It’s been summer for about a week now. Whether you’re on vacation or burning the midnight oil, attending a local/nearby WordCamp is a great way to spend a weekend. Meet other WordPress users, developers, designers & consultants, learn a little something, maybe share a little of your own experience and knowledge, and break bread (or raise a toast) with new friends and collaborators. Here are the WordCamps scheduled for this summer, along with what I know about them.
July 3: WordCamp Germany – Berlin, Germany. I love it that they’re using BuddyPress for their event site. They have multiple tracks, and what looks to be a nice variety of sessions. It’s only a few days away, so if you’re thinking of going, get your tickets now!
July 10: WordCamp Boulder – Boulder, Colorado, USA. This was WordCamp Denver last year, but the organizers have decided to mix it up and go back and forth between Denver and Boulder, which also has a thriving tech community. This year the venue is the Boulder Theater (so pretty!), and there will sessions for bloggers and devs alike, plus a Genius Bar to help people get their WordPress sites all fixed up. The speaker lineup looks good, and I hear they’re pumping up the wifi this year. I’ll be there, likely hunched over a notebook with Lisa Sabin-Wilson (author of WordPress for Dummies and BuddyPress for Dummies) to talk about the WordPress User Handbook project, and/or hunched over a sketchbook with Kevin Conboy (designed the new lighter “on” state for admin menus in WordPress 3.0) to work out a new default WordCamp.org theme (using BuddyPress). You can still get tickets!
July 17–18: WordCamp UK– Manchester, England, UK. The roving WordCamp UK will be in Manchester this year, and is probably the closest to BarCamp style of all the WordCamps, using a wiki to plan some speakers/sessions and organizing the rest ad-hoc on the first day of the event. I’ll be attending this one as well, and am looking forward to seeing WordPress lead developer Peter Westwood again. I’m also looking forward to meeting some core contributors for the first time in person, like Simon Wheatley and John O’Nolan. Mike Little, co-founder of WordPress, is on the organizing team of WordCamp UK. Tickets on sale now!
July 24: WordCamp Nigeria – Lagos, Nigeria. Their site seems to have a virus, so no link from here, but if you’re in Nigeria and interested in attending/getting involved, a quick Google search will get you to the organizers.
August 7: WordCamp Houston – Houston, TX, USA. Houston, Texas, birthplace of WordPress! Fittingly, Matt Mullenweg will be there to give the keynote. WordCamp Houston is running three tracks — Business, Blogger and Developer — in recognition of the fact that people who are interested in using WordPress for their business may not actually be bloggers or developers themselves. This used to get labeled as a “CMS” track at previous WordCamps (including NYC 2009), but with WordPress 3.0 supporting CMS functionality out of the box, “Business” is a much more appropriate label. Who wants to bet on if there will be BBQ for lunch?
August 7 : WordCamp Iowa – Des Moines, Iowa, USA. Another placeholder page. Happening, not happening? I’ve emailed the organizer and will update this post once I know more.
August 7–8: WordCamp New Zealand – Auckland, New Zealand. They haven’t announced this year’s speakers or topics, but they’ve been running polls to get community input into the program. Of note: in 2011 WordCamp New Zealand will be shifting seasons and will be in February instead, when the weather is nicer.
August 20–22: WordCamp Savannah – Savannah, Georgia, USA. Disclaimer: I am completely biased about Savannah, since I’m one of the organizers. This will be the first WordCamp in Savannah, and it’s being held at the Savannah College of Art and Design River Club, an awesome venue that used to be a cotton warehouse or something like that. Since Savannah doesn’t really have a cohesive WordPress community yet (though a fair number of people from Savannah attended WordCamp Atlanta earlier this year), this WordCamp is aimed squarely at building a local community. We’ll have a local meet-and-greet, regular sessions with visiting speakers (lots of core contributors coming to this one, plus Matt), and on Sunday it will be combination unconference/genius bar/collaborative workspace. Oh, and a potluck! We’ll also be running a pre-WordCamp workshop for people who have never used WordPress but want to get started, so that they’ll be able to follow the presentations and conversations littered with WordPress-specific vocabulary over the weekend. Ticket sales just opened, so get your tickets now.
