WordCamp US FTW!

Last week, many of us had a chance to go to the first ever WordCamp US in Philadelphia. The Pantheon team had great experiences through all five days of the event. We came back energized and excited by the developments in the WordPress community, its amazing potential and the community that’s pushing it forward.

On a personal note, WordCamp US also happened to be my first WordCamp and I was really curious (and somewhat nervous) about how my background in the Drupal community might translate. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start; I felt welcomed by the organizers, speakers and community members alike. I’m coming home with new friends, and looking forward to working with many more as we all work together on this amazing platform.

Now that we’re back and have had a few days to gather our thoughts, we wanted to share some high points of the week by way of thanks:

On Wednesday and Thursday, Steve Persch and I had a chance to join the Community Summit and take part in discussions and work that will go into making the WordPress project and community even stronger in the future. The summit also overlapped with the public beta of Let's Encrypt and there was much discussion of HTTPS. With WordPress running 25% of the web it is well positioned to help us all move towards a more secure web.

Other great summit discussions covered the Rest API, Accessibility, Long Term Roadmap, Calypso and WordCamp Organizing. I particularly enjoyed spending Friday working on initiatives to help make managing and organizing WordCamps easier and better in the future. That experience also got me excited about my local WordCamp Minneapolis and I’m looking forward to helping out in any way that I can.

Friday and Saturday were the main event and the 1800+ attendees made it the biggest WordCamp ever. Our team was able to make it to a lot of great sessions and came away with some favorites. (Note: As of this writing, these sessions aren’t yet posted on WordPress.tv but they will make it there over the next week or so. All of them are well worth checking out once they’re there!)

By far the biggest trend we saw throughout the camp was using WordPress in a Decoupled / Headless architecture. Rachel Baker led off with a practical guide on how to build a theme with the REST API, followed by Scott Taylor’s presentation on how the New York Times uses the WP REST API today. On Saturday morning, our very own Matt Cheney partnered with Mark Llobrera to show some elegant examples designed and developed by Pantheon partner Bluecadet along with code samples and resources to help people get started.

We also saw quite a few sessions on how to use WordPress in more advanced, enterprise ways. Tracy Rotton started off Friday morning with her review of local dev, plugins, theme and other all-around must-have tools and technologies for doing serious WordPress development.  Tracy was followed by Aaron Jorbin and Zack Tollman who covered how WordPress supports tomorrow’s technologies like PHP7, HTTP/2, HTTPS, ECMAScript 2015, and CSS4 and how those will shape WordPress going forward. On the performance front, our own Josh Koenig gave a talk on website performance focusing on recommendations on PHP, caching, hardware, human expertise and more. Finally, Taylor Lovett shared advice on Best Practices for Enterprise Development, much of which is based on 10up Engineering’s Best Practices Guide, which is itself Open Source (nice!). Taylor opened his talk with a discussion of Object Caching and the differences between Memcached and Redis. His conclusion was that WordPress developers should use the WP Redis Plugin that was developed by Pantheon - and Josh. (Thanks Taylor!)

The Saturday night party was a blast and Pantheors spent a lot of time playing pool and giant jenga among other things. We weren’t fantastic at either of them but we did have a lot of fun and enjoyed meeting a whole new batch of great people.

At Sunday’s Contributor Day both Steve and Josh were able to make some nice contributions. Steve was proud to be able to help out with Behat tests for a menu bug that was present in the WP CLI that was fixed soon after. Josh took Matt Mullenweg’s State of The Word “Learn JavaScript, Deeply” advice as inspiration to create TodoWP, a project to help WordPress developers build their JavaScript skills, particularly around the use of the new REST API. TodoWP uses React on the front and WordPress as a storage backend.

All in all it was a fantastic five days. We heard great ideas, met fantastic people and had a chance to contribute back to some of the goodness that makes WordPress such an amazing tool and community. Thank you, WCUS!

Topics WordPress