In my green WordPress freelance developer’s perspective an event like WordCamp Europe 2013 is part of the “just ship it” philosophy I use as a mantra in development: one half of the process is shipping to clients while the other part is shipping to peers.
The people I usually get along and work with are not developers and, although able to appreciate the result, is not able to appreciate the process.
WordPress allows even developers with little skill or experience to deliver some very good results. While this is powerful and good it is also misleading to a developer in a way. Thinking of almost any beginner guide to coding I’ve read the first line of code I’ve written always returned a single line of output: hello world!. WordPress’ hello world is huge. It’s not a single line of output. It’s a whole site running on his legs and allowing user tested interactions both in producing and consuming content. And I still did not write any line of code at all.
In an event like WCE, and I guess WordCamps in general, I get to talk to other developers, healthily measure myself with them and have my coding and knowledge skills tested in a friendly fencing environment.
I took WCE as an occasion to gather actionable items, information I can act upon, to improve as a developer, person and business runner in general and here is a short list of the main ones I took home:
- Sites built to HTML5 standard and following latest guidelines are not screen reader usable, accessible. Bram’s presentation was very educational to me
- I need a CRM and I did not know it, thanks to Miriam Schwab for her talk
- Testing code is a good thing and I’m not wasting my time in doing it; being the only one doing Test Driven Development I needed that reassurance; thanks to Ptah Dunbar
- my ideas about OOP are empirical and proving insufficient to model more abstract situations, a starting point to educate myself is the book Nikolay Bachiyski referred to in his talk
- making money on open-source is not killing open-source, I thought it and Joost de Valk talk about it was another educational listening
- “Less is more” was Noel Tock talk title and I did not know anything about Software as a Service; furthermore an axed down admin backend for lower tier users is a philosophy I’d like to adopt
Would I suggest participating in such an event? Absolutely yes.
What I’m further suggesting is to take it as an occasion to be humble, to be humbled and look ignorant and to learn which skills you do not have in the process. And I’m not talking about the coding related ones alone.