Arm your vuvuzelas: WordPress 3.0, the thirteenth major release of WordPress and the culmination of half a year of work by 218 contributors, is now available for download (or upgrade within your dashboard). Major new features in this release include a sexy new default theme called Twenty Ten. Theme developers have new APIs that allow them to easily implement custom backgrounds, headers, shortlinks, menus (no more file editing), post types, and taxonomies. (Twenty Ten theme shows all of that off.) Developers and network admins will appreciate the long-awaited merge of MU and WordPress, creating the new multi-site functionality which makes it possible to run one blog or ten million from the same installation. As a user, you will love the new lighter interface, the contextual help on every screen, the 1,217 bug fixes and feature enhancements, bulk updates so you can upgrade 15 plugins at once with a single click, and blah blah blah just watch the video. (In HD, if you can, so you can catch the Easter eggs.)
If you’d like to embed the WordPress 3.0 video tour in your blog, copy and paste this code for the high quality version:
For a more comprehensive look at everything that has improved in 3.0 check out 3.0’s Codex page or the long list of issues in Trac. (We’re trying to keep these announcement posts shorter.) Whew! That’s a lot packed into one release. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the 3.X cycle we’ll be in for the next two and a half years.
Normally this is where I’d say we’re about to start work on 3.1, but we’re actually not. We’re going to take a release cycle off to focus on all of the things around WordPress. The growth of the community has been breathtaking, including over 10.3 million downloads of version 2.9, but so much of our effort has been focused on the core software it hasn’t left much time for anything else. Over the next three months we’re going to split into ninja/pirate teams focused on different areas of the around-WordPress experience, including the showcase, Codex, forums, profiles, update and compatibility APIs, theme directory, plugin directory, mailing lists, core plugins, wordcamp.org… the possibilities are endless. The goal of the teams isn’t going to be to make things perfect all at once, just better than they are today. We think this investment of time will give us a much stronger infrastructure to grow WordPress.org for the many tens of millions of users that will join us during the 3.X release cycle.
It Takes a Village
I’m proud to acknowledge the contributions of the following 218 people to the 3.0 release cycle. These are the folks that make WordPress what it is, whose collaboration and hard work enable us to build something greater than the sum of our parts. In alphabetical order, of course.
If you’ve made it this far, check out my 2010 State of the Word speech at WordCamp San Francisco, it’s jam-packed with information on the growth of WordPress, 3.0, what we’re planning for the future, and the philosophy of WordPress.
When I was a kid my dad used to practice his typing skills (on a real typewriter no less) with the phrase:
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.
For some reason that has stuck with me all these years. Today I’m going to rephrase and re-purpose that line:
Now is the time for great theme developers to come to the aid of their community.
The theme directory has been chugging along for more than a year now. During that time we’ve tinkered with the review process and some of the management tools, but haven’t really opened it up as much as we’d like. It’s time to rip off the band-aid and take some action; to that end, we’re looking for community members to help with the process of reviewing themes for the directory.
Right now this is a bit like a New Year’s resolution to exercise every day: it’s what we need to do, but we’re still figuring out exactly how it will all work. That’s part of the community involvement as well — we expect that those who pitch in will also help shape the process.
What’s involved in reviewing themes for the directory? There are some obvious things, such as being familiar with PHP and WordPress theme code (and the theme development checklist), with an eye for security issues. You would also need to have the ability to set up a separate install of the latest version of WordPress for testing theme submissions.
Hopefully a few talented theme developers are reading this right now and saying to themselves, “I’d love to help! How do I get started?” Just join the new theme reviewers mailing list and we’ll get you up to speed on this new opportunity to come to the aid of your community.