WordCamp Europe 2017: Recap

Last week(end), WordCamp Europe 2017 took place. In total, this was my tenth WordCamp, and my first WordCamp Europe—but definitely not my last. Something special was that, after seven times in a row being a speaker, I just attended as a regular visitor.

Thursday: Contributor Day

WordCamp Europe 2017 started with a contributor day—like WordCamp Berlin, where I have been just five weeks ago.

In the opening remarks, the organizers briefly mentioned all the different contributing teams, then a few of the team leads explained what the goals for the day were, and right after that people scattered and chose their team for the morning.

Getting Up and Running with Vanilla JavaScript

I started in the JavaScript room, and thus with a workshop by well-known Zac Gordon, who I already had the pleasure to meet last year in London at the Day of REST conference.

To be honest, I did not plan to attend the workshop, originally. The reason was that I already did the JavaScript for WordPress Master Course by Zac, which I really liked a lot! But the room for the JavaScript team was rather small, so it only had space for the workshop, and no contributing tables in parallel. Anyway, I was in the room, and I had a chair—not everyone had because there was only room for about 25 people, while there must have been more than 40 who wanted to attend. So I stayed. And it was great fun! 🙂

JavaScript in WordPress Core: Past, Present and Future

Next up was Adam Silverstein with another workshop about the complete history of JavaScript within WordPress.

It was really interesting to see the evolution of the WordPress-specific JavaScript codebase over time, and what and how JavaScript has been used for in the individual WordPress versions.

Core: REST API

After lunch, the movable wall between the JavaScript and the REST API room had been opened, and several table groups stood in the now larger room. Since I have had enough JavaScript for the day, I decided to contribute to the REST API in the afternoon.

Ryan McCue was leading the team, and I talked with him about the OAuth 2 plugin, which I planned to contribute to. My task was to work on the token-based user authentication. However, this was not that easy at first since I did not know the codebase of the OAuth 2 plugin, nor the OAuth 1 one, which served as a base for the other. Thus, I reviewed both plugins, and also combed through the OAuth 2 specification. In the end, I was able to create a pull request that included a few small improvements, and which got merged already.

Then, the contributor day was over already. All in all, it was a huge success. There were more than 500 contributors, almost a third of which had never been to a contributor day before. And even more wanted to join, but due to the limited capacity they unfortunately couldn’t. With teams for all existing disciplines, there was a place to learn, connect and contribute for everyone. A little sad was that some of the workshops were simply overfull.

Dinner with Live Music

In the evening, me and four other Inpsyde people searched for a nice place to get something to eat, and found it at Au Port du Salut.

Live Music at Au Port du Salut
Live music during our dinner at Au Port du Salut.

Food and drinks were both tasty and pricey, but we also had very nice live music, which was really worth it.

Friday: WordCamp Day 1

Then the first conference day arrived.

We all gathered in the largest room for the opening remarks and a little history of WordCamp Europe. Unfortunately, these were somewhat delayed…

Demystifying the WordPress Bootstrap Process

Even more unfortunately, Alain Schlesser was already in full swing with his talk about the WordPress bootstrap process when I arrived in the other building.

Still I was able to hear half of the talk, and it was both informative and entertaining. I am excited for what will happen in the next months in the wp-core-bootstrap organization on GitHub, and even more in the documentation repository.

Improving WordPress Performance with Xdebug and PHP Profiling

After a quick stop at the WordPress swag store, where I exchanged some money for a cute little stuffed Wapuu as well as a Wapuu T-shirt for my son and a diversity T-shirt for myself, I attended the second talk.

Otto Kekäläinen talked about performance, profiling and Xdebug, and also transients (at best with a persistent cache behind them). The talk was good, but did not offer anything new to me as I have had the fun to take part in two large-scale profiling parties for two separate client projects within the last six months or so. Personally, I prefer QCacheGrind over Webgrind, and the Inpsyde Translation Cache over the Dynamic MO Loader, but that’s just me.

Business Meeting

Having attended two talks in a row, I then had a business meeting with Inpsyde and a potential soon-to-be-partner company of us in fresh air and under the Parisian morning sun. That was nice, and promising.

Lunch

After the meeting, we went for lunch, which I ate together with a colleague, to recap the meeting.

Then Zac Gordon joined us, and we talked about JavaScript, WordPress, and a related post that I will hopefully be able to publish rather soon. Since Zac didn’t have any JS Wapuu stickers anymore, he just gave me something else instead: a baseball cap of WordCamp Orange County—you know, the one with the unbelievably fantastic comic-style theme. How. Awesome. Is. That!?

Localizing Your WooCommerce Store: Make it Work For YOUR Country

In the afternoon, I attended a sponsor workshop. OK, one and a third, as the introduction to WooCommerce was not done yet. The topic I had an interest in was how WooThemes theirselves suggest to make a store multilingual.

