WordPress Core Contributor and my WordPress Story

As I updated a WordPress site today (the new 5.0 version just shipped) I was proud to see my name in the list of core contributors! I’m listed as a core contributor in versions 4.9 as well as 5.0! I didn’t get around to sharing the news last year, but seeing my name in the credits as I upgraded today I realized I should share my WordPress story.

My name in lights ^

My WordPress Story

I share because as an aspiring developer over a decade ago, I fell into WordPress quite accidentally. I was studying in art school at the University of Georgia and creating my own interdiscipline degree with art, technology and animation. I happened to sign up for a Web design for Artists course to create a portfolio site because I was friends with the teacher. We learned flash and stepped into WordPress for blogging. I learned some coding from flash as well as the basics of HTML and CSS to customize the look of my kubric2 blog. The more I learned about coding online, the more I just ate it up!

I loved the immediacy of it all, in contrast to the long time required in my animation classes. For animation you must develop the story, the characters, do the modeling, and rigging and textures and lighting and keyframes etc etc etc, and then you have to let the computer render the animation to see the final. One of my final animation projects for a full semester project was literally half a minute long and it was a rendered movie file that I couldn’t even email because it was so large! It was a motion capture video and was still rather jumpy, but was pretty exciting stuff at the time.

In contrast, in my website class, my final project was viewable anywhere in the world and I could change the look on the fly. I even uploaded my animation so that others could view it online. I was excited for the new world of the internet! It was also interactive! You can do more than just watch it, you actually engage with it and touch (click) it and explore it. Though it can have some movement like animation, it’s a more simple type of movement.

Under pressure to support my pregnant wife, I found a job as a web designer and learned more about javascript and php on the clock. I’m happy that years later, I’m still using WordPress to build sites and grow my skills. WordPress has helped me make sense of web development and grow my career to support a growing family. I’m still extremely grateful and even fascinated by the open source community surrounding the software. I’m humbled to be included in the names of contributors. If I can do it, so can you. Keep working at it and chase your dreams.

My (small) Contributions

Last year, for 4.9, I was able to fix a bug I found in the media library where clicking on the edge of an image failed to select it. It was minor, but I found it annoying, so I created a ticket and after tinkering a while on it figured out how to submit a patch. I discussed the patch with some others and at WordCamp spoke with a committer who pushed it through!

I got involved with the early development with Gutenberg (the new block editor) on github. I figured out how to submit the pull request via github and participated in the wordpress slack discussions. That was a long time ago, but finally with the release of 5.0 Gutenberg is now included. That is until I got too busy to continue and then when I was about to pick it back up, I changed jobs. I know they have been small contributions, but I’m proud nonetheless. I have a goal to continue my contributions and perhaps even up the amount of code I’m able to share.  I feel like I’ve come a long way since those early years, as well as WordPress has come a long way.

My github handle in lights ^

WordCamp Atlanta 2018 – I’m Speaking on Processes for Development Teams

I’m happy to be contributing to the WordPress community as a speaker at WordCamp Atlanta 2018.

I submitted a few topics and have been selected to speak about development process for teams. Here’s the short description:

Overview of some processes used at an agency level. Version control, code standards, database migrations, environment aware config files and automated deployments. From local development setup to multiple environments, version control to automated deployments, content migration to modular mentalities. With some how-to talk and some how-not-to talk, we’ll discuss some ways to “soup up” our process to work for us when it comes to web development and WordPress.

Let me know if there are any topics you’d like to hear me cover and I’ll do my best to work it in.

I’ve also been asked to help out during the developer workshop day. Details are still to be ironed out, but it will be an introduction for newer developers and help them get up to speed on development best practices. It will also be a specific look at the development updates on WordPress 5.0, more specifically the Gutenberg editor.

After contributing to the presentations at the Atlanta meetup about Gutenberg I’m excited to again help out in preparing the community for the new editor experience.

Presenting at WordCamp Atlanta is exciting for me because I’m from Atlanta and it is the first WordCamp I attended back in 2012, it was also my first time speaking! Six years have passed- the industry has changed and I have learned a lot in the past 6 years! I have learned so much about working within WordPress and have led multiple teams in different agencies. I’ve invented and iterated on process and workflows for myself as well as the team. I’m excited for the opportunity to take a step back and detail some of these procedures I’ve found most helpful.

