The After-Party

by JoyMarie Adamonis-Friedman

The WordCamp RI 2016 After-Party is the perfect chance to relax, unwind and network with other WordPress enthusiasts like yourself.  It is also a great chance to speak one-on-one with the organizers, speakers and volunteers, whereas they might have been unavailable during the conference.  Many people have made great connections at these previous events. If the networking doesn’t draw you in, then the food, drinks & fun times surely should!

Finn's Harbourside

Finn’s Harbourside

We are  “making waves” with this years After-Party! We have secured a waterfront spot in East Greenwich at Finn’s Harborside. We will be partying the night away in our very own private tent right on the docks overlooking Greenwich Bay.  The menu will be an ode to all that Little Rhody has to offer. Rest assured, the infamous clamcake will make an appearance!  The menu alone will delight the foodies of the group. The night also features a private open bar, music and some fun surprises along the way.

We take every aspect of WordCamp to heart and aim to plan an amazing conference from start to finish. The After-Party is a continuation of the WordCamp RI experience, one that shouldn’t be missed! Your WordCamp RI badge is your ticket in! That’s right; the food, drinks & fun are all included in your ticket price!  So don’t forget your badge and I hope to see you at Finn’s Saturday October 1st at 6pm!

Finn’s Harborside
38 Water St, East Greenwich, RI 02818
October 1st 6-10pm
Ticket: your WordCamp RI Badge

Our Fifth Year of WordCamp RI

This year marks the fifth annual WordCamp RI.  Can you believe it?  Here are some #Throw Back and #Flash Back highlights.

  2012

2012 WordCamp Providence logo

2012 WordCamp Providence logo

Our first WordCamp was held in 2012 at the University of Rhode Island’s Harrington School of Communication and Media in downtown Providence.  The lead organizer was Luke Gedeon. Jesse Friedman was on the WordCamp organizing committee.

The first year we held a one-day WordCamp, on a Saturday at the end of October.  There were three seminar tracks: beginner, developer, and education.

Some of the sessions and speakers were:

  • “Plugin Development – Stirred not Shaken” by Jon Desrosiers
  • “From Employee, to Freelancer, to Business Owner (An Unnatural Progression)” by Aaron Ware
  • A “Panel: The use of WordPress at The Harrington School of Communication and Media, URI” led by Jonathan Friesem.

The After-Party was held at Congress Tavern.

2013

WordCamp 2013 was expanded to a 2-day weekend of learning all things WordPress.  The co-lead-organizers were  Luke Gedeon and Jesse Friedman.  There were four tracks in 2013: beginner, intermediate, advanced and marketer.

The all-day Friday in-depth sessions focused on mobile strategy, WordPress templates, and starting a WordPress website for beginners.  Saturday sessions offered topics such as:

  • “How We Built the Harrington School Website with WordPress” by Renee Hobbs
  • “Real-Time Site Personalization” by Jesse Friedman
  • “Plugin Development” by Jon Desrosiers.

In 2013 the After-Party was held at Local 121’s Speakeasy.

2014

2014 found WordCamp back at the Harrington School of Communication with Jesse Friedman as the lead organizer.   During the last weekend in September, WordCamp started with three all-day sessions on Friday: WordPress Basics, Plugin Development, and Security.

Saturday had sessions on a variety of topics: beginner, advanced user, developer, business, education, and design.  They included:

  • “WordPress Security: Fundamentals for Professionals” by Joseph Herbrandson
  • “You Will Never Be Good Enough” by Aaron Ware
  • “Flexibility of WooCommerce ” by Danny Santoro.

This year the After-Party was at Trinity Brewhouse.

2015

In 2015 we stayed with the two-day format, but changed locations to the New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich.  The organizing committee wondered if WordCampers would be happy with a change in venue from downtown Providence.  We need not have worried.  The new location was an instant hit.  WordCamp RI was held the last weekend in September.  Jennifer Kusiak and Aaron Ware were the lead organizers.

The Friday boot-camp sessions were WordPress Basics, Getting to Know SASS, and Contributing to WordPress Core.

Some of the Saturday sessions included:

  • “Child Themes” by Ajay Coletta
  • “The World Of WordPress: Roles, Tasks, and Skills in WordPress Development” by Colin Murphy
  • “Content is King, but You Don’t Have to be its Slave” by Aileen McDonough.

The After-Party was held at Chelo’s Waterfront Bar & Grille.

2016

wcri-logo-background

What’s in store for our fifth WordCamp in Rhode Island?  Stay tuned to this space for developments.  WordCamp RI 2016 will once again be at New England Technical Institute in East Greenwich.  The dates are Friday and Saturday September 30 and October 1.

