Improving WordCamp.org: Notes from the 2014 Community Summit

At the 2014 Community Summit there was a breakout discussion that focused on ways to improve WordCamp.org. You’ll find the notes from that discussion below, which are being posted here so that the discussion can continue with the participation of everyone who’s interested (not just those who were able to make it to the Summit).

Kudos to @dimensionmedia for taking the notes. It’s impossible to catch everything, though, so if anyone remembers any ideas or remarks that didn’t get recorded, please post them in the comments (but please don’t reveal the identity of the person who made the remark, since the Summit was a safe space.)

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Most of the discussion centered around the desire of organizing teams to customize their site more than they currently can, or making it easier to customize.

The top 5 pain-points of people present at the discussion were:

  • CSSCSS CSS is an acronym for cascading style sheets. This is what controls the design or look and feel of a site. Editor
  • Lack of custom JS
  • Lack of accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility)
  • Theme Repo Is too small
  • Possibility of crafting default theme

Customization of WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. themes

This was more of a passionate subject than you would think. First we discussed best ways to share code with other WordCamp sites that already have great designs, because not every camp has access to a designer. Since WordCamp sites only allow CSS as custom code, right now it’s a copy/paste process.

We talked about two main areas of customization: design and functionality.

Design wise, we talked about how extendable current themes are and maybe aren’t. We talked about the hacking that needs to be done in certain situations. And we talked about having a potential gallery of WordCamp sites that organizers can choose from – greater availability of choices than what we currently have. Offering themes that have already been audited by WordPress.comWordPress.com An online implementation of WordPress code that lets you immediately access a new WordPress environment to publish your content. WordPress.com is a private company owned by Automattic that hosts the largest multisite in the world. This is arguably the best place to start blogging if you have never touched WordPress before. https://wordpress.com/ (but are also available in the WordPress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ repository) might be an easy way to add more choice.

We also talked about maybe making certain large sections of a theme as a widgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. to begin to allow custom HTMLHTML HTML is an acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is a markup language that is used in the development of web pages and websites. in addition to the custom CSS. Or possibly creating more page templates that meet common needs.

Functionality wise, we came up with some potential interesting ideas for WordCamp sites. We talked about how some customizations have come about and been implemented. And also possibility of allowing WordCamps to experiment with a concept or idea, and then bring it to the attention of the WordCamp development team, which is by the way run only by two people and they deserve a ton of praise for that. Some of the more simple ideas, like commenting for asking questions.

So our takeaway was understanding current limitations, primarily for security. But also allowing flexibility for great designs and concepts for future WordCamps.

Why we disallow custom PHPPHP PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. http://php.net/manual/en/intro-whatis.php. code: every single pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party would have to be maintained forever and also looked over to make sure the code is secure. If there was a security vulnerability on WordCamp.org, then that would put WordPress.org in a position to be hacked, since they’re connected. We also try to create solutions that work for all WordCamps, rather than just a single camp doing something on their own. Contributions can be made to the Meta trac and integrated for all WordCamps to use.

Miscellaneous

  • We also discussed perhaps converting each site to static HTML after the camp is over, which would allow us to remove the burden of constantly maintaining plugins. Maybe use commenting for archives.
  • MailPoet has the ability to integrate with WordPress, providing basic functionality that could be useful for other WordCamps. CampTix has some MailChimp integration; it collects stats, and delivers information back to WordCamp.org. We want to own that data, not a third-party.
  • Sessions might be extended be custom post types.

So say we all.

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After the Summit, @ryelle built a prototype for a way to easily clone another WordCamp’s CSS and other visual elements, to help organizing teams get a quick start on their own site. Kelly, could you please post that code to MetaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. TracTrac Trac is the place where contributors create issues for bugs or feature requests much like GitHub.https://core.trac.wordpress.org/., so that everyone can check it out and collaborate on it? A couple screenshots in the comments would be awesome too, for those who aren’t developers.

I’ve also spent some time thinking about how we could improve the CSS-editing experience, but that’s a big enough topic that it warrants a separate discussion, so I’ve started another post for that.

If you have any thoughts on anything mentioned above, or have an idea to improve WordCamp.org that hasn’t been mentioned yet, please post it in the comments 🙂

 

Everyone is encouraged to particpate in the discussion, but I’m pinging the people who took part in the original discussion to make sure they don’t miss the post: @ryelle, @harbormark, @chanthaboune, @nvwd, @kovshenin, @rafaehlers, @davidjlaietta, @dimensionmedia, @mj12982, @iandstewart, @miss_jwo, @topher1kenobe

#accessibility, #customization, #improving-wordcamp-org, #jetpack-css-editor, #maintenace, #official-websites, #security, #themes, #wordcamp-org

I posted to the Accessibility team to get…

I posted to the Accessibility team to get help making WordCamp websites more accessible: https://make.wordpress.org/accessibility/2014/03/24/wordcamp-websites-and-accessibility/

If you’re interested in helping with this effort, please comment on that post so everyone’s interacting on the same thread. 🙂

#accessibility, #wordcamps