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Last weekend, I attended and presented at WordCamp St.Louis. This was my first time to St.Louis and I was not disappointed. The venue is nice, the city is fun, and the WordCampers were great. I was also very impressed by the wide variety of ages and skill levels; I think this shows WordPress’s ability to be versatile and user friendly.
I was first up on the schedule to present to an overflowing and standing-room only crowd. I spoke on the “WordPress Junk Drawer” which in my mind is the _options table in the database. We went over how you can organize your code to help keep the code and the database clean. We also discussed adding helper functions to simplify and reduce your overall code.
The first presentation I attended was by Myke Bates and was about using Rocketeer for deployment. This guy is seriously smart and did a live demo from start to finish setting up deployments for a new site. Very risky but a huge success because he really knew what he was talking about.
After this I went and got a snack and was pulled aside by a Camper for a famous hallway talk or “The Hallway Track”. We talked about a lot of his ideas and things he wanted to do with WordPress. We bounced ideas and workarounds back and forth and I walked away knowing a little more about this user’s pain points and hope he took something from it as well.WordCamp Keynote
Then after lunch everyone headed back to the main auditorium for a great keynote from Genesis Developer Carrie Dils on “Spare a Square” (great Seinfeld reference). It had the whole audience laughing and learning. I continued to hear about how great this was among the campers throughout the rest of the day and could not agree more.
After this I headed to “Options, transients and theme_mods, Oh My!” by Konstantin Obenland. While our talks were a similar topic they had a completely different view, which was great and I even learned some things. His ability to think through problems and offer a solution is great.
There was then a developer panel that took all the questions that had been stumping other developers. They discussed the question and gave some great advice. There were also a few questions about plugin preferences and it was interesting to hear why each panellist liked a particular plugin over another.
Next up I attended “Code with Care” presented by Rachel Baker of 10up. This talk covered making sure you take all precautions to make sure your code is secure and most of all “Trust nobody’s code, especially your own.”
Finishing off the day was “Making Your Whole* Life Easier with WP-CLI” by Doug Stewart. He is another employee at 10up who is involved in the WordPress community. He is also the founder of the “Theme Hook Alliance” which I have spoke about before. Really great to meet him in person.
After this a few attendees went and grabbed some food at Blueberry Hill. This was a really great experience and showed one of the many things St.Louis had to offer in the area known as “The Loop”.  How perfect for a WordPress conference.
At the end of a great conference, there was a networking opportunity at Plush. I had great conversations with many of the Campers, speakers, and organizers. I could talk about WordPress with the Campers all night because each person has something to offer and a different perspective. I met so many great people and there is no way I could mention them all here. So thanks to all the Campers I talked to for the great conversations. Also this may be a thing now.
Overall, I always find WordCamps to be a great experience. I like that I can speak and share my knowledge then turn around and attend another presentation and learn something new.  I only wish I could attend every track because I am sure they were all awesome.
I can’t forget to mention what a great job the WordCamp organizers did on this one. Big thanks to them from us over here at Bluehost. Hope to see you next year!

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