What are some of your best memories of WordCamp here in the Ocean State?

Let us know in the comments section!

Also tweet us @WordCampRI and like us on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/wordcampri/

Thank You to Our Sponsors!

Perhaps you’ve wondered how WordCamp RI 2016 can offer two days of training, a staffed Happiness Bar (aka Help Desk), lunch each day, and an After Party for just $20 per person.  Good Question!

The answer is our fabulous sponsors. They step up and underwrite the costs of putting on WordCamp RI.


Oomph logo

One such is Rhode Island agency Oomph (http://www.oomphinc.com/)  Oomph not only shares insights and advice on its website, it also helps clients with their website goals.


Another is ONLINE ONLY OU. logo@2x

They help clients get set-up on a blog quickly and easily. (http://websitesetup.org/create-blog/)


Axion Media Lab are digital storytellers. Their website has both a web and video portfolio.  Check them out at https://axionmedialab.com/

 

Design from the Content Out

Today’s Flash Back Friday memory from WordCamp RI 2015 is almost a philosophy talk.  John Eckman posits that many developers create websites using a design that was made for books, then try to reshape content to fit that design.  He argues website developers should start by knowing what the content will be and then come up with the best design.  He outlines approaches to achieve that.

Fascinating talks like this will be part of WordCamp RI 2016 at New England Tech in East Greenwich on September 30 and October 1.

In the meantime, here’s a look back at John’s talk:

Rhode Island English

  • International Friendship Day is celebrated in August.
  • Our WordCamp friends in Belfast are holding their first WordCamp the same weekend Rhode Island is holding its fifth annual WordCamp!
  • We both speak English, but each with our own spin on it.

So to honor (or should I say honour) our international friends, during this month of International Friendship Day, here’s a guide to Rhode Island English.
Are you watching TV (or should I say “the telly”) and want to change the channel right from where you are sitting?  Just use the “clicker.”  Why do that?  Because it’s “wicked” easy.  (Also pronounced wikkit.)
If our Irish friends come to the Ocean State and want a cold ice cream drink, do not order a “milk shake.”  In RI a milk shake is milk shaken with syrup.  If you’d like ice cream in it, ask for a “cabinet” (yes, like the furniture!) or a frappe (pronounced “frap”).
Would you like a healthier cold drink?  Water, perhaps?  You get that from the “bubbler” (pronounced bubbla.)
You see, in RI we add Rs where there are none, and to make up for those extras we take away Rs where there should be some.  So for instance, we have a lot of “hot.”  You know, the organ that pumps blood and holds love.  However, if you have a wonderful concept to explain, let everyone know about your “idear.”
It’s mealtime and you’d like to invite someone to join you, just ask “jeet?”  (did you eat?)  If that person has not yet, they might respond “no joo?” (no, did you?)
Rhode Island has the nickname “The Ocean State.”  And yes, we are the smallest state in the USA.  We do not have an official animal, but we do have an official bird: The Rhode Island Red (chicken).  First bred right here.  The official state fish (would I kid you?) is the Striped Bass, adopted by the state’s General Assembly in July of 2000.
The state drink is coffee milk, as in milk with coffee flavored syrup stirred in.  (Pul-eez, chocolate milk is so passé.)
Our state shell is the quahaug (pronounced co-hog).  What’s that you say?  You think I left out a word?  You think our official state shellfish is the quahaug?  No, my friend, you under-estimate Rhode Islanders.  It is the shell of the shellfish which is official.  We have an official state shell.  And I strongly suspect we are the only state in the Union with that distinction!
So we wish our WordCamp siblings in Belfast a successful first WordCamp and look forward to the day you can come to visit us!  We’ll have a wikkit good time!

WordCamp RI will be held September 30 and October 1 at the New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich.

WordCamp Belfast will be held 1 and 2 October at the Peter Froggatt Centre in Queens University Belfast.

Did you notice my bi-lingual skills in presenting the dates of the two WordCamps?  In RI we’re wikkit smaht.

Data is not Knowledge

So your website is generating all kinds of statistics and pie charts.  What do they mean? What does this information tell you would be a good next step for your website?  Today’s Flash Back Friday memory is the talk given at WordCamp RI 2015 by RC Lations: “Tracking Meaningful Moments on Your Site.” He outlines some tips so you’ll be able to tell if the data indicates you are on a good course or if you should take some corrective action.  RC quotes Albert Einstein “Information is not knowledge.”  However, with RC’s suggestions, you can start to translate that information into knowledge.

Come back to WordCamp RI 2016 for more great sessions like this.  We’ll be at New England Tech in East Greenwich once again.  The dates are September 30 and October 1.

