WordCamp Philly 2012 Recap

WordCamp Philly 2012 was a great weekend filled with meeting new people and learning new things. This was my second year speaking at WordCamp, and I’m happy to report, it went a lot better than last year. But before we get into that, lets start from the beginning.


Friday I had a full day of work at O3. After that, however, was a WordCamp speaker and sponsor meetup before the big day. The first leg of the meetup was to take a walking ghost tour of Old City, Philadelphia. The tour guide took us around to several historic houses and paranormal hot spots and explained the local lore. After the tour, we regrouped at Triumph for a beer and some chit chat. Although I would have loved to stay longer, I needed to catch my train home and practice my presentation one last time.

Satuday: Presentation Day

photo by Pamela

Saturday started off rocky with SEPTA’s schedule being messed up due to construction, but Shannon and I made it to Temple with plenty of time to spare. My presentation was the first slot this year, which is a great improvement from going last the year prior. I began my presentation and I started talking loudly to bring the crowd’s chatter down. The more I spoke, the more comfortable I became with what I was saying. I realized that I knew my material really well, and that going off script wasn’t so hard. Even answering some questions mid speech was no problem, and I rolled through my presentation and felt great. Hopefully it will be up on WordPress.tv soon.

Other Presentations

The other presentations of the day were really interesting and everyone did a great job. Below is a quick summary of three that stood out the most in the developer track.

Using Vagrant within WordPress

by: Lew Goettner

Automating tasks in the sys ad world. Using tools to create automated VMs that mimic production environments. Creating these VMs can be distributed and used by many developers.

  • Vagrant uses Oracle’s Virtual Box to build configurable, lightweight, and portable virtual machines everywhere
  • VeeWee
  • Chef, puppet labs + vagrant + cf engine

Surviving the Offline Approaches

by: John Kleinschmidt

Using HTML5, JS, WordPress backend, and Chromebooks to create a system of distribution for medical research and development. Application cache renders web pages offline.

  • ext.js, js framework
  • Application Cache
  • HTML attribute manifest, manifest.appcache
  • Using PHP to append the version number of each file; This insures that cache is flushed and new files are served
  • Jake Archibald from Lanyard, Application Cache is a Douchebag
  • IndexedDB is a NoSQL DB.
  • FileSystems API stores images
  • WordPress acts as the application
  • There are calls within the WordPress PHP code to decode the payload and add to the central DB

The Legend of the Headless Browser

by: Aaron Jorbin

My favorite presentation was without a doubt, “Surviving the Offline Apocalypse.” The sheer breadth of John’s problem solving from hardware to software was not only inspiring, but extremely impressive. The application uses low-cost Chromebooks across the world that sync to a centralized database (using WordPress), which stores information regarding medical research in third world countries.

John leveraged HTML5 APIs to make sure this applications still works, even when offline. Being that Internet service would not be reliable, he set up the system to push data asynchronously, when a connection is available. I recall at one point, when asked about potential conflicts in syncing data, he already had an answer and detailed the version control system he put in place. It was a great presentation, a great cause, and a great example of using WordPress as an application.

The rest of the day I spent talking shop with some new people. I also got some tips about Advanced Custom Fields and Must Use Plugins that I hadn’t checked out before. Saturday couldn’t have gone better, and I’m really grateful that the organizers chose my presentation. Thanks Doug, Brad, and April!


photo by Reed

Finally, Sunday was the last day of WordCamp. Everyone met at Quorum at the Univeristy of the Sciences. Once inside, I got some tips for my Site Skeleton from George Stephanis, which he had mentioned to me on Saturday, that I integrated into the repo. After that, George helped me get WordPress trunk set up and had me sort out some inconsistencies between the blue and fresh themes in the WordPress admin. After that, I worked with Mel Choyce to create a ticket in trac and submit a patch.

photo by Reed

We also had a special guest appearance from Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress. He spoke and answered some questions, and hung out with every one. He is such a great community leader and very approachable in that regard.


So, as I was leaving, I decided to take the stairs down to the lobby instead of waiting for the elevator. After entering the stairwell, I soon realized I wasn’t going to make it to the bar to have a drink with everyone. See the videos below. (Sorry I didn’t turn my iPhone for optimal video capture…).

So, that was WordCamp Philly 2012. I had an amazing time, learned a lot, and met a lot of new people.

posted in: Front End Development, Personal, WordPress
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1 Comment
  1. Joe Casabona

    That same thing happened to me at the start of Dev Day, but I wasn’t ready to see if the alarm would actually sound! I tweeted I was stuck in the stairwell and some people let me in!