Bucketworks: WordCamp’s Home

Where do we begin to thank Bucketworks? This wonderful venue donates their space to host WordCamp, the monthly WordPress meetup, and all the other Tech Milwaukee meetups. It has served as an inspiration to many of us as the “health club for your mind,” the “physical wiki” and the simple co-working space it has always been.

WordCamp sessions will take place in the Studio room and the Shop on the first floor, and the Boardroom on the second floor.
The Happiness Bar (WordPress Workbench) will be in the second-floor Kitchen.

Rest Rooms: Folks who remember the umm… “extended waiting period” to get personal relief last year will be relieved to hear that we have secured some temporary rest rooms, which will be located in the Bucketworks garage, in a handy location not far from where lunch will be served.

Street parking in the Walker’s Point area is still available. Parking directly in front of Bucketworks is metered on Friday and Saturday, so bring change if you plan to park here. All parking is free on Sunday and street free street parking for extended periods of time are available on side roads in the neighborhood.

It appears that WordCamp Milwaukee may be one of the last events at the space located at 706 South 5th Street in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood. We are confident that Bucketworks will be able to continue making its contribution to Milwaukee’s technical and creative community.

Thanks to Tim, James, Jenn and everyone else at Bucketworks for their support!

Belly Up to the Happiness Bar

If you’ve been to a WordCamp before, you probably know what a Happiness Bar is. If you haven’t been to a WordCamp before, you’ll be glad to find out: the Happiness Bar is the place where you can come to talk with a WordPress expert about any problem you’re having with your site! You can also get answers to questions about anything related to WordPress, themes, plugins … pretty much anything (though you may not get the best answers for questions not related to the Internet).

Most of the speakers at WordCamp Milwaukee will take a turn at the Happiness Bar (which some folks call the WordPress Workbench) at some point during the weekend. WCMKE Organizers and other Really Smart People also staff the Happiness Bar. So come on up to the second floor kitchen of Bucketworks anytime during WordCamp and get answers!

Think you can help others with their WordPress problems? We love volunteer helpers at the Happiness Bar too! Click the Volunteer tab to sign up!

Sponsor Spotlight: ZippyKid

We are grateful to have ZippyKid as our Cruiser level sponsor for WordCamp Milwaukee 2013! ZippyKid specializes in hosting businesses on WordPress, with such well-known and high-profile clients as Reuters, CareerBuilder, Kangol and the McGraw-Hill companies.

ZippyKid was founded by Vid Luther in May of 2010 in southern, sunny San Antonio, Texas. While having an abundance of management experience in website hosting, Vid started seeing the complication and frustration that customers of all sizes were facing with their hosting company and he knew there had to be a better solution, a better way to treat customers. “I was tired of the way hosting companies were treating small business owners… started ZippyKid, where I could dictate the quality of service and offering.”

ZippyKid offers reliable, secure and cost-effective web hosting solutions that keep your website up and running. Our standard features include CDN, malware scanning, firewall protection, SSL, daily backups, and more. With ZippyKid, your website will load faster on our platform, that means more sales/inquiries and SEO for you. We keep your WordPress install up to date, we monitor and block attackers, and we un-hack your site, if the attacker gets through. Our customers go on national TV shows all the time, we make sure their audience can meet them online afterwards.

ZippyKid can host your business for just $25 per month.

Thanks, ZippyKid!

One Week Till Foundation Friday

Foundation Friday is just one week away! We’re so happy that this new addition to WordCamp Milwaukee proved as interesting to you all out there as we thought! The WordPress User 101 and WordPress Developer 101 workshops have both sold out!

Here’s what we have planned for you lucky ticket holders:

WordPress User 101

  • 1:00 WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: What hosting solution is right for you? Presented by Heather Acton (the User 101 team lead)
  • 2:00 Getting Started with WordPress.org: Part 1: Choosing a domain and a host, Installing WordPress, choosing a theme and plugins for your site. Presented by Joshua Alexander, Kari Sharp and Rose Fields
  • 3:00 Getting Started with WordPress.org: Part 2: The WordPress Admin Dashboard, Creating Pages and Posts. Presented by Joshua Alexander, Kari Sharp and Rose Fields
  • 4:00 Blogging Basics: Where to write a blog post, getting people to read, share and comment. Defining categories, tags, links and structuring a good blog post. Plus a couple of cool tips and tricks. Presented by Kimanzi Constable

For those of you just getting your feet wet with WordPress, this afternoon will get you up to speed, and ready for the weekend.