 

10up

Turning the page

I’ve joined 10up as a Front End Developer. 10up is a leader in the WordPress industry as an elite WordPress agency (with clients like Microsoft, Time, ESPN, and Adobe). While speaking at WordPress conferences among a few 10uppers, I heard more and more about the distributed agency and I heard they had an opening. Seeing how a 100% remote position would align with my family’s vision of travel & world schooling, I held my breath and applied. I was ecstatic when I eventually received an offer to join the team!

So, after nearly 4 years at Brown Bag Marketing, it’s bittersweet to be moving on. I learned a lot and grew leading the WordPress team. I built and rebuilt processes and iterated, built products and open sourced plugins, internal products. I taught classes and gave presentations. Overall, I made some really good friends, worked hard and together, we built some really fun projects.

Brown Bag Marketing

The next chapter

I’m very enthusiastic about working for such an elite WordPress agency. I’ve always been The resident WordPress evangelist, I’ve converted agencies to WordPress and convinced others that it was more than just a blogging platform. I’ve built many impressive sites on WordPress and used the fruit of those labors as proof that WordPress was a viable tool for an agency. It will be an exciting change to have as coworkers many that I’ve looked up to over the years as the rockstars of the WordPress community. I know I will learn a lot and grow as a developer on the elite team at 10up.

I’m also ecstatic to be back in a remote position. I live in Atlanta which is rightly known for notorious traffic. I’m eager to save 10+ hours a week and to put that time back into my family and pursuing other interests. I understand that a remote workforce has its own challenges and problems, but I also trust that the folks at 10up have solutions to at least some of those issues and will work to ensure that even though i’m not physically with my team, we can be on the same page and do stellar work. I’m feeling the travel bug lately, and even hope to make the most of this remote life to explore the world with the family! Whether that means RV life or some international stints, we are excited for some family adventures.

Speaking at the Inaugural WordCamp Greenville

I was excited to hear about another WordCamp being held close to my home base in Atlanta. Greenville announced their first WordCamp and I was happy to apply as a speaker with a few presentation ideas. I was excited to hear that I was selected as a speaker. Today it dawned on me that as I’m preparing to head to Clemson tomorrow, that I hadn’t even posted that I would be there. So here’s the announcement that I’m speaking at the Inaugural WordCamp Greenville 2018, tomorrow. 🙂

There’s the official announcement from @WordCampGVL.

I’ll be presenting a quick introduction to all things development. While I have presented this topic a couple times now, I still enjoy it. Each time I have a handful of attendees come to thank me and say they had never seen the big picture so simply before. I remember (and still am sometimes) a beginner with certain technologies and getting a quick overview sweep of the whole landscape is helpful and grounding so I can know how it all fits together. I joke when talking about being a web developer/engineer that I started more on the design side. Heck, I even have a BFA, bachelor’s of fine art degree. So, what you might ask am I doing programming sites. I started more on the design side but have since joined the dark side. I have found a more fun and creative outlet writing code than I did actually visually designing things. I still feel that web development is a creative exercise and enjoy the technical side as well as the process and the creativity required. I enjoy helping others grasp this complicated landscape we call web development because I was there and still get lost sometimes myself. So, this talk is called:


Beware the dark side, or an Intro to Development

Crash course introduction to web development for WordPress covering acronyms, buzzwords and concepts that often leave outsiders mystified. Overview of primary development processes and what software and tools are needed to play the game. We’ll cover what you need to go from zero to developer and hopefully how to have fun on the way. WordPress development tools explained for beginners: ftp, git, svn, php, html, css, sass, js, jquery, IDEs, themes, child themes, the Loop, hooks, APIs, CLI, agile, bootstrap, slack, linting, sniffing … etc.


If you’re in the area, sorry for the late notice, because the Conference is sold out, but I’ll update you with slides once they are complete on my WordPress page and the presentation will be up on wordpress.tv eventually.