WordCamp Speaking – Why?

During a discussion over on the WP UK Community Slack channels I was asked by Jenny Wong “I would like to know what drives you to be a WordCamp Speaker?” After a little discussion after I thought this would make a really good blog post – so here goes!

My WordCamp Speaking

I thought it would be a good idea to give you a little background on my WordCamp speaking. It all started back in 2014 when I was encouraged to speak at WordCamp Sheffield, a one-day WordCamp organised by Kimb Jones and others. I spoke about Customising the WordPress admin for clients and the talk went very well. I was very nervous before hand but I was made to feel very welcome and comfortable and it passed without incident!

Continue reading WordCamp Speaking – Why?

WordPress Cumbria October Talk

WordPress Cumbria is a monthly WordPress meet up that takes place in Kendal, Cumbria. The October meet up was the second meet up between WordPress Developers, Designers, Users and anyone interested in the publishing platform. I was invited to speak at this months event.

My short talk was entitled Extensible WordPress plugins and offered information about what an extensible plugin is, how you can make plugin extensible that you are writing as well as examples of how to take advantage of plugin extensibility. View the slides below:

Photo credit: https://twitter.com/tnash/status/522349421347209216

Talk: From local to staging to live

After starting my speaking career in April at WordCamp Sheffield and doing talks at WordCamp Manchester and WordCamp Bournemouth I was kindly invited to speak at WordPress London by Ngaire Ackerley.

Having only been to London a few times in my entire life it was nice to be invited down and I decided to make it an overnight stay, to ease the journey pain!

The meet up was great with some really good WordPress folks taking part. My slides for my presentation titled Local to Staging to Live – Using Version Control and Deployment Tools are below:

View the slides

The video of the talk, should you wish to watch this is below:

Photo credit: http://www.meetup.com/London-WordPress/photos/24596732/#411273082

WordCamp Bournemouth 2014 Talks

Extensible plugins

Whilst building the Edupress project extensive customisations were made to integrate with a number of other plugins. This talk looks at how you can build plugins which other developers, plugins and themes can add to, remove things from and build upon.

This talk is related to the talk proposed by Rachel McCollin on the new Edupress project and looks more at the development.

View the Extensible plugins talks slides

From local to staging to live using version control and deployment tools

A walk through of a WordPress development environment work flow from building a site locally, hosting the site on a staging environment and then be able to push sites live all using Version Control (Git) and a Deployment tool.

View the From Local to Staging to Live Using Version Control and Deployment Tools slides

Speaking at WordCamp Manchester

At the end of June WordCamp Manchester takes place at Manchester Metropolitan University’s New Business School Building. I am pleased to able to say that I will be speaking at the unconference with a talk titled “Easy Extensible Plugins”.

Back in 2010 the first WordCamp in Manchester took place at the Metropolitan University as part of the WordCamp UK events and 2014 brings us back there for another informal gathering of WordPress developers, designers and users.

This will be the second time that I have spoken at a WordCamp event, the first being in April at WordCamp Sheffield. My t all will cover what an extensible plugin is, why we should be making our plugins extensible and the tools and functions we can use to do this.

I am really looking forward to the event and look forward to seeing everyone there.

WordCamp Bournemouth 2014 Talk Proposal

Today I submitted my talk proposal for WordCamp Bournemouth 2014. I have titled the proposed talk as “From Local to Staging to Live Using Version Control and Deployment”. I intend to present my development environment and how I develop sites on my local machine first, all the way through to how the site ends up live. Below are some of the things I will touch on:

  • Setting up a local development environment using MAMP
  • Using Github to store your code and provide version control for your project
  • Tips and tricks for using Github with WordPress
  • Making the most of a staging environment, where to host this and when to use it
  • Integrating a deployment system so you can push versions of your project from your Git repository to staging or live sites.

This talk was something that I suggested back in 2013 at WordCamp Lancaster in the hope that someone would be able to present on this, as back then I didn’t have a clue. Thankfully Rob Miller delivered the talk, but as luck would have it I was busy being a site doctor in the other track!

Having spent the last 12 months learning about the best way forward here, I intend to share some of the things that I have learnt.

WordCamp Sheffield 2014

Last weekend was WordCamp Sheffield, a special WordCamp for many reasons if not just for the fact that is was the first WordCamp of the year in the UK. It was also a little different for me as I was speaking for the first time on a topic which I have worked on for a while, customising the WordPress admin screens.

