WordCamp Berlin 2017 – How was it?

Some of you might say „what, yet another WordCamp review?“, but no, this one will be different. And the reason is quite simple. For WordCamp Berlin 2017, I was the lead organizer so I had almost no time to see any sessions. So you have to read all the other reviews out there, if you want to know, how the talks have been.

WPAdminDay

But before I write some words about the WordCamp, let’s start two days earlier. Stefan Kremer organized for dev ops how maintain WordPress websites for their clients. As I am the administrator for the WordPress websites in the agency I am working for, this day gave me lots of new insights on how to optimize workflows and get a better overview on tasks to be done.

Marc Nilius showed his daily workflow when updating WordPress installations using InifiteWP, a software I really want to look into in the next weeks. He also wrote a custom script, which parses the email about changed files and how he uses this system to detect potentially hacked site.

I also gave a little presentation on how I utilize GitLab CI to automatically test and deploy projects on remote servers. Robert Windisch explained how they use Composer to deploy their projects and manage dependecies.

There were some other talks and a lot of Q&A on how everyone is doing the typical things, any WordPress dev op has to do. The WPAdminDay was the first of it’s kind, but we want to repeat it. It should probably stay at a small number of attendees and the will not be recorded, as we might show client data. But some attenees wrote their own reviews. Just search for the hashtag #WPAdminDay and you should find them.

Friday: Contributor Day

As a regular attendee of WordCamps, I really like to have the Contributor Day before the actual WordCamp. People are usually not exhausted form the conference day and don’t have a hangover from the after party 🙂 So the organizing team for WordCamp Berlin also decided to have the Contributor Day on Friday. We met in the Atrium of Microsoft Berlin (we have our monthly meetup in the Digital Eatery on the same address). Around 80 attendees came together to work on different parts of WordPress.

I would say around a fourth of the attendees where first time contributors, which I found really great. Even those who came unprepared (without a laptop) found team in which they could contribute something. I worked on the video equipment we wanted to use on Saturyday to record all sessions. But I will probably come to that later 🙂

Warm up party

Many attendees from the Contributor Day as well as some others who arrived on Friday evening, joined for a little warm up event at St. Oberholz. I had the chance to talk to some attendees, but as there were still some things I had to organize or pick up last minute, I left quite early.

Saturday: Conference Day

Being part of the organizing team means, that you get very little sleep. My day started around 5:15 a.m. (we started at the venue at 6:30 a.m.). The checkin opened at 8:00 a.m. and so we had around 90 minutes to setup the checkin tables, organize some additional chairs for the rooms and try to setup the video recording. And although we tested almost all of the equipment on the Contributor Day, we had really big issues trying to connect them to the projectors at the venue. As 9:00 a.m. was approaching, I had to get down to the opening remarks to welcome our 200-250 attendees.

Right after the opening remarks, we had a pitch for the nine bar camp tracks in our schedul. I can’t tell you how well that went, as I had to rush up to try to fix the issues we still had with the video recording equipment.

Women in IT and the WordPress community – presentation + panel discussion

Believe it or not, but in the second slot, I made it into a session. I was really looking forward to this one, in which Jessica Lyschik gave a small introduction presentation on what she experiences as a woman in IT and the WordPress community in particular. I really liked her talk and also the following panel with lots of voices from the audience as well. We could probably have talked about the topic a full day, but in my opinion, this very important topic got a spot on our WordCamp, it well deserved. I would really love to see the discussion going on – not only in the German community.

On board the „WordPress community“: on the journey to myself

The second talk I really had to see was from Carole Olinger. She entered the community at WordCamp Europe in Vienna last year. She told her amazing and inspiring path to become not only a community member and addict, but also an organizer of a very special WordCamp which will take place in Germany next year. If you haven’t had the chance to meet her, you must come to WordCamp Europe in Paris in 4 weeks and talk to her! I would also highly recomment to read her story posted on HeroPress in English.

WP Sofa live session

There are two German podcast on WordPress I follow. Onw of them is the WP Sofa. As they usually record their episodes on a working day in the afternoon, I never had the chance to join them. But as I could not avoid to be around at this WordCamp and they pitched for one of the bar camp tracks, they invited me as a second guest into their live recording session. They even managed to organize an actual sofa and it was only the second time they recored an episode together at the same place.

After party

There can be no WordCamp without an after party. We met at Salz Club and enjoyed the nice weather outside. I finally had the chance to have some longer conversations to our attendees, especially with those coming from abroad. I don’t know how I did it, but I only went home at around 2:45 a.m. in the morning.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, that for sure, we also had the „unofficial maskots“ of the German WordCamp community visiting us. The three lovely dogs of Carole and Alain.

The day after

As the WordCamp was on a Saturday, some attendees spend another day (or more) in Berlin exploring the city. We first met at a beach bar (me a bit later in the afternoon after a good breakfast) and in the evening Carole and Alain introcuded me into one of their favorite restaurants in Berlin, where I had a very delicious traditional Japanese soup.

Summary

This was my first WordCamp as the lead organizer. And although it was a lot of work in the months before the event and on the two days, I enjoyed every minute of it. I want to thank my co-organizers, your volunteers, the sponsors, the speakers and the many attendees. I am really looking forward to the next WordCamp we will have in Berlin. I still want to increase the size of it „a bit“ for 2019. But more on that another time 😉 I really hope all of our attendees had a good time and are keeping it in mind as a great community exerience.

P.S. Ans yes, not everything went the way, we wanted. I am currently sitting in a train back to Berlin post-producing the videos for WordPress.tv, as in around half of the sessions we had issues with some of the video and/or audio tracks. But I am quite certain, that we can finally upload all of them. It just means, that the organizing is not yet done for me 🙂 Ah and it isn’t anyways, as I am also part of the organizing team of WordCamp Europe in four weeks, for which you can still buy tickets 😉

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Bernhard is a full time web developer who likes to write WordPress plugins in his free time and is an active member of the WP Meetups in Berlin and Potsdam.

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