WordCamp Europe, Orange County, and Boston Recaps

WordCamp Europe

Message from an Organizer: Jenny Beaumont

WordCamp Europe is a truly unique experience among WordCamps, uniting people from around the world, giving them the opportunity to meet face-to-face, to share, to learn, and to contribute – to be a part of this great, global WordPress community. This fourth consecutive year saw unprecedented growth with 2200 tickets issued and another 1000 people connecting via livestream. Just incredible.

Being a part of the organizing team this year was an amazing experience for me. Witnessing a distributed team of volunteers from more than a dozen countries come together to put on the largest WordPress event to date, in a city that many of us had never visited, was a thing of beauty. Seeing the looks on people’s faces during the event, their smiles and delight, and hearing their words of gratitude, their constructive debates, their laughter, was more rewarding than I could have imagined.

One of the most fun and exciting aspects of WordCamp Europe is that it changes cities every year. This is also one of the greatest challenges we face as the event grows – and as expectations grow with it. I think we did a fantastic job adapting to this growth in Vienna, and I am, of course, ecstatic that the fifth annual WordCamp Europe will be held in Paris, France – my home country. We will take the lessons learned with us on the road yet again, always looking to outdo ourselves from one year to the next, creating a quality, memorable experience for all.

Many thanks for the generosity of those who come together to make WordCamp Europe happen – not just us organizers – because it couldn’t be done without all of the volunteers, speakers, and sponsors too. See you in Paris in 2017!

WordCamp Orange County

Message from an Organizer:  David Margowsky

This was my second year as lead organizer of WordCamp Orange County. When I signed on again, I thought 2016 was going to run as smoothly as 2015. However, you know what they say about the best laid plans. We had date conflicts, venue problems, insurance questions, and so many
interrelated hiccups that I was worried we were going to have to bump our date. But I had an amazing team of organizers supporting me, and they really stepped up to help me smooth out these problems.

Our biggest change ended up being the venue, and the Cove at UC Irvine really made the event memorable. Our speakers, volunteers, and most importantly, our attendees really dug the space. I was excited to deliver the opening remarks in the main room – it made me feel like a rockstar.
The event’s success, as always, is the combination of amazing and generous speakers, dedicated volunteers, and sponsors that don’t stop with just a check. While the organizers may sweat all of the details and fear the worst, the community that comes together in Orange County makes these events run themselves. We took away a lot of little tidbits about the venue, and we’ll be sure to incorporate them into next year’s event.

I can’t thank my fellow organizers, volunteers, speakers, sponsors, and attendees enough. Organizing is my way of giving back to the community that I make my living in, share friendships with, and love.

Interview with a Plugin Developer: Andy Fagen, GitHub Updater

What is the name of your plugin?
I have a main plugin, GitHub Updater, that has branding. Really, I’m an employee of First Choice Physician Partners. I’m a practicing general surgeon in Palm Springs, Calif.

What does it do?
GitHub Updater allows for seamless updating of GitHub, Bitbucket, or GitLab-hosted plugins and themes from the WordPress dashboard. It additionally assists in installing plugins or themes from any of these sources. The updater also works with enterprise installations of GitHub and GitLab. I’m currently working with someone on a PR for Bitbucket Enterprise support too. Recently we’ve added support for updating via RESTful URIs so that a commit to GitHub will result in an automatic update provided the proper webhook is created.

What’s your role on that team?
I am the team. I do everything.

Who should use it?
GitHub Updater is mostly a developer tool although anyone can use it.

How does it help people?
There is no simple update mechanism for plugins or themes hosted on GitHub, Bitbucket, or GitLab. GitHub Updater solves this problem by hooking into the core updating code and allowing for updates via the dashboard.

How long have you been working on this project?
It seems as if the first commits to GitHub were in July 2014.

What’s your history with WordPress?
I’ve been playing in the WordPress ecosystem since 2007. I think using WP 2.3. Before that, I began using/hacking RadioUserland in about 2001. There were many steps in between, but when I found the active development of WordPress, I really stopped looking. WordPress is really the only market for GitHub Updater. Though I’m certain someone could likely adapt it to another platform given the requisite hooks.

Attendee Spotlight: John Drebinger Jr.

The 2016 Orange County WordCamp was my first. I am a motivational safety speaker and have attended hundreds of professional conferences over the past 26 years. I can assure you the 2016 WordCamp was outstanding.

I discovered WordPress because a friend who designed my website set it up. He also hosted it on Bluehost, and I am thrilled he did both. Before WordPress I would have to convey a design idea to my designer and then wait for him to make the change. Often it would need a second change to be what I was really looking for. Once he installed WordPress, I could make pages and add posts when my business needed them

The next great surprise was when I had the opportunity to contact tech support at Bluehost. Wow! If everyone was this good, life would be a lot easier. They have always been able to solve whatever challenge I was facing. Their customer service people are also outstanding.
The third great surprise was finding WordCamp. As a complete beginner I was able to make contacts and learn from people who know what they are doing. As a professional speaker, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the presentations and the quality of the presenters. The biggest challenge of the Orange County WordCamp will be how my next WordCamp could equal or top their event.

