delivered everything static on AWS
secure, super fast, distributed
global level content serves super fast
that is what they did
Multisite on VMs
published themes from repos to buckets
admin URL that people could log into, this acted as staging site
publish to amazon
fetched all the posts and made static images leveraging Amazon S3 buckets
it works
been running since May
but did it make a difference?
let’s look at success criteria
Responsive homepage
while working on the architecture, moved into WP from old CMS
always responsive from a single codebase
Emergency notifications: instead there is an emergency site always up does not overtake the whole site
homepage looking for fee, new things it puts it up on page
3 levels of severity
update the emergency site branding, now matches the rest of the environments and themes
can handle massive spikes, one false alarm last year saw 1000% spike
emergency site 2,500% increase load
would have collapsed system before
was not slow site before, had 2380 index score
with AWS 1295 (lower is better)
everything is simply faster!
Had to learn AMI vs VMs
Optimized to run on AWS
but they have same issues VM has with tech creep
Docker can isolate things better and they are moving that way
different availability zones
AWS is good but you need to determine what you want
Full stack or SPA
a phased approach allowed them to release more quickly
project shouldn’t really have an end, enhancements ongoing organized around milestones is better way to approach
having a CICD architecture is key to making you sleep better

WordPress as a Platform for Moving to Open Learning
Keith Webster

I gotta admit, for as much as I love this event and the space in general my utter lack of experience with any Learning Management System (LMS) hampered my enjoyment of this particular talk. Most of my questions were around what the heck Moodle was doing in this architecture. I got the RSS and WP parts but Moodle was a giant black box / question mark. Still it was awesome to see a talk on how to tie in various systems to sove a unique need. Despite my lack of expertise here, this was a really good one to watch if you are dealing with learning systems that need to syndicate content in an intelligent way.

Raw Notes:
instructional designer
teaching with WP for a few years
Royal Roads university
Important to acknowledge that these are homes to native peoples since before time
lot of movie filming
he handles faculty support
talking about school of education and technology
mostly serving working educators
grad programs around leadership and integration of technology
Master of Arts in learning and technology
recently went through a 5 year review
redesign was agreed upon,
openness and OER were decided upon
coinciding with redesign was the opportunity
new project would be using an open orientation
moving from an LMS into a more open platform for pedagogy and better interactions
having a WP project starting at the same time, it piggybacked on the WP one
first thing was defining what open meant
was a stretch to get comfortable with that
had to negotiate open with each student on the platform
varied as time went on, had to be built in
avoiding too many plugins and themes
supporting students and faculty in WP
using WP in an own way everyone could support
were able to redesign with WP
able to take advantage of project management services
milestones and workload could be shared
within the project could make an ambitious set of goals
separate WP installs
one for core sites and one for student blog sites
WPCloud, Canadian host for WP
Shibboleth to do SSO
unique Moodle and WP templates
personalized support for WP
lot of various skill levels present
redesigned program meant students would be sharing results and discussing on their own
external and in house tutorials set up
key component was a feed reader
manage their consumption of posts and comments throughout the course
identity of current ongoing blog based discussion, if all set up right
last thing before QA
map out what new systems look like

Wrapping Up

I love this event. Every time I get to interact with devs from higher education I approach it with a level of reverence since they are doing the most amazing engineering feats with a fraction of the budget of a normal Enterprise. This event is chocked full of examples of this and there was an entirely separate session track running simultaneously that I could not attend and report on. As of now I have not had a chance to review those but given the descriptions I can’t want to dig in. Very glad this is all recorded.
I am very much looking forward to the next live event, which you can also keep tabs on here. Until then, I will have to be content with these recordings and the lively conversations out in the WPCampus Slack!

Thanks again to all the volunteers who made this event one of the best online conferences ever!

