I recently had the pleasure of attending WordCamp London. WordCamp is an event organised by people within the WordPress community to bring together developers, designers and users of WordPress in order to share knowledge and learn about projects on the cutting edge of WordPress development.
This was my first WordCamp and I was thrilled to see the professionalism of the event’s organisation and the sheer popularity too. So many like-minded individuals in one space gave the whole event an instant community feeling and a really pleasant atmosphere.
I started the first day learning just how popular WordCamp was by not being allowed into the first talk I wanted to attend, it was full! I ended up at my second choice, which luckily was really interesting.
Laura Kalbag’s Indie Design was a really entertaining and engaging explanation of what they are trying to achieve on the “Indie” project and why. I think if Laura was able to give this talk to all Google and Facebook users at the same time it may well end with everyone closing their account. “Truly free” alternatives to giving your data away are on the horizon and definitely worth keeping an eye on. You can read more about the Indie Project here.
Scalable WordPress at News UK
The next talk of note I saw had a very high attendance and I can only assume this was due to the company behind the talk. You might think that a talk by News UK, part of News International, to a load of freelancers and small agencies may well have been viewed as a talk by “The Big Evil Corporate Co”, but a respectful silence was held by all as News UK held what turned out to be a reasonably interesting session. Admittedly they relied heavily on recycled MEMEs and videos to add comedy value, which did get tiresome after a while.. On the whole though their talk was an insight into how such a large organisation uses the same web platform that we do for the small business we serve. It was good to see how WordPress suits the needs of such a company as News UK and how they dealt with security issues and sudden (massive) increases in traffic.
Cache Money Business
One of the weirdest things about WordCamp was that I found myself getting star struck in probably the most geeky way possible when I saw talks by developers who I recognised from downloading their plugins. Mark Jaquith was one of these WordPress A-listers flown in from sunny California and I saw his talk “Cache Money Business”. He talked through the various caching options available for WordPress developers to use, which provided some edifying food for thought concerning our own infrastructure and speeding up load-times for the websites of our customers.
The only talk I went to over the weekend that was more business orientated, as opposed to the other more technically focussed talks, was from Brad Williams (another big hitter, shipped in from the US). It was like story time with Brad and his rags-to-riches biography. Poignant and entertaining, it was the story of how Brad went from his dining room table to the board room table. Brad talked us through his career in his talk littering it with lots of useful hints and tips for any designer, developer or agency. I found it truly inspirational to see someone like Brad who has made a name for himself in this industry and he is doing something he loves. Brad’s also a pretty funny guy and you can listen to his podcasts here.
There were lots of other talks I attended that I have not mentioned here due to time constraints, but all the speakers I saw over the weekend were great. It was a huge crowd to address so I have a lot of respect to all of the speakers for that much alone. If you manage to read to the end of this rather long blog post and found it interesting then I would whole heartedly suggest that you go to a WordCamp, they are all over the UK. I know I will be doing my best to go back as soon as I can. Thanks for reading.
About the Author
Tom Kay is the lead Developer at SiteBites, he specialises in building high quality, visually pleasing websites and email marketing templates in WordPress and other platforms.
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