Help! I Represent a Non-Profit

The following Q-and-A is adapted from a conversation which took place on the WordPress RI Meetup discussion board.  If you are interested in learning more about the monthly WordPress Meetups, check http://www.meetup.com/WordPressRI/

You may find the most cost-effective tech help you can get is at WordCamp RI!

Question:
Hi. I am starting a nonprofit website, using Word Press and the Bridge theme. I’m having trouble finding someone who could be my tech person for ongoing questions, site maintenance, etc. I’m still building the site and have some help, but don’t want to pay for a full company or do everything myself. Any suggestions would be most helpful. Thanks!
Answer:
Probably the best way to get concentrated help is to attend WordCamp RI 2016. Just $20 for two days: September 30 and October 1. There are three aspects that can be of help to you:
  1. The Happiness Bar (aka Help Desk) is staffed with volunteers both days.  It’s where you can sit down and get help. Come in with your laptop and questions.
  2. Friday Workshops are all-day sessions on a few topics. Check out the topics when the workshop schedule gets posted early September. You bring your laptop and get a concentrated amount of learning done.
  3. Saturday there are 45-minute seminars on a wide variety of topics. When the schedule is published in early September, check them out and head to the seminars that will help you!
Bonus: the 45-minute seminars are recorded and then put on WordPress.tv so you can re-watch the seminars you went to and want to review, as well as watch a seminar you didn’t have a chance to see live at WordCamp!
p.s. While you are networking at WordCamp RI you may come across someone who would be willing to give you a hand on your non-profit project. Networking happens very easily at WordCamp RI!
Just below here is the link to the WordCamp RI website. You can subscribe if you’d like to be notified each time there’s an update on the website. (“Subscribe” is on the right side with a laptop+-size monitor and at the bottom of smart phone screens.)

“Start a conversation- you never know where it could lead!”

One of the organizers for WordCamp RI 2016 is Mary Beth Amaral.  She’s also the Lead Designer at Linchpin. Mary Beth takes us behind the scenes of WordCamp RI and explains how WordCamp RI is responsible for introducing her to Linchpin.

Q:
Mary Beth, you are back again this year as WordCamp RI is planned and coordinated.  What draws you back?
A:
Working for a company where WordPress plays a huge role in our day to day has made me more aware of the supporting community that makes it all possible. I’m fortunate that my company is more than willing and able to take time out of our busy schedules to help organize and plan WordCamp. Being part of WordCamp for the past few years has helped me see how important everyone’s involvement is, no matter how big or small.
Q:
In your professional life, when you’re not helping to organize WordCamp RI, what do you do?  What role does WordPress play?
A:
Professionally, I spend my days designing websites for custom WordPress builds. With a full dev team on staff, I’m able to work closely with our developers to create sites that not only achieve our clients’ goals, but push the boundaries. Whether it be through visual animations or advanced functionality, having such a knowledgeable and skilled team here has taught me a lot about the capabilities of WordPress.
Q:
WordCamp RI is two days of all things WordPress.  For someone attending for the first time, what advice do you offer to get the most out of WordCamp?
A:
Network! The great thing about WordCamp is that everyone there has a common interest in WordPress. Ask others how they use WordPress, start a conversation; you never know where it could lead! Four years ago, I attended the very first WordCamp RI where I met Aaron Ware, president and owner of Linchpin. Little did I know that a few months down the road I’d be looking for a new job and lucky for me, Linchpin was the perfect fit!
Q:
Friday there are day-long in-depth sessions on various topics.  Saturday is made up of a variety of 45-minutes seminars throughout the day.  What is the advantage of taking the two approaches over the course of WordCamp RI?
A:
Regardless of your experience with WordPress, both the day long sessions and shorter seminars are beneficial. Friday’s sessions provide in depth, hands on workshops that cover a variety of skill levels. In the past these have included, WordPress Basics, Getting to Know Sass, Contributing to WordPress Core, and more! The shorter presentations on Saturday typically run on specific tracks, focused on development, design, content or business. With these tracks running at the same time, there’s a good chance you’ll find a session that interests you!
Q:
What’s this Happiness Bar everyone is talking about?  Why would I want to stop by?
A:
If you’re looking for some help, support, or have any WordPress related questions, the Happiness Bar is for you! Throughout the day WordCamp speakers and WordPress professionals will be camping out at the Happiness Bar at the ready.
Q:
After WordCamp RI is over, there is the After-Party.  What is that?  Why should I attend?
A:
Second to the awesome speakers and informative workshops, the After Party is the BEST way to end a great conference. If not for the amazing food and bevs, attend to mingle with others! It’s a relaxed atmosphere where most of the speakers, volunteers and organizers will head after Saturday’s sessions come to an end. If you wanted to talk with a speaker, or get some information on how you can get involved in the WordPress Community, it’s the perfect venue to do so. I promise, you won’t wanna miss it!
Q:
WordCamp draws a diverse crowd: beginners, experienced coders, people who provide web content, project managers, and more.  What approach does WordCamp RI take that such a varying group attends each year?
A:
As a volunteer, I can attest to the amount of work that goes into promoting WordCamp. From university flyers and social media, to banner ads and extending reach beyond our own networks, we make sure to inform anyone and everyone we can. With a schedule of sessions targeting various career tracks, and presenters representing a range of professions, it’s easy to appeal to a diverse crowd.
Q:
What tips and tricks do you recommend to get the most out of WordCamp RI?  What should I bring?  What should I do?  Does it matter if I look at the schedule posted on the WordCamp RI website a day or two before I attend?
A:
You’ll meet so many new people, some of whom you might want to reconnect with later – make it easy on yourself and bring business cards with you to hand out. I always have a pen and paper on me to jot down any references or contact info I don’t want to forget, but that being said all the sessions will be recorded and posted up on WordPress.tv, so don’t sweat it if you miss something. A laptop or tablet is recommended for the workshop day to be able to participate in any hands-on activities. I think it’s helpful to have an idea of your game plan for the conference, and the website will provide additional information about the sessions and speakers, but the schedule will be up online and posted throughout the venue for any last minute updates!
Q:
Once the actual days of WordCamp RI arrive, what do you personally like to make sure you do?
A:
Stock up on some snacks and water to prepare for the day ahead! I have a bit of a commute to East Greenwich (and am always hungry!)  so I like to make sure I have a LaraBar or two, maybe even a banana to get me through until the very end!
Q:
Is there any follow-up that makes sense once WordCamp RI is over?
A:
A few days following WordCamp, a survey will go out to all the attendees. Whether you have good or bad feedback, the survey is a great opportunity to not only contribute back to the community, but to help make next year’s WordCamp even better!
You can reach Mary Beth on Twitter @maryelizabeth55

