Tag Archives: Speaking

WordPress DC 2017 – HTML, CSS and JavaScript Workshops

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This weekend we had the first ever WordCamp DC.  I have been part of the DC WordPress Community since it’s early days so it felt wonderful to have such a great 3 Day ~500 People Inaugural Event.

On the third day of the event we had 6 workshops running concurrently with Contributor Day:

  1. Beginning WordPress
  2. Beginning Marketing
  3. Beginning Brand/Design
  4. Intro to HTML
  5. Intro to CSS
  6. Intro the JavaScript

The user, marketing and design workshops ran at the same times as the HTML, CSS and JavaScript workshops.  I heard all of the workshops were great, but I wanted to highlight the coding ones since it is a slightly different approach to WordCamp Workshop Tracks I have seen lately that solely focused on JavaScript.

Not Just Teaching JavaScript

This year I have been to a number of camps with JavaScript workshop tracks.  Usually they start with an intro to JavaScript, which I have done, then more advanced workshops on topics like frameworks, the WP API, or new JS features and tools.

WordCamp DC took a more general approach and offered Intro workshops on web design overall, including HTML, CSS and JavaScript.  This has some benefits since many people were able to get a big picture look at the common front-end languages.  The downside is that folks interested in more advanced JavaScript topics did not have a workshop option.

When designing workshop tracks I think it’s important to have a pulse on what your community wants and needs.  This approach worked really well for WordCamp DC, but it might not have been the right choice for all camps.

What I Was Able to Teach About JavaScript in 90 Minutes

You can see the slides and practice files for my workshop here.  The main outline included the following:

  1. JavaScript Language Basics
  2. The DOM
  3. Events

Each section had a few slides and a few practice files.

I am very grateful for Beth Soderberg, one of the camp organizers for TAing my workshop.  With her feedback we went much slower than I would have otherwise.  This was good since most people had very little web design or programming experience.

Even some folks who had taken a few online JS courses shared they learned a lot more about how JavaScript interacts with a page using the DOM.

We were able to work through JavaScript Language Basics and The DOM but did not get through Events or the little project I put together.  So, everyone got homework and I hope a few folks try working through it.

In the future I might leave out a few things in order to make the workshop fit better into 90 minutes.  I have been doing different versions of this workshop for a couple months now and learning a bit more each time about what is essential to include and what is not.

Thoughts on Workshop Lengths

I have written about this a few times, but I want to repeat it here.  Workshops can be a great addition to camps.  However, to have a good workshop it needs to be long enough for people of various abilities to follow along and have enough time to practice as a group and individually.

Sometimes there is not enough time to allow for this, but I do think folks will gain more out of 3-4 hour workshop than a 90 minute one.  Sometimes this means you cannot offer as many workshops or cover as many topics, but it does mean people will leave having absorbed more.

One way around this is rather than trying to teach an actual subject, like HTML, JavaScript or Vue in a single 90 minute workshop, do a live build out of a specific feature or project.  For example, rather than a 90 minute workshop on VueJS and WordPress, a better 90 minute workshop might be How to List Blog Posts with VueJS and WordPress.  You can make clear you’re not teaching all of Vue in 90 minutes, rather showing how it works in action.  As long as you provide enough time for everyone to follow along with coding out the project it can still be a beneficial workshop and you’re more likely to get through everything.

Keep Up the Teaching!

Workshops at WordCamps have been going on long before I started writing about them, but since I am trying to be more involved in teaching JavaScript in person at WordCamps via Workshops, I would like to encourage camps to really think through and plan how they can offer the best workshop offerings at their camps.

Some suggestions I have for WordCamp organizers include:

  1. Poll your community on what it wants to learn about in more depth via workshops
  2. Try to provide 2-4hrs for a single workshop
  3. If you are planning a Workshop Track, make sure workshop leaders discuss with each other how to tie their talks together and not have to reteach the same thing
  4. Have multiple TAs in the audience to help attendees and give feedback to workshop leaders on pacing

I’ll just end again with praise and props to WordCamp DC for coming up with an amazing workshop track.  Everyone I talked to learned something and having workshops on non coding topics was really popular.

 

WordCamp Orange County 2017 JavaScript, Vue, React, Redux, GraphQL & WordPress API Workshops

Wow #WCOC

I have had the wonderful opportunity to attend a number of WordCamps, so it is always exciting when I attend a new (to me) amazing WordCamp. WordCamp Orange County 2017 was one of those Camps.

Props to all of the organizers and attendees for representing so well the diverse and deep nature of the WordPress Community all coming together to help each other (and have fun). So many great talks, and I personally learned a ton from showing up and asking a lot of questions 🙂

WordCamp Orange County was also one of the Camps to reach out to me in response to my tweet asking if any WordCamps wanted a workshop on JavaScript and the WordPress REST API so I was excited to take part in their series of JavaScript and WordPress API Workshops.

Planning The Workshops

Jason Bahl, Jacob Arriola and myself  all did two hour workshops that spanned the following JavaScript and WordPress API topics:

  • Vanilla JavaScript
  • VueJS
  • React & Redux
  • GraphQL and
  • The WordPress REST API

I want to thank Jacob and Jason for the backdoor Slack discussions before the Camp figuring out how we can tie our three workshops together and best plan everything.

