Ah WordCamp San Francisco, the mothership of WordCamps. The two-day event focused around WordPress, was the largest WordCamp San Francisco to date with about 1,000 attendees, and all three rounds of tickets selling out same day. Thank goodness that as a speaker I got to snag my ticket in advance, and that Brian got his in the first round!
The event, organized by Andrea Middleton and her team, was planned beautifully — even with a fire alarm and building evacuation on the first day.
Registration and t-shirt pick up were both fast and easy, the schedule was kept on time and was updated when there were changes — and the food (especially the chili) was great. Thanks for the vegan/vegetarian/dairy-free options and for posting the menus in advance!
As a speaker, I got some extra love and really appreciated the effort put into speaker outreach.
- As my speaker liaison, Brian Richards reached out on Friday mid-day to make sure I made it to my hotel on time, to see if I needed anything, and to make sure I had transportation to the venue. Saturday morning, he sent me a text reminding me of my session start time, where it was at, and when I needed to be there to get prepped. He also reached out with kudos after the session and coordinated a time to meet up to give me my speaker gift — an awesome WordPress Journal — because I couldn’t make it to the post-event speaker dinner.
- In the room for my session, the volunteers were awesome as well — providing speakers with bottled water, running through how the session and the Q&A would flow, and signaling us with “time left” cards during our talks. As a lightning talk presenter, I loved the countdown timer on the podium too!
- I also loved the available “green room” for speakers, where I could go before my talk for some quiet time to get centered and focused.
The Sessions and Talks
As I mentioned in my talk recap, WordCamp San Francisco mixed it up with some full length talks and some lightning talk sessions.
While Brian and I really enjoyed the full talks delivered by Andrew Nacin, Chris Lema, Paul Clark, and Sam Hotchkiss. My favorite sessions were the fast-paced lightning talks — although, I was left wanting more from several of the speakers and would have loved for them to be a little less rushed and be 10 minutes instead of five minutes in length.
A few of my favorite lightning talks (other than those in my session), were:
- The whole WordPress in Context session with John Eckman, Rachel Baker, and Jeremy Felt
- Mickey Kay’s talk on being a beginner
- Cory Miller’s talk on how clicking publish changed his life
The State of The Word 2014 With Matt Mullenweg
One of the most highly anticipated talks of WordCamp San Francisco is always the official State of the Word address given by Matt Mullenweg, where he takes a look at the past year in WordPress and lays out a vision for its future.
This year, along with the usual stats and information about the evolution of WordPress, Matt announced that this would be the last WordCamp San Francisco of its kind. The event has outgrown its current home of seven years, the Mission Bay Conference Center, and will be moving to a new location. Also, starting next year, it will become a nationwide event, tentatively called WordCamp US.
The Annual WordPress Survey
This year there were 33,378 responses from 179 countries for the annual WordPress survey. Of the responses, 23% were in the US and 77% were outside the US, which is an international increase of 6%. This makes sense as Matt also reported that 2014 is the first year that non-English downloads surpassed English downloads of the software.
While most people in the room use WordPress primarily as a CMS or blog, the survey showed those numbers decreasing, with the usage of WordPress as an app framework increasing. Part of me wonders though if this is slightly skewed because most people filling out the survey are probably designers, developers, or power users — especially with 25% of survey respondents claiming they make their living from WordPress (7,539 people), up from 17% in 2012 and 20% in 2013.
Matt shared that survey respondents were responsible for between 532,730 and 1,108,885 sites, with only 6% having said they have used WordPress for only one site — and that of those sites, 91% took less than 4-5 weeks to make.
Since The Last WordCamp
Since WordCamp San Francisco 2013, there have been five major releases of WordPress — Oscar, Basie, Parker, Smith, and Benny. In assessing the sheer amount of awesomeness that was included in the releases, Matt recapped what each release encompassed, gave prominent mentions and shout outs to the seven project release leads and five new committers, and thanked all of the individual 785 contributors to the five releases. He also mentioned that we can expect to WordPress 4.1 to be released on December 10, 2014.