Going International

Many WordPress websites could benefit from, or would like to attract, both local and international audiences.  How can you achieve that?  Today’s Flash Back Friday memory from WordCamp 2015 takes a look at the coding behind the scenes.  Dave McHale shows how to use many of the more common translation functions.  He hopes sessions like this will get more developers to use such functions in their products in the future.

Make sure you attend this year’s WordCamp RI at New England Tech in East Greenwich, September 30 and October 1.

From Beginner to Expert with Some Help from WordCamp

Max Morgan is the Lead Frontend Developer at Linchpin and once again is one of the organizers for WordCamp RI. He’s presented at WordCamp, but also remembers the first time he attended a WordCamp. He’s gone from a member of the audience who was nervous to a knowledgeable speaker (okay maybe he was still nervous then too.)

Q:
Max, you are back again this year as WordCamp RI is planned and coordinated. What draws you back?

A:
The community and my passion for WordPress is what draws me in! I’ve been attending Rhode Island’s annual WordCamp since 2012, and no matter how many WordCamps I attend I am always going to learn something valuable or meet someone with a perspective that hasn’t crossed my mind. It’s a great place to network and learn, and as a developer who makes a living utilizing WordPress this is SO valuable and I love being involved with any aspect I can help with.

Q:
You presented at an in-depth session on Sass (Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets) last year at WordCamp. Tell me about that experience.

A:
My experience was amazing, I had never held a session – never mind a 6-hour workshop – so honestly I was very nervous to be in front of all the folks who attended, and the turnout was AMAZING! Once it got rolling everything went great though. We spent some time exploring what Sass is and why Sass is such an amazing tool for any frontend developer to leverage. We had discussions around some CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) best practices and why things should be done a certain way. Plus, we covered how folks can easily improve upon their daily workflow to make Sass work for them. I had some help from a good friend and an amazing developer, Jeff Golenski from the Jetpack team at Automattic, who had a lot of valuable insight on using Sass in a distributed team and staying organized. The whole experience was great and I think those who attended got a good understanding of how to move forward and use Sass in their projects.

Q:
In your professional life, when you’re not helping to organize WordCamp RI, what do you do? What role does WordPress play?

A:
WordPress plays a huge role in my professional life. I am the Lead Frontend Developer at Linchpin, an agency out of Pawtucket, and a majority of our clients are built on WordPress. As a Frontend at Linchpin my role is take our client’s vision of functionality, our designer’s vision of the site and tie it all together. This ranges from building plugins and themes to writing the JS (JavaScript) and Sass.