WordPress Developer 101

Developers being developers, the exact schedule probably won’t be defined till Thursday night. Here are some of the topics currently being bandied about:

  • What happens when (a) WordPress loads and (b) gets a request
  • File Structure
  • Debugging Tools
  • Actions and Filters
  • wp-settings.php
  • The building blocks of web development: HTML, CSS, PHP and JavaScript

John James Jacoby is leading the Developer 101 team, so be confident you will have one awesome afternoon, getting you ready for the main event.

See you next week!

Sponsor Spotlight: Bluehost

We are grateful to have Bluehost as our Pillar sponsor this year. A longtime supporter of the WordPress community, Bluehost sponsors every WordCamp in North America! They’ve been on the WordPress.org recommended hosting provider list since 2005.

Based in Utah, Bluehost has been hosting websites for businesses and individuals since 1996 (remember that the World Wide Web was only invented in 1993!). Today, they host over 2.2 million domain names, and will host your WordPress site for as little as $4.95 per month. Do I have to mention that the Bluehost blog is on WordPress too? Unlimited space, unlimited file transfer, unlimited email accounts – what more could you want? Visit Bluehost.com for more information.

Thanks, Bluehost!

Speaker Highlight: Evan Solomon

Evan Solomon

Evan Solomon

What WP consultants deserve more love than they get? Who should we be paying attention to?

The 10up team has a lot of great people. In particular, I really like the tools and knowledge that Jeremy Felt and Eric Mann are working on lately.

If you were going to spend this weekend creating a plugin that doesn’t exist, what would it be?

Last week I had an idea to write an automated version of the WordPress theme unit tests using CasperJS. I haven’t done it yet and I’m not sure if/when I’ll get to it, so hopefully someone steals it from me and does it first. This is kind of cheating since it’s not actually a plugin, but it seemed in the spirit of the question.

Favorite plugin or least favorite plugin?

I tend to like (making and using) small, specifically-focused tools. My favorite plugins are the ones that make annoying tasks easier for me. A couple that I really like are Markdown On Save (Mark Jaquith) and Batcache (Andy Skelton).

What do you think is the biggest challenge that WP consultants will face in 2013?

As an outsider (I’m not a WP consultant) it seems like it’s really hard to distinguish yourself from the mass of people who have no idea what they’re doing. I think it’s really hard for customers of WP consultants to figure out who to choose, and often end up choosing based on bad price expectations.

If you could change one thing today about WP, what would it be?

I’d like to see WordPress use more modern technologies. I think the community, to the benefit of an easy learning curve, has been really slow to adopt new tools. I’d really like to see WordPress move its static files to preprocessed languages. I’m a big fan of CoffeeScript, and would happily support a move to either SASS or LESS. Unfortunately, most people in the community are somewhere between indifferent toward and strongly against that change.

If you were interviewing another WordPress developer for a job, what is the first question you would ask and why?

What have you worked on that has nothing to do with WordPress?

WordPress is a great tool, but I am skeptical of people who don’t know any other tools/technologies/languages/API’s/etc. Aside from the fact that learning about other tools will probably even help your WordPress work (see ThemeFoundry’s Forge or 10up’s Vagrant config), I think it’s a good indicator of people who like to learn and can pick up new things as needed. It learning new tools helps you build much better, more well-rounded opinions and ideas about the things you already know, including WordPress.

Next Thursday: Debugging WordPress

We are counting down the days till WordCamp Milwaukee 2013! Just ahead of Foundation Friday next week, John James Jacoby (JJJ) will lead a special edition of the Milwaukee WordPress Meetup on Debugging WordPress.

JJJ works at the highest levels of WordPress: He’s the lead developer of BuddyPress and BBPress, but also codes on the WordPress core and the WordPress.com VIP program. He’s also a recent transplant to southeastern Wisconsin, which is cool by itself!

Next Thursday, we will be learning the keys to debugging WordPress and getting to the bottom of all of those problems you have with your WordPress site, custom theme, or plugin. JJJ will get down and dirty and let us know how to find all those WP bugs that are hiding. He’ll also be speaking Saturday at WordCamp on “Scrubbing WordPress – The Actions Timeline.”

The fine folks at C2 Graphics are sponsoring food and beverages for the meetup, so there’s no need to stop for food on the way. Just head on over to Bucketworks (the same location as WordCamp) Thursday night, June 6 at 7:00 PM.

