My Experience at WordCamp Cantabria

Published in Community.

“A WordCamp is not over until you write about it in your blog. Sounds familiar? If so, then you’ve probably attended a WordCamp recently (I’ve been on several WordCamps this year)—organizers encourage all assistants to write about their WordCamp, so that other people can know about it and attend it next time. Today I wanted to share my experience in WordCamp Cantabria 2015, yet another wonderful meeting we had in Spain! I hope you like it ?.

Arrival to Santander – Friday, November 6

As I’m sure you know, the Nelio team is based in Barcelona, so I had to take a flight from this beautiful city to Santander. The WordPress community in Barcelona is quite active, and I can tell you the WordCamp (sort of) started at the airport, when I met with some colleagues and friends such as Joan Artés and Pancho Pérez, Emili Castells or Marcelo Tena.

In less than one hour we were in Santander and, just a few minutes later, we all were in our hotels (yup, Santander’s a small city!). As usual, we had a dinner with all the speakers, which, being a speaker myself, I attended to. I always enjoy these social events, for I’m able to talk to people I usually don’t see face-to-face, discuss the latest news about WordPress, and have some fun while enjoying the buena comida you can have in Cantabria.

Talks – Saturday, November 7

The event was scheduled for 9am, but I decided to go to Palacio de la Magdalena a little bit earlier. Nice decision! As it turns out, this palace is breathtaking—just take a look at the pictures and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. It’s a beautiful and special place 🙂

Palacio de la Magdalena
Palacio de la Magdalena. A WordCamp in a place like this? It’s super cool, isn’t it?

We had 18 talks organized in two different tracks, each talk lasting 45 minutes (a 30 minutes dissertation and the remaining 15 minutes to address audience’s questions). If you want to know the topics we covered that day, you simply need to check the program (be aware it’s in Spanish, though).

If I had to highlight only two things of this WordCamp, the first one would be attendance. Have you ever been in Spain? Cantabria is a small region in this country and its capital (Santander) has a population of 180,000. There were almost 200 people in Santander attending the WordCamp, most of them from other regions, and that’s a clear success. The organization did an incredible job at promoting the event!

The second thing that I specially liked was the interest of the audience. If you’ve ever presented anything in front of an audience, you may already know how difficult it is to grab their attention for 30 minutes and, then, expect them to ask some questions (here in Spain we’re surprisingly shy!). However, all the attendants where really into WordPress and had a tone of questions for all the speakers, which are always welcome.

My talk was about the new WordPress REST API, the next big step in WordPress development (which, by the way, is about to be added to Core). In my presentation I covered the basics, talking about a few technical aspects of the API, its evolution, and what’s coming. I also prepared a couple of demos to show how powerful the API is and how easy it is to use. Unfortunately, I had a few issues with the WiFi and one demo did not work as smoothly as I wanted ?, but that’s a risk you have to be willing to take when running live demos ?. In the end of my presentation, I revealed that all slides were created using WordPress; in fact, the whole presentation was running in a WordPress installation! I used the Picard theme for that. Everyone loved that, and I think they were somehow convinced that the REST API is really the future of WordPress. You can take a look at my slides here.

Once again, the organization was perfect and all speakers and attendants respected timings.

Ponencia de Dani Reguera en WordCamp Cantabria
Dani Reguera’s Talk at WordCamp Cantabria. It was the last one and, yet, the room was full of attendants!

On the down side there were only some connectivity issues and a dining room too small for the people who were there. But, anyway, it was the first WordCamp of the Cantabria team… and what they did was really, really impressive!

Contributor Day – Sunday, November 8

The day after the main event was about contributing and giving something back to WordPress. The organizers prepared two rooms—one for contributing and the other to hold a few unconferences. In the former room, people organized in different groups, depending on how they wanted to contribute to WordPress (translations, theme reviews, and so on). There were also a few talks about entrepreneurship in WordPress (Roberto and Mercedes, from Blogalízate, along with anyone interested in the topic, discussed how to run a business with WordPress) and the WordPress community (Rocío Valdivia and Ibon Azkoitia shared their experiences in creating a local community).

Equipo de voluntarios de la WordCamp Cantabria 2015.
The team of volunteers. Great job, folks!

Unconferences are impromptu speeches held by anyone. In this WordCamp, people proposed different topics and the attendants were able to vote those they were interested in. The most popular topics were then widely discussed using this unconference format. I’m always for voting and sharing our knowledge and experience, and so I found these unconferences great. Again, participation was incredible—a lot of people contributed their own ideas!

In Summary

I’m very glad I had the chance to be in Cantabria and meet my friends and colleagues there (hi Dario!). We discussed a lot of interesting topics, the event was perfectly planned and organized… An awesome first edition!

Remember that attending to or organizing a WordCamp is one of the best ways you have to contribute to WordPress and learn more about our beloved CMS. Don’t be shy and look for your local community! You’ll make some friends and you’ll have a great time 🙂

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