In the midst of keeping up with client work and a mad scramble to finish the major launch of a website, it was nice to get a break from it all and be a part of my first WordCamp.
WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. There are many held around the world and this year’s WordCampLA was the second one held in Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to be contacted by the organizer, Austin Passy of Frosty Web Designs and asked to be part of a panel of WordPress designers.
One of the great things about WordPress, the main reason why it is now used in 100% of the websites I build, is the community. WordPress is a free, open-source piece of software with thousands of dedicated programmers and designers around the world who build plugins, design themes and even contribute to the very code itself. There are forums and blogs and tutorials that are freely available. So many that if you have a question about WordPress, you can probably type it into google and get an answer.
None of this would be possible without the generosity and sharing of those who know more than I do. I was able to learn this software in the first by asking questions in forums and visiting blogs. So it was truly an honor to give some of that back and hopefully help answer some questions for those new to the world of WordPress.
The other members of the panel (pictured below, left to right) were Thom Merideth , Matthew Lawson, myself and Kristin Falkner. I wish I had more of a chance to talk with the other panel members and to see more of their work but the free-for-all nature of the Q&A made the time fly by. Questions ranged from favorite fonts to recommended plugins to demonstrations of different ways to display posts. From the people I spoke with afterwards, I think the biggest thing most people took away from it all was that there are many, many ways to make WordPress more than a blog and shape it into whatever kind of site you want.
There were also some great opportunities to learn from the speakers. I only had to show up for a Q&A but most of the talks were put on by talented people who took time out of their lives to prepare amazing demonstrations of what can be done with WordPress. I’d like to point out a couple that I found particularly interesting.
Thoms Merrideth (same guy from the panel) explained some ways to use custom post types through the Magic Fields and Pods plugins. In case you still think WordPress is just a blog, look at the site he used for the demo, one he built for the LA Times Media Kit – all built in WordPress.
Brandon Dove of Pixel Jar shared his thoughts on building ‘Pluggable Plugins”. This is the future of WordPress. Plugins add functionality to WordPress – calendars, SEO tools, image galleries, contact forms, database backups, etc. Things not built into the core of the software can be added on. But it is also possible to make your plugin something that can be plugged into. New ways to display images, new ways to process contact forms and so on. You can find his presentation here.
The event’s organizer, Austin Passy did a presentation called ‘Posting on the Go’ where he built a site that allowed anyone to email photos which would end up live on the site moments later. The result was site filled with photos from the day just by sharing the email address and allowing attendees to email images. The magic behind it is a pretty cool plugin called Postie.
WordPress Experts Panel
One of the other speakers already put together a post about it here.
WordCamp Las Vegas
Also… on October 23rd is WordCamp Las Vegas. Not sure if I’ll be there yet but it might be a good excuse to go back to Vegas.