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 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 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.