Wrapup of WordCamp San Francisco 2011
Three weeks ago I moved to “The Bay Area” (Palo Alto, California) from “The Bay Area” (Tampa, Florida). Palo Alto is ground zero of another slang geographic term: silicon valley. It’s no joke, it’s super tech-y out here. Lots of tech events, lots of tech companies, lots of tech people working at tech companies going to tech events. Sweet.
This weekend I attended my first major local tech event: WordCamp San Francisco. I probably wouldn’t have been able to attend the event if not for my newfound proximity to San Francisco. Sweet. Now that I live here, I would have probably gone to this event anyway, but wild horses couldn’t keep me from it since Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, asked me to come speak there himself.
This was my very first WordCamp ever, which is a little embarrassing really since I’ve been blogging about WordPress, creating screencasts about WordPress, creating online training courses for WordPress, and writing a book about WordPress. I’ve also been asked to speak at WordCamp’s before, but the cards have have never lined up. I’m glad they did this time.
Highlights for me
- I got to go to the Automattic lounge in San Francisco. There was a little pre-party thing there Thursday night. It was a little awkward since I didn’t know anybody but everyone else seemed to know each other. But it was neat just to go to that space.
- I got to see Greg Veen talk, who I’ve never seen before, talk about a service I love: Typekit. I even got to meet Greg briefly and got a little preview of his talk. I actually really needed to talk to someone from Typekit as there is an issue we are having with our Wufoo/Typekit integration and now I’ve met Greg who does partner development work for Typekit, I feel like there is a better chance of getting that resolved.
- I heard Mark Jaquith talk about some pretty heavy coding stuff and a lot about optimization/caching. A lot of it was over my head, but I retained it. I feel like I’m more prepared to deal with native WordPress caching now next time I need it.
- I heard Shannon Smith talk about multi-lingual WordPress sites, which was relevant to me as I recently worked on a Japanese version of the SurveyMonkey blog, which could have probably benefited from me being involved in the project a bit earlier and with this new knowledge.
- I heard Ian Stewart talk about post formats, and now I finally really truly understand their purpose and the difference between them and custom post types. I like WordPress’ decision to limit them to a short list of commonly needed ones, rather than have it completely open like custom post types are.
- I heard Chelsea Otakan talk about version control. And she wasn’t the only one, lots of speakers were beating the version control drum, which I think is great. While I “cowboy code” a little too often, finally the vast majority of work I do is all version controlled.
- I heard Estelle Weyl wow the audience over and over with some pretty dang impressive CSS3 demos. While I know quite a bit about CSS, Estelle always seems to pack in one little tiny tidbit I didn’t know or have never thought of doing. This time it was animating a really fancy background gradient.
- I heard Sara Cannon talk about responsive design (a hot topic at WordCamp, e.g. 3.3 is supposed to have a responsive admin) and she gave lots of nice examples that I had never seen before.
- I saw Jeff Veen, another guy I’ve always wanted to see speak, present a general academic style lecture on the web which was amazing. Beautiful slides, very strong stage presence, important messages. I also got to bug Jeff about the Wufoo/Typekit thing, ha!
- I saw Matt Mullenweg give “The State of the Word” address which covered the past, present, and future of WordPress. It was really quite a great presentation. The slides were perhaps the nicest designed slides I’ve ever seen. It was almost hard to pay attention to Matt because the slides wanted all of my attention. The overall message: WordPress is huge, getting huger. The team is kicking ass. Great things are to come. They really care about experience and performance at every step of the way.
- I met a bunch of folks that I’ve known online (or at least their work) and got to hang out a bunch: Nick Roach, Chris Wallace, Ptah Dunbar, Andrew Nacin, Jane Wells, Krista Stevenson, and more I can’t even remember I’m sure.
- I met a bunch of other folks for the first time and had lots of nice engaging conversations.
I gave a talk as well! I gave my pseudo elements talk, which I’ve given a number of times now which I’ll have to retire here pretty soon. I have really enjoyed giving it as it touches on a lot of things I care about: doing cool stuff with CSS, writing better markup, and being progressive but providing good experience to all browsers.
Taking a page out of Lea Verou’s book I’m going to post some tweets of folks who attended my talk:
I was in your session yesterday. Brilliant, energizing, inspiring… did I say already brilliant? Welcome to the bay! @secretsushi
Best talk ever about CSS pseudo elements @davebonds
Most entertaining and enlightening talk at #wcsf so far has been @chriscoyier’s on CSS3 psuedo-elements #hilarious
Holy crap @chriscoyier is showing CSS Magic right now! @dholowiski
Best presentation at #wcsf by far by @chriscoyier @jwhitney64
Loving @chriscoyier’s talk re: CSS pseudo elements @ #wcsf. Content is helpful, but his engaging presentation style is what makes it fun. :) @the_simplist
It takes a great speaker to do a whole preso on the :before and :after pseudo-elements. Totally enjoying Chris Coyier. @GregF
Listening to Chris Coyier on Pseudo Elements – great (and funny) presenter! @vimcat
The CSS Pseudo Elements presentation by @chriscoyier here at #wcsf is very entertaining and educational. His slides are hilarious. #epic @rachelbaker
Who’s crushing their CSS session at #wcsf? This guy -> @chriscoyier @adriarichards
I want him to sign my book and my chest, most entertaining speaker this weekend! @mcpace
As per usual @chriscoyier is killing it on stage @RichStaats
@chriscoyier just left me tweetless. @tweetsbycrystal