Of course, there was multilingual content mentioned, but also taxes and shipping that both might differ from one country (or even region) to another. Also MultilingualPress, which WooThemes are recommending for a longer time now already, had an appearance.

Tribe Meetup: Multilingual

In my first (and only) tribe meetup, we talked about all things multilingual. Topics have been the still missing base for multilingual content in WordPress core, but also plugin-specific issues.

I also had the chance to talk with one attendee about Wonolog, the Monolog-based logging library for WordPress that we open sourced just a few weeks ago.

Networking Drinks

In the evening, we were invited to the party sponsored by WP Engine and Torque. Great conversations, tasty beer (and tequila) and unusual burgers made it a throughout nice evening.

Best thing was that I tweeted to some people who I hadn’t had the pleasure to meet in person yet, and suggested that we try the next day. And then they just came in. One Canadian, one globetrotter originally from London, and another one from the UK, one after the other, within three minutes’ time, or so. Plus someone from the US, who I had seen on the contributor day already. Awesome.

WordCamp Karaoke

After most of the party people had left already, some of us moved to the next best—or, in fact, better—thing: WordCamp karaoke. 🙂

In Paris, there are no huge karaoke bars, but only private rooms for about five to 20 people. Still, we had so much fun!

Saturday: WordCamp Day 2

The second conference day and last day of WordCamp Europe 2017 started even hotter than day 1.

People Over Code

Andrew Nacin kicked it off with a very entertaining and at the same time informative and in-depth session about developers in general, but also about what he experienced during his day-to-day work at the United States Digital Service.

The talk was about explaining tech to non-tech people and vice versa, and perfect software (or hardware) that noone is actually using, amongst other things. Nacin also mentioned that, if possible, one should use computers to test and assure things which there exist hard rules for (e.g., static analysis regarding code style) instead of making this someone’s manual job. This might not only save that someone from a stupid, never-ending task, but also resolve possible negative feelings or even relationships because person A is telling person B over and over and over again about all these tiny things that are not according to the rules.

The Pernicious Myth of the Code Poet

Boone Gorges always had issues with the slogan, or motto, Code is Poetry—and he used WordCamp Europe to share some of his thoughts.

Having stated that code is (most of the times) not poetry, at least not literally, Boone went through a number of properties of either code or poetry, and explained that these not only not fit for the other, but also sometimes even are completely backwards. As an example there was the individualism of artists, compared to developers working together following coding standards.

After that, Boone proposed a few things that code is, for example, meaningful and beautiful. And he also stated that people who code are craftsmen of some sort. All in all, it was an interesting talk that really makes you think.

Interview and Q&A with Matt Mullenweg

Since this is most likely the session that almost all attendees have been waiting for, and also since you might find comments in almost any other recap post there is, I make it short.

Gutenberg is looking fantastic, and it is now available as a plugin. Both open source and an open web are so, so important. And half of the questions in the Q&A were just awful to hear, in my opinion. 😕

Oh, and did I say that Gutenberg is looking fantastic? It is. 🙂

Afterparty

Well, and then there was this afterparty.

I do not want to rant about anything here—that is what feedback surveys are there for—so I just say this: once we finally have eaten something, my colleague Robert really got the party started. He brought a couple—yeah, well, … 250—packs of Ahoj-Brause, which we then enjoyed, with a beer, or wodka, or even whisky. Of course, we also introduced lots of people from all over Europe, no, actually the world, to its taste. 😀

I love having had all these conversations both with people I knew from some time before and also with people I just ran into in the middle of the party/night. One of the most interesting and also refreshing conversations I had was the one with my colleague David (a German living in Greece) and two guys from Finland who had learned German in primary school—still we were talking in English. All of us being long-time WordPress developers, we didn’t talk anything WordPress for a very long time, maybe almost a full hour. We talked about how, say, Swedish differs from Finnish, how easy or complex individual languages are, about pronounciation, about synonyms, and also about regional preferences as well as dialects. And most certainly about a lot of other things I forgot. In one word: great.

At around 3:30 AM, people got complimented out of the location, and eventually, we left for our beds.

Sunday: Sightseeing

Since we stayed until Monday, we had the whole Sunday for relaxing and sightseeing. My colleague Jessie and I went for a longer walk along the Seine, had a late breakfast near Pont Neuf, and then did a Seine cruise.

The weather could not have been better, the guide was really good, and it was great to just sit in the wind, relax and take in all the beautiful views…

I have never had a whole day for sightseeing when I was at a WordCamp before, so this was just awesome, of course.

Summary

WordCamp Europe 2017 was great, no questions asked. To be honest, though, it was not really special in any way, except from that it was a well-organized regular two-conference-days WordCamp with good talks, unusually large. Does that make sense? I hope so. 😉

I am so looking forward to WordCamp Europ 2018 in Belgrade! See you there?


Want to know how Wapuu experienced WordCamp Europe 2017? Read his review. 🙂

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