It is done! I have now been to my first WordCamp.
My wife and I drove up on Friday afternoon. Raleigh, even though it is a neighboring state is a frickin’ long way from Greenville! It took us a little over four hours to make the drive.
Emily, my wife, grew up near Raleigh, went to high school in Durham, worked at Duke Hospital for a while, and spent a lot of time in the area in general. So we took some time out to drive around Durham on our way into town. I have never seen Durham or Duke University. Duke has some beautiful buildings on campus. I will say that in general, Duke, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh are beautiful towns. Lots of mature trees just about everywhere you look.
After touring Durham, we made our way to Raleigh to find our hotel. We stayed at a Red Roof Inn. It has to be one of the nicer ones I have seen. The hotel was located near the interstate and within a five minute drive to the Sheraton where the camp was being held. Nice!
Emily dropped me off early on Saturday morning to start the madness! It was pretty packed. I got checked in and scoped out the layout. The organizers gave everyone a nice swag bag. Complete with a custom polo shirt for the event. Between the knowledge I gained, the connections I made, and the swag the $45 ticket price more than paid for itself.
I sat through presentations from about 9.30 until about 4.30. It was a long day! Here is a listing of the presentations I listened to:
- Doug Cone – Plugin Power: Best Practices for Plugin Development
- Ryan Duff – Extending CPT: Custom Meta Boxes and Admin Dashboard Widgets
- John Ford – Security: Be A Superhero
- Aaron Jorbin – All Your Bugs Are Belong To Us: Debugging and Filing Bug Reports for WordPress
- Brad Williams – Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse using Custom Post Types and Taxonomies
They were all great, but I think I enjoyed John Ford’s presentation best. It was informative and funny. John talked about keeping your website secure from S.A.C.’s (Smoking Asthmatic Clowns)! And he presented it as if you would transform into a superhero by keeping your and your client’s sites safe. In a lot of ways, I think he is right on the money!
I was most looking forward to Ryan’s presentation. It was good, but left me wanting more. I have been trying to get some custom post types incorporated into my site redesign. It is coming along, but I was hoping he would shed some more light on things I was missing. Especially in terms of custom meta boxes. Fortunately, I took good notes because he did point out some resources worth checking out for further learning. As of today, I have some custom meta boxes up and working on my development site. One word of advice I would give to Ryan, if he asked, is to slow down a little. I felt like the presentation was a little rushed, and we had plenty of time left at the end.
I stumbled into Aaron’s presentation by happenstance. I really wanted to check out Andy Stratton’s presentation that was happening at the same time. However, it was less than standing room only for it! There were actually people standing out in the hallway trying to hear what he was saying. I can’t wait for the video to be posted. From what I heard it was fantastic. Aaron talked about submitting bugs and the process for which to do that. Along with some other things to help resolve or get issued resolved.
Brad Williams gave more of a user’s perspective on Custom Post Types and pointed out some plugins and similar resources for getting custom post types set up. Great information. He used Zombie types as his example. It helped to inject some humor into the presentation. I really left feeling like Brad’s presentation should have preceded Ryan’s presentation though. So that you went from the basics to the more advanced.
I met several people the first day. Ironically, most of them are from Greenville. At lunch I sat with Doug Cone (who gave the first presentation of day), Kevin Dees, and Stephen Harvey. Everyone I met was super nice. I can’t wait to see some of the Greenville folks at some local events.
By the end of Brad William’s presentation I was about to have brain overload. So my wife swung by to pick me up, and we headed out on our own adventures. Apparently, they were having some kind of tractor and livestock show at the fairgrounds. It was free to get in, a price I always like. So we drove over to check it out. Let me just say that summer has come to the south!
There were about 1,000 vintage tractors at the event. The people who own them have taken lots of pains to get them restored and in impeccable condition. I took a handful of photos of some of the more interesting ones.
After walking around in the heat and blaring sun for a while, we decided that we needed some shade. Luckily, they were also having a tractor pull using vintage tractors. The stands were shaded, so we decided to check it out. Neither of us have ever been to a tractor pull. It was pretty entertaining for a while. Gave us some time to cool off at least! The announcer was funny too. All-in-all a fun afternoon.
I got there probably too early Sunday morning. I showed up around 9 expecting it to be crowded since the first presentation started at 9.30. It wasn’t! It was nice though. I got to spend a little bit of time talking to Kevin before the presentations started. There were really only two followed by the keynote. The two I attended were:
Chris had the presentation of the event! He introduced something that was just sitting right there. He proposed coming up with a standardized way to call the WordPress Loop similar to the way you call the Dynamic Sidebar function. I hope he succeeds in getting some attention for it. I think it would make life easier for lots of people. Me included!
Andrew kind of expanded on Doug’s talk from Saturday. However, I think he should have extended the title of the presentation to include something about ways to get involved with the WordPress community. He talked about helping contribute in lots of different ways including submitting bug fixes and helping to write documentation.
The Keynote address was given by Andrew Nacin and Jane Wells. Andrew works for the Audrey Capital and is a core committer for WordPress. Jane is a UI designer who works for Automattic. It wasn’t really an address in the sense that they stood up to give a speech or presentation. It was a town hall type of setup and the answered questions from the audience. Lots of good Q&A.
The Long Ride
After the Keynote, we started our long trek home. We stopped for a couple of extended periods and pushed the 4 hour drive out to about 6 hours. Luckily for me, Emily loves to drive, but doesn’t like to ride. So I got a chauffeured ride both ways! It was good to get home though.
Can’t wait for the next WordCamp that is close enough to attend. Congrats to the folks who orchestrated the Raleigh event!
As always, thanks for reading!