One of the most important WordPress events took place in Seville, Spain, this past weekend—WordCamp Europe 2015! For those of you who don’t know what a WordCamp is, “WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other.”
There are plenty of local WordCamps all over the world, but Europe’s Edition is one of the biggest, most amazing events you can attend to. This year was the third time the community had this event, after Leiden, The Netherlands (2013) and Sofia, Bulgaria (2014), and it was the first time that we (the Nelio team) were there. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here you have a summary of three wonderful days.
As I just said, WordCamp Europe 2015 took place in Seville, Spain, and it’s been hosted by the Spanish community (ours!). Seville is a beautiful city in southern Spain that has many beautiful landmarks, such as St. Mary of the See Cathedral (built from 1401–1519) and la Giralda, the Alcázar, the Torre del Oro, or the Plaza de España. Being a Spanish city, the tapas scene is one of the main cultural attractions it offers, which we, WordPress enthusiasts, had the opportunity to enjoy.
— Petya Raykovska (@petyeah) June 24, 2015
Now, for those of you who have never been in Seville on these dates… well, let me tell you you’re probably lucky! Why? Well, the weather was incredibly hot. I mean, A LOT! It was like using a hairdryer on your face… non-stop. Don’t believe me? Look at this tweet:
— Nilo Vélez (@NiloVelez) June 23, 2015
Fortunately, we were in a properly air-conditioned hotel (love technology and progress!), so we could fight the heat wave. Also, the organizers and volunteers did a great job reminding us continuously of the importance of being properly hydrated and using sunscreen.
The presentations took place on Friday (June 26) and Saturday (June 27), in the Barceló Renacimiento hotel, and were all in English (even though the organizers offered real-time Spanish translations for the Spanish attendees who didn’t know Shakespeare’s language). Organized in two different tracks, a lot of topics were covered. The vast majority of presentations were 25 minutes long, with about 10 additional minutes for questions, but we also had a few “short talks”, where three different speakers covered three different topics in just 10 minutes each.
I really enjoyed all the talks I attended, and the quality and expertise of the speakers was clear from the very first moment. In my opinion, the top five presentations were:
- How WordCamp Europe Came to Be, by Zé Fontainhas. Zé told us what WordCamps are and why they exist, and he described how WordCamp Europe was born. I specially liked how honest and brutal he was: “after so many wars and hate in Europe, it’s great to see the community united”.
- The WordPress REST API, by Ryan McCue. One of the hottest topics right now in the WordPress community, the REST API, was also addressed in this WordCamp. Ryan made an outstanding presentation, introducing the basic concepts about a (generic) REST API and, then, he explained how this API has been implemented for WordPress. And, once you now the basics, you can take a look at…
- Theming, React and the REST API, by Jack Lenox, the perfect companion of the previous talk! Jack’s presentation is awesome, specially if you’re a front-end editor. With him, we learned how you can create super-responsive, extremely-interactive websites that look like native applications. Just take a look at Automattic’s Picard theme!
- Short talks by Adrian Zumbrunnen, Pascal Birchler, and Bryce Adams. I have to admit that I loved all the Short Talk sessions I attended to. The main reason for that is, probably, that you could learn a lot of different things in just a few minutes. I’m highlighting this set of short talks, however, because I loved Adrian’s work FrontKit—I really like how this editor looks like, and I want to think this is what we’ll see shortly in all User Interfaces. And, what the heck, I loved the name of the short talk: WYSIWTF (What You See Is What The Fuck)!
Wow, looking at my list one might think that there were only technical talks… Well, I’m a developer, so I might be biased! 😀 But there were also very interesting talks about other stuff, such as Karin Christen’s talk on “How to Run a WordPress Business While Travelling the World“, where she thoroughly shared her experience in travelling the world and trying to explain people that she’s actually working, not on holidays 😀
— WordCamp Europe (@WCEurope) June 28, 2015
Finally, the Organizers also run a few parallel tribe meetups. I think those were not originally scheduled, but the truth is they were quite successful. The organizers prepared some additional offices where the attendees discussed things like Plugin and Theme development, agencies and businesses, multilingual, BuddyPress… Great! Isn’t it?
