Notes from WordCamp Europe, 2018

Another successful WordCamp Europe 2018 just wrapped up a few days ago. The event had 54 organizers, 170 volunteers, 65 speakers (from 17 countries), and 37 sponsors (with 44 micro-sponsors). Out of 2,368 tickets sold, 2,085 attendees (from 76 countries) physically attended. Another 808 people in 37 countries bought livestream tickets.

Florian Ziegler has shared stunning photos from the event that are a must see. There's also a nice wrap-up video that was created by Production Pool available.

While we've already covered the announcements and new information in Matt Mullenweg's keynote, there was an abundance of knowledge shared by the conference presenters. There's too much to cover everything, but I would like to share some of the highlights from what I saw. (All videos of the two main tracks should be on wordpress.tv very soon.)

  •  As you can imagine, JavaScript was brought up many times in developer talks. The  “JavaScript APIs in WordPress” presentation by Adam Silverstein laid out all the major JavaScript modules used by Gutenberg. I especially appreciated the way he demonstrated that wp.hooks aims to be the equivalent of WordPress hooks in PHP. Adam believes wp.media will be rewritten in React eventually, although it's not a top priority.
  • Accessibility received notable attention. Maja Benke‘s talk about “Accessible Design” had many great “do's and don'ts” tips that are easy to apply. For example, do use fonts made for people with Dyslexia. I love this quote she shared from IBM: “For people without disabilities, tech makes things easier. For people WITH disabilities, tech makes things possible.”
  • It was clear the need for better WordPress mobile apps is both widely felt and being taken seriously. Cate Huston‘s “The State of WordPress Mobile” talk showcased recently released mobile features and also noted how many bugs have been resolved. Cate noted that mobile has been working with Gutenberg to make it a smooth experience and shared some interesting workflow slides. 1.3 million posts, as well as 3.7 million photos and videos, were uploaded via the WordPress mobile apps in the past month.
  • John Maeda's presentation on “WordPress and Inclusive Design” is highly recommended not only for his views on design in the current WordPress space but also his use of interactivity to take the audience's live feedback during his talk. If you are a WordCamp speaker or want to be one, you'll want to take some lessons from this presentation. 
  • Morten Rand-Hendriksen‘s talk about the “Ethics of Web Design” was so well done, there was some visible emotion during his Q&A session. If you design, develop, or create anything on the web for an audience you should take time to watch this presentation.
  • The “Progressive Web Theme” talk from Google's Thierry Muller and Alberto Medina contained a lot of fascinating information. Google was the main sponsor of WordCamp Europe, along with Jetpack and WooCommerce. In light of Google's focus on the AMP plugin for WordPress with support from Automattic, it's clear that they want to be an active supporter of the WordPress community. “I hope one day that the concept of Google being an evil corporation will disappear,” was an interesting way for Alberto to start off the talk, perhaps addressing concerns some people have about the AMP project.
  • Noel Tock had a strong and pointed message in his “WordPress in 2019” presentation: WordPress as a consumer brand has become less relevant. In addition, measuring WordPress growth via market share is a distraction. “Real opportunity” for growth, Noel insists, lies in projects that will “drive WordPress up the value chain and play nice with the larger ecosystem… We need to adapt and take risks to keep WordPress growing.”
  • If you haven't heard of Rebrand Cities, then take time to see Hajj Flemings talk. WordPress.com has launched a new partnership with Rebrand Cities to get 10,000 small businesses online.
  • K. Adam White gave an excellent talk on documentation for developers, full of tips and tricks. Write The Docs came in for a mention — “a global community of people who care about documentation.”
  • Regarding Gutenberg, two of the Saturday afternoon presentations are essential viewing. These are “Gutenberg Design Patterns” by Tammie Lister, and “Beyond Gutenberg” with Matías Ventura. Matías put on some great demos involving child blocks, nested blocks, and the columns block, but I was particularly impressed with how quickly and smoothly Gutenberg handles Markdown conversion.
  • Finally, it was announced that WordCamp Europe 2019 will be held in Berlin, Germany (June 20-22, 2019).