WordUp Edinburgh 2011

photo credit @dmwmartin

Yesterday was the first ever WordUp Edinburgh meeting, bringing together WordPress bloggers, designers and developers from across Scotland (and a few from northern England too). The event was really well organised by Taryn Wallis and Martin Young, who ensured a wide range of speakers and topics.

What did we talk about?

There were a wide range of talks and discussions. All the session materials and related tweets are now on the Content page (well done to @wpscotland for doing this on the day after the meeting!)

Jim Convey started off the day by telling us how he had used WordPress to learn CSS. He used the Artisteer tool to experiment, but also as a way of rapidly developing a good looking site with minimal effort.

Andy Gilpin and Martin Young spoke about the challenges and opportunities of WordPress in the Enterprise. They threw out challenges to the WordPress community about how to better support enterprise deployments:

  • separate security from functional patches
  • trusted repositories for themes and plugins – quality assurance and checking – community resource?
  • support for legacy releases to slow down release cycle (e.g. Ubuntu model)

Taryn Wallis is a member of the WordPress Theme Review Team, and gave us an overview of how the disciplines and principles set out by that team can help in developing custom themes.  In particular, the Twenty Eleven default theme is a great exemplar to learn from.

photo credit @dmwmartin

One thing that really impressed me was the level of discussion from the whole audience, and this livened up the day. The panel discussion on WordPress in the Voluntary Sector (with Alex Stuart, Mike Little and me) lasted 90 minutes and covered a really wide range of topics. The key point for me was wondering how we as a WordPress Scotland community could offer more services (commercial and volunteering) to voluntary organisations, that could really make a difference. (Funny, no-one mentioned the Big Society!)

We also ran a How did you did that? session, similar to the one I tried at WordCamp Portsmouth UK in July. Advance warning gave the opportunity for a few people to prepare, and I particularly enjoyed the presentation by Heather Burns on incorporating high volume mapping.

Donncha Mac Gloin‘s prediction is that the number of websites will increase (more single-issue or ephemeral sites) and that, rather than managing a few sites, we might end up managing hundreds of sites in one place. Donncha gave some advice on how to prepare and build to that scale.

We’ve all heard of Responsive Design but some of us would find it hard to articulate what it means or how to build a responsive site. Ian MacKay gave an in-depth presentation on both responsive and adaptive design, explaining how this would work with WordPress. In my opinion, this was the best talk of the day.

And, last but not least, Kimb Jones provided an overview of the history and current state of the WordPress theme marketplace, which has dramatically evolved over the past couple of years.

And the buzz?

The whole day again goes to show what we’ve found at WordCamps: WordPress people are friendly, open to learning and open to sharing their experience. People ranged from one of the WordPress founders to people who use WordPress as a personal hobby, and the organisers catered for everyone. One gap – it would be good to hear more from people who are using WordPress for personal rather than commercial reasons. I’ve already thought of a few content ideas for the next one.

A suitable venue?

The venue at Surgeons’ Hall in Edinburgh was excellent. We had a room in the relatively modern conference centre (next to a glass-fronted room where they carry on teaching autopsies, apparently). The projection facilities were good, as was the wifi. This is definitely a suitable venue for a future WordCamp UK.

And finally…

Many thanks again to Martin and Taryn for their organisation of the meeting, and to all the sponsors for making it possible. Let’s do it again. Soon.

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  1. [...] can’t add much to the many good reports about the conference already written but thought I would note some of the many plugins that were [...]