Questions and Answers with Matt Mullenweg
One of the most expected moments was the Question and Answers session with Matt. On Friday, and during one hour (right after lunch), we all got the chance to ask Matt anything about WordPress. I’d like to start by saying that Matt is a charming and super polite guy, so having him around was fantastic.
The questions the audience had for Matt were, as you might imagine, about current (and future) WordPress market share and the evolution of WordPress. Matt fiercely believes in WordPress and its way of democratizing content publication. Security, Drupal, and (native) Multilingual support were also discussed and addressed. I really recommend you take a look at the video once it’s available in WordPress.tv!
But, in my opinion, the most important question was:
“@photomatt, would you like to introduce the hair?”
— David Bisset (@dimensionmedia) June 26, 2015
Personally, I’m very proud that I had the chance to be one of the speakers in WordCamp Europe 2015. In my talk, I had the chance to share my experience as a plugin developer in Nelio. In particular, I described the process of automatically testing plugins for ensuring their quality. Here you have my slides:
Jordi also had the opportunity to give a short talk. As a researcher and university professor, he discussed how academia can help improve WordPress. His talk was very inspiring, and something completely different from what we’re used to:
The WordPress community always amazes me, especially when it comes to helping each other. In this sense, WordCamp Europe 2015 featured an Experts Bar, “a magical place where all your questions about WordPress will be answered by industry specialists.” The Experts Bar was opened during both days of the conference, and gave everybody the chance to talk to members of the core team, developers, hosting specialists and designers, as well as all the speakers (right after their talks).
Being one of the speakers, I was gladly at the experts bar after my talk. Thanks to this initiative, I had the chance to meet some people that wanted to learn more about my work (and maybe were too shy to ask). The Bar is a great idea for making community, building relationships, and sharing knowledge!
WordCamps… Time to Party?
WordCamps are not only about work and WordPress. On Saturday night, after two intense conference days, all the attendees, speakers, and volunteers of the WordCamp had a wonderful experience in a club called Puerto de Cuba. There, we had time for both fun and dancing. And talking. And relaxing! We had exclusive use of the venue until midnight, and it was the perfect place to get to know each other better, in a different context.
The After Party was definitely a great opportunity to hang out with our WordCamp compadres and… well, to meet our favorite Rockstar Yoast!
— David Aguilera (@davilera) June 27, 2015
WordPress is created by thousands of contributors around the globe. One might think that all of them are developers or designers… but that’s not true! The project is open to (and needs) a lot of people: translators, people focused on accessibility, reviewers, doc writers, and educators, among others. If you’re already a WordPress user, becoming a contributor is a great way of giving back to the project.
Contributor days are a great way to learn how to do that. In addition Contributor days around global WordCamps give you the opportunity to meet and work alongside seasoned contributors from all teams as a lot of them attend.
as seen in Contributor Day at WordCamp Europe 2015
Having that in mind, Antonio and I took our laptops and decided to give back to the project. We focused our efforts on translating WordPress to Catalan and Spanish, joining the Polyglots team. And thanks to our contributions, we won real badges!
— Antonio Villegas (@avillegasn) June 30, 2015
Next Stop… Vienna!
The WordCamp ended with one great announcement: WordCamp Europe 2016 will be happening in Vienna, Austria, on 24th – 26th June! I want to congratulate Vienna local team for their hard work on preparing the organization of such a big event, which is now rewarded with a WordCamp Europe. I hope we can see each other in Vienna, folks!
In summary, WordCamp Europe 2015 has been an outstanding weekend. We learned, we laughed, and we spread the word of WordPress. What else should I ask for?
Featured image by… me! I took it right before the After Party, on Saturday. Seville is so beautiful!