My time at WordCamp San Francisco 2012

Aug 22 2012

WordCamps have been going on for years across the globe, but where did they start? San Francisco 2006! Every year since then, San Francisco has hosted WordPress users and developers from across the world. I’ve never been to WordCamp San Francisco, or WCSF for short, but this year I decided I just couldn’t let it pass me up again. The decision to attend WCSF 2012 has turned out to have an profound effect on me..

Lesson Learned — You can only get two of these three: Features, Stability, On-time

Matt Mullenweg said this in his State of the Word 2012 keynote, and it really hit home for me. This is something that I’ve gotten wrong with my own project, the Pods Framework, of which I am the lead developer. I have spent two years developing the next major release, Pods 2.0, with features and stability as my primary focus. The problem with that? Time. It takes more time to get every single feature in, and instead of prioritizing and pushing less important features further into future releases, I focused on getting all of the features that I had wanted — all at once.

This was a mistake, disregarding any other time-related delays out of my control, this is the biggest deficiency of mine that I’ve had to learn from in my professional career. I’m used to getting projects done at work and on schedule at RD2. We have a team that handles every aspect of the project from start to finish. But when it comes to managing a project on my own — why was I so oblivious?

The problem was fear of failure. When it came to my own work, I wanted all three — Features, Stability, AND On-time — and I didn’t want to accept my own limitations. Lesson learned, and since WordCamp San Francisco 2012, Pods 2.0 has now gone beta!

My presentation: All You Can Eat Content Types

I had the privilege and honor of being asked by Matt Mullenweg to speak at this year’s WCSF. I chose to speak about what I know best and have been studying closely for the past 6 years in my development career: Content Types. In my presentation, I went over all of the different baked in and extensible content types within WordPress.

Each of the presenters were given a tight squeeze: 15 minutes to expand the minds of the audience, and 5 minutes for Q&A while the next presenter sets up. It really was quick, I had a lot of information to cover and I went through and even skipped areas when I was pressed for time.

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Luckily for everyone, my presentation slides can be found on SlideShare or you can watch the video at WordPress.tv as seen above.

Dev Day: Unit Testing takes time but saves time

Photo by @beaulebens

WCSF had a Development Day on the following Sunday this year. WordPress developers, designers, and testers all got together to work on projects surrounding WordPress Core. There was around 80-90 people there and absolutely no shortage of talent.

Unit Testing was something I’ve always been interested in but didn’t quite understand how to take advantage of. What is Unit Testing? It’s basically a set of methods that run to check individual functions in a project. Each test checks that what a function does and returns, is as expected. If it’s not, it fails, and it’s an easy litmus test to see if a change you’ve made has greater implications. WordPress has had the great fortune of contributors putting together a Unit Testing suite for WordPress that tests against most, if not all, of it’s primary functionality.

Why does Unit Testing make sense? Throughout any project, changes are inevitable. But how do you save time testing and be able to know with a few keystrokes if that commit to a project is going to work besides testing the most common use-cases by hand? That’s where Unit Testing steps in, it’s all about saving time and not sacrificing stability for quick changes.

At RD2, there’s room for Unit Testing throughout our larger projects, especially what we’ve got in our labs currently. I’m planning on using everything I learned at WCSF Dev Day to contribute back new and updated unit tests for any patches I submit to the WordPress core and any patches I’m able to help on. Another benefit to me learning about Unit Testing is that I can now use that same knowledge to improve how Pods 2.x is developed while maintaining stability. This is an exciting area I’m really looking forward to exploring further.

It’s not WordCamp without BBQ

This should be a requirement at every WordCamp in the United States. We were all treated to a BBQ lunch with some of the best BBQ outside of Texas I’ve ever had. There was BBQ Brisket, Chicken, all the fixings, and one of my favorites – Mac and Cheese. Later on at the after party, attendees were treated to a combination of four different food trucks providing a variety of food stylings to feed any appetite throughout the night. All in all, good food promotes a really good experience overall, WCSF did this with flying colors.

Never miss Breakfast

I can’t quite remember a time that I’ve flown out of town, stayed in a hotel, and hadn’t hit the hotel breakfast buffet at least once. WordCamp San Francisco 2012 was no exception.

I am a huge fan of breakfast, and just wanted to share with you how awesome it was. I grabbed a pile of bacon, added spatulas of hash browns, grabbed a croissant, and then finished the dish with a dozen eggs. Okay maybe not a dozen, but who knows, it could have been, and it was glorious! Oh, that French toast was good too, but once I dug into the main dish, there was no comparing the two.

I shared this feast with Matt Gibbs, the founding developer of Pods who I’ve collaborated with for the past 4 years since the project got it’s start in the Fall of 2008. In fact, both of us continue to reminisce over how fulfilling the breakfast was for our code-centric souls!

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