So in an act of love for WordPress I signed up to be the lead organizer for WordCamp St. Louis this year. Its been a lot of work but its also really exciting to work with the local community to put on a WordCamp. This year is looking to be a really good camp as its already sold out and we have a great list of national and local speakers.

I attempted to give up my spot as a speaker so I could focus on organizing but ended up needing to cover a spot for a speaker that had to back out. I’ll be giving a chat on automating your theme development workflow with tools like YeoPress and Grunt. I’m pretty excited despite all the pressure and hope to see tons of local users benefit from the camp like I have at previous ones.


So WordCamp St. Louis in my humble first time organizer opinion was a huge success and our local community really did a fantastic job. The speakers were awesome, the sponsors were super generous with swag and support, and despite the weather closing the day down a bit early I think everyone had a pretty good time, learned a lot and enjoyed themselves.

I thought my rushed chat came out pretty well even though I rushed a bit and forgot a few things because I was nervous. This year I decided to keep the slides lighter and styled but use more interactive sections to demo the tools and I really enjoyed the flow much better than previous chats I’ve done.

Pro tip: Definitely throw in gifs and funny pictures.

So I just launched my new WordPress theme. This was more playing catch up than a marketing tactic. I have been working with WordPress for almost five years now but have been so busy with client work and freelance projects that I had left my site to rot.

I regrettably was using a theme I tweaked from twenty ten which was clean but didn’t really capture my style or current WordPress theming capabilities. I also have until recently gotten way behind in my writing activities so rebuilding is a good way for me to get involved in my site and the fun in having a WordPress site.

The latest theme is built from scratch using twitter bootstrap and some tweaks I have learned along the way. There is still plenty of things I want to polish on the theme, but I think some of these initial development discoveries deserve consideration if you are building your own WordPress themes.

Tools I’ve recently adopted

Beyond my standard tools { textmate, terminal and a browser } I started working with a couple of new tools in my development workflow.

The Less App for Mac

This is a simple app but when handling several less files from a framework like bootstrap it takes a lot out of the guesswork and helps get a solid workflow. Some less knowledge is needed but after this theme and several of the latest ones at work I’ve found this language speeds up css development considerably and is well worth the effort to explore.

The developer also has another project some of my co-workers and I are testing right now called code-kit which also looks very promising

Twitter Bootstrap

Yes… I know lots of very important well known developers have already talked about this framework. I admittedly have been looking it over for a year and just now am really learning how to use it to speed up my projects and simplify my development workflow.

If you haven’t reviewed this yet, I can’t recommend it enough and I hope to have many more posts in the future discussing techniques to customize it and use it for project specific functionality.


Yes I know this is old news. Yes I know you are probably way cooler and nerdier than me and have been using this for years. I first learned about github and WordCamp two years ago and now finally understand why it is so important. At Integrity we now use git daily to manage all of our development projects. This is an amazing tool and when working in a team setting it makes collaboration more efficient. The secret to using this in my opinion is branching and I plan to write another post soon on my git workflow for WordPress theming.

Search Wordpress.org Codex

Lastly I use an awesome but simple chrome extension that I use constantly for instant access to the WordPress Codex. When I learned PHP the first think I learned was how to search php.net for functions and documentation so that approach has guided all that I have researched and learned about developing with WordPress. This extension allows me to just open a tab and type “wp” + space + “function, term, or keyword” and immediately jump to the source for documentation. I recommend this extension to all of our new developers and hope you too can find it useful.

If you’ve used one of these tools and think their awesome or think they are sub par to a solution you have found let me know via a comment. I’ll be writing again soon time permitting on some of the workflows I’ve developed with these tools and any new finds. Thanks for reading.

So thanks to my awesome boss Ed @ Integrity I was recommended, and will be giving a chat with my rad comrade Arod this year at WordCamp in St. Louis.

We’re planning a chat for developers that focuses on how to architect a really awesome WordPress theme. Our focus is on how using custom post types, custom meta boxes, and admin customizations can make WordPress a true CMS and easy for clients to learn.

