WordCamps are conferences made by the WordPress community. They take place all over the world. At WordCamps, there are both talks about WordPress topics and collaborative work for WordPress. WordCamps aim at bringing together people who already know a lot about the open source software WordPress and those who want to get in touch with WordPress. Hence, you can find developers, bloggers as well as companies having WordPress websites on WordCamps. You want to know what people do at WordCamps exactly? You can find my personal WordCamp experience of WordCamp Vienna 2017 in this blog post.
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The official WordCamp Vienna took place from April 22nd to April 23rd, 2017. The day before, speakers, organizers and volunteers already met on the speakers dinner. Although they talked about the WordCamp’s schedule, the personal exchange and becoming more familiar with each other were more important. The dinner took place on Vienna’s university campus, more precisely: in a restaurant on the area of the old “AKH” (old general hospital), a huge building complex established in the early 19th century.
WordCamp Conference Day
The WordCamp Conference Day took place in the old “AKH”, too. That has been quite good, because there has been enough space for all visitors. In three tracks (= three rooms) and nine slots (= determined time slots), there were talks about, for example, SEO friendly blog posts, e-commerce or remote work. Thereby, one track concentrated on the topic WordPress development. There, you could listen to topics like the WordPress Rest API or the WordPress performance in a large multisite environment.
Luca Sartoni, a familiar face in the WordPress community, talked in his keynote about his personal WordPress history and about the special characteristics of the open web. Additionally, he motivated to use WordPress as well as give something back. He stressed that everybody should contribute and find his place in the WordPress community to balance taking and giving.
WordCamp Contributor Day / Workshop Day
Each WordCamp usually has a Contributor Day taking place either before or after the Conference Day. On WordCamp Vienna 2017, it has been after the Conference Day. There, you work on WordPress directly. As not only development topics are discussed, but also current topics about the WordPress community, everybody can and shall contribute. It’s a set target that everybody can contribute.
The special thing about Vienna’s Contributor Day: In the afternoon, there had been workshops about specific WordPress topics. In contrast to the talks the day before, the speakers could help their participants solving problems directly and could pass on their knowledge in a more interactive way.
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Inpsyde as the WordPress agency No. 1 in the German-speaking area supports the WordPress community actively. Therefore, the agency enables its employees going to WordCamps. (WordCamp Vienna had been my first one as Inpsyder and I am very happy about my newfound WordCamp experience 🙂 ).
Inpsyder Thorsten Frommen gave a talk and workshop on WordCamp Vienna 2017
My colleague Thorsten Frommen explained the WordPress REST-API to his audience. Besides a short update concerning its development status, he talked, in particular, about the possibilities of WP REST Starter and about a couple of applications. You couldn’t visit WordCamp Vienna but are interested in the topic? Here, you can find the whole presentation.
Additionally, he gave an interactive workshop with the topic “An Introduction to Unit Testing (for WordPress)” on Contributor Day. There, he did not only offer an overview about the topic, but also explained several testing methods. If you want, you can take a look into his presentation, too: An Introduction into Unit Testing. Afterwards, everybody could start testing: Thorsten had prepared some testing examples, so that every participant could deepen his unit testing skills.
Well, and then there’s me, not a WordPress developer, going to a WordCamp. I could also be a blooger or someone who wants to make a website someday. The knowledge about WordPress development topics is probably quite the same: nearly not existing. Maybe some being like me are discouraged and don’t want to participate in WordCamps due to that fact. Maybe they think that they wouldn’t fit into that group of people. But it’s not like that. Everybody has benefits when going to WordCamps. And everybody can contribute.
WordCamps are exchange, training and lots of fun
The first thing I recognized had been the diversity of all people. A WordCamp, that’s an exchange about WordPress with the most different persons having most diverse interests in WordPress. There are developers, bloggers, companies (I heard quite often “And: My company is hiring!” at a talk’s end), volunteers. And all are united in their wish to talk about WordPress.
On Conference Day, I mostly listened to talks about SEO. I especially liked Marieke van de Rakt’s (employed at Yoast) talk about “How to write a high-quality and SEO-friendly Blogpost”. One of her key messages: In order to write SEO-friendly texts with the correct keywords, you need to know your audience. Or Thomas Kloos’ talk (SEO expert in Vienna) with the well-tried saying: “Content is King!”
Besides to the talks, there had been very delicious food (interesting environment-friendly catering idea: vegetarian food being brought to the venue by bicycle), nice conversations and a little bit of time to develop the area. That’s why my colleague Thorsten and I found a colorful dab of paint in the middle of Vienna’s grey sky. I took the low branch on the left side and could sit perfectly in that tree. The perfect fit: the feeling of sitting in a hammock due to vienna’s wind swinging my branch back and forth softly.
That’s how I could contribute to WordPress
Contributor Day had been quite exciting for me: I didn’t know what to expect or how to contribute to WordPress. Spontaneously, I joined the group “Contributing – Community”. We talked about the past Conference Day, about had been good and about what could be improved. Additionally, we talked about how to address all different types of people correctly going to WordCamps and how to inspire them to contribute to WordPress. Unfortunately, the two discussion hours passed by much to fast. I had the feeling we just started really creating ideas, when our discussion time was over and lunch was ready (As we were already running overtime, we had to cancel our conversation.).
That’s why you should get some WordCamp experience
First of all, WordCamps help to share or improve your knowledgde about WordPress. But they not only give a lot of information. Moreover, you get to know many new and interesting people who can help master your WordPress challenges. Or who simply are nice dialogue partners.
Contributing to WordPress will make you feel good, promised. Suddenly, you are not only a user anymore, you become a supporter. Think about it: Your most little shared brainwave can become a great idea further developing WordPress. You know, WordPress is there for everybody, WordPress belongs to every user. And when something belongs to you, you want it to be good, to be full of your ideas, don’t you?
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The next bigger WordCamp will be the WordCamp Europe in Paris from June 15th to June 17th, 2017! Visit the WordPress community and collect your own WordCamp experience. Here, you can find an overview about all WordCamps taking place: https://central.wordcamp.org/schedule/
Read more WordCamp Stories in our blog:
- melting pot of cultures and languages: WordCamp Europe in Sofia 2014