I barely know where to begin describing the incredible experience that was WordCamp 2007 this past weekend in San Francisco. I’m sure that everyone has been following the live blogging from the conference and the information and trackbacks on the WordCamp 2007 official site and the unofficial WordCamp Report, so you probably know more about the event than I do.
The event started with the WordPress Podcast Meetup on Friday with Charles Stricklin and tons of other fabulous WordPress folks. Matt and a huge entourage showed up late, but we all had a great time discussing what annoyed us and could be improved in WordPress. We all had a marvelous time finally meeting each other and letting our voices be heard right from the very start.
Friday night was a pre-conference gathering at a cafeteria style restaurant on the waterfront, another chance for more WordPress folks to gather and meet. We laughed and talked for hours in the nice breezy evening, covering everything from WordPress and blogging to politics and the weather. Andy Skelton gave me a ride to where I was staying on his newly purchased bright red Gold Wing motorcycle, roaring up and down the hills of San Francisco. It was thrilling! [pictures coming soon]
Saturday morning, I arrived early at the hall to find out that the best laid plans can easily go awry. The sponsor and publisher, SplashPress, had bought enough copies of my book, Blogging Tips – What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging, for everyone at the conference to get a free copy. The books weren’t there. Much of my morning was spent on the phone calling my agent, sponsor, and printer to find out what happened in the supply line. They didn’t arrive but we’ve found the books and the printer will be mailing out copies to all attendees very soon. YEAH!
So what can I say about the rest of the two day conference that hasn’t been said?
The WordPress Community is Alive and Vibrant With Energy
There is no doubt about the vitality of the WordPress Community. It is alive and buzzing with energy and enthusiasm. Ideas were flying around all weekend as people asked their questions, gave their input, and shared their stories of WordPress.
There is a huge amount of interest in improving the documentation in the WordPress Codex and many came up to me to volunteer to help edit and add more articles and add video and screencasts to the Codex. I’ll be announcing guidelines for participation with the multimedia aspects very soon, so stay tuned.
There is also a lot of people eager to help others through the Forums, but frustrated with the redundancy of questions and the hard work of providing volunteer support. They want to help integrate the Codex more into the Forums and WordPress in general to help answer redundant questions and make the process of getting help easier and faster. It will take a lot of volunteer hours and efforts to bring this together, so I’ll be putting out the word soon on how you can help.
I will be covering more about some of the lessons I learned from the various sessions over the next few weeks, but I want to thank everyone who helped me put together and present my presentation. All the audience members who bravely withstood my interrogation and asked fantastic questions that had us all thinking and answering. I will be putting together a slide show of my presentation so others can get a taste of what I covered.
WordPress is a success today because of all the volunteers and fans who didn’t just make the decision to try WordPress. They made the decision to tell all their friends. They made the decision to become a part of the WordPress Community. They made the decision to share some of their template files and Themes tips and tricks. They made the decision to share their web design skills in WordPress Themes. They made the decision to write WordPress Plugins and share them with others. They made the decision to help in the WordPress Support Forums and on WordPress.com. They made the decision to write and edit documentation on the WordPress Codex, so others could learn what they learned about WordPress and not suffer through the confusion they did. I stood in that room surrounded by all who have touched and shared WordPress, and loved the energy. I was surrounded by the best of the best, and I’m so humbled and thrilled to be such a small part of the passion.
The Future of WordPress
What most people want to know from the conference is what is coming up in the future of WordPress. I’m sure others have covered this, but here is a glimpse from my perspective.
- WordPress.com has over 1.2 million blogs and is growing incredibly fast. It has proved itself as a stable and easy-to-use blogging program which offers bloggers from all over the world a free blog and a place to learn to blog safely. Expect it to grow even better and stronger, and WordPress to benefit from the improvements.
- Akismet has tackled billions of spam and is making even more improvements. The more participants in the Akismet “community” fighting against comment spam, the more robust the defenses as it learns from each comment spam marked as spam.
- While little has been done to improve installation, upgrades, and WordPress Plugin updates, those are a priority for the WordPress development team.
- Expect to see WordPress Plugin updates in your WordPress Administration Panels linked to the database in the WordPress Plugin Directory very soon.
- The WordPress Themes Viewer has been cleaned up from over 4,000 WordPress Themes to 1,600, removing the spam, many copyright violations, abusive ad-filled Themes, and other junk. Expect the Themes Viewer to be more robust soon with rating and comments better incorporated.
- WordPress is working hard on their APIs and a new project called “BackPress”, a back-end code package that allows sharing of the data structure and adding data to the database for things like the Windows Live Writer, a desktop-client, to allow you to blog through it on your WordPress blog. Expect a lot of flexibility in this area in the future.
- A new cache proxy called WPCP is coming which will speed up caching. Benchmark tests so far are amazing and will definitely speed up your WordPress blog.
- The ability for handling storage will be improving, especially for storing images, videos, and other multi-media on-site and off-site.
- Internationalization, also known as localization, is improving, expanding the ease of non-English bloggers to take full advantage of WordPress features and customization.
- Tags will be out in the September release of WordPress 2.3. It will function fairly similarly to the popular Ultimate Tag Warrior Plugin.
- A new WordPress Administration Panel will be coming in the WordPress 2.4 release around the end of the year. It is designed to put what users use the most in the fore and improve comments and posting for efficiency. It shouldn’t be a drastic update, but will increase efficiency and access.
- The WordPress Ideas list is critical to making suggestions about WordPress, and many have already been implemented. If you want your voice heard, add your idea, comment on ideas you like or don’t like, and at the very least, vote on the ideas so the WordPress developers will get the message about what you want, or don’t want, in WordPress.
- Expect tremendous improvements in documentation on the WordPress Codex in the next year with videos, screencasts, podcasts, and more.
Thank you to everyone who shared hugs and their love of WordPress with me during the weekend. I’m still reeling and have almost lost my voice. I’ll be driving back north, taking some time to absorb all that I learned, the lessons I gathered from all the wonderful people I met, and will be back live here next week with a ton of information, input, news, and reviews of the conference and more.
And all attendees, your copy of Blogging Tips is on it’s way to you. My apologies and thank you for your patience.
Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging.