Two weeks ago, I went to the small town of Gerolstein, to participate in the first ever “WordCamp Germany“. But wait, the first WordCamp Germany? Haven’t there been any before?
The history of German WordCamps
The first ever WordCamp in Germany was held back in 2008 in Hamburg. It was even the first WordCamp in Europe! Back in the days however, those WordCamps were not “official”, as the ones we have now, that are organized with the support WordPress Foundation / WordPress Community Support.
One year later, there was a second WordCamp in Jena, and it had a guest from the US giving a State of the Word speach.
It continued in 2010 in Berlin, which was my first WordCamp and 2011 in Cologne. Although they were all named WordCamp Deutschland (WordCamp Germany), they were still independently organized. Following two year of having a WP Camp, the reason behind the different name is a long one, which was hard to explain to the community back in the days.
Then in 2014, we had the first “official” WordCamp in Germany in Hamburg. But this was a “city based” WordCamp. All WordCamp following were always named after the city. This is why WordCamp Germany this year was the “first official regional WordCamp” we had.
Wednesday: Pluginkollektiv Hackathon
The day before the WordCamp, we had a little side event: the Pluginkollektiv Hackathon. This group of volunteers is working on some plugins that are well known and widely used, especially within the German and European community.
We tested some plugins, worked on some upcoming versions, but also discussed quite a lot about the future of the Pluginkollektiv and some of the plugin. Some plugin that were taken over had already been closed, and we took the hard decision to close some more.
Thursday: Contributor Day
The day before the conference days was reserved for the Contributor Day. I participated as a table lead for the Meta Team. Three first time contributors joined me, and we have worked on different tickets. I continued with a WordCamp.org ticket and the other worked primarily on WordPress.tv tickets. One of them was an 8-year-old ticket regarding the font-size, and we also created three new tickets.
After the Contributor Day, we had a small dinner for everyone helping with the event, followed by the “opening party”.
Friday: The first conference day
After the opening remarks, I took the chance to meet with attendees I haven’t seen in many years, or even haven’t met at all in person.
This was the first of three lightning talks. Even though I don’t really like eCommerce, this talk by Manja Neumann was really fascinating one, showing the possibilities with the new blocks. I like the great flexibility to arrange the elements on the WooCommerce cart and checkout pages. If I ever have to work with WooCommerce again, I will be happy to give them a try.
I’ve heard the project name “GitHub Codespaces” before, but never really knew what they are. After seeing this talk from Thomas Rose, I can’t wait to give them a try in one of my projects!
The last lightning talk was about the current setup we use at German WordCamp to record all the talks, held by Frank Neumann-Staude. As you might have recognized by now, all the sessions titles link to WordPress.tv and the respective videos. That’s possible, because all videos were already available just in the night of the last day of the WordCamp, thanks to our amazing TV team!
I’ve seen many talks from Maja Benke on accessibility, but this one was an exceptional one. It was not focussing on the typical a11y topics like contrast, font-size, etc. But it was about people “on a spectrum” and what an accessible website means for them.
In the next lightning talk round, I was only able to watch this talk from Tabea Braun about the Groundbreaker Talents scholarship program, that empowers women from underprivileged communities in Uganda to become Software Engineers.
That was the last session for the day. The rest I have spent talking to more attendees and some sponsors as well.
Saturday: The second conference day
The schedule for the second conference day was packed with another round of amazing talks!
Even if you think you know everything about a topic, you will learn something new! This session from Angelo Cali and Simon Kraft was no exception to that! While some “basics” were familiar, the part about passkeys was fascinating. I still don’t fully understand the security behind them, but as a modern alternative to passwords, they are something to take a look at.
Meta-Meetup für WordPress-Meetup-Organisator*Innen
After taking a break and after having lunch, I’ve met with other meetup organizers in the workshop room. We shared our experiences and exchanged ideas around the meetups in the German-speaking community. With the meetup group in Berlin, we are still online, but we really hope to get back to an in-person meetup by next year.
After this session, I was interviewed for a podcast.
The next talk I’ve attended was given by my colleague Tammie Lister. I can’t even summarize what the talk was about. Just watch the video and experience it yourself!
This was already the last talk for me at this WordCamp. I took a small break to get some new energy for the last part of the WordCamp: the After Party! I even had the chance to dance some Kizomba and Salsa 😀
This “first” WordCamp Germany was a great success! Given how difficult it was to travel to Gerolstein, around 240 people attended. This was a normal number of a “big” German WordCamp and not necessarily something you could have expected for the first post-pandemic event.
We don’t know yet where the next German WordCamp will be held – maybe in Munich, which was not possible this year because the team could find any affordable venue. I only know that I will attend it again, just as all German WordCamps since 2010.