At the start of February, I attended my first ever WordCamp in Birmingham England. I found the whole experience so rewarding and valuable that I decided I want to get to as many WordCamps as I can, which is why I attended WordCamp London last weekend (20th of March 2015).
WordPress contributor day
The day before WordCamp London started, I was able to attend a WordPress contributors day organised by the people who organised WordCamp. As WordPress is an open source software, anybody with the appropriate skill level is able to contribute to the development. I’ve been using WordPress for a number of years, and as a programmer, I feel like it is only fair for me to start making contributions to the open source software that has become such a big part of my life.
There are many different areas that people can get involved in, including core (the code and logic of WordPress), design, accessibility, documentation, theme review and much more. I’d like to contribute as much as I can, and as a programmer by trade it makes sense for me to contribute to core. I am however interested in web accessibility and would like to help make WordPress more accessible for users with some kind of disability.
Due to the fact that website accessibility interests me, and the Genesis theme I am currently working on and plan to have finished in the next month or so pays close attention to web accessibility, it made sense for me to join the accessibility team on the contributors day. The accessibility team was lead by Rian Rietveld, who is extremely educated on web accessibility, and I ended up learning a lot.
Although I didn’t make any actual contributions to WordPress on the day, I have come away with great knowledge and can now start to make some real contributions. All in all, the WordCamp London contributors day was very educational. To me, not only would giving back to the WordPress community be a great thing to do, but having some of my code running on 23% of the entire internet would be absolutely amazing.
UK Genesis meet-up number 2
Image by Jo Waltham
WordCamp London couldn’t happen without another Genesis meet-up, so me and a bunch of other UK based Genesis developers all met up after the contributors day. I met a few of these people at my last WordCamp in Birmingham, however I also met some new people too. Meeting people who you network with in person is great, its good to put a faces to names (instead of a Twitter avatar).
We started off in a local bar, and then headed to an Italian restaurant for a nice meal.
WordCamp London talks
Image by Gary Jones
WordCamps are not only great networking opportunities and great fun, but they are also packed full of interesting and educational talks by some very talented people. At WordCamp London I listened to talks ranged from general business, design, through to advanced development talks. Some of the talks I enjoyed and found particularly interesting are:
- <picture> and Friends: HTML Responsive Images by Bruce Lawson
- Going Freelance by Jo Waltham
- How to Value Price Websites by Ben Furfie
- Cache Money Business by Mark Jaquith
- Q&A with the Core Developers – John Blackburn, Helen Hou-Sandi and Mark Jaquith
- Themes, Plugins and Accessibility by Graham Armfield
The after party
The after party at WordCamp London was pretty cool, to say the least. The organisers had booked out the entire bar, which meant I had more opportunities to network with some funky WordPress folk, which was awesome. Not only was the venue packed full of WordPress profesionals letting their hair down over a few drinks, there was also a collection of retro video games that anyone could have a go on, including Pong, Mario cart and many others… fun times.
So as expected, WordCamp London has been an exciting, entertaining, educational and all round valuable experience. It’s been great to catch up with some friends I made in Birmingham, as well as making new ones. I’m already in the process of planning my next WordCamp, which is being held in Seville in Spain on June 26th through to the 28th.
If you’re interested in WordPress at all, or use it in your profession, I can highly recommend you get yourself to a WordCamp or two. If you’re planning on attending WordCamp Europe this year, let me know in the comments and I’l be sure to say hi.