WordCamp.org Tools Survey Results

The results from the WordCamp.org tools survey are in. Each PDF below has a chart with the totals, along with the anonymous feedback that was given.


Allowing Custom PHP and JavaScript

By far the most common feedback was about the desire to write custom PHP and JavaScript. That deserves to be discussed, but it’s a big enough topic that it should have its own conversation, so I started another post with a detailed explanation of the reasons behind the limitation.


How well does Jetpack’s CSS editor meet your needs?

  • A surprising number of organizers were happy with the editor (62%), but that still leaves almost 40% who aren’t.
  • The most common frustrations were losing your place when the page reloads to save changes, and having changes overwritten when multiple people are editing at the same time. Both of those were problems we identified as things to fix if we choose to focus on improving Jetpack rather than building an alternative solution.


If we were to improve the CSS-editing experience, which approach would you prefer?

  • Supporting a local development workflow was more popular by 10% (actually, a bit more if you include several of the “Other” answers that were similar).
  • I think it’s likely that the people who voted for improving Jetpack are mostly happy with the editor, but just wish it were better; while people who voted for an alternative approach aren’t really happy at all. So, improving Jetpack would make a moderate impact, but building the alternative approach would make a big one. Based on that, I think we should pursue the local development workflow.
  • Jetpack won’t be going away, of course, and it will still receive any improvements that ship with future versions. So if you’d like to see the CSS Editor issues resolved, you can still send pull requests to Jetpack, or encourage developers in your local community to do so.
  • Several people suggested we do both, and of course the two options aren’t mutually exclusive, but we do have very limited resources, so we need to prioritize the things that will make the most impact and do those first.
  • People overwhelmingly requested Git(Hub) over Subversion. I’d like to see us explore this first, since most teams are much more familiar with Git than SVN, which makes SVN more of a barrier than a benefit. I can foresee there being some logistical challenges that we wouldn’t face with Subversion, but it’s worth a shot.
  • See the Next Steps section at the end if you’re interested in helping out with this.


To have more options when customizing your site, which would you prefer?

Page templates were the favorite choice by a wide margin, but I’m worried that I didn’t word this question very clearly, and that may have skewed the results. I assumed that everyone would already be familiar with the previous discussion that contains details on the proposal, but some of the responses make it sound like some people thought that “have the ability to create custom page templates” meant that they could freely upload unreviewed custom templates, which isn’t what had been we originally discussed.

The templates would have to meet certain criteria, and be reviewed for security and other concerns before they could be added to WordCamp.org. We wouldn’t want to end up with dozens of templates that are only relevant to a single camp, or to have to review new templates for every site, so I think we’d have to require that the templates be generic enough to be reused by other camps, and that they only be created when there is a significant need that can’t be accomplished with CSS alone.

To clarify, I started a new survey with just this question, but better descriptions of the answers. I also added a new option, which incorporates one of the suggestions from the survey, which was to allow a group of organizers to build a new custom theme to fit the specific needs of WordCamps, which would then be reviewed and made available to all camps.

Please take that survey to help us move forward with this project; it closes at midnight UTC on June 16th.


Several people suggested that we add more themes and custom page templates, which is an option, but unless there are enough volunteers to work of both in parallel, we’ll need to prioritize the one that makes the most impact first.

Allowing inline SVGs was another thing that was mentioned several times. WordCamp.org doesn’t actually block them, WordPress itself does. SVGs are awesome in a lot of ways, but they’re not the benign images most developers think of them as; they’re really XML applications that can run arbitrary JavaScript and embed external resources.

Once Core finds a way to safely allow them to be uploaded, though, WordCamp.org will automatically inherit the solution. In the mean time, you can still use SVGs as background images via CSS, which has most of the benefits but without the same security concerns.


Of the four projects identified in the make/Community posts, how much would each of them benefit you?

D’oh, comments were disabled for this question, that was a mistake on my part. Please leave them on this post if you’ve got any feedback.

All of them ranked pretty well, so it looks like we picked good projects. Improving the CSS-editing experience and adding more themes/templates were the most popular, followed by cloning a site and then docs.


Is there anything that would benefit you more than those 4 projects?

There were a lot of comments here, but no big themes among them, and many of them would actually be solved by the proposed projects, so I think we should stick with the ones we’ve got. This is still a good list of things to keep in mind for the future, though.


Do you have any other comments or feedback?

This one also has some good feedback, but nothing that would shift our direction.


Existing Tools You Might Not Know About

There were a handful of answers that requested tools we already have:

  • The Tagregator plugin pulls in social media posts with your hashtag from Twitter, Instagram, Flickr and Google+. Check out the “Social Media Stream” page that automatically gets created on new sites.
  • You can e-mail attendees based on discount codes and other filters with CampTix. Look for the Tickets > Tools > Notify screen.
  • You can embed live streams from Livestream.com, Ustream and DaCast using shortcodes.
  • If you use the Call for Speakers form that is automatically added to new sites, then any submissions will be automatically converted into drafted Speaker and Session posts, which can you publish or delete when you decide which ones to accept.
  • Session posts have a meta box to add URLs for the slides and WordPress.tv video. If you fill those in they’ll automatically be shown in the sessions shortcode.


Next Steps / How to Get Involved

For each of the projects, we’ll need people to help brainstorm ideas, give feedback, and write code.

  • Clone another camp‘s theme/CSS/etc: This project needs a few developers to test the prototype and report/fix any issues.
  • More Themes/custom templates: The data for this question may have been skewed, so please answer this revised question to make sure we have good data to base decisions on. Once the results from that are in, I’ll post them here and we can discuss how to move forward.
  • Local CSS development and better documentation: We’ll need to discuss the details for these and come up with a plan. Once the conversation on this post dies down, I’ll start new posts for them so that we can have a focused discussion.


#improving-wordcamp-org, #official-websites, #wordcamp-org