Our review of WordCamp London 2016

So WordCamp London has finished for another year and even though I only attended on the Saturday, I had an inspiring and amazing time. Its always refreshing to have people so approachable and friendly and to hear from some of the major players in the WordPress community. This year was super well organised so thats a hat tip to the organisers for another fantastic event. This year they especially pulled out the stops for accessibility and the people who were dictating what was being said on stage at near real time speed were unbelievable.

For those of you who don’t know what a WordCamp is then its best described as a conference that focuses on WordPress and “It’s aimed at anybody who uses, builds or simply has an interest in WordPress; including bloggers, core developers and end-users”. As a team that only does WordPress, WordCamps are an essential thing for us to attend.

Here is what I got up to:

Talk 1 – Building An Innovative WordPress Agency: Mooves’ 5 Year Journey


This was a talk that I was particularly looking forward to, hearing how one of the top WordPress agencies in the country started and grew their business. In just over 5 years, Moove have grown from a 2 person team to a leading WordPress agency in multiple locations. As someone in the crowd said during the question in answer at the end, they did seem to make it sound easy – i.e. we set up, we got some big clients and we grew bigger. I think in the limited time they had on stage they did a great job of explaining their journey and their passion for the job was easy to see. It seemed to be a great combination of 2 people who had complimentary skills who then surrounded themselves with a great team which is a great recipe for success.

Talk 2 – Transients are good for you (and your website)


By far the most technical talk we went to which was by Julio Potier from WP Rocket. Transients are not the easiest thing to understand and although we have used them before it was great to hear a lot more about them and why they can be so useful when it comes to speeding up a WordPress website. I have since been looking into Transients a lot more and plan on implementing them into the sites we build where appropriate.

Talk 3 – How WordPress Changed the Face of Croatian Politics


My original plan was to attend a talk about things to do when your WordPress site gets hacked but ended up chatting to the WPEngine team for too long between talks so ended up at the talk about WordPress and Croatian politics. Lucky for me that it was a very interesting talk by Emanuel Blagonic about how WordPress was used to create an amazing and useful site for Rijeka in Croatia which flew in the face of typical city information sites. Glad I made it to this one.

Talk 4 – How to Make your WordPress Website Multilingual


We have successfully managed WordPress multisite projects using the popular WPML plugin so it was interesting to hear about different methods of creating a multilingual WordPress website. Maciej Pilarski did a great job of explaining some of the best methods of making a site multilingual and answered some good questions about how to get the best result. His conclusion was that there still wasnt a perfect system yet for WordPress multi-language as some plugins were too simple or had too many options. There is still some work to be done on this subject.

Talk 5 – Successfully managing a Multisite system (or how we helped over 400 food banks online)


This was similar to a talk attended last year and helped to demonstrate the scalability of WordPress and how it can be used for great big networks of sites. I tweeted at the time that it was interesting to see how different dev’s tackle different challenges and an example of this is where Kat Reeve and her team opted to have a blank WordPress theme for the root domain of the food banks. Not something that we would have thought of and that view as shared around the room, it worked for them so there is always more than one way to make something work well. Kat did explain very well how they have also created a central theme for uploading shared images across the multisite network which was also very interesting.

Talk 6 – Guilt-free Coding


This talk was amazing, an honest and refreshing take on the issues that developers may face when working on projects. From getting technology envy when someone else is using something new and shiny to knowing when cutting corners is best, this talk was my favourite of the day. My take away from this was that you don’t have to be doing what others are doing, find what works best for you and make it the best you can. Always keep learning though and trying new technology and methods when you have the time. Well done to Jason Agnew for really great presentation.

Talk 7 – Shiny Updates: A Feature Plugin in Two Acts


The final talk of the day and again this was one that I was very keen on attending as it was by Konstantin Obenland who is a WordPress core developer who lives in California. Shiny updates have been in the last couple of versions of WordPress and an example of where you will see this is when updating a plugin from the plugins screen in the admin. You now get a message saying the plugin is updating rather than going to a new page each time. Konstantin did a great job of demoing a new method that is expected in WordPress 4.6 where shiny updates will be available in a lot more places and it looked awesome. This is going to be a great addition to the WordPress updating experience.

In conclusion, WordPress London was awesome and I met some great people there. From other devs to people launching WordPress based projects, everyone I met was friendly and open about why they loved using WordPress so much. Cant wait for the next event, heres hoping that WordPress Manchester is on this year.