Bristol suspension bridge

WordCamp Bristol 2016 Review

The first ever WordCamp Bristol was held rather appropriately at the Watershed – ‘the leading film culture and digital media centre in the South West’, a vibrant media hub that also does pretty nice coffee. I’ve spent many hours as a freelancer sat in their cafe getting project work done , attended lunchtime talks at their media studio and of course watched ample world cinema in their comfortable theatres, although some of the films weren’t as comfortable as the furniture.

I digress.

Held over two days I made it to the second day, disappointed to have missed so many talks the day prior but unperturbed I grabbed my name badge, a beverage and looked at the day’s itinerary.

Having two talks run concurrently made me feel a bit like a dev in a sweet shop, deciding on the first talk by Khalid Munir – ‘WordPress – child’s play.

As a father of two young children Khalid wanted to push home the benefit of getting kids engaged with web technology from an early age, by installing WordPress sites (locally for security and minimal risk) to create sites of their favourite movies and cool science projects. The kids would get beneficial familiarity of one of the more common technologies currently available while helping Daddy test some of the sites and systems he was working on, finding bugs from user interaction you wouldn’t normally encounter.

After a quick break the second talk on internationalisation was a real eye-opener.  As a WordPress theme developer I felt I should know more on this subject, pretty important really since the internet is all about communicating to anyone and everyone, breaking down the language barrier.

‘John Blackbourn’ listed examples of complete no no’s when it comes to content that you want to have translated, things that would never cross your mind such as the use of


which in English sites will give us this » , but in French that character is like a speech mark , so a pagination button such as next posts » won’t make a lot of sense to a French person.

He also talked about other gotchas such as a simple string to say

`You have {$post} post’ or `You have {$post} posts’

Depending on how many posts there are you might say ‘post’ or ‘posts’ , but in Russian they use the singular for numbers such as 21,31,etc. So many little considerations out there!

I felt a little sheepish for not knowing anything about this fundamentally important area of web development.

His slides can be found here and are definitely worth a read –

The next talk on wp-cli by Edmund Turbin was informative.  An hour didn’t feel long enough to cover much ground but seeing something of the benefits laid out from using wp-cli certainly touched people in the room unfamiliar with this powerful tool.

After a buffet lunch which involved a lot of wraps and a chin-wag with a few techies/designers from the Bristol WP scene I sat in on the talk by Carl Hughes on twig.

Having used twig for around a year now I can only agree with his talk’s title.

‘Get twig , use twig, smile’

Twig is a clean little templating language originally built for the symfony framework but kindly ported over to WordPress.  Twig takes the pain out of templating with a clear and concise structure removing the cumbersome loop which can be pretty horrible.

To compare here is the loop

if ( have_posts() ) {
	while ( have_posts() ) {
		// Post Content here
	} // end while
} // end if

and here is twig (ahhhhhh)

{% for post in posts %}
	// Post Content here
{% endfor %}

Again an hour really wasn’t enough to cover this amazing templating tool, but it got several people afterwards pretty stoked to get timber into the builds. I myself definitely recommend it.

The final talk was more a personal journey by ‘Josh Bedford’ with an effortless ability to raise a few laughs he talked of starting out on his career with zero experience to slowly becoming a WordPress support specialist , more an inspirational talk for those who didn’t already work as WordPress specialists and interesting to hear another person’s story for agency owners and freelancers.

A nice end to a pretty decent day. Thanks WordCamp Bristol.


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