The Day After WordCamp US

I was fortunate to be able to attend the very first WordCamp US this past weekend. It was held in Philadelphia, which is a reasonable drive from where I live in North Jersey. It’s also usually hard for me to get away these days since I have a 17-month-old child, but luckily, my wife was fine with me going and taking all the parenting responsibilities on herself for the weekend. God bless her.

This was by far the biggest WordCamp ever, with around 1800 people in attendance. I’ve attended WordCamp NYC and WordCamp Boston in the past, neither came close to the size. I was in awe.

Though it was a huge event, it didn’t take long for me to find people I knew. One of my favorite parts about WordCamp is the people. The people I already know, meeting new people, and becoming better acquainted with people I don’t know well or only know online. WordPress really is a friendly community. Probably the friendliest that I know of.

During the State of the Word, Matt Mullenweg (or is it Mullenburg now?) was very passionate about everyone learning JavaScript. Saying that it is the future of WordPress. After all, there is a LOT more JavaScript powered components in WordPress, a new REST API, and just look at Calypso. All JavaScript.

This really resonated with me. Before I started working with WordPress full-time 3.5 years ago, I was a JavaScript developer. I still very much love JavaScript, but find myself writing much more PHP code and much less JavaScript as a WordPress developer. I have also fallen behind a bit with all the cool new JavaScript frameworks (Backbone, Angular, Ember, React, etc.) that are powering today’s web sites and web applications.

So when I attended Contributor’s Day, a day where people of all levels get together and work on WordPress. Instead of grabbing any ol’ ticket (like I usually do), I decided to focus on a component. Given that media is heavily JavaScript, I went there, found a ticket, and created a patch. In addition, I read through a lot of the Backbone code powering the media modal to see how it all works together.

My grand plan is to continue contributing to WordPress, and apply my efforts to one thing: JavaScript in the media modal. This will help me focus and keep me motivated to contribute. It will also allow me to get my JavaScript chops up to snuff.

So there you have it. I feel this is the WordCamp that really got me motivated. I’m already looking forward to next year’s WordCamp US, which is going to be held in Philadelphia again!

And though I had a great time, nothing beat coming home and seeing the excitement on my little girl’s face when I walked in the door Sunday evening. I’ll leave you with this video I tweeted of her learning to say Wapuu in her new WordCamp US onesie.

Feel free to leave your own experiences and takeaways of WordCamp US in the comments. I would love to read them.



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