Not to discourage you, but with a whole bunch of WordPress folk gathering at the Camp site, we’ll be taking advantage. Expect to be asked to help set up for Foundation Friday.

Please RSVP at the Meetup site, so we have enough food!

Speaker Highlight: Phil Gerbyshak

Confess to us your biggest moment of WP fail?

Once my .htaccess file got hacked, no doubt through my own fault. I probably installed some crappy plug-in that got hacked, and for about 96 hours, I couldn’t log in to my own site to do anything. To the outside world, all looked normal. To me, I was FREAKED OUT!

Do you use Themes & Child Themes, Roll your own, or both?

Themes and child themes, all the way. I have no time to roll my own, and the frameworks out there are AWESOME starting points!

What’s your favorite theme or theme framework? Why?

I love StudioPress for the nearly done child themes they offer. It makes it super easy for someone like me (a marketer) to create awesome looking sites.

Where do you see WordPress going in the next 2-3 years?

I see there being a paid version where everything is done for you except NOT hosted on the WordPress.com platform, with a good e-mail service that integrates into your site.

When was the first time that you really got excited about WordPress OR at what point did you decide to make it your career?

March 9, 2009 – I switched my main website from a TypePad blog to a self-hosted WordPress installation, with the help of my dear friend Jesse Petersen. OK, Jesse did most of the work. I just helped a little.

Speaker Highlight: David Kryzaniak

What performance tips would you give to other pros (as related to speed, scalability, security, plugins, backup, etc.)?

Attend my talk and find out 😉

Confess to us your biggest moment of WP fail?

I’ve never had any WP epic fails

Do you use Themes & Child Themes, Roll your own, or both?

I use child themes a lot. I have a ton of custom themes too.

Favorite plugin or least favorite plugin?

Favorite plugin: Jetpack
Least favorite: Anything other than jetpack

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done with Custom Post Types?

Campus course catalog (catalog.uwgb.edu)

Where do you see WordPress going in the next 2-3 years?

More towards a CMS than a Blogging platform

What’s the biggest misconception you encounter about WordPress, and how do you clear it up for your clients?

WP is for bloggging, not a CMS. It’s a difficult concept to get over. On a lot of my WP as a CMS sites, I hide the ‘Posts’ admin panel. Once the client starts to use the backend, they start to enjoy wordpress more.

When was the first time that you really got excited about WordPress OR at what point did you decide to make it your career?

The first time I play with WordPress, I was in middle school. Ir was pretty cool (back around WP2.0). WP and I drifted apart for a while. Then in college, I got back on the WP band wagon. Haven’t looked back since.

Speaker Highlight: Aaron Saray

What performance tips would you give to other pros (as related to speed, scalability, security, plugins, backup, etc.)?

Security: pick a few plugins that you know and trust – find your favorite hard-core-nerd-php programmer and ask them to take a look at them. Tell them to look for holes? 🙂 Then, provide beer.

If you were going to spend this weekend creating a plugin that doesn’t exist, what would it be?

I would like to create a plugin that was more of a ‘setup’ wizard – to be used after the first install. It would hijack the entire site after install, and give the user some choices: just blog, blog + products, etc. Then it would give some common themes to install, and some plugins. I’m sure similar things like this already exist, but I think a system that had new choices automatically updated and retrieved from the internet would be awesome.

If you could change one thing today about WP, what would it be?

I would want to develop a better system for each plugin, theme, etc, to register its external resources. Never again would you see a site load jQuery 1.9 and 1.8. Common ‘problems’ would be brought up with the plugin – and those plugins would not be accepted into the community until they worked with the resource management.

Tell us a story where you saved the WP day for yourself or on a client project. What made the difference for you?

I had to make a website for a friend that was just purely informational – showcasing a few products. He sent me some sketches and asked for that special favor… you know… its 5p.m. – and I’m going to be showing this tomorrow. What can you get by 8a.m? I’ll tell you what he got: a great, slightly modified theme with product slide show and contact form – and then I went and watched some TV before I went to bed.

If you were interviewing another WordPress developer for a job, what is the first question you would ask and why?

I would ask them to describe their favorite PHP or open source toolkit besides WordPress. I’d want to know that they have experience using other tools besides WP: this way they can be truly certain that WP is the best tool for the job – instead of using it because that’s all they know.