WordCamp Vienna 2017: Recap

Last weekend, a really great WordCamp Vienna 2017 took place. It was the first WordCamp for me in Austria, and also the first one where I was invited to give a workshop. 🙂 In total, it was my eighth WordCamp, my sixth one as a speaker, and, after Antwerp and Geneva, my third one outside of Germany. I was in Vienna both as a regular attendee, but also as a speaker and, together with a colleague, representative of Inpsyde.

Friday: Speakers Dinner

As a speaker, the WordCamp weekend actually started on Friday evening with the Speakers Dinner. In a round of about 30 speakers, organizers and volunteers, we had delicious food and nice conversations. I even had the opportunity to meet someone I know for about a year already from some Slack now for the first time in real life—which was, of course, great as well!

Saturday: WordCamp

On WordCamp day, registration opened at 8 AM. And one hour later, Denise VanDeCruze officially kicked off WordCamp Vienna 2017.

REST in Pieces: Working with the WordPress REST API in an Object-oriented Fashion

I had the honor of opening up the developer track—in a pretty empty Aula, at first.

Luckily, quite a few people came over right after the opening remarks. 🙂 However, as the HDMI cable, which was supposed to be waiting for me, seemed to play hide and seek, I had to copy my presentation to some other computer, and eventually started off 15 minutes late right on time, including the academic quarter. 😉

The talk was about WP REST Starter, a Composer package for working with the WordPress REST API in an object-oriented fashion. Using the interfaces and default implementations provided by WP REST Starter helps you write proper object-oriented code that is easier to understand, easier to extend, easier to test, and easier to maintain.

I think the talk was (received) quite good. There were a few questions mid-talk and some afterwards, and I also had further discussions later that day and also the day after. My personal highlight: one attendee, who used to work for a long time with Zend framework before he stumbled into WordPress, literally thanked me for bringing more OOP to the WP universe. 😀

Oh, in case you were wondering, the slides of my talk are available online.

Networking

After my talk, I had a few discussions about WordPress (development) in general, with people I never met before, but also well-known ones, who I didn’t see for more than a year. These kind of hallway discussions are a very important and at the same time fun part of WordCamps, in my opinion.

Keynote: WordPress and the opportunities of the Open Web

Just like presumably 96.6 % of all people, I attended the keynote by Luca Sartoni.

It was a nice mixture of personal story, WordPress, the (Open) Web in general, making money with either, and also about contributing.

Happiness Bar

After the keynote, I sat down at the Happiness Bar, which in Vienna was the place where speakers were available for further questions after their talk.

While sitting there, Denise VanDeCruze asked me for a short interview, which might or might not make it into the recap video of WordCamp Vienna that will be put online once it is done.

Lunch

As a meat loaf loving carnivore (or for my German readers: eingefleischter Fleischfresser), I really have to mention the lunch. Although it was 100 % veggie, it was 200 % delicioustastic!

Back to the Basics – Improving the accessibility of your WordPress sites

Stuffed with vegetarian goods, I went to a talk about A11y (i.e., accessibility) by Manuel Matuzovic.

While I really liked the (very important) contents, I didn’t like the presentation (style) too much. Reason was that Manuel, in my opinion, spent too much time with things that could have been presented in a less lengthy way. In the end, parts of the presentation had to be skipped over due to a lack of time. So, please have a look at the slides, if you like.

Optimising WordPress performance in a large multisite environment

As lead developer of MultilingualPress, a WordPress plugin based on multisite, I had to attend the only multisite talk at WordCamp Vienna.

Thomas Macdonald—team lead for a project at yelster digital, where they have almost 4,000 (!) sites in one multisite—presented some technical facts about the very project, and explained what kind of issues they encountered in such a high-scale WordPress installation as well as how they tackled these.

Kind-of-obvious fun fact finding: if your user account has been added to a couple hundred sites, the My Sites node in the admin bar might take a while rendering… 😀

Timeout: Manny, and Hanging in a Tree

After a coffee-and-cake break, I actually earned a Manny (for my not yet 2yo son). Thanks GoDaddy, and ManageWP! 🙂

Then, my colleague and I had a short timeout during a somewhat more sunny and less windy part of the day—hanging in this beautiful (and comfortable 😀 ) tree.

The Timeout Tree in Vienna
The Timeout Tree in Vienna.

Remote work: Debugging your stress and improving your productivity

Andrés Cifuentes gave a pretty extensive overview of all the things you have to keep in mind (or better: do) when working remotely.

Even though I have been working remotely for more than four years now, I learned something new. Something very easy and obvious, but at the same time something I never intentionally did, nor think about.

I will really try to integrate this more often into my daily routine now. And according to the number of favorites of the tweet, other people like the tip, too.

JavaScript: From Zero to Hero and Back

Having spent lots of time with JavaScript (in particular: ES6, and also React) during the last year, I had to go to the only JavaScript talk at WordCamp Vienna.

Veselin Nikolov shared his journey as someone who did more PHP but then got thrown into a huge state-of-the-art JavaScript project. He not only talked about how he managed to learn all he mised in the last 10 to 20 years in the JavaScript universe—well, at least all the stuff he was confronted with when developing Calypso—but also how his mind ticked after Calypso was released and when Veselin finally started working on a PHP project again.

After Party

After a long day full of talks and talking, the after party took place just nearby.

Tasty food and delicious beer incubated lots of fun conversations, and at some point my table reached exchanging legends around the Devil and our respective hometown (of five different countries, by the way). 😀

Sunday: Contributor Day

The next/second/last day of WordCamp Vienna was Contributor Day. Several contribution teams as well as four workshops were planned.

Development Team

I started in the development team. Wait, the schedule doesn’t have such a team in the morning, you say? Well, yes, but … the devs captured their table. OK, four tables. 😀

We talked about various things, for example, (understanding and) contributing to the REST API, using Docker for WordPress development, and multisite.

Workshop: An Introduction to Unit Testing (for WordPress)

After a 15 mega pizza lunch, it was time for the workshop I had been invited to give. It was about unit testing in general, but also in the WordPress universe. We were a dozen people, and the workshop consisted of two parts: an introductory and partly interactive talk, and lots of hands-on time.

In the first half, I provided a high-level overview of unit testing in general, and classified it in terms of test level, and testing methods and techniques. We then explored different possible units, in order to define what a unit means for us. After that, the key principles of unit testing followed. What is testing in isolation, how can it be done, what is this mocking that pops up here and there? Next, I showed some unit test examples, involving both PHP and JavaScript, and highlighted different (yet simplified) aspects of real-life code. I concluded the talk with a few tips for writing good unit tests, and a summary of unit testing.

The second half of the workshop then was all about getting our hands dirty. I had prepared a repository with example code to test, created a dedicated issue with simple MultilingualPress classes that need unit tests, and linked to reference repositories for PHP unit tests and JavaScript unit tests.

The slides of the introduction talk are available online as well.

Summary

WordCamp Vienna 2017 was a great success, and I particularly loved giving the workshop. So, thanks a lot for having me, Vienna!

I will so come back to WordCamp Vienna, if time allows. Until then, see you at WordCamp Berlin…?!


Want to know more about WordCamp Vienna, or WordCamps in general? Then read my colleague’s post in our company blog over at Inpsyde.

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