WordCamp Sofia 2013

A few days ago I attended and spoke at WordCamp Sofia 2013 which was a great deal of fun. Sofia is somewhat special for me, because that’s where it all began back in 2012 — that’s where I gave my first ever WordCamp talk, so this year’s event was like a little anniversary.

WordCamp Sofia 2013

My session this year was about Templating in WordPress: locate_template() and its derivatives, the template hierarchy and template-loader.php. I wasn’t too nervous about my talk this time, in fact I didn’t even have any notes, and I think it turned out pretty well (although fairly short):

So “страшен” here supposedly means “awesome” or “amazing”, which is what my Bulgarian friends told me, though maybe they’re just being too nice to me, because Google Translate says that’s “terrible.”

Quite a few sessions were in English this year, which was good for me, though not necessarily good for the Bulgarian community — I felt like most people were shy to ask questions in English. In any case, it was a pleasure to listen to: Ryan Markel, Joe Hoyle, Noel Tock, Marko Heijnen, and Brian Messenlehner.

The after party had some poker chips we could exchange for drinks, which is pretty smart. Beer, wine, whiskey and late-night WordPress chatter.

Contribute Day was new for Sofia this year. It was held at SiteGround’s office with pizza, drinks, ping pong and pool. Not too many people attended, but we did have small groups working on translations, docs and themes, which turned out to be fun, and a little exhausting too:

I stayed at the amazing Sense Hotel this time. They have cool light controllers in rooms, that let you pick one of several modes: TV, reading, relaxing, etc.; keycard activated elevators: you don’t have to pick a floor — they know; and a solid internet connection, which is always a huge win.

Overall, I had a really great time, so huge props to Mario Peshev for the well organized event and looking forward to WordCamp Sofia next year!

WordCamp San Francisco 2013 Recap

This was my second WordCamp San Francisco, and I absolutely loved it. I haven’t attended too much of the sessions, most notably: Mark Jaquith on deploying, code UX by Nikolay Bachiyski, funny theme stories by Ian Stewart, introduction of the O2 theme by Beau Lebens, roles and caps by Andrew Nacin and obviously State of the Word, by Matt Mullenweg, speaking of which, I was named “recent rockstar” for the 3.6 release cycle (along with quite a few other awesome folks), which I’m so proud of.

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WordCamp Austin Was a Blast!

WordCamp Austin 2013

Austin has always been on my list of places to visit, and now that I did I know it was totally worth the long travel. Huge WordPress community, very friendly people and a well organized WordCamp, not to mention that wonderful food experience.

I met and chatted with a lot of new folks – developers, designers, bloggers, business owners and beginners eager to use and learn WordPress. It was so overwhelming, in a good way obviously, and the BBQ – so delicious! The unofficial CigarCamp was the perfect way to end the day.

Dev Day on Sunday was a total blast, that’s where all the super geek talk happened over pizza. That’s where I was able to get a few minutes on stage to talk about contributing to WordPress and encouraged people to chime in.

So huge props to everybody who made it happen: organizers and volunteers, speakers, sponsorsattendees, and a very special thanks to the WP Engine folks for hosting Dev Day.

Hope to make it next year!

Speaking at WordCamp Norway 2013

In 2011 I spoke at zero WordCamps. In 2012 I spoke only at WordCamp Sofia. One of my goals for 2013 is to speak at five different WordCamps, and it all starts as early as January with WordCamp Norway.

WordCamp Norway is January 26th in Oslo, and I’m really excited since I’ve never been anywhere near Norway. Flight tickets ready and hotel booked, the only thing remaining is the presentation. I’ll have a 25 minute slot and will probably be talking about tips and tricks to make you a better WordPress theme developer. If you’re not attending, you’ll most likely be able to catch all the talks on WordPress.tv after the event.

I haven’t made any specific plans about the other four WordCamps, so if you’re organizing one in your area this year, and have a slot for an extra speaker, don’t hesitate to ping me. Make sure you do that at least a month prior to the event, since I’ll have to apply for a visa and all those boring things.

Are you speaking at any events this year?

Update: slides and notes for 7 Tips for Better WordPress Theme Development.

WordPress Community Summit 2012 Photos

I’m not very good with cameras, but here are some photos taken during the WordPress Community Summit, held in Tybee Island, GA earlier this month.

WordPress Community Summit Wrap-up

The summit is over and the feeling is amazing. I’m staying in Tybee for a few more days, to have some fun and make my long travel worth the effort, not that the summit was not worth it :)

WordPress Community Summit

The event took place in the Tybee Wedding Chapel, which is 99% awesome and 1% creepy. Around a hundred people attended the summit, though some couldn’t make it because of Hurricane Sandy, that hit some airport areas and caused flights to be cancelled. In any case, most seemed to have followed the summit online and notes and summaries have been (and are still being) posted to the event site.

It was the first time I’ve been to an unconference event and I really loved it. There were many discussions varying from core enhancements, themes and plugins, updates and i18n, to documentation improvements and women in WordPress. Quite a few action points were written down and hopefully will be followed up in the coming weeks. The ones I’m most excited about contributing to Core and making WordCamp.org more open, and a better place for WordCamp organizers and attendees.

I met a great deal of folks who I only knew by Gravatars and their WordPress.org handles, hand a fun time hanging around with them before, during and after the event, chit chatting about WordPress, travel and life. I’ll be back in Moscow on Friday, hopefully Sandy will be out of the way by then.

There’s a summary of the morning discussions and the afternoon discussions with action points published by Mark Jaquith. Other and more in-depth summaries will be posted on the summit blog in the coming days. There’s also a new “make site” on WordPress.org called meta which will help improve the WordPress.org network itself.