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The Year of the WordPress Accessibility Team – WerdsWords

This year has seen a lot of positive change in the WordPress contributor community, especially in the area of accessibility.

Take for instance, the appearance this year of two new faces on the credits screen as of WordPress 4.3:

Source: The Year of the WordPress Accessibility Team – WerdsWords

Drew is completely on target here. The WordPress Accessibility team has been rocking it lately. It wasn’t long ago that the question of if the Accessibility team should exist was floating around. They were the only team without a product, but instead focused on things across many teams. Since then, the team has stepped up big time and really is making WordPress better for everyone.  While Drew highlights the work they do for core in his post, they also have:

  • Created the Accessibility Ready guidlines and tag for themes
  • Helped to improve the accessibility of wordpress.org
  • Helped WordCamps have more accessible sites
  • much much more

Kudos to the WordPressAccessibility Team.  WordPress, and thus the web, is better because of the work they do.

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Apply for the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship to attend WordCamp US 2015

I’d like to ask everyone reading this to take a moment to remember Kim, and to remember that it’s up to all of us to make people with different backgrounds feel welcome and included at events like these. Let’s do her proud. Apply for the Kim Parsell Memorial Travel Scholarship

Source: Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship | WordCamp US 2015

 

Kim Parsell was a friend of mine even though we only met in person twice. Seeing her at WordCamp San Francisco last year, she was happier than nearly anyone I’ve ever met. Especially after Matt highlighted the work she had done for WordPress over the last year. At the contributor work days, she made a little office for herself on a couch and held court, bringing contributor after contributor over to discuss documentation, though I think the two of us spent almost as much time chatting about photography and how much she was enjoying WCSF.

This way of remembering Kim is one that I know she will be proud of and one I hope continues. Kim knew that WordPress benefits from having a diverse group of contributors, and that diversity comes in many ways. Let’s keep Kim’s spirit alive. If you are a woman who never attended WCSF, is an active WordPress contributor and needs help in order to attend WordCamp US, please apply for this scholarship.  WordPress needs your voice.

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Following up on WordPress in a Next Generation PHP World

In April, just as WordPress 4.3 was beginning development, I started a conversation about WordPress, PHP7, and HHVM. Now that WordPress 4.3 has been released, I’m glad to say WordPress is looking great as far as PHP7 goes.

I’m planning on spending some time during the 4.3 development cycle focused on these next generation platforms.

The PHP core team did a solid job of not introducing many breaking changes with this release, which really helped to make the transition easier. The two major changes that WordPress needed to make in order to have passing unit tests on PHP7 were to deprecate PHP4 style constructors and updating some variable variables.

The final commit of WordPress 4.3 has PHP7 tests passing and running faster then any of the other PHP versions.

In 4.4, I intend to continue to focus on PHP7.  The release schedule targets Mid October 2015. I hope to move PHP7 out of the Allowed Failures bucket on Travis-CI the day it is released.

Next up is getting the unit tests passing on HHVM. Onward!

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The WordCamp Video You Need to Watch

Cory Miller is one of the nicest, strongest people I know and this talk of his about mental health is incredibly important. His utter honesty about his own demons and challenges is inspiring me to take some steps in my own life.

Watch this video today. You might cry (I did), but it’s worth it.

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WordCamp Europe 2015 pictures

WordCamp Europe 2015 was an exceptionally well run conference[1].  The content of the talks was so good that I mostly kept my camera in my bag, but managed to capture a couple of pictures during the event.

All photos are licensed CC BY-SA-NC 2.0. If you are the subject of a photo and want a difference license, just let me know.

1) Siobham McKeown, the lead organizer is accepting booking to organizer events. If you want a professional organizer, get in touch with her.

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It’s time to Escape the WordPress Bubble

WordPress has a bad rap in outside circles.  While other communities are seeing WordPress as more than blog software, many still think that since WordPress supports PHP 5.2, it doesn’t also support PHP 5.6 or HHVM.  They don’t know about the all the interesting problems that WordPress solves so that users and developers can get there jobs done easier.  And this is the WordPress communities fault.

We as a community spend to much time living inside our bubble.  This is slowly changing.  People like Helen Hou-Sandí are speaking at cssconf, Jenny Wong at PHPUK, Zack Tollman at PHP[world], and Joe Dolson at CSUN (amongst many others) are getting the word out about WordPress, but we can do better, and we must do better, and we will do better.

To help WordPress developers escape the bubble, I’m creating a mailing list where we can share CFP announcements, review each others abstracts, and support each others desires to break out of the WordPress bubble. The aim is a high signal list (membership will be moderated) where knowledgeable WordPress developers can work together to improve our image.  Let’s break down this bubble.

EDIT: Jenny Wong is going to be giving a talk at WordCamp Europe on this, including some great tools to help you break out of the bubble. If you won’t be at WCEU, you can check out the livestream.

