This was (I think) my fourth WordCamp in Victoria; given my past attendance, I knew what to expect from this one: lots of networking, interesting and instructional sessions, a few light-bulb-over-the-head moments, and a good lunch. Credit goes to Paul Holmes and crew for keeping this yearly attraction going!
The day started with an introduction from Paul, and a few door prizes were given away (this was done through the day, I think). There were seven time-slots during the way, each of which had up to four sessions to choose from. My impressions stem from those sessions, though I will share other available information too.
My first session was Plugin Development 101, hosted by Joey Kudish. I’ve never built any plugins before, but Joey made it seem easy! He used an example of a plugin for customizing the WordPress login screen (though I feel like this should be doable via a theme template). The slides he used are available on his website, including code snippets and screenshots.
The second session was a keynote by Morten Rand-Hendrikson and his presentation, Why WordPress? Morten showed screenshots of what the web was like before and after WordPress (I can remember what web development was like in the “old” days!), and shared anecdotes and funny stories. I’ve seen him in action at a previous WordCamp, but had forgotten how engaging and funny he can be!
Third session was an expert panel, hosted by Joey Kudish, Morten Rand-Hendriksen, Ben Lobaugh, and Grant Landram. Though the program stated that i was targeted at developers, the session also covered design and content management, as well as some topics that weren’t specific to WordPress, but still about web design or development. Ben wrote a post containing a session overview, with links.
Lunch was catered by Ambrosia. Good as always. Coffee and tea was provided through most of the day. There was a one hour break between morning and afternoon sessions to enjoy food and drink and to socialize, as well as to review content from the morning.
None of the next round of sessions especially interested me, so I sat in the main area and wrote down some ideas generated from the morning sessions, and had a go at creating a basic plugin, thanks to the first session. I also chatted with Adam of dabzo Interaction Design about ideas for realigning / redesigning my website, and got some helpful feedback.
As it turned out, Adam was hosting the next session I attended, Site Navigation in Responsive Design. The main thrust was that a navigation menu designed for mobile-friendly sites isn’t necessarily suitable for desktop-sized views, and vise versa. Adam went over the process of creating custom menus and attaching them to theme locations. He also suggested some techniques that could be used to swap a full menu for a mobile menu, or vise versa. The gist of the presentation is available online.
One of the long-time appeals of WordPress was the extensibility through plugins. I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting plugins, so my next session was 10+1 Essential Plugins for WordPress, by John Overall. I don’t know if he has made his slides available, but my takeaways are listed in the live-blog post. Some of the plugins he showed, I already use or know about. There were some interesting ones in there I did not know about, and I will give them a closer look.
My final session was Use WordPress to Build a Membership Site, by Rayhan Abdulmughnee. I was interested in this one to see how WordPress can be leveraged beyond simply an all-viewable blog; the result was a website with multiple user levels, some free, and some paid, with different capabilities.
Overall it was time well-spent, but very mind-draining. At the end of it, I certainly had WordPress on the brain! But I did make record of a number of interesting plugins, techniques, and ideas to investigate.
The #WCV13 hashtag was rather active on Twitter during the day, and also has pre-event and post-event remarks. There’s lots to read, spanning January 11 to 13.
Below, I’ve gathered up links to as many of the presentation materials as I could find. It’s almost possible to attend the sessions without being there!
- Plugin Development 101, by Joey Kudish
- Video for WordPress & the Web, by Mark McLaughlin (1 page overview, PDF)
- Non-Technical Hacks for WordPress Content Marketing, by Jordan Keats
- Expert Panel, by Ben Lobaugh
- Paying for Love: When to Buy Premium Themes, by Mike & Cheryl DeWolfe
- Making Your Plugins Sparkle with AJAX, by Jon Jennings
- Focusing Search, by Flynn O’Connor
- Use WordPress to Build a Membership Website, by Rayhan Abdulmughnee
- Deconstructing the Loop, by Al Davis
- WooThemes and WooCommerce Unveiled, by Jon Valade
There’s a lot of content to go through, and things to learn.