Slow Cooked WordPress

My presentation topic for WordCamp Chicago 2011 was Slow Cooked WordPress. This made for a curious title, and more than one fellow WordCamper approached me before the session started and wanted to know what this was all about. The idea was to compare building a WordPress site to slow cooking a delicious meal.

The presentation started out with three important concepts: Ingredients, Care, and Craft. These concepts were illustrated with examples of some of the great local food and beverages that are produced in the Traverse City area. Thanks goes out to Matt and Carissa Visser of Isadore Farm for allowing me to use a photo of them at their farmer’s market booth. I suppose I should also thank Right Brain Brewery, Shorts Brewery, and Higher Grounds for making my most favorite inspiring beverages too.

Some of the topics we covered in this session were:

  • Why install WordPress manually vs. the 1-click install
  • How to choose a theme that works with your content
  • How to choose plugins that won’t cause conflicts
  • Where to go for reliable tutorials to help improve your craft

I related a few real life examples that I thought we could all learn from. One was about a site that I was contracted to rebuild after a failed first attempt by another developer. The problems with the site included the use of a theme that just did not work for the site owner’s content. For example, having more than three pages broke the site’s navigation layout. This theme was available as a free download at the wordpress.org theme repository. That’s right: it was available. Fortunately for the WordPress community, there is a crack team of theme reviewers now who review each and every theme that go into the repository. Older themes typically stay in unless they have a good reason to suspend them. Like a spammy footer link. A distinguished member of said team, Emil Uzelac, was present and made sure the theme was suspended after I demoed the spammy link that was output to the footer.

There was a little bit of code presented here and there throughout, and I hope that some of the newer WordPress users/developers in the audience could see the beauty in just how simple and clean WordPress code can be.

Many thanks to those who asked some great questions, offered some additional helpful tips, and gave kind words about the session. The slides from this presentation can be viewed at http://slidesha.re/slowcookwp.

Thanks to Mary Duquaine and Heather Acton, among the many others who worked so hard to make WordCamp Chicago 2011 a success. Also, a big thanks to all of the wicked awesome sponsors too.

30. July 2011 by joshfeck
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