I had been anticipating greatly this Wordcamp. One because of the proximity and second the quality of the speakers. So here is my personal views on WordCamp Orlando 2013 (held at UCF Rosen School Of Hospitality) November 16-17. Overall, this event was a major hit. As my first WordCamp, I am pleased to report this is an event I will continue to attend, over years to come.
In my eyes, for an event so large, WordCamp scored A+ in organization and friendliness.
1. The WordCamp was extremely well organized. The greeters were friendly and helpful. The name tags were clearly arranged on tables, according to registration level, i.e. camper, micro-sponsor etc.
2. The schedule was clearly displayed prominently in several locations, including the very convenient spot behind your registration name tag. Anytime that you wanted to refer to the schedule, it was within your reach. Great idea, kudos to the WordCamp team.
3. Rooms were clearly marked designating the relevant rooms for each track: developer, Designer or User.
4. The lunch was great, as were the steady supply of soft drinks, snacks and coffee.
Quality of Content
Overall, I think WordCamp receives a score of 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 for content. Even the SMX conference I attended last month was anywhere close in quality of content.
On the Developer track, the most interesting session was the one with Aaron Holbrooke discussing PHP debugging. Aaron did a phenomenal job of walking through a couple of solid real-world debugging example sessions. Listening to Aaron was refreshing and insightful, partly because he presented the material very well and also because he allowed an open Q & A session. The slides from his presentation are here. In short, my takeaway from his presentation was to use either NetBeans or PHPStorm for interactive PHP debugging.
WordPress and the Internet of Things by Tomas Puig was another interesting presentation. Tomas covered some very good statistics about the growth of non-computer devices connecting to the internet. This includes devices such as FitBit and Progressive Auto Sensor.
Of particular interest to me was the Need for Speed presentation by Hristo Pandjorav. Hristo is with Siteground, a WordPress specialized hosting company. He presented some very useful tools for measuring site speed and addressing the reasons for the delays. One of the key takeaways from Hristo’s presentation was summarized as follows. I found this to be the most enlightening aspect of his presentation. If you have ever done a Page Speed test, you know how the results indicate an overall grade and several different component grades. The following mechanism helps you prioritize your plan of attack.
- Sort performance issues by their severity
- Sort them by the time you need to fix them
- Cross-reference the two lists
While we are on the topic of speed, one of the questions (during the keynote presentation) was related to a plugin that can measure performance of all the installed plugins. The Plugin Performance Profiler (aka P3) was the answer.It is one of the first things I did on my blog. Sure enough, I found one culprit that was contributing the most to the page load times. It is super easy to use and provides a lot of high level and detailed level metrics that you can use for getting performance gains.
On the User track, Carol Gann of Orlando Web Wizard covered the Visual Editor. Carol has a knack for engaging the audience. Carol tied the predisposition of individuals learning styles to their choice of visual editor. I think that was a unique take on the topic and made logical sense.
All in all, I thought WordCamp Orlando 2013 was a great event. The turnout was great, the speakers were of good quality. The food was excellent, the venue was amazing. The content was well presented by the speakers. Not to mention, there were goodies given out by Sponsors such as WP Engine, Site Ground, Constant Contact etc. If you also attended this WordCamp, I would love to hear your thoughts.