I have joined the WordPress Contributor Team at Bluehost

I’ve Joined Bluehost

I am very excited to share that I’m starting a new role with Bluehost! I’m truly excited to join the small team of sponsored WordPress experts to actively contribute to the open-source project. My responsibilities entail working on internal initiatives helping customers succeed in their efforts and contributing to WordPress core. I’ll still be part of a distributed team and work remotely and even continue to travel.

It is an interesting shift to move into a “product” mindset from an “agency” one. Coming from the familiar agency space where I focused my time on high-profile projects for high-paying clients. Where in the product space, I’ll build fewer things but for a larger application. Plus I’ll put more effort into WordPress itself (which benefits the whole internet). I’m looking forward to the shift to less busy but higher impact.

I have been excited by the idea of contributing to WordPress ever since the first few patches I nervously submitted core. Thus, improving over 40% of sites on the internet! Then I set a personal goal to consistently contribute better to the WordPress project. It is always hard to find the time in a busy agency, but I’m stoked that it will be built into my new role!

Moving On

Leaving 10up wasn’t an easy decision. I had a wonderful time at 10up working on a fully distributed team. It was a cool upgrade to working with a really smart team full of WordPress expertise. Before, I’d always been the defacto WordPress guy at smaller agencies. 10up was even accommodating to my international house-sitting travel plans and things went well as took my family on tour (even when jumping timezones regularly)!

I really enjoyed the teams I worked on and the projects were pushing technical boundaries and solving interesting problems. I enjoyed working on websites for household names like Campell’s Soup, Facebook, Velcro, and even Google. I was even able to contribute in a few small ways to WordPress core and some rather large open-source plugins along the way. Part of me of course is sad to say goodbye and I will miss the daily interactions with friends I at 10up, but I expect to cross paths with many in my travels and eventually at WordCamps and other community events.

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 ^


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.

Speaker at WordCamp Raleigh – WP REST API

I’m pleased to be a Speaker at WordCamp Raleigh as well this year. It will be all about the WordPress REST API! WordCamp has been a quick turnaround in Raleigh, it’s already coming up this weekend, September 24-25th, and my speaking time is Saturday afternoon at 4pm. I’ll discuss the forthcoming API, which is partly integrated into WordPress core, but in order to use still requires we install the feature plugin. I’ll recap the history so we know where the API came from, talk about what it means to the WordPress ecosystem, and the web as a whole, that every site will have an API built-in. We’ll talk about routes and endpoints and authentication as well as look at some brave examples that are using this beta feature in production! Get your tickets (there are still about a dozen available) and come out out to Raleigh, North Carolina for WordCamp 2016.wordcamp-raleigh-hero-2016

WordCamp Presentation

WP API, what is it good for? Absolutely Everything!

See the Power of the WP API. Now that every WordPress website has (or will have) an API built-in, what can you do with it? It allows us to further separate the data from the code. Use WordPress to manage our data and then via the API easily access or update that data to power whatever we like. We’ll touch how to set it up and a handful of examples and then explore an iOS app pulling all it’s data and assets from a WordPress site via this API.


This will be geared for developers with some “how to” but also for everyone interested in the power of WordPress and where things are heading.

  • Learn how to spell WP-API
  • Learn about the power and flexibility it brings to WordPress
  • See it working in a live app

I’ll update this post with slides and links and notes and maybe one day even a video of the presentation as WordCamp Raleigh. I’m excited to meet the Raleigh WordCamp enthusiasts and share what I can with them as well as the WordPress community as a whole. It’s been quite a busy year as far as speaking and especially this fall, as in 2 weeks I’ll be down in Orlando for another WordCamp.

Speaker at WordCamp Orlando – Intro to WordPress Development

I’ll be a WordCamp Speaker in Orlando this year. WordCamp Orlando is October 8th and my speaking time is Saturday afternoon. My presentation topic will be a crash course intro to development for beginners. I’ve given some presentations similar to this at work and have even had pieces of this presentation in parts of other talks I have given, but it will be nice to just focus the whole time on the intro for attendees that feel dev presentations get too deep too quickly.orlando-wordcamp-hero

So You Wanna Dev? Join the Team!

