Open Thread for Unconference Topics

As mentioned previously, a large portion of our event this year will be held as an unconference, with topics suggested, chosen, and scheduled by the community of attendees.

Unconference sessions can spring up in one of two fashions:

  • An attendee may come to WordCamp with a desire to speak or lead a discussion about a particular topic for which they are knowledgeable
  • An attendee may come with questions about a particular topic and be seeking answers.

With those two options in mind, we’d like to offer up this post to spark some discussion (please leave a comment below) about topics or questions that might be great WordCamp sessions.

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39 Responses to Open Thread for Unconference Topics

  1. Right now I’m interested in learning about MultiSite and BuddyPress. And about keeping WordPress secure.

  2. Wes Chyrchel says:

    I read this post yesterday and it really got me thinking. I knew what I wanted to suggest as a topic, but I wasn’t sure how to write it. After reading the latest article on Smashing Magazine today it hit me, I would really like to discuss what it takes to be a great WordPress developer, designer, content writer, marketer, SEO, advocate and evangelist. What constitutes a successful project? Was it the process, design, execution, customer communication or everything altogether? Sure, we can all install the software, install a theme and show someone how to login, but are we doing our best to set our client up for success? To have a career in this business you have to be able to display your work. If the latest website you built is taken down in a year because the client wasn’t successful with their business, you have to ask the question, did we as developers, designers, content writers, marketers, SEO’s, advocates and evangelists, do our best? What is a good formula for a successful WordPress project and where do we start?

    • Sarah Morrow says:

      I love this idea and would love to hear more about it!

      • John says:

        That’s a lot of subject matter, but very important to all of us. I will attend this one if it occurs. Good post Wes.

    • Wes Chyrchel says:

      I’ve put a little more thought into this idea and wanted to possibly be a little more specific. WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg asks at WordCamp’s, “how many websites have people built with WordPress?” The numbers go up, 30 to 150. The question that I’d like to know is, “how many successful websites have people built with WordPress?” And by successful, I mean, is it generating enough revenue to support itself. So, the real question behind all of this is, “do we as WordPress developers have a responsibility to our clients, to make their website as successful as possible?” Typical answers may be, “the client doesn’t have the budget” or “I can’t afford to hold their hand”or maybe,”they are going to do it all in house”. So, with those answers in mind, how far do we go? How do we adapt our process? What is our process? Where does our responsibility end? And if the client does not have the budget, how do we ethically and responsibly prepare them for what lies ahead?

  3. Dan Blaker says:

    I’d like to present a case study on using WordPress as the base platform for a custom CMS. It would cover, among other lessons learned: feature modularity via the plugin architecture, debugging, metabox insanity, object-oriented custom post types, dev/test/production deployment techniques, and above all, keeping it simple.

  4. I would really like to hear someone present an in-depth look at how test-driven development works in php. How to write and execute tests preferably without the aide of an IDE.

    I am interested in talking on one or two topics:
    1. Building interaction between plugins and themes.
    2. Escaping and Localizing strings with WordPress.

    Please post back if your interested in talking or hearing me talk about one of these subjects!

    • Eric Mann says:

      I’d be up for discussing theme/plugin interaction. Particularly if you include how it helps developer collaboration.

      • That’s a really great angle, unfortunately not one that I have really experienced though. Have you? All of the themes + plugins that I have integrated (or am working on integrating) are my own work, but I find that it is really beneficial to do so, because it allows for another round of testing in an entirely new context.

        • Eric Mann says:

          The majority have been my own, but a handful of people have integrated a few of my libraries into their own work (I noticed big time when Google changed an API and everyone using my library started yelling at me about it). But on the whole, developers don’t really know how to interact on that level.

          I think an unconference about how we’re already decoupling functionality and how others can hook into that might be a good springboard for encouraging deeper collaborative projects.

    • Than Taintor says:

      Double-plus vote on the test-driven development talk idea. Is anyone up for speaking on that? I’ve dabbled in PHPUnit a bit, but I have no idea how to get anything near full test coverage on a WP plugin or theme.

    • I’d be pretty interested to discuss building cross-compatibility between themes and plugins.

    • Toby McKes says:

      Yes! Test-driven development! Nikolay B’s presentation at #WCSF was awesome, but I feel like it was just the tip of the iceberg. I would love to find out more if there’s anyone out there who knows about it.