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

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

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

Food and Fun

Speaker Dinner

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

Day 1

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

After Party

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

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


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

Day 2

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

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


Opening Remarks:


WordPress is a Banquet
Andrea Middleton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What WordPress is Doing to Keep Your Site Safe
Aaron Campbell

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

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

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

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

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

My Session

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

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

Contributor Day

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

Wrapping up

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

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

WordCamp Baltimore: All about that B2B – Bay Area to the B’more

I love Baltimore. Every time I visit I find a new reason to like it even more. It was here that I first gave my improv talk. It was here that I got to take part in the largest to date DrupalKaraoke event. And it is here that I returned for WordCamp Baltimore 2017, WCBalt

Food and Fun

Speaker Dinner

As per the normal custom, got to participate in the Speaker/Sponsor dinner and hanging out. We gathered at Spark, a coworking space inside of Power Plant Live, the entertainment complex tha feels a bit like a little tiny Las Vegas, sans gambling. We had pizza and refreshments. Some of us journeyed a few doors down afterward to extend the eventing’s activities but we didn’t stay out too late, as the one and Sal Ferrarello was set to once again host the pre WCBalt breakfast early the next morning. I tried to get up for this, but I didn’t make it.

Can’t find a tweet with a pic, but it was in the same place as last year, so here is a tweet from then:

Day 1

The coffee at WCBalt reminds me of what you would find at a church function, meaning it is made in small batches in old fashion electric percolators. Snacks were plentiful and flowing throughout the whole event, with rotating selections of chips, candy, soda and such. I was never wanting for snacks.
Lunch on the first day was absolutely outstanding, with hearty vegan options of beans and rice, mixed steamed veggies and fried plantains. I ate way too many of that latter, as they were sorta like a fried banana candy.

After Party (Networking Social)

WCBalt joined the growing list of camps that are attempting to stem the tide of people not making it back out for the after party by turning the event into a networking social immediately following the last session of day one. I have mixed feeling about this to be honest. I am very much in favor of the inclusion it brings. No matter who you are or the circumstances, if you made it to the venue, this is an accessible function. There is no alcohol but there were some pretty spectacular appetizers. They ordered from Dooby’s which got all the locals excited. They had tremendously great vegan Kimbap, a sort of Korean sushi and veggie pot stickers, as well as pork buns, spinach artichoke dip, cookies and some fantastic looking donuts. It was great to connect with so many people but what felt like all too soon, the crowd thinned and we had to find elsewhere to go.


Since the after party ended so soon and there were only (the very tasty) appetizers, some of us wanted to go grab a proper meal before we found later night fun together. One of the greatest side effects of my dietary choice is it helps narrow down the crazy wide array of options a larger city tosses at you when you google search for ‘Restaurants near (an address)’. I stumbled across the menu for Of Love and Regret and was excited to try this out. An amazing beer list, fine spirits and creative cuisine in a very stylish old building across from Natty Boh Tower. Bette than any of that though was the company of my fellow WC folks. While plugins and continuous integration strategies are great subjects, getting to hang out and talk about more human things is part of what keeps me going out on the road. So many new connections and friends made along the way.


My top Karaoke bars are:
1 – Bow Bow Lounge (Cinatown in San Francisco)
2 – Otter’s Saloon (Minneapolis, MN)
3 – Walt’s Inn (Baltimore, MD)
A small group of us made it out to Walt’s Inn to celebrate a great first day at camp. Walt’s has ridiculously cheap drink specials and a heavy hand when pouring. The only downside, which I do not remember them enforcing last year, is a 2 drink minimum before you can sign up for singing. Fortunately, if one person signs up you can get any number of people to back you up. We rocked B’more with a stirring rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Freddy and the boys would have been proud.

Day 2

Coffee and tea were again available and pretty alright.
Lunch however was a bit of a letdown, especially in light of the previous day’s bounty of awesome, filling options. They ordered Dominos and the only vegan option were 2 side salads we would have to split between all the dietary restriction folks that are Gluten, Dairy or Animal Product adverse. I have learned on the road to carry backup food and was OK, but if you are reading this and are organizing an event where you plan to order pizza please, please, please either get it from somewhere that offers vegan cheese or gat a few pies with no cheese and extra veggies. Most pizza dough is vegan and so is the sauce. Not the healthiest meal but a filling one and no dairy involved.

