Earlier this month over 800 fellow WordPress developers, designers, bloggers and sponsors assembled at Baruch College in New York City for WordCamp NYC 2012. The two-day event provided a unique opportunity to both learn from and network with other members of the global WordPress community.
Upon arriving in the city Friday afternoon, I made my way to 24th and 3rd and checked into the modern and urban Marcel at Gramercy Hotel. Having not been to New York in 15 years, I was anxious to get out and into the city and amongst fellow WordPress aficionados. After throwing my bags down in the room, I reached out to my co-workers who were trickling into the city. Luckily for me, two of my colleagues, Erick Hitter and Ben Doherty, were both scheduled to present in the Advanced Developer track over the weekend allowing me to tag-along to a pre-event social gathering later that night with other speakers, sponsors, and Automatticians in attendance. Within moments of arriving at the event, I began to brush past the human counterparts to many Gravatars I recognized from my years of experience traversing the many WordPress blogs, plugin repositories, and message boards. A few more glances around the crowd resulted in some more familiar faces — many of which belonged to developers I had the privilege of meeting through the Intensive WordPress VIP Training that I attended this past spring. Friday turned out to be a great night, but after a few hours of networking and talking code, it was time to retire back to the hotel in preparation for the main event the following day.
Saturday morning kicked off with an well-conceived session presented by Oomph’s own Erick Hitter on ”Moving Beyond the Codex: Learning WordPress from Itself.” Erick walked through the process of discovering how to improve your code and expand your knowledge by looking at the functions and methods utilized by the WordPress Core. While he admitted that the Codex can often be very useful, it is also often inaccurate, incomplete or both. He informed the crowd that the Core code is always current and ”there is no better aid than Core itself.“ Throughout the talk he provided examples of Core code organization and demonstrated how to find the appropriate function for any given task. While Erick acknowledged that the Codex documentation can be somewhat lacking in information, he closed with an appeal for the all of the many people involved with WordPress to contribute to the community by helping to keep the Codex up to date. He pointed out, “It is just a Wiki after all.”
Shortly after Erick’s session, another one of Oomph’s lead developers, Ben Doherty, gave a very informative presentation on “WordPress on the Command Line – It’s really not that scary!” The session covered the process of utilizing many of the WordPress APIs from a command-line shell using WPSH (WordPress Shell Utility) with Ben adding his sentiment that the “CLI interfaces make you look cool and let you get work done faster.” The information was both novel and exceptionally useful to even some of the most experienced developers at WordCamp. The topic continued to evolve and was concluded with an example where Ben had written a custom shell script to properly handle the import and export of a very large dataset — a process that would timeout in many of the web-based environments, but could be implemented successfully from a command-line script. I find it amazing how much I continue to learn from my colleagues on a daily basis, even after having sat just across a desk from them every weekday for the past 6 months.
The rest of the weekend was filled with a variety of sessions on everything WordPress — catering to everyone from the beginning blogger to the advance developer. One of the greatest aspects of the event was getting to meet people from this broad spectrum and exchanging personal experiences. Additionally, hearing about the future improvements and enhancements coming to WordPress in the coming months directly from the Core contributors was invaluable. Overall, it was a fantastic way to spend a weekend in the city. I will see you there next year!