The journey over to Sheffield was a good one and was much quicker than I thought. It really is all that far away! Driving over Snake Pass in the Fog was fantastic, if a little scary at some places, but dropping down the valley at the other side gave some tremendous views.

Arriving just before 0900 at the venue (Mappin Hall) which was part of the University I grabbed a coffee before registration. Lanyards and T-Shirts were given out. The WordCamp Sheffield T-Shirt was a lovely design incorporating a map of Sheffield and the WordPress logo of course. White and blue T-Shirts were seen worn and it turns out that the white T-Shirts were for attendees and the blue for speakers – I got the wrong one, but to be honest I haven’t got many white T-Shirts so I was not too disappointed!

Then started the range of different speakers throughout the day. With two tracks in a large hall and smaller lecture theatre there was plenty to choose from. I started out in the lecture theatre.

Dependancy Management with Composer and WordPress – Tom J Nowell

Tom gave an interesting talk about code dependancies. The overview being that many of the frameworks used in WordPress development end up loading a lot of code that is never actually used – something I have agreed with for a while.

Tom suggested using a code dependancy tool named composer. This is something which I would like to look into in the future and it sounds promising, if not a little complicated.

APIness – Robert O’Rourke

The second talk, again on the developer track in the lecture theatre was all about utilising WordPress’ APIs. Recently I have worked on a number of sites where this has needed to be done and therefore I was interested to see what tips and ticks Robert had to share.

The talk concentrated on the WordPress HTTP API which I was pleased about as I have used this and wanted to check that I was using it in the right way. I am happy to say that I am.

Robert did give a great tip in that if you are using the wp_oembed_get() function in WordPress you need to cache the results as WordPress does not do this for you like it does with oEmbed items in the post content. I will be implementing this fix to one of the sites I was using this on soon.

The Challenges of Running a Multi-Author Blog – Samantha Deakin

Samantha introduced some top tips that she had learned about getting authors on her award winning blog to contribute including having it in their contract that they must contribute to the site at least once a week.

Samantha also outlined some of the useful plugins she had used on the blog over the years, which are outlined in the slides (link below).

View the Slides

Wow Plugins, Awesome Plugins for Your Site – Kimb Jones

Kimb delivered his customary informal talk on the latest and greatest plugins out there at the moment.  Apart from some live demos going wrong, the talk did outline some new plugins that I had not heard of that could be useful.

A Simpler WordPress Admin For Clients – Me!

Next was time for my talk on the developer track. This was my first conference talk and I was a little nervous. I was surprised at how many delegates attended as I was along side Graham Armfield’s talk on WordPress accessibility, a topic which is growing in necessity by the month.

My talk went well and I had some interesting questions at the end – thanks to all those who listened!

Rules for a Teenage WordPress Community

As a teacher I was interested to hear Michelle Dillon’s talk on her experience of creating Rockhaq. It was refreshing to hear that some of the things Michelle learnt when creating the site, were the same barriers and experiences that I have had in the past creating online sites for teenagers in schools.

Hitchhikers Guide to Custom Post Types

Jenny Wong gave the final talk of the day before the Keynote all about Custom Post Types in WordPress, which are the basis of what makes WordPress such a good CMS to use. Jenny talked through what Custom Post Types are, how to add them and use them alongside custom taxonomies.

The final Keynote sessions was a Q&A with the WordPress co-founder Mike Little. Unfortunately I only caught the first 10 minutes of this as I had to leave to head back across the Penninies for home.

WordCamp Sheffield was an excellent event at an excellent venue. It was my first WordCamp where I was a speaker, something that I definitely want to do again soon. But most of all, as always with WordCamp, what makes they so special is the fantastic people that attend. It was great to catch up with everyone again and nice to see some new faces too. See you all in Manchester at the end of June!

Speaking at WordCamp Sheffield

Yesterday I was confirmed as a speaker at WordPress Sheffield taking place on the 26th April 2014. My talk is titled A Simpler WordPress Admin for Clients and I will aim to talk through how the admin can be made simpler and more effective to prevent clients becoming confused.


This is my first speaking appearance talking about WordPress and I must say I am slightly nervous, although I hoping my teaching background will help. Lots of planning and slides to produce now for my talk!