I’m speaking, and Erik and I are sponsors through Amphibimen Comics (another proud WordPress powered site). The deal this year was you got to pick a building, and were charged a dollar a foot for the building’s height. No more gold, silver, bronze, platinum, diamond, ruby, yttrium, molybdenum, or manganese level sponsorships here.
Our choice is seen at the very far right of the badge; it’s the long, low building that looks like it could host a lot of nerds. All of which is true. We are proud to be the 69th Regiment Armory sponsor, represented in all 130 feet of height (and the maximum width of any sponsor, which seemed fitting). What’s the connection? The Armory is where the MoCCA Festival happens in April 2011, where and when Amphibimen Comics will launch a plethora of (ok, like eight) products. And it’s a cool building, with regiment history going back to the Civil War.
See fellow WordPress fans on Sunday in NYC.
Coming up next weekend: Version 3 of “Parsing Strange,” my WordCamp talk about the mechanisms WordPress uses to turn a URL into SQL and therefore a collection of posts to display. I’m confirmed as one of the speakers at WordCamp NYC 2010, and I have the added pleasure of being a small-scale sponsor of the event through Amphibimen Comics. The NYC WordCamp is my favorite (sorry, home cooking here) because it was the first one I attended, and it got me much more deeply entrenched in all things WordPress related.
In terms of value, it is the flat-out best technical training, idea sharing and networking event you can attend. Anywhere, any time. $30 for the whole weekend, or something like $2.50 an hour. You will pay more to park, and have much less fun.
Due to scheduling conflicts, I’m speaking on Sunday afternoon, in a 30-minute slot between noon and 5pm. I’ll be delivering my “lightning round” preview in radio-single edit form, via video, on Saturday so you can get a better sense of the topic, if you’re a newbie. Better yet, just buy a ticket, come to Baruch College, and enjoy the company and brainpower of several hundred like-minded peers.
I’ll be continuing my WordCamp speaking tour at WordCamp Philadelphia on October 30th. I’m giving the latest version of Parsing Strange, my WP internals talk that dissects URL parsing, SQL generation and user-serviceable parts you might run into. With custom page types and custom taxonomies gaining interest and traction in the WordPress community, this talk is a good backgrounder to the mechanics of joining tables representing social (or other) graphs, and selecting relevant content that you want to be displayed as a result.
Professional WordPress co-author Brad Williams is organizing, and the speaker slate covers an incredible range of topics. It’s the best $20 you can spend — you’ll be getting a high-speed, in-depth technical potpourri for about $3 an hour, or less than you’d spend drinking Starbucks that whole time. Just remember that it’s in Philadelphia, so while there are no bad questions, there are answers that involve having a D-cell thrown at your head.
I’m speaking at WordCamp Boulder later on today, in the TechStars room. It’s a small room, without any floor grading, so if you’re not in the first three rows of free-standing seats it’s obstructed view.
To make it easier for people to follow along (since some of the slides are critical for grokking the more subtle concepts like full inner joins), I’ve posted them to slideshare.net for easy downloading and sharing. Fair warning: I removed the jokes and the tweet-to-win book giveaway so that people at least feign attention for the first quarter hour.
Waiting for my outbound Continental flight at O’Hare airport (now there’s a surprise) after WordCamp Chicago this weekend.
One word summary: Wow. I’ve been to the two WordCamps in New York as a part organizer and registration desk sitter, but not as a presenter or active attendee. Now that I’ve been on the stage, I’m hooked.
WordCamp today is what USENIX conferences were 20 years ago.
You have an incredible collection of users, practitioners, developers, and subject matter experts combined with a wildly diverse and interested community. Everybody has an interesting problem or approach or story, and yet nobody has a hierarchy in mind. People are just there to learn from each other and the speakers. It’s the flat-out best $30-40 you can spend to learn about content management. Among the many things that impress me about WordPress as a platform as well as a magnet for users is that you can solve the same problem any number of ways, at different levels of abstraction. On Saturday morning, a speaker showed how to change the default post display mode using
query_posts(), and today I explained how to do the same thing by hand-editing the SQL generated by the WordPress query parser. If you are a theme developer and more concerned with design and user requirements, the more abstract, duplicate-query method works; if you’re a database savvy developer then you can dive into the query semantics. Both work, both are about the same net performance, and both approaches include a wider array of talent in community.
Favorite take-aways of the weekend:
Amanda Blum, talking about advertising on blogs: Don’t do it. If you are running your blog as an advertising platform (read: replacement for a printed version), ads are your business model. If your website is about you, and bringing you business, don’t bother with ads. All they do (if people bother to click on them) is take users away from you. Ditto for related website blogrolls. You’re the expert, be the expert.
Aaron Jorbin, talking about maintaining code: The difference between good code and bad is measured in WTFs per hour. When you’re looking at bad code, even your own, you’re constantly saying “WTF did I do that?”
Chris Ross, speaking as a WordPress neophyte developer: WordPress was attractive because it was low cost. But it’s now attractive because it’s highly functional, and there’s high value in the package. It has a very low barrier to entry for new developers, and the themes and plugin extensions made it very powerful.
All in all, a great weekend, great to meet some faces behind the Twitter accounts and emails, and I left with a half dozen ideas of my own to go explore.
I’ve published the slides from my WordCamp Chicago talk this morning on SlideShare.net. While I had the evil hangover slot, nearly 200 fervent WordPress developers managed to make it into the (chilly) room to hear me rant about SQL grammar, inner joins and Cartesian table products, and why social graphs don’t fit data normalization rules too neatly. Some of this will make it into the 2nd edition of Professional WordPress and some is just my own personal view of data mechanics.
I’ll be at WordCamp NYC on November 14-15, helping out, handing out t-shirts, and generally saying “hi” to other WordPress bloggers and developers. I’m hoping to have a sample chapter or three of the upcoming WordPress book I’m co-authoring with Brad Williams of WebDevStudios and Dave Damstra. In the meantime, make sure you vote for your favorite event/t-shirt logo; it will help you look even cooler in the winter months following WordCamp NYC and it will make my job as official t-shirt distributor and commentator more enjoyable. Personally, I love the subway sign derived logos – not that my opinion should influence you or anything.