Reflections: WordCamp San Francisco & 10up’s Annual Meeting

Last weekend I had a blast attending WordCamp San Francisco, the original and largest WordCamp. For the price of one incredibly cheap entry ticket (well, plus travel from my home base in Washington DC…), I saw interesting speakers, ate great food, met friendly people, listened to live jazz, and was given complimentary WordPress gear. The conference was filled with WordPress users, enthusiasts, developers, and everyday people who just wanted to learn more about the platform, bonded by an affection and appreciation for the open-source WordPress project. Tied in with our annual company meeting, all of team 10up was flown into San Francisco for the purpose of attending the WordCamp and having some time for team bonding.

The most anticipated WordCamp event was, of course, Matt Mullenweg’s “State of the Word” – a light-hearted expression of his aspirations for and reflections on the current and future state of WordPress. As a web developer and plugin maker, Matt’s thoughts on unit tests for plugins stood out. Matt underscored the importance of elevating the quality of plugins in the official repository; units tests would be a great way to start this process off.

Since most of my time as a WordPress professional is spent with PHP, I thought it would be practical and fun to attend some seminars on JavaScript. Andy Peatling’s talk on common jQuery mistakes and how to avoid them highlighted two big mistakes: over-selecting from the DOM and believing JavaScript statements are executed “in order.” Rather than repeatedly selecting the same object, the developer should select once and store that selection in a variable for later use. Andy’s talk was one of the most informative, for me.

Another favorites was Drew Strojny’s “How Not to Design a Default Theme.” Drew, in collaboration with his team at Theme Foundry, is leading the development of the forthcoming Twenty Twelve theme. Instead of directly lecturing us about theme building, he took a tongue in cheek approach and told us how not to build a theme, using sarcasm to mock common excuses for avoiding best practices. The room was filled with laughter when Drew made pronouncements like “make sure you jump right into coding and plan nothing out beforehand.”

On Sunday, the team participated in the developer day, where several team members, including Luke, had their first patches officially integrated into the core WordPress project.

The highlight of the trip, however, was the opportunity for face to face interaction with all of my teammates at 10up. The post WordCamp activity started on Sunday evening with a team dinner. On Monday morning, we sat down for our annual team meeting. Jake kicked off the meeting with a presentation highlighting our accomplishments, balanced with a candid look at areas where we can do better next year, and capped with an exciting preview of what lies ahead. After Jake’s talk, we spent hours brainstorming ways we can improve the company. We followed the meeting with lunch by the bay, some competitive team bowling, a trip to Embarcadero, and a late Thai dinner.

I left San Francisco thinking that team 10up is stronger than ever, and even more proud to be part of 10up and the greater WordPress community.

  1. Taylor, way to go!!! Sorry that I’ve missed your last couple of calls. Been away a lot. Let’s catch up. Keep up the good WordPress work! LOL, Pop

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