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The True Value of a WordCamp

WordCamps are brilliant. If you’ve never been to one then you should definitely go and find one that’s happening close to you. They’re a great time to learn from some awesome people in your local (and international) community in a friendly and relaxed environment. If you’re lucky you’ll generally also get some top notch food, coffee, swag and an after party to remember.

That stuff is all great to have, but for me there’s an aspect of any WordCamp that is far more significant and valuable than any of that. While I always enjoy the talks when I attend a WordCamp and I always get a lot of value out of them, the one aspect of the conferences that makes me far more excited is simply the community.

I don’t mean that in any metaphorical sense, but rather I’m talking about the real, local and present community. Those people who work with WordPress every day and, in their own way, make it so much more than just a piece of software – without them WordPress would be a publishing platform and little else.

Connecting with this community at a WordCamp is engaging, inspiring, educational and, most of all, fun. Because the community is made of people form any background and every career path, you’re sure to meet some new and interesting folk when you attend a WordCamp. Meeting these people and engaging with them is hugely valuable and, without this, WordCamps would merely be interesting events with little else on offer.

So next time you attend a WordCamp, don’t only go to listen to the speakers or get some free swag, but be intentional about meeting new people and finding out what makes them tick. Not only will you make some new friends, but you’ll find out more about yourself and how you fit into this great community of which we’re all a part.

That’s the true value of a WordCamp.

Contributing to WordPress: A Helping Hand

This post first appeared on the Codeable blog. Please head there to leave a comment.

Contributing to WordPress may sound daunting at first, but it’s ultimately a hugely rewarding endeavour that will both improve your knowledge of the platform and give you that warm, fuzzy feeling that you can only get from being a part of something so much bigger than yourself. After all – WordPress and the community has given us so much, that it’s only fair to give a small amount back.

There are many avenues through which you can give back to the WordPress community – some depend on intimate knowledge of WordPress’ core code while others simply require you to have only mild experience using the dashboard. In this series of posts, I am going to cover some of the major areas in which you can get involved so that, by the end of it, you’ll be able to dive head first into community contributions.

A Helping Hand

The first, and perhaps the simplest, way to give back to WordPress is by lending a helping hand to other users. This can come in two main forms:

1. Support Forum

If you have worked with WordPress for any length time then there’s a better than even chance that you have come across some handy advice on a WordPress support forum. Whether you searched the forums directly, or you reached them via Google, the end result is the same – you received advice from a community member (just like yourself) who simply wanted to help out.

The WordPress support forum is a veritable gold mine of useful information given out for free, and the best part about it is that you can be the next helpful community member whose advice saves another user hours of headaches and frustration. Anyone can access the support forum and respond to any query – all you need to do is head to the forum, log in and get going with responding to any thread that you like. The threads are split up into topics, so it’s easy to find somewhere that you can help out.

2. Documentation

The WordPress documentation is housed on the WordPress Codex. Here you will find general documentation as well as documentation that relates specifically to code. For the most part, it is all fairly comprehensive, but there are many pages that are either incomplete or non-existent. This is where you come in.

The codex functions as a wiki, which means that anyone is able to edit any page or add new pages. So, when you’re looking up information regarding a specific function, but you find that information to be incomplete (not enough information, poor code examples, etc.), then you can update the page to be more accurate and helpful.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to go and throw yourself into the forums and beef up that documentation!

Plugin Building Workshop at WordCamp

At WordCamp Cape Town 2014 I presented a workshop on building your first WordPress plugin. It was a pleasure to share my experience with everyone who attended the workshop and, as I promised at the end of the workshop, here are a few links regarding what we learnt.

Post Hit Counter

Note that the demo plugin I showed you (and that you can download above) has a much more simplified structure compared the final plugin available on WordPress.org and GitHub. The functions are exactly the same, but the final product uses a more complete object-oriented structure.

Starter Plugins

Other Links

Get in Touch

Feel free to comment here or get in touch with me on Twitter or Google+ if you have any questions!

WordCamp Cape Town 2014

Want to win a ticket to WordCamp Cape Town 2014? Then read on…

It’s that time of year again – time for WordCamp Cape Town. This year’s WordCamp is going to be at the same venue as last year, but it will have more depth and more enriching content that previous years. The main reason for this is that we have added workshops to the schedule and they’re all set to offer the technical depth that was lacking last year.

On top of that we’re also adding an element that I’m really looking forward to – the first Contributor Day to be held on the African continent. This is particularly exciting for me as I’ve recently been discovering just how much one can do to give back to WordPress and just how rewarding it can be. I’m stoked to be able to introduce more people from our community to the joys of contributing.

We also have the traditional after party and awesome swag along with great food and coffee during the conference (seriously – the food alone is worth being at the conference for). If you’re even remotely interested in WordPress then you would be crazy to miss this conference.

I’m also going to be leading a workshop on building your first WordPress plugin – check out the details here.

I have one ticket for WordCamp Cape Town 2014 that I’m going to be giving away right here on this blog! All you have to do to win the ticket is to comment on this post and tell me the one thing that excites you most about WordPress and I’ll pick the winner from the comments at 10:00 on Monday morning (20 October 2014).

WordCamp Cape Town 2013

Since the beginning of the year, myself and a few of the guys from WooThemes have taken over the organising of the WordPress Cape Town community. Over the course of the year we have organised two local meetups – one for WordPress’ 10th Anniversary and the other just because we thought the community deserved it. They were both very different meetups – one being a cocktail party (with cake!) and the other being a more traditional meetup where we heard from two local entrepreneurs about how they set up their businesses on WordPress. You can see the videos from these meetups here.

wcct_logo_bwNext up for the local WordPress community is none other than WordCamp Cape Town 2013 – to be held on 7 November at the Cape Town Stadium. This year’s WordCamp has the (somewhat loose) theme of ‘The Business of WordPress’ and each of the talks will be looking at building a website, app or community on WordPress. We’ll be hearing some interesting stories from local success stories, such as Lazygamer and One Page Love, as well as how a number of people have used WordPress to grow their careers and get their unique working situation up and running. The full schedule for the day is available here: http://2013.capetown.wordcamp.org/schedule/.

Not only do we have 7 incredible local speakers (although one of them is from Joburg, but don’t hold that against him), but we also have 3 international speakers who will be joining us from across the Atlantic. You can see the full list of speakers here: http://2013.capetown.wordcamp.org/speakers/.

On top of that we have a top notch after party planned for all the WordCamp attendees: http://2013.capetown.wordcamp.org/2013/10/18/announcing-the-official-wordcamp-cape-town-2013-after-party/.

The day promises to be an absolute winner, packed with fascinating talks and an excellent chance to meet some of the great people that make the WordPress community what it is.

[button link=”http://2013.capetown.wordcamp.org/tickets/” size=”large” window=”yes”]Book your ticket now![/button]