WordCamp UK 2012 Review

A review of my first WordCamp and of WordPress Retreat

It’s Wednesday – and I’ve only just recovered enough to write a blog post for my review of WordCamp UK 2012 from the weekend. To say it was eventful would be an understatement…

I stayed in a house near Haymarket in Edinburgh with the Human Made team and other like minded WordPress guys.. The aim of the week was to do client work, spend time doing personal projects, learn from each other and generally talk WordPress. Oh and attend WordCamp too.

It didn’t start great…

Within the first few hours of arriving Fifa was setup on the giant projector. I wish I had one of these at home.

There was work to be done and it was very odd to be around people who have their computers (mainly Macs) open almost 24/7. Most people would call it nerdy…but I like to call it geeky. Here’s the chart if you’re confused.

On the Wednesday night we did get around to some pre-WordCamp presentations from Tom Wilmot (on his BackUpWordPress plugin) , Joe Hoyle (on optimising for speed) & Matthew Haines-Young (for a potential WordPress solution to serving retina images). I personally think they should have stood up at WordCamp as the topics were all useful and well demonstrated. Comment of the night goes to Joe, which, to paraphrase..

That section there took 0.098 seconds to load – but this part took 0.178 seconds to load, which is unacceptable.

High standards or pedantic – I’ll let you decide 😉

WordCamp Talks

So on the Saturday, WordCamp began. Here were my highlights over the two days although you can view the entire list of presentations here:

Customizing WordPress Admin for Clients by Noel Tock

It’s easy with WordPress to follow the norm – in fact it’s probably recommended. Despite some people’s views there are standards in the WordPress community for theme and plugin development that attempt to keep it consistent, beautiful and secure. This way of thinking however, may promote a lack of creativity – especially in the admin area of WordPress.

The main three points Noel touched on are:

Full presentation available here

How I made WonderThemes by Kimb Jones

This talk by Kimb wasn’t a technical talk but touched rather on his experience of building a theme club for WordPress themes (WonderThemes). He gave everybody the run down on the hours and time it took to get up and running and some decision he made along the way, bad or good.

Although WonderThemes hasn’t gone exactly how he has planned it so far there’s no doubt that it’s a project to look out for, however it may continue, so good luck Kimb.

From a personal point of view I have been watching theme shops pop up all over the place in the last 4 years and I’ve been meaning to do it myself. Unfortunately I’ve always found an excuse, so it’s nice to see the story of someone who did have the balls to give it a go.

WordPress and Web Accessibility: Why It’s Important by Graham Armfield

The last talk of the weekend focused on the accessibility of WordPress. Graham informed the audience what accessibility meant; i.e. to make it available to everyone and promote inclusion.

So, for example a small set of users may have poor motor skills and cannot use a mouse to navigation through the site. The keyboard then becomes a better option for them using the TAB key to navigate through the site. So try doing this in the WordPress administration area and you could be forgiven for thinking that accessibility hasn’t even crossed the mind of anyone who has developed or tested it.

All that’s easy to say sitting here, however the talk also provoked a reaction from the audience to take this action to the core group and assist them in making WordPress more usable.

A useful, and possibly pivotal talk.

Full presentation available here

More?

I’ll certainly be going to more WordCamps. The one in San Francisco looks pretty tasty to me and it seems like they have a cool community in the Netherlands. If you truly are interested in the future of WordPress then these are the places to be – albeit if you’re interested in a good night’s sleep then I’d probably stay away!

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