In liu of a lunch tweet here is Mr. Trash Wheel


Opening remarks


The Future: Why Open Matters
Aaron Campbell

I had just seen the first version of this talk back at WordCamp Sacramento a few weeks before and was actually pretty excited to hear the next evolution. I love this central premise in this talk, that we have only gotten here in our technological advancement arc by openly sharing information. This has always been true. From the earliest roots of language, to Newton and Calculus, to the internet, which is the greatest information sharing system ever devised. We are at a place now where some people do not agree we should be sharing and open with information. We face a new kind of existential threat where the very same openness that helped create some of the monster tech platforms might not help further our freely shared knowledge base. It is in this light that he made a ‘call to arms’ for us to own our own data and make sure a free and open internet continues to exist. No easy answers here, but an important conversation that needs to be had.

Raw notes:
History teachers
not a fan of history
but important for this talk to go back in time
1994 super important year
changed all our lives
how we shared informations
but before that 1990
SNES changed Aaron’s life
such a giant leap from qbasic gorillas
but that game and DOS taught him to code/modify the source code
before internet, books from bookstore
open code he did not write, just modify
standing on the shoulders of giants, from 1100’s is that saying
Newton 1675 paraphrased
sharing information has evolved
technology has improved knowledge base you can access
books were a huge jump
stores of information
then computers
then internet – single most effective information sharing tool in history
closed systems are not necessarily bad, just potential hazard
risks are OK sometimes, but looking from history
sharing is what advances us
now we are risking private hands of big advances and not share
divorcing net neutrality
trying to treat all data the same
should be easier than it is
handling all data the same weight is a lot easier
but morally and ethically this is not so easy
not illegal stuff, just bad info
“If I was in control I would wipe out this bad info from the internet”
small groups that hold minority opinion are sometimes right
majority rule and suppressing voices and info
then who decides what is true?
Internet is where people go to learn things
historically, putting that in the hands of a limited set of people has issues
only way to overcome those mistakes is to distribute all into to all people
then people can decide
must allow things we don’t care for, it is possible we are wrong
love that people can prove him wrong
most be allowed to have progress
What happens to the internet in the future
can we make info free to create a next isaac newton?
Steps we need to take make sure it stays around
1) use open alternatives. Don’t give single companies closed monopolies.
2) Spread the word about this idea. Inform and inspire people to keep it open and accessible
3) Vote and make your voice heard, but please be informed
4) Vote with your money, support businesses that support the open web!

Write Better Javascript
Ethan Butler

I am not even going to pretend I absorbed all this. It was a very quick paced delivery and jammed full of awesome knowledge. Part of this is my just lack of personally using JS day to day. Without a direct application only so much is going to seep through. I think it is vital to understanding the future of the internet to undertand it though and I hate not trying at least. I did glean some knowledge and didn’t know JS can directly do Map/Reduce. This is a terrific talk to watch if you are thinking about building JS and want to do it right!

Raw notes:
Javascript is the future
(I came in late I assume he said that)
“Writing webpack direct is like inviting demon into your home”
recapping modularity
write doce i
you need a bundler
JS makes it hard to express your ideas
transpiliation to the rescue?
Future specs!
Languages move faster than browser tech
real language features
babel is the go to, really only game in town for transpilers
(I got distracted and missed more)
Object notation
He deconstructed an object for us
Object destructuring is a newer thing
Object assign – data method on the object primative to merge objects
Promises are if you expect a return at a future unspecified time
resolve or reject
used is Ajax a lot
async/await is a more powerful alternative
we can use transpiliers to leverage new features without worry about browser
final problem for today
hard to debug
Functional programming
avoids mutable data
program is just an evaluation of user input
same input gets the same output, every time
Bugs happen because of side effects
pure functions a + b + c example
Data – arrays of objects for the most part
array.map – iterate over the values and transform it
array.sort (not a new thing) compare values pos, neg or 0, to sort posts for instance
array.includes – see if includes a string, so a search, can use for strings or anything really
array.some – true if callback is partial match of term
array.every – true if every value matches term
array.reduce – flatten values to a single value,