“WP Dev/tools for beginners: ftp, git, svn, php, html, css, sass, js, jquery, IDEs, themes, child themes, the loop, hooks, APIs, CLI, agile, bootstrap, SEO, slack… etc.
We’ll discuss the language and various acronyms and buzzwords used by devs in this crash course introduction to the developer’s world. Overview of primary development processes and terms and what software is 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.”

I’ve been a WordCamp Speaker in the past, but it’s been specific to Atlanta. Orlando will be fun and I’m excited about the KidsCamp sessions they have going too!

WordCamp parents can now usher in the next generation of WordPress builders at our first annual KidsCamp! Parents attending WordCamp can bring their junior builders along and enjoy a day of parent-child learning under the tutelage of some of our WordPress Master Builders!

WordCamp Orlando 2016 will be at the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management in south Orlando! So get your tickets and bring the kids. I may or may not be stopping in to Harry Potter World while I’m in town. =)

WordPress Slider Plugin that's Responsive

It seems that every site lately has some sort of slider in it. I'm interested in this plugin that will get the redundant work and even be responsive from the guy(s) at DevPress. I hope to be trying this out on my next project.

Embedded Link

Plugin Release: Responsive Slider | Professional WordPress Themes | DevPress
There is a new DevPress product, and this time it's not a theme. It's a plugin! We just released Responsive Slider. Responsive Slider plugin. Many of you have asked for a theme with slider, an…

Design Patters are everywhere

Design patters are more abstract that code snippets. Think about the information the pattern is displaying and the problems it aims to solve before you think about what it should look like.

Embedded Link

Understanding design patterns in your everyday work – (Ryan Singer)
The concept of design ”patterns” is widely misunderstood. I want to give you a solid understanding of what patterns really are and how they reflect what designers already do every day. What is the mis…

My kids are gonna love this

They're always telling me the web needs more monster trucks!

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Monster desert trucking
Another amazing piece of work from OutsideOfSociety. Honestly, I think sometimes we should just automatically draw in new pages on his site and apply some gushing comments. It’d save us all a lot of effort. This time, he’s made a simple monster truck game in WebGL where you drive around the sand dunes picking up stars. It’s incredibly playable and fun, with gorgeous details like sand particles and lens flare. It’s built with three.js and seems to include some physics code from Bartek Drozdz (…

Link: Why I Go Home: A Developer Dad’s Manifesto | A Work in Progress

Reminds me of a Harold B. Lee quote, “The most important of the Lord’s work that you will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home”

Link: Why I Go Home: A Developer Dad’s Manifesto | A Work in Progress – (http://adamschepis.com/blog/2011/09/15/why-i-go-home-a-dads-manifesto/#) from (author unknown) at adamschepis.com

Hiatus Apologies

I’ve neglected this site lately, 6 months to be exact. Combine busy times, new jobs, summer trips skipping the country and websites are sometimes the first to be neglected.

oh canada

But, I’m planning on being back. I want to shift towards sharing more links and quick tips, partly because reading the internet had become more of a 140 characters ADHD process. I’ll be writing less tutorials in the sense that I’ve been writing, but I’m planning on having much more content, just less demanding on my time. I don’t have time to write a book and no one wants to read it anyways (myself included). We just want to see cool new things and tips and quick solutions to issues. So, I’m going to be sharing a lot more links pointing to cool things and tricks. I’ve shifted from flash animation it seems to more jQuery and CMS programming and less flash. But I don’t mind too much, although I still enjoy flash immensely, many of the same things we once had to rely on plugins to achieve, we can now do with javascript. It’s really the same end result just using different technologies. So expect some snippets and quick examples rather than complete walkthroughs. I’ll focus on all things interactive (as usual) but will include a broader range of things.

On another note, I’ve started a new job (again). I’m now at The Jones Group, downtown Atlanta. The advertising industry wasn’t for me, and I’m happy to be Interactive Director at the Jones Group working on making some really cool & interactive websites! You can bet, I’ll be sharing details of them as they launch (I’ve actually got a backlog waiting already).