It was a great day Saturday at Wordcamp, meeting so many interesting people, fostering some new ideas, and learn quite a lot. I’ve used wordpress now as my default blogging software for a few years, but I’ve never had the opportunity to get in touch with the community first hand, to see whose really behind the software. As my first Wordcamp, I had high expectations, and I wasn’t let down!
I showed up to the Mission Bay Center around 9am and was pretty amazed, it was my first time over by SOMA. Lots of apartment buildings and construction going on, that area is going to be amazingly once it’s all completed. I checked in and found out that talks had already started! The breakfast food was delicious, with bagels, fruit, and Peet’s coffee. There were 2 conference rooms, upstairs and downstairs, which were the User Track and Developer Track respectively. After looking at the entire schedule, I settled on most of the developer talks. The majority of the talks were only 20-30 minutes long, which was a bit disappointing. Not enough time to dig into anything really. My highlight of the morning talks was on LOLCats from Ben Huh. Ben gave a very straightforward talk about the viral nature of LOLCats and presented things in a serious matter, which I was surprised about considering the nature of his content. I also enjoyed the talk on Microformats from Tantek Celik. Microformats have caught my interest since Kevin Marks demoed them at Google IO, I hope they continue to gain interest, I think they have a lot of potential.
Lunch and Afternoon
Buffet style BBQ with macaroni and chicken, vegetarians be damned! Long lines at first, but they subsided quickly. Another meal done well. I headed into more talks and was quite happy to hear Nginx mentioned by Chris Lea. Nginx is a Russian developed webserver that is substantially faster than Apache or Lighttpd, but due to be Russian, it’s always been hard as hell to find docs for it in English. From what I heard, the situation has improved now, so maybe it’s time to switch back to Nginx now! jQuery was demoed, the Wordpress APIs were shown, and BuddyPress, a Facebook-like version of Wordpress was shown, to be public by end of the year.
I found there was a very distinct difference between users and developers, I could tell which side people were on immediately. Users just created content and have no clue about anything else. I applaud them for pushing forward and having a passion, someone needs to poke the developers to be productive. One of the other interesting aspects with the crowd was the rampant use of flickr and twitter. Everyone in the room was twittering nonstop. I would post a picture to flickr, mention it on twitter, and watch it appear on 8 laptop screens instantly. It was a unique social experience.
One other cool thing were several tattoo of wordpress that were lying around. They asked us to apply them and mentioned prizes. I added the tattoo to my foot and then ended up winning a WP Moleskin notepad! Very cool contest and prize.
Things died down by 6pm, but not before a performance by the SEO Rapper aka Chuck Lewis and it was awesome. I wandered around for a bit and then wound up early at the after-party at Pete’s Tavern with some other folks from the day. We chatted about the iphone, blogging, and tech stuff in general until 9pm when the open bar hit! After that, bourbon warmed my belly and I mingled for the rest of night.
It was a well run event with plenty of volunteers and good food always within reach. Good talks and good company all around. Matt Mullenweg was the informal moderator of the entire event and was always hanging around the edges of the room. From here, I will try to get more involved in the wordpress community and contribute to wordpress development. Hopefully, I can attend again next year!