 
Join the Mailing List

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The Benefits of a Good Conference Introduction

Many technical conferences have no speaker introductions or very poor introductions.  “Next up is, um *look at phone* Aaron who will be talking about, um *look at screen* The Next Big Thing”.  While this does serve the benefit of helping people make sure they are in the room they intend to be in, it doesn’t do anything to help the crowd get ready for the talk or help the speaker get ready to deliver a talk.  A good introduction on the other hand gives the speaker ethos.

Ethos is one of three components of persuasion that Aristotle identified in his treatise Rhetoric. Ethos serves as the ethical appeal.  It’s the standing a speaker has.  A good introduction explains not who a speaker is, but why they have the privilege of standing up there and presenting. When you introduce a speaker, you give them credibility. This allows them to immediately focus on logos and to a lesser degree pathos. These are Aristotle’s categories for logical and emotional appeals.

At WordCamp NYC 2014, I introduced Boone Gorges, the keynote speaker.  Let’s breakdown my introduction:

At WordCamp NYC 2010, John James Jacoby introduced our next speaker as a core committer to BuddyPress. Today, I get to introduce him as the lead developer of BuddyPress and our keynote speaker.

I am establishing him as someone with a history at the event and as someone with a prominent place in the community.

During the intervening four years, he has become a full time freelance developer, released dozens of free plugins to the WordPress community and has spent thousands of unpaid hours doing development work contributing to open source software projects.

Boone’s talk was going to focus on contributions to WordPress and the role that freelance developers have in the creation of WordPress. By mentioning his work as a full time freelancer and his contributions to the WordPress project, he can be seen right away as someone who knows about the topic. He has lived it.

He has accomplished all of this while also finishing 46th in 2014 National Crossword Tournament.

I knew that one thing Boone would mention was that he had been in the room this address was before, so I helped him establish this by mentioning his excellent placement in the National Crossword Tournament.

He secretly wishes that he has a masters degree in philosophy. He also grew up in Wisconsin, which is known more for its cheese and beer than the semi-pro football team that plays in Green Bay.

Boone isn’t just a developer, he is a person and someone who has studied philosophy. He also likes a bad football team .

Please join me in welcoming our keynote speaker, Boone Gorges.

I create the expectation with the audience that we are beginning.  That I am leaving so they should cheer.

If you are planning a conference, you should spend some time thinking about the introductions.  If you don’t know the speaker well enough, perhaps you can ask them to write a first draft.  If you don’t know why the speaker is going to be getting up there, perhaps you should ask yourself why they are speaking at your event.

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My First WordPress Meetup

I was so scared the first time I attended a WordPress meetup. After working on a project for nearly a month, I was stuck and had no idea where to turn. Many of us have been there, especially when we are starting out. I needed help if I wanted to go farther. My friend Cory Miller has quoted an african proverb about this: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  I had gone fast, but I needed some help to go farther.

Before my first meetup I was an idler in the #wordpress IRC channel and didn’t feel like I belonged. I’d like to say that attending that day changed everything, but to be honest, nothing changed for a while. I went because I was stuck and I had a question.  At the end, during open Q&A, I asked a question that likely wasn’t very clear as it didn’t elicit many responses, but was told that I should post on the wp-hackers mailing list with it. I went home and did just that.

Attending that first meetup made it easier to attend the next month and the month after that.  Soon, attending the meetups become normal for me and I looked forward to seeing Devin, Michael, Kathleen, and the rest of the regulars.  I had found my way into a community.

Looking back on my journey with WordPress, I can’t help but be thankful that on that April day I decided to go far.

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I’m speaking at WordCamp Europe 2015

Along with Tenko Nikolov, Silvan Hagen, Wouter Groenewold , Juliette Reinders Folmer, Eric Mann , Daniel Pataki , Bryce Adams who all were announced today as speakers at WordCamp Europe 2015

We have another group of speakers to introduce you to today. They come from across the WordPress community and around the world. We hope you’re as excited as we are about seeing them in Seville in just a few months!

Source: Welcome to another group of WordCamp Europe speakers | WordCamp Europe 2015

I’m excited to be heading to Seville this June to present at WordCamp Europe.  This is going to be my first time presenting to the European WordPress community.  I’m hoping to meet a number of people I’ve never met and also to hear about all the exciting things other people are working on.

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WordPress 4.2 Field Notes 

WordPress 4.2 includes both new and improved features. It also includes changes under the hood.  While I’m sure you’ve been testing your themes, plugins, and sites in preparation for the release, you may have missed the announcements of all the changes. Here is a quick rundown of developer related things you should know:

Source: WordPress › WordPress 4.2 Field Notes « Make WordPress Core

For the second release in a row, I put together some Field Notes to help developers for the Make WordPress Core blog.  The most fun thing I found is that in 4.2 231 bugs reported vs previous versions of WordPress were fixed. This is up from 174 in 4.1.  Every release WordPress improves.