WordCamp Boston

I (Karen Callahan of Adventures Online) am registered for WordCamp Boston, running Friday through Sunday,  October 25 – 27, 2013. Daily sessions are not posted yet, but, I always learn so much, I reserved my seat this week.

WordCamp Boston 2013

This is one of the ways that Adventures Online stays on top of the quickly changing Internet environment and in particular, WordPress developments and upcoming features.

Experts are projecting that there will be 1 BILLION websites by the end of 2013 and 2 BILLION by end of 2015. At WordCamp Providence in August, Andrew Nacin shared that WordPress had 18.9% of the market and was positioning itself to stay on pace with the Internet growth.  In early October, W3Techs reported in its post, Usage statistics and market share of WordPress for websites that WordPress had 20.1%.

Adventures Online is staying in ouch and positioning itself to maintain its skills and knowledge in order to provide WordPress development and training to a small percentage of the owners of those 1-2 billion websites. 🙂

WordCamp Providence: Getting SASSy

Brad Parbs presented Getting SASSy: Fun with CSS Preprocessors at WordCamp Providence. Parbs, founder of Snow Day Group, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a contributor to the WordPress core (The core is the base set of programs that get installed at every WordPress blogger’s website.), and loves all things WordPress.

I attended this session because I had heard about SASS at last year’s WordCamp Boston and again at Pubcon, had a vague recollection in the back of my head like, “As a WordPress developer, this is something that I need to do”, and thought that I would re-acquaint myself with it.

Brad Parbs Snow Day Group

Brad Parbs talks about CSS and SASS

So glad that I did! It is time to start using SASS to generate CSS so that I can accomplish more in less time, letting the SASS tool figure out the proper CSS for each different browser, and freeing me to develop more blogs.

CSS is the markup language used to define the style of your blog and website. CSS ‘code’ is typically kept in a file separate from web pages on which the blog entries display, and is then included in the header of the page so the contents will display correctly.

The content of a page, the images and words that will  display on the page, is defined in the page, and the style (size of font, color of font, location of images, image borders, page margins, etc.) is defined in a CSS file. CSS, then, is critical to the design presentation of your website.

Each browser supports different subsets of CSS ‘code’, so blog developers are often having to write different versions of code to accomplish the same thing but in different browsers. It is time consuming and drains creative energy.

Using a tool like SASS, a WordPress developer like myself can quickly define a box shadow around an image, and SASS will figure out which ‘code’ to use so that the box shadow displays correctly in each of the browsers.

One of the fantastic features of SASS is that, within the SASS development environment, you can break the SASS up into multiple files and work with smaller cohesive pieces at a time. Then when the blog is ready to be published, the multiple SASS files are rolled into one – which is the best way to store your CSS online for the quickest page load time (response time to your audience).

Other great features of SASS,

  • SASS works with responsive design
  • There are precompilers that auto-create the SASS environment without a lot of technical interference. Prepos or Scout are two precompilers that Windows users can download to create a SASS environment.

I have downloaded and installed Prepos and will be giving it a test run this weekend. In a couple of weeks,  I’m expecting to have some free time…Call me (508-480-8833) and I’ll use that time to develop your blog!

    WordCamp Providence: Timber

    Jared Novak presented How we Built 17,170,200 Websites in 6 Months at WordCamp Providence. I was sure to attend this session as I would be hard-pressed to create 10 websites in that time span. How did he do it?

    Novak is a partner with Upstatement. Their client, RandomHouse wanted to create a website for each book that was published. The challenge was that they publish about 15,000 books per year; ~41 books per day.

    So, now we know that the 17,170,200 mentioned in the title of the session is the possible number of websites that could have been built, not the actual number of websites that were built, with the solution that Upstatement provided RandomHouse.

    Novak admitted that he likes to, “make things that make things”, so he decided to create a tool that would help RandomHouse roll out a website per book on their own.

    Upstatement used the Twig template engine and created Timber as the interface for hooking WordPress and Twig. Upstatement created different frameworks (content blocks)  – one column, two columns, sidebars/no sidebars that RandomHouse could choose to include/not include in a website in order to make each book’s design unique.

    Timber is available on gitHub.

    WordCamp Providence: JavaScript, Backbone and Underscore

    While at WordCamp Providence over the weekend, I attended a presentation by K. Adam White entitled, Evolving your JavaScript with Backbone.js.

    K. Adam talked about the use of JavaScript in WordPress, and what a great thing jQuery was and how jQuery changed WordPress in a good way. Now jQuery usage has evolved into Backbone and Underscore, and they will change WP in an equally good way.

    I learned lots of technical gobbly-gook which is of no interest to my clients… A couple of take-aways are:

    • Backbone.js v 1.0 is now bundled in the core WordPress starting with WP 3.6
    • 12.5% of code shipped with WP is JavaScript
    • WordPress moving more towards JavaScript-driven product than PHP-driven product
    • Backbone.js is a library of models, collections, views that provide structure to programs
    • Backbone complements jQuery and Underscore JavaScript libraries

    WordCamp Providence: Saturday Keynote +

    Saturday I attended WordCamp Providence, in Providence, RI. It was a full-day schedule, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with an After Party starting at 7 p.m. After a long week of work, I was concerned about my attention span. No need… Each session I attended kept me energized, and looking forward to the next. Either I chose lucky or all the speakers were awesome!

    Frederick Townes Mashable

    Frederick Townes, Saturdays Keynote Speaker

    Frederick Townes (Mashable, W3 Edge, Placester, +) gave the keynote. The take away was:

    “It is all in the design.” Referring to the technical and functional design more than esthetic design.

    Author of the hugely popular WordPress plugin, W3 Total Cache and co-founder of multiple businesses, Townes believes that the longevity, sustainability and success of his plugins and businesses are based on the attention and effort given to their fundamental design. His most recent endeavor is the Placester website for real estate professionals. Placester.com took over three years to develop and recently launched. Trivia: What made him write W3 Total Cache? He saw a need, thought it might be unsolvable, liked the challenge, and gave it a shot….2.5M+ downloads later…

    After the keynote, the sessions began. Four sessions per time slot were offered. Sessions were color-coded by audience type: Beginner Developer, Intermediate Developer, Advanced Developer, and Enterprise/Marketer.

    I attended

    1. Evolving your JavaScript with Backbone.js
    2. How we built 17,170,200 Websites in 6 Months
    3. Getting SASSy: Fun with CSS Preprocessors
    4. Employing Best Security Practices for WordPress Sites
    5. Borrowing from the VIPs
    6. WebGL? Introduction to using interactive 3D Graphics in WordPress
    7. Closing Wrap Up – Anything and Everything WordPress

    I’ll write more about the sessions I attended later this week.