Ten days ago, more than 900 people attended WordCamp Europe in Seville. With two tracks going on at the same time, attendees had plenty of opportunities to learn. We were one of the sponsors and our four men team had the pleasure of engaging the WordPress crowd at the event.
There are a couple of talks that I particularly liked; here is a quick recap.
How WordCamp Europe Came to Be by Zé Fontainhas
A great example of where there is will, there is a way to execute your idea. Zé told us how the idea of WordCamp Europe is born and how one geographically remote team started working on this idea.
The PHP 7 Story by Zeev Suraski
An awesome two-part talk. The first one is about Zeev’s involvement in PHP during college days and his contribution 18 years ago. The second was a comparison of different PHP versions and improvements made over time. Special accent was on PHP 7 vs HHVM. Even if I already know every technical aspect from earlier, I enjoyed it very much.
Q&A With Matt Mullenweg
The Q&A session with Matt had a lot of great questions and unfortunately one hour time slot wasn’t enough. The most important was announcement of Nikolay Bachiyski as new “security guy”. Other questions covered PHP 5.2 support, why there is no use of Symfony and similar library components.
Theming, React and REST API by Jack Lenox
An interesting talk about using WordPress as Single page application by utilizing WP-API. There is still a few problems for maintaining code base with this approach, but Jack admitted that he wasn’t trying to solve everything. His examples were a good proof of concept. He created his slides by using the described approach which was interesting and original.
Meeting the Users
The most common question people asked us was in what ways we can help their business. As a developer I don’t have a lot of opportunities to talk directly to our users, so it was incredibly satisfying to meet them face to face, shake their hand and talk shop. We also set up a demo for the ManageWP Orion release, currently in beta, and the people loved it.
Personally, I think this is the main reason people should attend WordCamps – the talks are great and all, but the opportunity to sit down with a developer from ManageWP, WP Engine or Automattic and share ideas and ask for advice is priceless. In one afternoon I had several brainstorming sessions with people building small-scale versions of ManageWP for internal use, made progress on WP Engine compatibility together with Jathan Desir from WP Engine, and solved an update issue for a couple of premium plugin extensions.
The last day of WordCamp was contributor’s day as always. I have done contributions to other projects (like bug fixes) that I am using as my tools of choice, but never before to WordPress. My colleagues and I did choose to contribute by translating plugins to our native tongue, Serbian, in order to bring more value to our local community. Also, this was a reasonable choice to do with the time we were given, but I am planning to do my next contribution on the REST API soon.
The Golden ElePHPant
As a big fan of PHP, I collect little colorful toys in the shape of one noble animal with the word PHP on them. These toys are known as elePHPants, official PHP mascots and a great excuse for adults to play with them. On the list of attendants was also the only one in the world gold elePHPant, as Zeev brought it with him. I am sad that this is only one piece, but I did manage to take a picture.
The city of Seville is amazing, and there is a lot of things to visit and see, but unfortunately I didn’t have that much time. I did really like the garden of Royal palace (R. Alcazar) , parks, cathedral, Metropol Parasol – a really unique building structure and architecture. The only problem that I have encountered during our stay in Seville is the enormous heat, reaching 47 degrees Celsius in the sun. At some point, I thought that I will melt, but cold drinks helped a lot! :)
Long story short, WordCamp Europe was awesome and I had great time attending it ! I think that it’s really valuable meeting people and making new connections. I have already added next WordCamp Europe in Vienna to my schedule. In the meantime, I will be attending a few local WordCamps, possibly even as a speaker, as ManageWP team has knowledge that is worth sharing.