WordCamp Europe 2019

WCEU stage lettering

Among the web stuff I’ve been busy with at work during the past half year, WordPress was nowhere to be seen. After changing company I’ve been broadening my horizons in the department of JavaScript, React, Craft CMS and statically built sites. Does that mean I’ve written off WordPress for good? Not in the slightest. Secretly missing it, I’ve been privately working on a few little WordPress pages to at least keep up with new possibilities brought to WordPress by Gutenberg. And when I saw that WordCamp Europe would take place in Berlin I was hooked on getting a ticket. Full of new impressions I returned back to Cologne.

The first conference day started out with me aimlessly strolling around, collecting some neat swag from the sponsors. A lot of hosting companies were sponsoring, also some well known plugin developing companies like Automattic, WooCommerce, Yoast SEO.

It was interesting to see that Google was there and will launch a WordPress Plugin named “Google Site Kit” to easily connect and gain insights via Google services. I had no idea. Honestly, I also didn’t know Amazon Lightsail was a thing until they told me it has already been running for two and a half years. And despite the fact that incidentally I was researching API driven shop systems recently, I never even heard of BigCommerce, who had a box there, too.

But enough about sponsors and swag.
This was my personal schedule for the two conference days:

Develop with Docker: Containers for everyone

The very first talk I listened to was held by Maura Teal about “Develop with Docker: Containers for everyone”. It was exactly as the title promised and clarified the process of running a docker container to develop a WordPress project in a simple way. Yes, I’ve read and seen those steps already, but she dropped a link to a useful site by 10up, that I did not yet stumble upon, who brought up a WordPress docker container and dealt with the details (allegedly, I have not looked into it yet).

The usual questions popped up in my head. What’s the easiest way to keep the database in sync with other project contributors? Has someone already written a script to dump and import the database easily? I don’t want my user data to end up in version control, how can I avoid it? How about cross operating system file permission issues? How about file permission issues in general?

There is no such thing as migrations in WordPress. There are no straight forward steps to deal with changes that have to be synced between environments. Maura was nice enough to talk to me about the issue of keeping the database in snyc and said that she would ask around. The thing that does not fail to surprise me about Docker over and over again, is that everybody seems to have it all figured out while I’m running into one issue after the other. So as a developer, am I to use ready made stuff and hope for the best – or does one spend a lot of time reading up on DevOps rather than doing their actual Dev work?

Advanced database management for plugins

Following was John Jacoby. I loved his talk. Basically, what he did is something that is kind of obvious, but nobody that I know of took the time to do. He is also happily getting ready to share the code. His talk was on how he wrote a bunch of helper functions that can be of use when it comes to managing custom databases in WordPress. And anyone who’s ever written a WordPress plugin involving custom databases might know that they really are a pain to manage…

Matt on WordPress

Just after lunch, there was the summer update of Matt Mullenweg on WordPress. Most interesting to me was rather to see this person and plain hearing him talk about what he things are going to be the next steps when it comes to WordPress. I wasn’t sure in the beginning if I do like his way or not. I’ve been a fan of the push towards Gutenberg for sure, I was also impressed with how he handled questions asked by the audience.

Find that bug you made months ago with Git Bisect

On the second conference day I got to see a quick lightning talk by David Needham about a git command I did not know of until then: git bisect. Actually, the title already says it all. The command makes it quite easy to find the commit where something changed leading to a bug. Good to know information.

Besides the few development related talks I’ve been to, I have also seen some interesting talks about change management, post mortems and remote working with people all over the world. Some other development related talks were quite “meh” to me, so I did not bother to link them in the list above. I genuinely liked the mix of topics I was able to see and how impressive the event has been organized. I think it’s safe to say we all know there’s some things in WordPress that represent a challenge and need to improve. But being at WordCamp Europe reminded me on how big a community there is and how many people are working to make WordPress better, so I am quite optimistic, that it will continue to age very well.

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