Two hours is also not a lot of time to lead a workshop because ideally a workshop has time for the following:

  1. Setting up the local development environment and getting the practice exercises and slides
  2. Time to both code along with the instructor and time to practice what they learned on their own or in groups
  3. Ability for attendees to receive assistance if they fall behind or have questions

If you’re looking to plan a WordCamp JavaScript talk or workshop track I recommend you encourage the presenters to discuss and organize their talks a bit during Camp planning stages for the best flow for attendees. This also happened with the WordCamp Miami Learn Deeply Tracks and that made a huge difference there as well.

I will say that even though we did feel we could have done more with more time, the workshops were a success in my opinion, and I think that other WordCamps should definitely follow the example of WordCamp Orange County and WordCamp Miami with planning JavaScripty talk or workshop tracks 🙂

 

Zac’s Workshop – Vanilla JavaScript and (a little WP API)

I went up first with a workshop on Vanilla JavaScript. After a quick JS 101 pop quiz,  the workshop focused on DOM and Event fundamentals that can often be tricky or frustrating without an understand how the DOM API really works under the hood with JavaScript.

I got some feedback from folks who use jQuery regularly that this gave them some ideas for how they could do a few more things with VanillaJS that they had previously just used jQuery for. I’m not anti jQuery, especially since it is already loaded in so many places in WordPress, but, I do think it’s powerful to know how things work under the hood with Vanilla JavaScript.

I’m excited to continue to improve this workshop as I continue my JavaScript Workshop Tour at more WordCamps this year.

Jacob Arriola’s VueJS Workshop

Jacob did a great job not only delivering his workshop, but completely theming the project to the WCOC 2017 Super Hero Theme. Way to go above and beyond mate 😉 Jacob has been using VueJS at work for Zeek Interactive and you can tell he likes it’s ease of use combined with incredible power. (Side note, Arron Holbrook, also listed below, was a huge help in refining the plugin and wp apis section of my upcoming Udemy course, tx mate!)

Attendees got a chance to build out a Vue app and learn about the essentials of the framework. I overheard a number of folks talk about how well Jacob explained things and how easy Vue is to use. I definitely think this will inspire a number of companies to spin up small Vue projects in the coming moons.

Jacob is an active member of the WordPress and JavaScript community in the WCOC area and I definitely recommend you say hi and start a conversation with him next time you see him.

 

Jason’s React, Redux & GraphQL Workshop

WordCamp Orange County was lucky to have Jason leading a workshop that got into all of this, especially GraphQL.  Like Jacob, Jason presented a really strong case for working with the React, Redux and GraphQL stack in decoupled environments with WordPress.

He did a ton of prep work for this talk, including writing out a series of blog posts walking through everything he covered. Jason has done a lot of work in the arena of bringing GraphQL to WordPress and his workshop was amazing.

Jason went over getting up and running with React and then introduced Redux in a really clear and structured way that showed how you can save on queries to the API. The app he everyone got to build was a Netflix style site and it really showed off the power of these tools in action.

The part that I was most interested in hearing about was GraphQL and I was not disappointed. First, Jason showed how much more performant GraphQL is compared to the internal REST API for decoupled projects (10 times?!!). Then he showed how we can leverage GraphQL for grabbing data into our app and plugging it into the React / Redux architecture.

I highly suggest you go check out this tutorial series and follow GraphQL on Twitter.

 

My Overall Thoughts on JavaScript Workshops and Tracks at WordCamps

I am very grateful to be involved with the WordPress Community during these days of more interest in and talks and workshops coming out on JavaScript and API Driven WordPress Development.

If you help organize or influence your local WordCamp, I encourage you to follow the example of WordCamp Orange County and WordCamp Miami in helping your community become more inspired and confident with JavaScript and WP REST API (or GraphQL ;))

Leverage your local community of experts (both within WordPress and outside of it) and feel free to reach out to me for ideas or involvement 🙂

Happy JavaScripting!

Learn JavaScript & The WP REST API Deeply at a Day of REST

A Day of REST Boston 2017 - The WordPress REST API and JavaScript Conference

A Day of REST is Coming to the States!!!

The Day of REST Conference kicked off last year in the UK with an incredible line-up of speakers, all using the API in production project and a few core contributors to the WP REST API.

In 2017 The Day of REST Conference is coming to the US for the first time and I encourage you all to attend!  Here are 3 good reasons:

  1. This is THE Conference on the WP REST API (and JS for WP)
  2. This year they are adding 6 AMAZING Workshops
  3. I believe supporting A Day of REST supports WP API adoption

Hurry before the Early Bird Discount Expires!

 

I Mean, Just Check Out These Workshops

Just attending the one day of talks is worth the entire trip.  I attended last year in the UK when I still had a lot of questions about the API and using it with JavaScript.  I got all of my questions answered and a lot more.  

In addition to the day of talks, they are adding two days of workshops (one day before and one day after).