I’m posting the slides on a new service I found created by the guys at Github called Speaker Deck. I like the so far and its simple. It creates your presentation in by uploading a pdf, this makes prep minimal and I get to avoid powerpoint.

Arod and I still have plenty of prep to do but we’re super excited. This will be the first year we have presented and my third WordCamp to attend.

Check back for a follow up post on the details of the event and links to the slides from our chat


Arod and I had a great session that was standing room only! We totally enjoyed the experience and had some really encouraging feedback.

Here are the slides from the presentation for all those interested

So this year was my second year to attend WordCamp in Portland. It’s a great time to meet other developers listen to entertaining as well as educational chats from pro’s as well as fellow enthusiasts. As I pursue more and more development in WordPress these camps are essential to my growth and inspiration as I always learn something new, or how to do something more optimally. Here is a quick re-cap and some resources from the sessions I was able to attend that I hope inspire you to find a WordCamp in your area to attend.

The first change with this years conference compared to last years was it was primarily an unconference in format. If your new to this term it is essentially participant driven so other that a few planned main speakers all of the other chats were volunteered or suggested through those attending. At first I was quite apprehensive about this format as last year was very session driven and I had a clear outline of topics I could decide on sitting in on. This new format however panned out to be great due to the fantastic community of WordPressers in the local area which for me made it just as great as last year.

The first chat I sat in on was Scott Berkun’s chat. He had some cool perspectives on what he does at WordPress.com and what things he’s learned while studying ways to make people post more frequently. It was an inspiring chat that did a great job at reminding me at how bad I suck at regularly posting but contained some cool tips on trying to do better at it { guest post anyone ? :D }

After the first main session it was time for some unconference planning and the community filled out massive post-its and the organizers laid out a schedule for smaller groups to get together and have organized talks on specific topics.

The first one was labeled MVC and WordPress but was a bit rough as the speaker asked what MVC stood for and confessed to using the term to get people to come to the chat :( Over all it worked out fine and he had some interesting tips from his experiences in moving to the platform for usability for the end users in his company as well as some pretty cool technical workarounds he came up with in his custom theme. I think this kind of chat is what makes the whole experience cool as it doesn’t have to be someone who is a lead at Automattic to chat and share something interesting, good information and tips can come from any source and that’s why I enjoy WordPress and its community.

After this I bounced around for a bit but did manage to catch a great chat by the fine gents at 9seeds.com regarding plugin development for business. Todd and John are really great to listen to and seem like they would be an awesome company to do business with. I really liked their passion for open source and how they try and release code from projects with clients into the community. I love that model and really aspire to be in that kind of company someday.

Next came some lunch with great food and tasty Full Sail beer. Always a staple at a WordCamp in Portland and very much enjoyed as we sat and chatted with new friends and old.

Right after lunch it was time for Andrew Nacin’s chat on “You don’t know query”. Deep barely describes this chat but it was incredible to see one of the brains working full time on the core in person sharing some advanced concepts for the programmers in the room. I definitely was lost at a couple of points but still found this one of the most enjoyable parts of the conference and one of the key reasons I bought a ticket. I’ll still need some time to sort it all out but thankfully the slides are posted here.

Next I sat in on John from 9seeds chat on child themes but felt I should have gone to the SEO chat instead. John is a great guy and fun to listen too but the crowd in this chat was a bit green on WordPress and I honestly was a bit past the level this presentation was designed for. After attending Aaron Jorbins chat last year and studying child themes and themeing in general over the last year this was just too basic for my needs.

After this chat I checked out the plugin Q and A session with the Alex Mills { viper007bond }. It seemed awkward at first as he didn’t have a plan or schedule for the chat but it worked out great as the crowd got into the conversation and the dialog really took off. Alex is a really smart guy which has created quite a prolific array of plugins for the platform. I really enjoyed this chat and it was nice to hear some insight from the creator of some of the plugins I already use and enjoy.

Overall another great year of WordCamp all due to a fantastic local community of developers, designers and users. I hope to go next year in St. Louis and might even try and build up some nerve to do a chat.