Last Saturday I attended WordCamp Manchester at MMU, which I’ve never actually been too and is a great building. Now, if you’ve never been (or heard of WordCamp) its simply a conference for everything WordPress. Like most of the industry you’re encourage to wear casual clothing and enjoy you day there. At WordCamp you’ll meet lots of diverse people ranging from those who have contributed to the core to those that simply run their own blogs.
The weekend was packed full of things to do, Friday night was the pre-even social which was hosted at Sandinista. Saturday was conference day which I’ll come onto shortly. Sunday was contributor day which was hosted at TechHub Manchester. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible for me to make either the Friday or Sunday work, so it was just the main conference day for me!
I’ve been working with WordPress for nearly three years now and I always find there are new or better ways of building WordPress sites. I find that going to events like this you will not only improve the work that you produce but you’ll also improve yourself. The day was layout out with two tracks, General and Technical. I spent all the day in technical, besides one lecture from @kstover from WP Ninjas. You can find the full schedule on WCMCR website.
I’m only going to run through a few of the lectures and what I took away from them. First up was Mark Wilkinson’s Easy Extensible Plugins. Mark made it pretty simple to understand how we can go about making plugins that other users can simple add into. Essentially you’d want to use do_action during your plugin build then we could simple use add_action in our theme functions.php to add into the plugin.
After a quick lunch I went to see @rhyswynne talk about child themes. Now, I’ve never actually done a child theme as I’ve never really seen the point however I’ve come away and thought of many applications where a child theme could be used. We’re also ready to get a child theme under way for a very special project in the coming weeks. Rhys obviously did a lot of research before his talk and it was interesting to see that he actually learnt new things from reading the updated codex. So lesson learnt there, double check the codex, especially after major WordPress updates.
Lastly and my favourite talk of the day from @s10wen, Simon Owen. Simon talked about optimising front-end development workflow. It’s simply amazing to see how many tools out there are being used to create sites these days. Gone are the days of hand coding and trying to remember every class and where you functions are. I already use PHPStorm, which is common another is Sublime. Simon chatted about Composer, Bash, Grunt, Gulp, SASS, Emmet, GitHub, Vagrant and setting up your WordPress install in 7 seconds with a dotfile. I’ve started using Emmet (Zen Coding) for PHPStorm, and wow! simply awesome, no longer do I have to type out repetitively long CSS or HTML I can simply just ‘shortcode’ it.
I’ve now come away knowing a lot more and wanting to use the best technology to get WordPress build and I’m going to add to my WP Plugins with a few ideas I’ve got.
Thanks to all those that organised it and sponsored it.