Making Your Code Easy To Extend
Sal Ferrarello

Sal is a great guy but also a terrific code writer. If you look at his github repos they are well commented and have clear readme files (which is vital to any project). This talk was not about that aspect but the cleaner the code the easier it is to build off of bu other later. If you are contributing code at all this is a must see.

Raw notes:
(missed first 10 minutes)
MU Plugins -best kept secret in WP
Best place to put code as pugins and not worry about client deleting them
the code expects it
Add actions – do_action – await for a thing to happen
not returning a value
takes control and then give chance to do own thing
he likes bootstrap to acheive effects
wrote a email stop plugin stop-emails
used do_action
takes focus and says log email to a file
using DIR .
solves a problem for a plugin request without actually modifying the plugin
by exposing that do_action and tiny bit of code
esc_html( $btn_text ) .
using include

SASS isn’t Scary
Beth Soderberg

Last year at WCBalt 2016 I met Beth and heard her amazing talk I Learned to Code Through WordPress and So Can You
. I have sent this talk to a good number of people who are getting started or want to get started. Clear an straightforward, I really appreciated her approach. I was excited to see this same style applied to a talk about something I really didn’t fully understand, Sass. Just like JS, I don’t touch it all the time, so my limited functional understanding is limited. The lightbulb turned on for sure and I can’t imagine someone approaching a larger project without this approach. For sure one to see when it hits WordPress.TV

Raw notes:
Beginner, welcome, you do need to know a little CSS
that is it for CSS
A preprocessor is a anguage that compiles to another language
all kinda the same, syntax is a little different but converging on a set standard of ideas
Preprocessors bring programatic methodology to CSS
DRY: don’t Reprat Yourself
Reusable libraries – pulling from a standard set of code
ability to define abstract values, let the computer built to do the math
CSSS preprocessors are NOT CSS
CSS don’t have to follow the rules of the CSS specification rules
Modularity – don’t get lost by stuffing everything in one file
programmability + automation + modularity = scalability
Potential challenges
Fear of change
old way fels inefficient even for small projects
Set Up is sometimes hard, uses Ruby and is unfamiliar to most
Issues are normal, you are not alone
Debugging is harder with SASS since there are so many partials
“Why is this not telling me where this is coming from?” – Beth’s least favorite part about SASS
Bloat – easy to write crappy code in SASS just like CSS, just way more code created
Still want the thing you are compiling to to be as small as possible, avoid bloat
Maintainability – can be an issue for legacy especially – inherited sites are much harder
once compiled to one file can at least make it approachable though
Why SASS over LESS?
Work team preference
Overall in the WP community – lot of resources and blogs about this and WP
Accessibility written books/resources
Less is still a thing though –
Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets
Sass is a extention of CSS
Really helps you use Compass
Sass has 2 extentions
.sass and .scss
Learn SASS slowly but also learn CSS first
avoids duplicating selectors
reflects markup structure
uses indentation to indicate heirarchy
should eb limited to 4-5 levels
less typing
Nesting Properties with Shared Namespaces
in simple examples not that impressive, but in production real world saves a lot of time and effort
can reference the parent selector
invoking varaibles
good uses
font stacks
image paths
font sizes
Allows defining a group of styles once for use throughout a style sheet
should be used for common patterns independent of HTML markup
80% of mixins have less than 5 declarations
Mixin Libraries
write your most common mixins once and reuse accross projects
write your own
Sass CSS3 Mixins
Breakpoint and more!
Operators – letting the machine do the math
and underscore-prefixed Sass file is prtial
Don’t generate CSS files directly

Conquering Continuous Integration and Deployment
Tessa Kriesel

I am a huge fan of Tessa and her relentless work for Girl Develop IT, which is a great organization teaching women to code. I am also a real fan of the content of this talk since I also discuss and deliver these worts of enablements and trainings at our shared employer Pantheon. No matter how deeply you understand something like CI, seeing the crowd react to this information is always enlightening.