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The Workshops Include:

  • Full Day – JavaScript w Zac Gordon (That’s Me!)
  • Full Day – React w Wes Bos (Teacher crush!)
  • Half Day – Webpack w K. Adam White (Webpack goes deep..)
  • Half Day – WP API Authentication w Joe Hoyle (Worth the entire trip)
  • Half Day – Backbone & WP API w Adam Silverstein (It’s already in Core!)
  • Half Day – WooCommerce API w Brian Richards (The API is for Woo Too 🙂

The pricing for the conference and the workshops depends on what you want to attend, but I can guarantee that coming out here will up your JS and WP API game.  You want to be in the cutting edge of WP Dev, right?  This is the community and event to plug into.  Keep reading to hear why I feel this so strongly.

 

Why We Should Support The Day of REST Conference

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I have been honored to work a bit with the folks from Human Made who put on the Day of REST and Week of REST events.  But Human Made is also a VIP WP Partner, they build production apps and sites with the REST API, and they contribute time to Core API development.  I really doubt the WordPress REST API would be where it is today without their support.  On top of that they’re amazing Human Beings.

Anyone who gets into running conferences knows you don’t do it for the money.  I do not know all the inner workings of A Day of REST, but I do know that putting on a quality event like this takes a lot of human and financial resources.  Again, this is on top of the amazing Core Development and professional implementations they already do as a company.

One of the easiest ways you can show your support for a wider adoption of the WP REST API is to drum up attention for and attend A Day of REST.

This is why I think it comes to us in the community who want to see more from the WP REST API to support these events.  Even if you cannot fly to Boston in March, buy a ticket just to show your support for what A Day of REST and Human Made are doing to help further education around the WP REST API.

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My hope is that if A Day of REST goes well, Human Made will continue to offer it and also bring A Week of REST to the States.  And let me tell you what… that is gonna be one heck of a “You Want To Be Here” Event! (Check out my 2016 Week of REST Review)

So, please, talk to your employers and partners and see if you can make it to A Day of REST on March 9th (Workshops on 8 and 10th) in Boston.  This is the one conference out there solely focused on the future of API Driven WordPress Development.

I hope to see you there!!!

Learn more about a Day of REST Boston on March 8-10th, 2017.

 

Oh! And as an added bonus the conference site is running on React and the WP REST API 😉

Slides from WordCamp Baltimore – A Year of Learning (and Teaching) JavaScript Deeply

Today I had the chance to speak at WordCamp Baltimore 2016 about my last year of learning and teaching JavaScript Deeply.

I had a great time preparing the slides and getting everything ready and hopefully it all went well 🙂  I’ll add up the video once its on WordPress.tv

 

Zac Gordon Will Be Presenting at A Week of REST with Human Made in the UK!!!

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The Week of REST Conference in the UK – Coming later 2016

When I set out to start my JavaScript for WordPress Master Course back in November, Human Made was one of the primary companies I wanted to partner with.  They have Joe, Ryan, Siobhan and many other talented folks who I deeply respect and would love to work with.  They are also the leading company out there promoting the WordPress REST API.

For these reasons, I am super excited and honored to become part of their team for the Week of REST training they will be doing in the UK, later this year.  This is a follow up to the wonderful Day of REST Conference they had earlier this year.

Here is a little information from the splash page for the event:

A four-day residential developer bootcamp, with a focus on building websites and applications on top of WordPress. Learn everything from building a custom API to creating your first application.

Tailored to WordPress developers, the bootcamp will teach you how to leverage the WordPress REST API, creating your own custom APIs, and displaying your data in a frontend JavaScript application. With a strong focus on best practices, you’ll learn everything you need to start building decoupled websites and applications.

I know not everyone will have the means to hop the pond from the States to get over to the UK, but even if you cannot make it, please sign up for their newsletter here.

I can’t speak at this point to anything in regards to a Week of REST here in the States, but I am sure that if a lot of folks show interest and put in requests it would help 🙂

So, please sign up for the newsletter to show your interest in general for the event and if you or your company has the means to get you there for the Week of REST, it will definitely be worth your time!!!

It does not look like this will really be catered to folks new to JavaScript, so if you’re still just getting started or comfortable with JavaScript you will want to check out my JavaScript for WordPress Master Course.

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Also, if you were not able to attend the Day of REST Conference back in January, our beloved Brian Krogsgard, of Post Status, is hosting the videos from the conference on his site, so please join.  If you are not a Post Status member, you really are out of the inside loop when it comes to WordPress news, so join the club today 🙂

I will be posting more information on the Week of REST as it gets closer, but let the folks at Human Made know if you’re interested in the event.

$100 Off My WooCommerce Development Workshop at WooConf 2016

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I’m super excited to head out to Austin on April 6-8 this year for my 2nd WooConf.  This year I will be doing a workshop based on a WooCommerce Theme Development Course I did at Treehouse.

Thanks to the folks at WooCommerce, I have an unlimited coupon code “WOOCONFZAC” for $100 off for anyone who wants to attend the conference for Woo work.

Check out the trailer for the course to get an idea of just some of what we will get into.

 

Of course we will also talk a little about JS and API work with WooCommerce 😉