Q:
WordCamp RI is two days of all things WordPress. For someone attending for the first time, what advice do you offer to get the most out of WordCamp?

A:
When I attended my first WordCamps (Boston and Rhode Island in 2012) I was SO overwhelmed. The company I was with at the time was making a transition to WordPress, which at the time I had ZERO experience in, so I sat through a lot of talks that I knew were valuable but went way over my head. Looking back at that now, my advice would be to enjoy your time, meet like-minded people – AKA everyone at WordCamp, the community is super friendly 🙂 – and take some minimal notes. Every talk (except the workshops) will make its way to WordPress.tv. So pin-point the talks that really made something click for you, understand what drew you into it, and watch it again. If you attend a talk and then jot down to revisit after you’ve explored WordPress more, the video will be there and it WILL make sense.

Q:
Friday there are day-long in-depth sessions on various topics. Saturday is made up of a variety of 45-minute seminars through-out the day. What is the advantage of taking the two approaches over the course of WordCamp RI?

Q:
I think Friday’s in-depth sessions are very valuable, as you can get a real hands-on approach to certain aspects of WordPress. Typically, the workshops encourage attendees to bring a laptop and code along, and for a lot people like myself this is the best way to learn something. Of course Saturday is also a valuable experience, covering a range of topics from child themes, to security, to content, etc. Just about every aspect of WordPress is covered and this really expands people’s knowledge on WordPress in general. The best part is you can always sit down with speakers at the Happiness Bar after their session, if you have more questions or want to dig a little deeper.

Q:
What’s this Happiness Bar everyone is talking about? Why would I want to stop by?

A:
The Happiness Bar is there to help attendees with all things WordPress, plain and simple. You can pick speakers’ or volunteers’ brains on a crazy range of topics, from getting advice about what theme you should (or shouldn’t) use, why is this bug happening, what plugin should be used, or asking speakers to expand on certain parts of their session. Anything WordPress, we’re there to help! 🙂

Q:
After WordCamp RI is over, there is the After-Party. What is that? Why should I attend?

A:
It’s a celebration of all the things you’ve learned over the past 2 days and a great opportunity to network. A lot of the time things can get pretty hectic at WordCamp for organizers, volunteers and speakers, and you may not get to have a 1-on-1 with a speaker you enjoyed and this is the perfect place to get that time.

Q:
WordCamp draws a diverse crowd: beginners, experienced coders, people who provide web content, project managers, and more. What approach does WordCamp RI take that such a varying group attends each year?

A:
We try to recognize the needs of everyone involved, the community is huge and WordPress isn’t just for the developer or copywriter. We get feedback every year on what folks found useful, what they didn’t, and what they’d like to see next year… and we listen! We don’t want someone to attend if there isn’t something for them and we want anyone who has any interaction with WordPress to be able to attend and get something out of it.

Some examples from last year: John Eckman held a session that was focused on designers, Aileen McDonough had a great session on handling content in WordPress, Jonathan Desroisers had an amazing workshop on how to contribute to WordPress Core, and of course there was a rad-tad group of folks (Lydia Rogers, Colin Murphy, Daniella Norwood) who held a workshop geared toward getting started with WordPress and using it for a business. Pile my Sass workshop on top of that and that covers a wide-range of groups, and that’s only a handful of all the sessions we held.

Q:
What tips and tricks do you recommend to get the most out of WordCamp RI? What should I bring? What should I do? Does it matter if I look at the schedule posted on the WordCamp RI website a day or two before I attend?

A:
You should bring your preferred note taking devices – pen/paper or laptop – and take some notes! Just jot down some keywords or sessions/speakers that really made a light go off for you because you can always watch the sessions again on WordPress.tv to focus on some key points that interest you. Also, bring something to keep swag in! There’s a lot of swag to be had 🙂 It doesn’t hurt to look at the schedule beforehand and get a game plan for what session you want to attend. Every session has a description so you can find early on if it’s right for you.

Q:
Once the actual days of WordCamp RI arrive, what do you personally like to make sure you do?

A:
I soak up as much knowledge as I can, talk with folks I haven’t seen in a while, try to meet some new people and just enjoy my time with the community.

Q:
Is there any follow-up that makes sense once WordCamp RI is over?

A:
Just stay connected with people you’ve met, put some of your new-found knowledge to work, build skills that sparked an interest in you, and keep updated with the WordPress Rhode Island Meetup Group (http://www.meetup.com/wordpressri/). WordCamp is held for your benefit, so take advantage of everything you’ve learned!

You can reach Max at:

Twitter:  @maxinacube

Slack:  @maxinacube