Purple Panda Media at WordCamp Edinburgh 2017

If you follow us on twitter you’ll probably have noticed that we were raving about all the brilliant talks and speakers at this year’s WordCamp Edinburgh last weekend.

So what is a WordCamp?
“A WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other.”
WordCamp Central 

We had Alastair and Henriette representing the Purple Panda Media team there and this is their account of their experiences there.

Day 1

Henriette: “I went to the talk about Boilerplating WordPress by Dave Green. It was really interesting to me as I already have my own WordPress boilerplate that I use as a base for most of my custom WordPress theme builds.

I feel I am already using the standard best practices in my own WordPress theme but Dave’s talk gave me some new ideas for how to organise its custom functions better and the reminded me of why documenting each version is so important.”

Henriette: “I had been looking forward to Kathir Sid Vel’s talk on Supercharging your WordPress site’s speed as this is something I’m keen to get right for all the WordPress websites I work on.

Sid did some very interesting comparison tests of the site speed of his test site, both before and after applying optimisations and various forms of caching. I came away with several new tools which can be used to help speed up the loading of websites.”

Henriette: “I went to the Lightning Talks because one talk in particular sounded interesting, the talk by Kimb Jones and Kathryn Reeve on the new Gutenberg editor which is coming to WordPress core in the not too distant future.

I’m very excited to try out the Gutenberg editor for myself and to test how it will work with the current TinyMCE editor. Once Gutenberg comes to the WordPress core I may have to rethink how I set up some of the current custom elements I build, but if I stay on top of testing I think it’s going to work well and users will ultimately be very happy with it.

The Gutenberg editor is currently a plugin which developers and WordPress enthusiasts can download and test, just as the WordPress REST API was before it was finally added to the WordPress core earlier this year.”

Day 2

Henriette: “The talk I had been most excited about seeing during the whole WordCamp was Making popular WordPress plugins more accessible by Claire Brotherton. Claire is a friend of mine and we have met up at other Web Development conferences in the past, but I had never managed to get to one of her talks.

Accessibility is a subject Claire feels strongly about, and rightly so, because it really is a pretty high number of website visitors that can be left without a suitable way of navigating and finding website content if a website is not made with accessibility in mind. I for one know that I am guilty of not always making all elements as accessible as they could be so Claire’s talk was a good reminder to me that I, as a developer, can do better there.”

Henriette: “The talk Get a 5,000 hour head-start on your projects by Mark Smallman was kind of similar to the boilerplate talk on day one, but in Mark also gave some great pointers to tools you can use to improve your Starter Theme.

As with most of the speakers Mark is also a local WordPress meetup organiser, in his case it’s the Northern Ireland WordPress meetup and he was also lead organiser for the Northern Ireland inaugural WordCamp in 2016.”

Henriette: “The talk Don’t be scared! Practical WordPress security tips by Tim Nash was surprisingly fun, and reassuring! For the most part I already implement a lot of the security measures he talked about but as with most of the talks I went to there was new stuff to be learnt there too.

The key really is to ensure that one has many security measures in place and not just to rely on one. Tim and his team from 34SP.com are a super friendly bunch and we at Purple Panda Media are happy to have finally met (some of) them in person.”

Epilogue

Henriette: “I had a brilliant time at WordCamp Edinburgh, meeting old friends and making new ones. WordCamps are stuffed full of friendly and talented people who all are keen to share their expertise with others and one simply cannot fail to go away with a heap more knowledge and enthusiasm.”

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