WordCamp Europe 2017 – Learn. Connect. Contribute.

Yes, I know. This is yet another WordCamp review blog post. But I promise, in the next two month, there will be „regular“ posts 🙂 So I am currently sitting in the plane back to Berlin – time to write down the review, while emotions are still fresh. In short: it was amazing!

Enjoying Paris

I arrived in Paris on Monday. Usually I don’t stay too many extra days around WordCamp, but as I really love Paris, I had to spend a full week here. Unfortunately my colleague who wanted to join me to explore the city couldn’t make it. But I found other members from the German and international community I could show some of my favorite spots in Paris and some of the typical touristic places, anyone have to see.

I’m not only a fan of the city but also of the French Cuisine. You can’t be in France without having wine, baguette and cheese. I received some good critics on my choices of cheese 🙂

Tuesday and Wednesday: Community Summit

Before the WordCamp Europe, about 150 members of the international WordPress community met for the Community Summit. I was not nominated/invited and as the topics discussed were not twittered or blogged about, I can’t give you details on the outcome. But I heared from many attendees, that some important topics were discussed and some decisions made.

Thursday: Contributor Day

Most WordCamps I visited lately had the Contributor Day before the WordCamp. For WordCamp Europe it was the first time, but I think it went pretty well. I joined the Meta team and worked on some last minute optimizations for our new default WordCamp theme CampSite 2017. Having the leads of the meta team around helped a lot to get patches discussed and merged very fast. We even found some new things we could improve and I wrote a small blog post to ask the community for feedback. Overall it was one of the most productive Contributor Days for me.

Speakers Dinner

Being part of the organizing team of WordCamp Europe 2017 I was invited to the dinner for speakers, sponsors, organizers and volunteers. We met on a boat on the river Seine and had some nice talks over good food. Luckily the weather in Paris was really good the whole week. Just a bit warm 🙂

Friday: The first conference day

In the opening remarks, Paolo Belcastro (global lead of the WordCamp) told the audience, that the WordCamp Europe originally was only planed as a one time event back in 2013 in Leiden. But it turned out to be one of the most successful WordCamps and is here to stay. Jenny Beaumont (team lead of the local team) welcomed around 1900 attendees to the fifth edition of this amazing event. OK, not all of them get up that early to attend the opening remark at 9:15 in the morning 🙂

Big Litte Shame: a Tale of Empowered User Experience Through Localization

Even though I was in the organizing team, I could attend sessions, as the design team had done all the work before the actual event 🙂

My first session was from Caspar Hübinger. He talked about a very important topic: „gender-sensitive language„. I had the pleasure to see this talk at WordCamp Torino but for his talk at WordCamp Europe he researched even more and improved his very good talk with some new details. I would highly recommend to see his talk on WordPress.tv when it’s online.

The three kinds of design

After Caspar’s talk I stayed in track 1 to follow the presentation from John Maeda. He is an inspiring speaker and talked about design and it’s importance. Even though I am not a designer, I learned a lot from this talk on how design can be a key factor for any successful product.

Security is a Process

The next talk was a bit more technical. Mark Jaquith gave a small introduction on how to secure a website and which things you have to keep in mind. He didn’t digged too deeply into the implementation details but showed some important concepts to make WordPress core, plugins and themes more secure.

Lightning Talks – Contributing to WordPress

After lunch, there was a first round of lightning talks. The first talk by Jenny Wong was about how she and her organization team made the last two WordCamp London events the most accessible. Pascal Birchler then spoke about how he started a project to translate WordPress into Romansh, one of the four official languages of Switzerland – and he even doesn’t speak the language himself 🙂 Rahul Bansal followed with a talk on how they help new translation contributors being active over time. The last talk was from Alice Still about the WordUp Brighton (the local WordPress meetup in Brighton) and how they developed a good local community and reaching out to new attendees.

WordPress Security for All: You Won’t Believe How Simple It Can Be

I missed a bit of the next talk from Miriam Schwab about WordPress security, but she gave a good introduction on the most important parts. As you might know, I have my own view on some of the typical advices about security, but Miriam seems to have some similar views on them.

Is Your Code Ready for PHP7?

The next talk was again rather technical. Julka Grodel spoke about the changes in PHP7 and how you can make you code ready for PHP7 while making it also run on PHP5. I learned some new edge cases I didn’t knew before and some issues I experienced myself in the past weeks.

New to Theme Design? Here’s What You Should Know

The last talk of the day for me was from Dmitry Mayorov about Theme Design. He shared his experiences he made while developing themes. He argumented for themes that are small and specific to a special need, rather than implementing yet another „multi purpose theme“ that will not really fit for anything 🙂

Saturday: The second conference day

As the official party was not between the two conference days, I could get some rest.

People Over Code

I started my day with the talk from Andrew Nacin and his funny stories from projects in the WordPress ecosystem as well as in government. He reminded us, that we should keep our software as easy as possible, so not only other developers can work with it, but also we would know what we wrote back then 🙂

We Are All Making This Up: Improv Lessons for Developers

The next session was really something quite different. Dwayne McDaniel is not only a developer but he is also doing Improv. In his talk he made some interessting connections and even had some attendees joining him on stage for a small experiment/game.

The Pernicious Myth of the Code Poet

Followed by this Boone Gorges talked about the WordPress slogan „Code is Poetry“ and why he thinks it doesn’t really fits. In the Q&A after his talk, someone asked him, if he knows a better slogan. He came up with quite a funny one 🙂

After these talks I had to take a break for some meetings and an interview for the German podcast PressWerk (which is not yet online and will be in German).

Interview and Q&A with Matt Mullenweg

As on the previous WordCamp Europes, the co-founder of WordPress Matt Mullenweg had an interview followed by a Q&A session where attendees could ask him anything.

That was also my last session of the WordCamp as I prepared for the closing remarks.

After party

After the great success of the WCEU ball last year on Vienna, we had another „party with style“. This years theme were the 1930s. The organizing team picked the beautiful Pavillon d’Armenonville as the location of the party. Located in the Bois de Boulogne, it was the perfect place for a nice evening with old and new friends to celebrate a wonderful event.

Conclusion

This was my first WordCamp Europe being part of the organizing team. I had an amazing time organizing and attending this WordCamp. The WordCamp Europe continues to be one of my favorite WordCamps. So I will definately be on the next one as well. Speaking about next year: the new city was announced in the closing remarks. We will meet again from June 14 to June 16 in … Belgrade, SerbiaMilan Ivanović and his local co-organizers found a perfect venue in the capital of Serbia. As I have never been to this country, I can’t wait to visit it in 12 month. Maybe I join some meeting of the local team to get some insights for an upcoming WordCamp Europe. But more on that on another occasion 🙂

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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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