Raw notes:
First let’s look at what daily things we routinely do
She lays out a list of daily dos
Automating tings in your life
Invest the time in automation
can be hard to fit it in
walks through automating updates
look at slack to show off visual regression tests
explains Backstop
pics comparing 2 versions of a site
build steps
setup containers
install dependencies
running automated testing
behat (behavioral testing)
containers are awesome
Github is where all the code lives

Sketches: The Universal Language
Joshua Wold

Joshua was last of the Would brothers I had not met. All working at the top notch XWP, they further the state of the art of WP in their own ways. Joshua is much more design minded and brought those sensibilities and skills to his session and to the WordPress Core Team. Anyone who has seen my site can likely attest to my lack of design skills and I feel very lacking in my visual communication abilities. One of my mental blocks has always been my self consciousness around nonexistent drawing skill, always worrying it is not good enough. I was very encouraged by Joshua to not care at all about this i the early stages of sketching. He showed how with some very simple lines and shapes and a few basic notations you can turn a page long written description, that might take hours to interpret, into

Raw notes:
How should a portal be set up
how to communicate with the client on what they want
and how the designers are thinking about it
He did a sketch to try to understand what the client was trying to say
the whole conversation changed for the better
cleared up confusion
Once the client saw the issue more clearly, was able to move forward much better
a quick sketch in 10 minutes changed everything
the tech doesn’t really matter, he used an ipad
most people are visual thinkers
hard to put into words what a website looks like, easier to sketch
they are building a house
miscommunicated on paper, once saw in person, visually saw what was issue
if you have a pen and a napkin you can sketch
simple lines and shapes and arrows are all you really need
just draw something and share it
does not have to be pretty just to get idea across
Gutenberg example (see his handout)
Ticket management…hard to recall what ticket messages mean
if you can sketch wire frames an attach to ticket
gets anyone no matter what their native language is to get on same page in seconds
stay in the ugly lines as long as you can,
once you move beyond that it can takes hours to make any changes
He has been able to contribute to core by adding sketches to help everyone communicate
simle really is better, just standardize a few simpe elements like clickable buttons
Sketching: paper and pen really is the best way to go for initial phase
next best is ipad pro, + Paper 53, then Balsamiq for squiggly lines (tells people you are not done.
Prototyping: Adobe XD, Illustrator, INvision
Sharing CloudUp, Quicktime, Tapes for Mac
It is more important to get on same page with clients than to dwell on tech or pretty sketches

My session

Everything louder than everything else! Navigating stakeholder needs through better discovery

I have only given this talk one other time, at MIT, and was very happy to give it again! The talk is basically me cramming all I know about the discovery phase of a project or sales process into 35 minutes of slides with a lot of references to Motorhead along the way. I love sharing tools that I have gathered over time by earning it the hard way. It was great to see so many people nodding along and asking questions as they were trying to apply these “best practices” to their situation. Thank you too all who had such kind words afterwards in person and on social media.
During the Q & A, both times I have given this talk, there indirectly arose the matter of ‘what is the goal of a website’. I think I am going to write a talk on that next.

Closing and cleanup

Wrapping Up

After a great camp it is always a little sad to pack up and part company with folks. I got to spend a rare personal evening meeting up with an old friend who lives in the city and seeing yet another new-to-me vibrant part of the old town. Every time I visit I find new surprises and reasons I like it a little more. Plan your visit today!
I am not sure when I will be back to Baltimore. I certainly hope I will again before too long. For sure I plan to return next year for WCBalt 2018!