Having the opportunity to meet the vendors in person was also very helpful. I had time between sessions to work with Trijsten, Mike, Devin, and Chris from Bluehost. They were amazing and I learned as much from them as I did in the sessions. I left WordCamp with a new theme installed on the redesign I am doing on my site. I also had the security on the site improved from what I learned. My associate, who is developing our eLearning platform, said all her sessions were great, and she met with several helpful people who kept her on the best track. If you’ve never attended a WordCamp, I would encourage you to go. No matter your level of expertise, you will be welcomed and can improve your knowledge and skills by learning from others.

In addition to being a professional speaker, I am also a magician. It was fun stealing a few watches from the people at the vendor booths. Now if I could only get over the bad habit of always returning them! Thanks again to all the volunteers who made the event an awesome success. See you at the next WordCamp.

WordCamp Boston

Message from the Organizer: Reiko Beach

WordCamp Boston – seven years and going strong! All the continued success would not be possible without the great team of organizers and volunteers for 2016 and those who came before. Our 2016 organizers (Tom Beach, Moira Ashleigh, Mel Choyce, Kelly Dwan, K.Adam White, John Eckman, Jim Reevior, Duane Mitchell, and Steve Word) all contributed their strengths, time, and devotion to #WCBOS.

The WordPress community in the North East is strong and growing. Our attendance this year was strong; we are getting closer to the more than 600 attendees that we had a few years ago. The amount of submissions for speaking was impressive (we just wish we had room for more). Our thanks go out to the speakers who donated their time and shared their expertise, and a big thanks to those who submitted but weren’t chosen. We hope you will all apply next year!

Our goal this year was to have a variety of tracks and to make our camp as accessible as possible. Hopefully we touched everyone with our schedule: Higher Ed, WordPress 101, Users, Designers, Developers, and a Contributors Day (whew, just thinking about all of that makes me excited to see the videos of the sessions I missed!). And this was our first year with CART services. There were some things we can learn from on the set-up – just another layer to work on, but a big thank you Norma and White Coat Captioning, and Stanley, Amanda, and Stacey for the great technical transcripts. Everyone enjoys seeing the accurate live captioning. We also had Keri with WP Photo Project – can’t wait to see all the photos.

And a great big thanks to all our sponsors, because without your support, we could not do any of the things we did over the weekend – the location- at Boston University, CART Services, Happiness Bar support, awesome swag, after party, Contributors Day, lunch, snacks, and, of course, coffee! Looking forward to a bigger and better WordCamp Boston in 2017.

Interview with a Plugin Author: Adam Warner, Foo Plugins

What is the name of your plugin/business?

What does it do?
Our focus is on creating a better media experience in WordPress for end users and developers.

What’s your role on that team?
I’m the co-founder along with my business partner Brad Vincent.

What’s the purpose of the business/plugin?
Our core plugins are FooGallery, FooBox, and FooVideo. FooGallery is an image gallery plugin. It’s integrated tightly with the native WordPress media library but offers additional benefits like choosing from included gallery display templates and more. It’s also highly extensible and perfect for developers as well as end users. FooBox is a lightbox plugin for media. It makes your media look great on all devices and even includes social sharing icon overlay to get the most interaction possible from your visitors. FooVideo is a paid video gallery extension for FooGallery. It allows you to quickly search and add videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia and others. You can also add custom video source URLs.

Who should use it?
FooPlugins are built for anyone wanting to break out of the standard image and video display seen on many sites. Our plugins are utilized by end users as well as developers and designers.

How does it help people?
Our plugins help put the focus on your images and videos. They also hep to make them easily shareable for better engagement.

How long have you been working on this project?
We released FooBox on its own in early 2012 and then went full time with FooPlugins.com (and other plugin releases) starting in the spring of 2013.

What’s your history with WordPress?
I first found WordPress in 2005 when I was looking for an easier way to update my hand-coded HTML sites. I knew I wanted a blog and a CMS, and after trying several options, I settled on WordPress. It certainly wasn’t the CMS it is today, but it had just enough features to get me where I needed to be. The WordPress community has also played a critical role in my personal history. It’s large and varied but always supportive. I consider this community my family and my role as WordPress Community Evangelist for SiteLock.com reflects this opinion. I’m responsible for listening to the needs of the WordPress community and, in turn, creating products and services that fit best. A win-win situation.

What makes WordPress the best option for your product?
We’ve discussed creating “Foo” products for other platforms, but with the size of our team and the shear reach of WordPress, it just doesn’t make sense for us. Also, we love WordPress!

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