Rachel Baker

On December 16-17, the third annual BackboneConf will take place in Cambridge, MA. BackboneConf is conference about building real-time applications for the web, with a focus on the Backbone.js library.

I will be giving a talk on the WordPress JSON REST API. I have been actively involved in the REST API project over the past year, and I am excited to share our efforts with a new community. In my presentation I cover some of the challenges building an API for 23% of the web brings, and what the project means to the future of WordPress.

If you are interested in getting involved with the WordPress JSON REST API proejct or working for 10up pull me aside.

Gif the Halls: Holiday Cards Gone Wild

When WP Engine came to us to help engineer Gif the Halls – part digital holiday greeting, part holiday art exhibition – we were more than a little intrigued.

The WP Engine Labs team commissioned six digital artists to create holiday themed animations, to be projected onto buildings in San Francisco – and they needed a way to collect holiday messages from the masses. Enabling visitors, directed from the exhibit, to build digital holiday cards on the (WP Engine hosted) website was the easy part.

Gif the Halls

First, we had to build an output system to project cards onto the buildings in San Francisco, and that output system needed a queue manager, so that only approved cards would appear. Still doesn’t sound too hard?

We also had to engineer remote controlled video capture. Collecting and displaying cards wasn’t enough: we wanted to capture reactions to the exhibit right on the street. Our set-up would determine when a camera should record, transcode that video recording, and share the reaction with the original card creator, who would in turn share the video with friends and family. Without getting too technical, we created a bridge between WordPress and a digital SLR so that when cards are presented, the camera in San Francisco begins recording.

You can check out the result of our partnership with WPEngine, featuring art curated by Grey Area and presented in partnership with YBCBD, by heading over to GiftheHalls.com and visiting the Humboldt Bank Building or Monadnock Building on Market Street between the hours of 6pm and 6am, December 20-22.

WP Engine Mercury: Building a WordPress Jet Engine

WP Engine MercuryPutting problem solving before technology often means figuring the technology out – sometimes as we go. From push notifications and search to standardizing local development, we’re most proud of contributions that advance markets and platforms, not just 10up.

Months ago, WP Engine, a market leader in managed WordPress hosting, reached out to us for candid feedback with an eye toward the platform’s future. The Labs team was determined to invent not only the future of WP Engine, but the future of WordPress hosting; to be as disruptive as WP Engine was in its earliest days. From better hardware and developer tools to bleeding edge performance technology, the vision was compelling, and it was clear that from CEO Heather Bruner to Founder & CTO Jason Cohen, they were all in.

Its 10up’s position that a rich, forward-looking ecosystem of managed hosting choices is vital to the success of a web platform; we’re only as strong as the weakest part of our stack. Membership, integrated social engagement – even e-commerce – are increasingly entangled with content and publishing, and there are, unsurprisingly, a dearth of hosted WordPress choices tackling these use cases. As the fail-whale oft-reminded us, these cases are very hard to scale, particularly with run-time languages like PHP atop traditional SQL databases. Just ask Facebook. (Actually: we did. Read on.)

WP Engine wanted to tackle this problem. They had us at “do you want to help us build it?”

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John Eckman

I’ll be headed to Atlanta today for Confab Higher Ed, where I’ll be speaking tomorrow on “Engineering Influence: Talking to Developers About Content.”  It’s part of the confab series of events which I’ve always found to be very well put together, and I’m proud to be part of it.

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Work/Life Balance at WordCamp Raleigh

WordCamp RaleighThis weekend I’m speaking at WordCamp Raleigh, at North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus. Centennial Campus is a research park and campus that is home to the NCSU School of Engineering along with the Hunt Library, ABB, and Broadband.com.

Saturday Afternoon, I’ll be presenting my talk, “The Art of Untethering: How Is Your Work/Life Balance?”, on the Power User’s Track.

In this talk, we will discuss what work/life balance is; how to see the warning signs that the paths are crossing; and how to maintain the balance so that both work and life are enjoyable and fulfilling.

Also in attendance, you’ll find 10up Web Engineer Amy Hendrix.

There are still tickets left, so come out to the Oak City this weekend and catch myself and Amy at WordCamp Raleigh.

