2 Jul 2010 kgb   » (Master)

WordCamp Orlando 2009

WordCamp Orlando 2009   4147308621 5e0ca11557 b photoThe first annual gathering of WordPress users and programmers took place Saturday, 12/5. WordCamp Orlando was held in 2 buildings on the beautiful Rollins College campus in Winter Haven. There was free WiFi but AC Power was a little difficult to come by, so more than once I had to seek out space on crowded wall outlets. Everyone agreed the $15 conference fee was well worth the information and presentations shared (plus it included a t-shirt and a good BBQ lunch), There were roughly 72-100 people attending, a list of people who had specified Twitter accounts can be viewed here.

This event was unique among WordCamps in that for the first time, all 4 WordPress developers were together in attendance and available for Q&A (could being near Disney World have had something to do with that?). It was also the first time I personally have seen GoogleWave used as a main communications means for the people attending. The photo stream for the WordCamp is on Flickr, and the Twitter hashtag was #wco.

The schedule was divided into 2 tracks – a developer track and a user track (i.e. WordPress.com), with some sessions of each held simultaneously. Having personal interest in both tracks, I had to bounce back and forth between session rooms.

Time Track 1 Track 2
8:00 am Registration Open
9:30 am Welcome
10:00 am Geno Church & Eric Dodds
People are the Killer App
Mark Jaquith
What I Hate About WordPress
11:00 am Jane Wells
The User Experience of WordPress
Barry Abrahamson
High Performance WordPress
12:00 pm Lunch – BBQ at the Cornell Campus Center
1:00 pm Dan Maccarone & Andrew Zipern
Why Online Products Fail
Chris Scott
You’re Doing it Wrong
2:00 pm Jeremy Harrington
A Site Seeing Tour
John James Jacoby
3:00 pm JC Hutchins
From Podcast to Print
Brian Johnson
WordPress on Windows
4:00 pm Sean Brown
Moving to WordPress: One Publisher’s Journey
Eric Marden
WordPress as a CMS
5:00 pm Matt Mullenweg
State of the Word: Q&A
5:50 pm Closing
7:00 pm WordCamp Orlando After Party – The Globe at Wall St. Plaza
19 N Orange Ave Orlando, FL

What I Hate About WordPress, and High Performance WordPress

These sessions discussed the problems and growth behind the WordPress.com hosting site. WordPress.com has about 850 servers in 3 data centers. ~350 web/php servers, ~300 DB servers, ~60 memcacheD servers.

These presentations can be viewed online here and here

You’re Doing It Wrong

This was the most useful session for me, as it gave examples on the best way to code WordPress plugins and PHP so that they survive upgrades and changes.

WordCamp Orlando 2009   4160952050 6ed733f6ce o photo

Chris Scott telling us how to code correctly

Chris’s slides are viewable online.

A Site-Seeing Tour

Various web sites and blog were presented, with commentary about what was done well and poorly. One of the sites presented was Disney Parks Blog, which was an example of a site done well. The brand was clear, the colors consistent, and the comment section easy to view.

Another interesting point brought out is how things have changed. Web designers use to design their pages with the most consideration “above the fold”, meaning the main screen viewing area. People who still do this are out of touch, as mobile devices, especially if they tilt, no longer have a consistent fold.

Buddy Press

I did not attend this session but the content is viewable online

From Podcast to Print

Narrated by book author JC Hutchins, without any projector or slides, JC discussed his attempts to get his book “7th Son” published. While a fan of “just-in-time” self publishing when it makes sense, traditional publishers don’t look favorably on it and he wanted to have his book appear in book stores. What he did do was read his book a piece at a time in his own podcast. This allowed him to “self publish” in a way that was more accepting to traditional publishers, and was more interactive with his audience. He leveraged blog and podcast mediums to build an audience and sell the final commercial product of his book. Story-telling podcasts as a method to publish, while protecting themselves from duplication, is an interesting use of the medium. In his words, “If you build it they will come” doesn’t work by itself. You need to “tell them where to go”

I personally believe that major book publishers, instead of fighting it, will eventually embrace and create self-publishing divisions for new authors, moving them to print if/when they sales reach certain numbers.

WordPress as a CMS

Another good session. WordPress is a CMS, as is anything that helps you manage content. Some companies do nothing but set up sites and CMS environments using just WordPress. What works best will depend on the diversity of the content being managed, the skill-sets of the people involved, and what needs to scale.

WordCamp Orlando 2009   4160576579 908dba90e2 o photo

Eric Marden discusses WordPress as a CMS

Eric’s presentation can be view online also.

State of the Word: Q&A

WordCamp Orlando 2009   4163890207 fe5deae505 b photoMatt Mullenweg, a person that I swear acts and sounds just like actor/comedian Dave Foley, ran a great Q&A session. With all 4 developers present people had a unique opportunity to discuss almost anything.

A topic receiving much discussion was the “Elastic Theme“, A GUI driven theme designer similar in concept to what people see on SquareSpace.com


I did not attend the after-party, but I well enjoyed my first WordCamp. Every year you hear about major WordCamps on the west coast and in NY, and it’s great to finally have one local to Orlando!

UPDATE: There is now an Orlando WordPress Users group – OrlandoWordpress.org

Syndicated 2009-12-09 07:30:42 from Keith Barrett Online » Technology

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