WordCamp Europe 2017

WordCamp Europe 2017 Paris, France

I had the pleasure of attending yet another WordCamp Europe this past weekend and was am pleased to report I have at least another year’s worth of inspiration for further projects.

There were a few reasons why I was a little less excited about this past WordCamp. Firstly it was hosted in the city where I live and although I was very happy for the local organising team I did regret the opportunity of discovering another European city and its local WordPress community. I also haven’t been working on as many WordPress projects this year so I’ve been less in touch with possible evolutions in the ecosystem. On the other hand it was great seeing both my French Meetup friends and the various people I’ve met over the years at WCEU in one spot. The fact that I hadn’t been as involved with WordPress wasn’t a problem either. It all came back fast enough partly thanks to the Contributor day starting things off.

Contributor’s Day Contributor’s day has always taken place on the last day of WordCamp Europe and I think it was a genius move having it the other way round for no other reason than allowing a day to recuperation after the afterparty. There were also several workshops and talks that were scheduled throughout the day which answered many of the questions that inevitably arise when contributing to a project as large and complex as WordPress. I found it to extremely well organised and particularly appreciated the talk by Adam Silverstein entitled Javascript and Backbone in WordPress Core: Past, Present and Future. Zac Gordon also provided a nice intro to Vanilla Javascript for those who are more familiar with PHP.

I also heard some good things about many of the other talks and workshops at Contributor’s Day. All in all it was very successful, at least from an attendees point of view. It is increasingly better organised and the venue was confortable and spacious.

Day 1

The biggest Highlight of Day one from my point of view (which was actually as a volunteer guarding the door of the speaker’s room) was a talk by John Maeda whose talk Three Kinds of Design addressed the subjects of Inclusion as a business opportunity rather than a social issue, an appeal to designers to change their perspective and rethink rather than repaint. The topic of inclusion was also addressed by Caspar Hübinger in his talk Big Little Shame — a Tale of Empowered User Experience Through Localisation and Jenny Wong in her lightening talk We didn’t care about diversity… what happened next is insane!

One of the biggest surprises of the conference was Miriam Schwab’s talk on security. I’ve seen many talks on security and although useful I’ve never found them to be exactly riveting. Miriam covered the basics with a very practical approach based on experience and common sense. She explained her company’s use of Serverless architecture and AWS Lambda to serve a virtually static to the general public.

Day 2

Day 2 began for me with an invigorating presentation by Morton Rand Henderson about CSS Grid. I’ve taken a few peeks at CSS Grid and was excited about the prospect of using it one day… but as it turns out there is really nothing that prevents us using it today. Although CSS Grid is indeed an interesting subject in and of itself, the real stimulus of the talk was how we can use it to simply WordPress themes and reduce code-bloat and reliance on frameworks such as Bootstrap and Foundation. Morton also went into the potentials for using the newly in beta Gutenberg code editor to further simplify WordPress theme creation and take away the need for the many page-builders that pollute the HTML of many a WordPress site.

Gutenberg Plugin

I never expected to be enthralled by an accessibility talk until I saw Rian Rietveld speak WordCamp Europe in Seville in 2015 This one specifically targeted Javascript frameworks and provided precise information and tools for making Javascript powered sites accessible my personal favourite being aXe Inspector Chrome This was immediately followed by a second talk on accessibility which was quite entertaining and made very good arguments for making a site accessible for reasons other than social morality.

Rian Rietveld - Learn HTML5 deeply

Om Malik’s second interview with Matt Mullenweg (the first took place in 2014 in Sofia) provided further insights into the future of WordPress. The high point was most certainly a demo of the Gutenberg plugin which is currently available in the WordPress plugin repository in beta.

Om Malik and Matt Mullenwaeg

A last minute change in scheduling occurred and Ptah Dunbar’s scheduled talk on Reacting Natively with WordPress was cancelled for reasons unknown. I was a bit disappointed as I was looking forward to it. John Blackbourn filled the gap seamlessly however with a talk on User roles and Capabilities.

K. Adam White (also known as Kadam White) delivered one of my favourite talks of the conference just prior to closing remarks. He spoke about D3 and Data-Visualisation in general but in particular how the WordPress API can provide said data and some potential uses for it.

I should mention that I have written about only those talks for which I was present during the event. Thanks to a fabulous media crew the whole conference is available at 2017.europe.wordcamp.org/recordings. Also please feel free to comment and add anything about any of the other talks.

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