A few weeks ago, the WordPress Foundation hosted their annual conference WordCamp San Francisco. Attending conferences is a great way to get practical tips, to keep up with emerging trends, and to meet other people doing amazing things. WordCamp San Francisco delivered in all three of these areas for me.
Working on the web keeps getting more complex and more exciting. Websites are getting more complicated and harder to build. Years ago, when I first started, one person could know everything there was to know about web development. Mobile phones and retina displays are giving website owners more platforms they need to support. Sara Cannon described the situation well and gave some good tools and techniques for handling that. Drew talked about the new default theme in WordPress, which addresses some of these challenges. The four talks on performance each showed different ways to make your sites perform faster: some like page caching could be done on any shared host, while others require sophisticated server setups and a team of system administrators. The WordPress community has built some great tools that make these complex techniques accessible to even the most novice website owners; check out WP Super Cache and WP Retina 2x as two great examples.
WordPress continues to get better and better. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, shared some statistics in his keynote that show how the WordPress ecosystem continues to grow. The core team is working on some great improvements for the 3.5 release: I’m most excited about the overhaul of the Media features. (Matt showed some wireframes of the overhaul, which look good.) The new default WordPress theme, Twenty Twelve, looks lovely and showcases many modern techniques like CSS3 for buttons and gradients, responsive design, and retina display support. An increasing number of people are making their living building on WordPress, and people are doing some really exciting things with the platform. Matt has predicted for some time that the next stage of WordPress’s evolution will involve people building more interactive applications on top of WordPress as a platform, and he showcased a few sites doing just that: the University of Washington Campus Map is an impressive example.
All the talks were recorded, and some of them have been posted online at WordPress.tv: view videos. During the event, members of the community took very good notes in a Google Doc that @Krogsgard created: view notes.