WordCampNYC 2009 RecapSubmitted by Keith Casey on Tue, 11/17/2009 - 05:25
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend WordCamp NYC 2009. Overall, it was a blast but there are some specific sessions and people I'd like to point out as particular stand outs.
First, Raphael Mudge - a local DCian - talked about his tool After the Deadline. It's a plugin that ties into TinyMCE to perform in-context spelling and grammar checking. I haven't had a chance to look at it in more than passing, but it looks impressive. And for some reason, I ended up on his "The 10 People you Meet" post. It's probably because I asked him to speak at DCPHP next month.
Next, there was Brad Williams' discussion of WordPress Security. While the goal of the presentation was good, only a few of the ideas were purely WordPress while the rest are just good security practices in general.
Next was great session from Mark Jaquith discussing how to make your Plugins secure using some of the core functions to handle data scrubbing, escaping, and validation. While the audience seemed somewhat unconcerned about it, I appreciate the fact that projects are stepping forward to build these libraries and are actively encouraging their users to use them.
Later in the day, I attended a few sessions with my friend and colleague Aaron Brazell - author of the upcoming WordPress Bible - and was able to participate in a number of interesting discussions in and out of the sessions.
One of the discussions involved the problem of managing the sheer number of plugins that have similar-but-not-quite-the-same functionality. Without some sort of guidance or establishing a set of "canonical" plugins to recommend, how does a new user choose one? While it seemed that everyone agreed this is a problem, there were a number of us concerned about how this was done.
My opinion is that this happens for a reason and it's likely due to differing Use Cases. After all, someone who just wants to display a Twitter feed probably doesn't need a full Twitter library, just a glorified RSS reader. I see the same problem in the Drupal world where non-core modules (like slideshows!) have dozens upon dozens of implementations and no one knows which one works for them. I don't know how to solve this problem but I think using tools like CodeSniffer Standards for WordPress would be a good start, especially if their rating is included in the search rankings. Between two libraries that are both "close" to the goal, I believe a developer would pick up the one that was "more right" in terms of standards... but maybe I'm dreaming.
The most impressive demo of the day was from Daryl Koopersmith showing off Elastic. Elastic - click here to see the Elastic demo - is simply amazing. It's this theme engine that allows you to edit and adjust the theme view a simple browser interface using jQuery. It lets you do things like from moving blocks around to resizing them to respecting the gutters between areas to all kinds of stuff. And the most impressive thing of all... Daryl is a junior in college and joined up via the Google Summer of Code Project. I think there are bigger and even more impressive things coming from him.
The final session of the day was mine. I was there on Microsoft's behalf to talk about their interoperability efforts and how they've helped the PHP community. Of course to be fair, I covered some of the negatives - yes, a picture of the DeathStar was used - but I also discussed Website Spark and the PHP on Windows Contest. The session had low attendance, but it was worth doing regardless.
Overall, WordPress NYC 2009 was a great time. Jane Wells deserves lots of thanks for getting things organized and keeping things moving. These events wouldn't come together without dedicated and motivated people making them happen.
Disclosure: Yes, I was there on Microsoft's behalf... what more is there to disclose there? Also, I served as one of Aaron's technical editors on the WordPress Bible.
And yes. This blog is in Drupal.