  5. Tim Anderson says:

    I am fairly new to WordPress, want to learn best tips on site security and backup.

  6. Rob Allred says:

    I would love to learn more about what plugin’s others cannot live without, scaling wordpress, theme development, and SEO is always important. Anything development oriented (+1 for test driven suggestion), core topics and security oriented for development as well. I could go on and on, and we are excited to hit Portland for the weekend and talk shop.

  7. Amanda says:

    Last year’s talk on “how to keep clients from f*2p!ing up their wordpress sites” was the most fun I’d had at a wordcamp. also, we were all pretty buzzed. now I live here! thinking a followup on how to provide wordpress services would be fun, and what goes better with unicorns than wordpress services?

  8. Peter Leahy says:

    I ‘d love to hear / brainstorm users experiences on how to create an integrated marketing campaign that uses WP as the CMS with automatic flows out of WP with any plug-ins / 3rd party apps that then help reactivate and reengage. For example using the site as the base but integrating publishing out to printable hard copy newsletter templates, RSS, social media, email newsletter tracking systems, text alerts, voicemail systems, mobile apps, etc to create a brand experience that draws people back in while reaching them when and where they access information most.

    • Joe Boydston says:

      I’d like to expand on my lightning talk from WCSF – WordPress is saving journalism – Newspapers are disrupting the local media business by innovating on top of WordPress. I’ll demo and discuss plugins that redefine how a newspaper is run, including a sustainable business model that includes both legacy print publications as well as digital. All powered by WordPress of course.

      In short: Reverse Publishing from WordPress to print.

  9. Sue Surdam says:

    My List:

    SSL and WordPress

    WordPress as your social media hub: integration with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook.

    Guidelines for project pricing

  10. Kayleen says:

    A discussion on scalability, optimization and performance would be helpful for me. Particularly as it relates to a multisite environment.

    And also, what Wes said.

  11. Karen Groves says:

    Custom Post Types! Haven’t explored these yet. I want to know how to build them, step by step and how to use them.

    Child Theming is also something I am getting into but I have lots of questions about best practices, (I’m sure my method is not awesome :D) especially in regards to the CSS that is involved and custom page templates.

  12. Sarah Morrow says:

    I would love to hear more about theme development, honestly any aspect of it as it relates to plugin integration, seo, usability, etc….

    • I love to talk about making themes! Feel free to hit me up any time during camp. I was thinking about doing a talk I just did at WordCamp LA called “Theming for the Masses 2” I’m not sure if there will be projectors for us to use, but I’m up for the challenge of doing it without slides. Is this something you might be interested in seeing?

  13. I’d love to talk and hear others about different development environments/setup, using git (and github) with WordPress, svn, staging etc… I’ve got a few ideas and examples

  14. Barbara says:

    I would like to learn how to become a good website developer using WordPress themes, including an overall basic skill that applies to all themes. I love the creative aspect of starting with a basic framework and turning it into something beautiful, or powerful or whatever. I just need to develop the skill set to do this quickly and efficiently, and I don’t know exactly how to go about that in a way that is faster than trial and error.

  15. Anna says:

    As a new blogger, here are some topics of interest:
    -Quick intro to CSS for bloggers (and/or HTML, PHP)
    -Site visual appeal (advice from artists/designers on how to make a site easy on the eyes)
    -Keeping a WordPress site accessible to people with various handicaps
    -Making money from a blog or website (advertising, affiliates)
    -Business or tax advice for bloggers or self-employed developers (liability protection, etc.)
    -Site migration from other platforms to
    -Site security best practices
    -How do you recover a WordPress site that was hacked. Case studies?

  16. Sue Surdam says:

    Responsive Web Design discussion would be interesting. Here is a link Sara Cannon’s Responsive Web Design WordCamp San Francisco presentation to get the discussion rolling.

  17. Evan Solomon says:

    I work on our feature and UI experiments for and we’ve built some pretty cool internal tools and processes to do it. I’d love to lead a talk on running experiments to optimize your site, how we do it on, what we’ve learned and why you probably have no idea what your users want 🙂

  18. Aaron Hockley says:

    Like Daniel, I posted a few topics of interest on my blog.