Keynoting WordCamp Philly 2014

WordCamp Philly

Philadelphia, PA

Attending Speaking

I’m really excited to debut my first WordCamp keynote this coming weekend at the illustrious WordCamp Philly! I’m presenting a remix of a my WordCamp Connecticut talk, “How I convinced my boss to let me work on WordPress full-time”, arguing for personal and company investment in open source. I’ll look at how and why teams like 10up donate back to the community, and offer ways that attendees can give back, too.

10uppers will also be quite well represented: Dave Ross will be speaking on “Easier, More Secure Deploys with Docker and Dokku“, Doug Stewart pulls double duty as co-organizer and “working from home” panel moderator, and Cindy Kendrick and Spencer Hansen will be in attendance. Hope to see you there, whether in a session, Sunday’s contributor day, or in the hallways.

Expanding autocomplete in the WordPress admin

Autocomplete is not a new concept in the WordPress admin – tags have had suggestions powered by suggest.js since their introduction six years ago in version 2.5. This, however, remained the only instance of Ajax-powered autocompletion for another four years, until adding users in multisite was enhanced with jQuery UI autocomplete for 3.4. It was originally committed with deliberately unpolished styling, so when I saw a request to make it look better, I decided to take it on. I may not consider myself a creative designer, but I do have an eye and passion for UI consistency. After a little iteration on both the design and code, we had a fully functional instance of autocomplete.

WordPress autocomplete evolution

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Helen Hou-Sandí

Howdy, Austin! I’m going to be in town for your upcoming WordPress Meetup on Tuesday, February 25. I’ll be at Opal Divine’s Penn Field from 5 until 7 PM for the “ Happy Hour”, along with some other members of the WordPress core team and the Automattic “dot org” team. Check out more details over on Meetup, and come find me if you want to talk contributing or 10up!

Kicking off the WordPress 3.9 development cycle

After the excitement of the 3.8 release and a typically quiet winter holiday season, it’s time to start in earnest on WordPress 3.9. This is a particularly exciting release for me: after three cycles of being a guest committer, I’ve been granted permanent commit access to core. My goal is to continue to inform and build the admin experience, provide feedback on community contributions, and bring perspectives from real-world client implementation back to our favorite publishing platform. I’m honored to join these trusted ranks!

Drew Jaynes has also been renewed as a guest committer, and is on track to complete the inline documentation for hooks initiative. A few 10uppers have already begun contributing patches, with several working on unit tests. I’m particularly excited to see work by Adam Silverstein on storing revisions of post meta and a ticket on the topic opened by Jake.

colors.css diff

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My First Patch: Helen Hou-Sandi

We’re kicking off a series about first patches that became a part of an open source software project, beginning with my own story. With 25 of 50 10uppers – at the time of writing – credited as core contributors to WordPress, credits in a number of other projects, and communities of hundreds of contributors at large, we won’t run out of material any time soon. We hope that these sometimes inspiring and often humbling stories, from one-time contributors all the way up to the most prolific WordPress core developers, will entertain and offer some perspective to open source’s newest would-be contributors. Do you remember your first patch? Tell us how to get ahold of you in the comments, and we just might feature you!

My first committed patch to WordPress was for #17887 in June 2011, just a few months before I joined 10up. I was running trunk in my testing environment to ensure that our live site would upgrade smoothly and to be able to explain the impending 3.2 redesign to our users at the university. In hindsight, my experience is probably typical for first-time contributors, and may surprise those who know me today.

WordPress Trac ticket #17887

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Helen Hou-Sandí

I’ll be speaking about “Who is WordPress?” at the New Jersey WordPress Meetup down in Asbury Park, NJ next Tuesday, January 28. We’ll take a look at how WordPress is made and grows with the help of an amazing community, and how you’re already a part of it. This is my first time joining this meetup, and I’m really looking forward to it!

Mixed relationship taxonomy queries in WordPress

Earlier this year we launched a membership component for my very first project with 10up: LearningWorks for Kids. LearningWorks’s content focuses on making the most of digital content to support learning, academics, and development of critical thinking skills. Memberships come with support for multiple private child users, each of whom has a profile that includes their age, thinking skills, academic skills, and special learning needs. Each member can also indicate which digital platforms and devices are available to their child users.

The central benefit of membership, beyond access to exclusive content, is the personalized recommendations across four different content types for each child user. These recommendations take into account the child’s age and available platforms, as well as a combination of skills and needs as indicated in their profile. These are related by five custom taxonomies – platforms, age, thinking skills, academic skills, and special needs. In this instance, we need to get content matching this set of criteria: age AND one of the platforms AND one of thinking skills OR academic skills OR special needs. This is a mixed relationship taxonomy query, and I’ll show you how we pulled it off.

LearningsWorks recommendations

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Helen Hou-Sandí

I’ll be presenting a flash talk entitled “Redefining Traditional Media Workflows in WordPress” tonight at the December Big Media WordPress Meetup in NYC. The topic is “big media editorial experiences”, and I’ll be joined by professionals from the Washington Post, VIP, and Parade. I’ll offer a quick look inside the editorial experience we built for Global News, serving over 1,000 contributors across 11 localized editions, along with the centralized web-to-print content management workflow we built for Variety. If you’re working in media and New York City, be sure to swing by.

Upping our commitment to the WordPress community

Here at 10up, we strongly believe that a vibrant and active WordPress community is crucial to our success and longevity. After all, our business is built on the confidence that our favorite piece of free open source software serves as a great publishing platform. As we’ve grown, we’ve been able to expand our commitment to creating amazing publishing experiences for our clients and partners to the WordPress open source project itself.

At WordCamp Philly 2011, Jake and I finally met in person for the first time. Over dinner, we talked about our shared values in the community and the conversation led to an intriguing proposition: time each week to spend contributing to WordPress – a donation to the community by way of hours and effort. It began with 5 hours a week, and as 10up grew, it increased to become 8, then 15, then 20 hours each week. Today, I am really excited to announce that I am officially endorsed to work full-time on WordPress core as a guest committer and leader in the community.

I am officially endorsed to work full-time on WordPress core as a guest committer and leader in the community.

In practice, I have chosen to continue being active on some client projects. We are especially valuable in contributing back to the community in the areas we handle deeply in our work for clients and partners, and I feel that the best way for me to do that is to remain grounded in the world of implementation and especially custom administrative interfaces. I also regard our team as incomparable (for which we’re always hiring) and would hate to miss the opportunity to work with and learn from such an incredible group.

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Helen Hou-Sandí

This Saturday I’m hosting a WordPress core hack day here in Jersey City, right outside Manhattan. I’ll be joined by a handful of WordPress developers in the NYC metro area, including lead developers from some of the largest publications, as well as some East Coast 10uppers. Since this particular get-together will be at my home, it’s an intimate group, though I plan to facilitate future hack days at larger venues as we advance our mission to make WordPress a better publishing experience for all.