Here are some other notable WordPress stats:
- Up from 17.4% in 2012, and 18.9% in 2013, WordPress now powers 23.2% of the Internet.
- Up 26.5% or 6,458 plugins from 2013, there are now 34,061 plugins available in the repository.
- Today WordPress has surpassed 1,000,000 total commits in the plugin SVN repository, with almost 22% of all plugin commits occurring this past year.
- Focus has been on the WordPress mobile apps, with 18 releases over the last year across iOS and Android.
Looking Forward To The Next Year
Matt shared that there are 105 WordPress meetup groups active (including the Sacramento WordPress Meetup, which we co-organize), and that over 100 WordPress Meetup and WordCamp organizers, representing 21 different countries were in attendance. He invited us all to stand up and gave recognition to the hard work it takes to organize a monthly Meetup and the positive impact it has on the community.
Matt also talked a lot about the focus on the internationalization of WordPress, with it not just being about language, but about locale, timezone, and date formats.
He shared they are testing language packs for their primary plugins, and that eventually theme and plugin authors will be able to offer their products with the language packs as well.
Coming in WordPress 4.1, there will also be a fully localized plugin directory and theme directory available in the WordPress dashboard. What this means is that you’ll be able to search for themes and plugins in your native language, as well as access local reviews and support forums — basically everything the English WordPress.org has available will soon be available in other languages.
Matt also talked about better stats for theme and plugin developers, working with hosting companies to move users to the latest versions of PHP and WordPress, and making the update process automatic and seamless (like our host WP Engine already does). The idea here is to help protect users, prevent hacks, and make the experience of using WordPress more positive — as using old versions of WordPress missing all the latest updates and features doesn’t provide an optimal experience.
GitHub and Slack
Matt shared the move to GitHub for mobile apps, as well as for development, and now as of today, you can submit a pull request to the repository via GitHub and it will not go into a black hole.
He also shared the move from Skype and IRC to Slack for communication, effective immediately. Teams will now use Slack for communication, ticket mentions will link to trac, people can be looped in to conversations, and conversations can be archived. Normally you must be part of a company to use Slack, but this will be available to every user of WordPress.org and it works on all devices.
Five For The Future
Matt mentioned his five for the future vision to help make WordPress sustainable in the future. Originally shared at WordCamp Europe, Matt believes that WordPress has thrived for 11 years already, and to continue to thrive those people and companies involved in the ecosystem, who feel they have benefitted from WordPress, should give a little back — 5% back to the project be exact.
He shared that you get back so much more than you give. That it’s not about just furthering your own interests, but the interests of the entire WordPress ecosystem. He then discussed a number of ways people can contribute, and that folks can attend sessions to learn how to contribute both here at WordCamp San Francisco and at most other WordCamp events, as well as online.
Matt said that one of the most rewarding things in his life is the rush that comes from helping others. He asked all contributors to raise their hands, and while some people in the room did, it wasn’t many. He then reminded us that being a contributor to WordPress doesn’t just mean you write code, but that you can contribute in all different ways.
As always, the best takeaways from the event were the people.
Friday night, before the event started, we connected with several folks from the StudioPress / Genesis community for a casual GenesisWP Meetup of drinks, appetizers, laughter, and shop talk.
We were able to connect and spend quality time with our friends at WP Engine — our beloved Managed WordPress hosting company, whom we highly recommend and are proud affiliates for — as well as all of the other awesome sponsors.
And we got a chance to hang out with some of the coolest, most awesome people we know — our friends who live all over the US and beyond, who also work with WordPress. Every time I leave a WordCamp, I leave wishing we lived closer together so we could hang out all the time!
What about you?
Did you attend WordCamp San Francisco or catch the livestream? If so, I’d love to hear about your favorite session, something cool you learned, or your favorite part of the event!