WordCamp Europe 2013 in Leiden

logo of WordCamp Europe

It was a first time. The first WordCamp that addressed people from all over Europe and even further. And it was a blast.
A huge “Thank you” to all the people who worked hard to make it possible. It was amazing.

When I first learned there would be a “WordCamp Europe” I knew I wanted to be there. So far I have only been to WordCamps in Germany. Leiden was a perfect location for it, being so easily accessible from Amsterdam Schiphol and by train. Besides it is a charming, colorful town with international flair and very friendly, helpful people. I loved it.

Being there

The organizers did a marvelous job as many others stated. Things went so smoothly you barely noticed there was someone behind it: Microphones just did their job, computers talked to beamers without fault, food was plentyful and good. The interpretation of “vegetarian” was somewhat peculiar. 😉 But we managed. No big deal.

The schedule was printed inside the (folded) name badges. On the back you got a handy map of Leiden with all the venues marked. Perfect. No “I had a map here somewhere!” or “What is the next talk? I can’t access the web site AGAIN!”. Yeah, well, WiFi for 700 heavy users was a challenge, and in my experience much, much bigger events with high admission fees didn’t manage to keep it stable and running.

Breathing WordPress

Content is king? Definitely. There were two days filled with amazing talks. One of the most impressive ones for me was the talk of freelance software developer Bram Duvigneau on “Practical WordPress Accessibility”. Being blind from birth he experiences the web in a very different way. He didn’t have any slides but was able to show us the way he “sees” web sites and deals with WordPress. Even though probably all of us have a (bare) idea of why accessibility is important this really made some things very obvious.

Inspiring. Yes. Actually meeting or at least listening to some of the core developers and “big shots” 😉 of the WordPress community was impressive. There was Andrew Nacin telling us about WordPress 3.7 (automatic updates, yeah!). And Questions and Answers with Matt Mullenweg which was more of a further glance into the future of WordPress, versions 3.8 and beyond. I also enjoyed listening to Vitaly Friedman talking about how Smashing Magazine evolved and where they are headed.

Talking to so many WordPress enthusiasts just felt great. Realizing there actually are some more women out there. There were quite a few women speaking, but looking at all the participants I suppose the share of women speakers unfortunately doesn’t represent the actual share of women in the community.

In short: I didn’t get to see nearly as many talks as I would have liked to. But I learned a lot. And enthusiasm is contagious. We came back with tons of ideas, insights and stuff to try and figure out. This was the time and place to celebrate WordPress and the WordPress community, and celebrate we did.

Here you find the slides to some of the talks (no particular order 😉 ). I’ll add more as I get a hold of them. There is lots of interesting and fun stuff out there if you look for #wceu.

Herding Cats with the BuddyPress Activity Component – Boone B Gorges

Writing Secure WordPress Code – Brad Williams

On Internationalization (Plugins and Themes for the Whole World) – Otto

Why Big Brands Love WordPress – Sara Rosso

Learn from my mistakes, don’t make them!  – Miriam Schwab

To OOP or not to OOP – Nikolay Bachiyski

Victory of the Commons – Joost de Valk

Unit Testing Like a Pirate – Ptah Dunbar

Developing WordPress Themes with Git – Kirsten Schelper & Elisabeth Hölzl

The State of Multilingual WordPress – Frank Bültge & Thomas Scholz

Perfect Your Images using WordPress – Mike Schroder & Marko Heijnen

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