I was able to attend this years Wordcamp and it did not disappoint. The focus for a lot of the talks was version control, consistency, and some cool tools out there we should be using. Most of the talks can be found on WordPressTV, there are some other talks in there worth the watch. Here’s a list of a few key talks I attended along with a brief takeaway.

WP-CLI / Speaker: Shawn Hooper

What the hell is WP-CLI you ask? Only the coolest command line tool. What’s command-line? Get out. Now. Just kidding, you can stay…for now. This talk was more developer focused, but man did it light up the room of geeks. The wp-cli is a tool that allows a developer to perform commands via command-line which is basically the way for developers to connect to a website with out a File Transfer Protocol tool such as CyberDuck or Transmit. You update WordPress core or plugins without even having to log into the WordPress admin. There was a lot of hooting and hollering when this was done. It’s definitely something we developers will be using at Gemini soon. wp-cli.org

Best Practices for Developing Websites / Speaker: Aaron Holbrook

A lot of the talks reinforced the fact to use version control. Aaron also recommended a few key tips, which we follow for the most part.

  • Create a system
  • Be consistent
  • Make it easy
  • Exit early, exit often or safe often (Version Control)

He then focused on leveraging tools such as IDE’s (integrated development environments) such as PHP Storm. This allows developers to debug code easier to reduce…zzz..aldkshfah – geez, did I just fall asleep typing that? Look, if you’re a hardcore developer programming PHP and/or javascript functions – you need whatever help you can get and PHP Storm is one of many great tools out there. There is also WebStorm, IntelliJ IDEA & ATOM.

Configuration Management – WordPress Configuration in Code / Speaker: Tessa Kriesel

With the WP-CFM (WordPress Configuration Management) plugin you can bundle a group of settings without messing with the wp_options table. This was a little over my head, but essentially you save site settings without coding. This is similar to how Drupal (another CMS like WordPress) can do a bunch a settings on the site itself without logging into the database.

Programming Etiquette / Speaker: John James Jacoby

This talk was more geared to having a programming system in place in terms of:

  • Being consistent
  • Single quotes vs. double quotes
  • Naming conventions
  • Being descriptive with you commit messages (version control)

Biggest take-a-way: “Etiquette helps us agree on what to agree on.”

Why Wireframes Should Die. / Speaker: Travis Totz

This was straight to the point and I’m happy to say we don’t use wireframes, other than sketches, at Gemini. A piece of paper and pencil is all you should need for a wireframe, converting that to an electronic format is just a waste of time. We have so many better tools that allow us to just go into rapid prototyping:

Let’s learn Git. No more excuses / Speaker: Dwayne McDaniel

I’m not going to go into too much detail with this one because the title really says it all. Git is a version control system that most development shops use. It’s quite easy to understand and there are a LOT of tools to help you with version control without going into command-line. We’re are working on implementing a solution within our web development department.

Cowboy Coding / Speaker: Gary Kovar

Don’t. Just don’t do it. There are SO many reasons why to not do this, but if you have to, really have to – here are a few tips:

  • Save a copy: Before you change something, save a copy of the code somewhere. Even if it’s just on your desktop. That way you can just drop the code right back if something breaks.
  • “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast” – Don’t rush, be mindful of the changes you’re making. Write down a list of the files you’re updating if you can.
  • Be mindful of typos: It happens to the best of us. We rush and don’t re-read what we typed. Have a friend review your changes before saving your updates. Pair program if you can: they call also be a witness to verify what updates you’ve done.