10up Engineering Best Practices

At 10up, we build custom publishing experiences. We take great pride in all aspects of building websites, from user interaction design to code performance. Security, style, workflow, design patterns, performance, and even tools all influence that publishing experience. We use the term “engineer” rather than “develop” because of the amount of skillful strategy and true craftsmanship involved in what we build.

With over 90 full time employees, 10up has a diverse team of strategists, project managers, designers, and a few dozen incredibly smart, diverse engineers. Standardization in engineering is increasingly important with such a large team. Over the past few months we collaborated as a company to document how we engineer and why. We spent a great deal of time considering various things such as WP_Query performance recommendations, workflows to maximize efficiency, and tools we want to use and maintain as a team.

We are proud to open source our Engineering Best Practices as a public project on GitHub. WordPress is an open-source project and so are our Engineering Best Practices. We believe WordPress has continued to grow because of its embracement of open source philosophies. We want our Best Practices to follow that model. We know there are opportunities to keep improving, and want to welcome community contributions that are in tune with our philosophies.

10up Pumpkin

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10upper Gustave Gerhardt took the opportunity (and his handy Speedball linoleum cutters) to create a little pumpkin in honor of 10up and Halloween, including an LED to light it from the inside.

Hope you all are enjoying a Halloween heavier on treats than tricks!

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Meet ElasticPress

We are proud to announce the release of a new plugin, ElasticPress, to the WordPress community. The project started as an internal initiative to meet a particularly common yet difficult client request: improved WordPress search.

ElasticPress

ElasticPress integrates WordPress search with Elasticsearch which has become increasingly prominent powering search on major enterprise websites such as Github and WordPress.com. Elasticsearch is a scalable, peformant, and open source standalone search server based on a technology from Apache called Lucene. Besides being fast and scalable, Elasticsearch can do things like relevant results, autosuggest, geographic search, fuzzy matching, data weighting, and more.

ElasticPress ties your Elasticsearch instance to WordPress. It is a lightweight plugin that overrides the WP_Query object to return posts from Elasticsearch instead of MySQL. There are a number of special WP_Query parameters that the plugin supports to do things like meta, taxonomy, and author searches. ElasticPress can also handle cross-blog search on WordPress multi-site installations.

Full documentation and usage instructions for the plugin are on Github. ElasticPress requires WP-CLI as it is preferable to handle things like bulk indexing through PHP CLI.

Please reach out on Github with any questions. We are happy to help and greatly appreciate contributions.

10up takes WordCamp San Francisco 2014

WordCamp San Fransisco was the first WordPress conference, has historically remained the largest (certainly on the North American continent), and is home to WordPress co-founder and project lead Matt Mullenweg’s annual State of the Word address.

In 2012, we brought the “whole team” out (all 14 of us), and watched with delight as our own Helen Hou-Sandi was called out in the State of the Word as a rockstar. In 2013, we decided that taking a team of ~35 was neither logistically practical nor a great way for us to focus on team building, so we brought a contingent of 8, and were proud to showcase four speakers and see  Drew Jaynes called out as a rockstar.

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WordCamp San Francisco 2014 is this weekend, and this time you’ll find a dozen (12) 10uppers roaming the conference. This year we’re proud to have 5 speakers participating:

  • On Saturday, Helen Hou-Sandi connects her training as professional musician with her career as a code poet.
  • Kicking off Sunday, Paul Clark inspires us by reminding how web publishing and WordPress can save lives and move governments.
  • The three “WordPress in Context” lightning talks on Saturday feature 2 10uppers – and one 10up alumnus! 10up CEO John Eckman and Senior Engineer Rachel Baker are joined by former Engineering Director (now a leader in the university system) Jeremy Felt.
  • Finally, our Creative Director, Taylor Aldridge, joins a set of Saturday lightning talks on Design & Business.

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Jon Bellah

This week I’ll be representing team 10up at CSS Dev Conf in New Orleans. I’m honored to be speaking alongside industry luminaries like Chris Coyier, Dan Cederholm, and Rachel Nabors. On Monday afternoon, I present Embracing Performance Optimization, an essential ingredient for great user experiences. I’ll cover optimization of the critical rendering path, elimination of unnecessary roundtrips, and leveraging caching… And since it is CSS Dev Conf, I’ll dive deep into the keys to CSS performance.