Tag Archives: WordCamp

WordCamp Ann Arbor 2017 JavaScript Workshop

My First WCA2

Zac Gordon teaching JavaScript at WordCamp Ann Arbor

When I put out the call at the beginning of 2017 that I would like to start doing more JavaScript workshops, my good friend Kyle Maurer, from WordCamp Ann Arbor, was one of the first to invite me to come do a workshop.

The Workshop

I have continued to refine the JavaScript for WordPress workshop I have been doing and I think it continues to evolve into a solid workshop covering JS and WP API fundamentals while also building something practical.

In the workshop we cover the following:

  1. JavaScript Language Basics (Programming 101 w JS)
  2. The Document Object Model
  3. Events with the DOM & JavaScript
  4. The WordPress REST API
  5. How to pull the API into JavaScript in a stand alone and theme environment

Of course there was still more I would have liked to include, but I think we did a really good job.

Slide Deck and Resources

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Super Fun Getting to Know Some Students Working in the Field!

You can check out the slide deck and resources for the workshop over here on my 2017 WordCamp Ann Arbor landing page.

A Reflection on WCA2 Social Activities

One of the nice things that WordCamp Ann Arbor did well and a little different was to have non WordPress related breakout sessions on the first day where folks could group up and go on a range of activities from a walk through the Arboretum to Pub Crawling.

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Hanging out with WordCampers at WCA2 2017

At first I was hesitant of these plans, but it turns out it was brilliant and the perfect chance to know some other attendees more deeply.  I had a great time and enjoyed getting to know folks better.

Overall, great job WCA2!  I had heard about your camp for a while and you did not disappoint.  There is rumored to be four Michigan camps in 2018 so I look forward to making it back!

Congrats and well done to all the organizers for WCA2 2017!!!

Zac Gordon Advanced JavaScript Topics Talk at WordCamp San José Costa Rica

Teaching JavaScript Deeply at WordCamp San José 2017

WordCamp San José

¡Pura Vida! Is the best way to start my review of attending WordCamp San José (formally WordCamp Costa Rica).

Organizers Roberto Remedios and Alfredo “El Puas” invited me to do a workshop at WordCamp San José 2017 earlier this year while we were all hanging out at WordCamp Miami (also a great camp to attend).

What started as a JavaScript workshop turned into a talk on advanced JavaScript and sitting in on a JavaScript panel with two other amazing speakers.

Un Poco Sobre WordCamp San José

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WordCamp San José 2017 took place at La Universidad Latina de San José, Costa Rica.  More than 350 people attended two days of talks with three tracks.

WordCamp San José Talk from Johana about Brand

Most of talks were in Spanish and topics covered everything from Marketing to Development (w plenty of JS) and everything in between.  Many of the talks also included sing language interpretation and a good group benefiting from it.

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The layout of the venue was great, with a big open area for the sponsors right in front of the three rooms for the talks.  The main sponsors had cool seating areas and the food included amazing breakfast, lunch and treats!

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Let’s not forget about the after party either.  The camp hosted everyone with music, food and great atmosphere at a nearby restaurant / club with a pool and hammocks (not pictured).

My JavaScript and WordPress REST API Workshop

Continuing with my 2017 JavaScript Workshop Tour, I ran a 3 hr workshop on the Friday day before the two day of talks. You can see the slides and example files for the workshop here.

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The workshop covered the following:

  1. JavaScript Language Basics
  2. The Document Object Model
  3. Events in JavaScript
  4. The WordPress REST API
  5. Using JavaScript and the API in WP Themes

Unfortunately, my Spanish was not quite good enough to give the workshop in Spanish so props to all the bi-lingual attendees for following the talk, along with questions, in English.

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I like the 3hr time span for a workshop.  It let’s you really cover fundamentals and give time for practice.  Big thanks to the organizers and attendees for inviting me down to do this workshop.

Next year I am going to try to do it en Español 🙂

My First “Advanced JavaScript Topics” WordCamp Talk

A few moons before the camp started, the organizers asked if I would like to do a talk in addition to the workshop.  I knew I would be recording my Advanced JavaScript Topics section of my Master Course so I submitted an open ended talk entitled “Interesting Things About JavaScript” that was actually a JavaScript homage to Andrew Nacin’s Advanced WordPress Topics talk.

Zac Gordon Advanced JavaScript Topics Talk at WordCamp San José Costa Rica

The talk included a number of different intermediate, advanced, new and, well, interesting things, about JavaScript that I am going into more depth on in my Master Course.

The slides might not be as helpful without the explanations but you may still gleam some things from flicking through the deck 🙂

5 + 1 Question JavaScript Panel

As an added bonus I got to sit in on a panel on JavaScript with Elio Rivero from Automattic and Gabo Esquivel who heads up the JavaScript community in San José.

Zac Gordon JavaScript Panel WordCamp San José w Elio and Gabo

The questions were basically something like this (but in Spanish except for my answers):

  • Panelist Intros
  • Advice for JavaScript beginners (I said CodeAcademy, Treehouse, Wes Bos and of course my free JavaScript videos)
  • Top 3 Good JavaScript Practices (I suggested Testing, Coding Standards and Keep on Learning)
  • Favorite JS Framework and why (Choose the best tool for the job, I like Vue for it’s architecture and ease and React for Gutenberg Blocks etc,  If I was building a huge app or plugin I would also consider Angular)
  • Most challenge JavaScript project (Teaching JavaScript Deeply!)
  • JavaScript for WordPress in 2018 (Gutenberg, JS Widgets, More w Customizer, Keep Learning JavaScript)

Overall a Great Camp with Lots of JavaScript

Muchas gracias a los organizadores y voluntarios de WordCamp San José 2017.  It won the 2017 WordCamp Award for food (rice, beans and real cooked food is soo good) in my opinion.

WordCamp San José 2017 Volunteers

It also had a ton of talks on JavaScript in addition to mine, like Cross Platform React, CSS in JS, Calypso, Angular, GraphQL and even a demo of Caldera Forms in action, which I am definitely checking out for my next WP project that needs JS driven forms.

I am going to start a rumor that in 2018 you may see more than one large WordCamp in Central America around the same time period.  I highly suggest you attend and get some of this Pura Vida WordCamp energía!

Workshopalooza at WordCamp Denver 2017

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This weekend I had the opportunity to attend WordCamp Denver, a great example of a well attended and run local camp.  The first day included two tracks of great talks.  The second day featured 13 different workshops (including one from me on JavaScript + WP REST API).

  • Site SEO Checkup
  • Flexbox
  • Defining, Mapping and (Sometimes) Automating Your Business Processes
  • 5 Things You Can Do to Get More Traffic to Your Blog
  • Making Your First WordPress Plugin
  • Let’s learn Git. No more excuses.
  • Take back the day with WP-CLI
  • Learn Vanilla JavaScript (& The WP REST API)
  • How to create an intro packet to streamline client screening and onboarding
  • Get Personal – Content Personalization with WordPress
  • Advanced WordPress Features for User / Bloggers
  • Building a Theme
  • How to Attract More Clients with Better Branding

 

13 Workshops in 1 Room, All at Once

Honestly, at first I did not think this idea was going to work.  All of the workshops took place in the same room.

Each workshop included 8 people around a round table (w a monitor rather than a projector).  Some workshops had two groups of tables.

I predicted mayhem.

Actually, this was a GREAT setup and I would actually recommend it to other WordCamps.

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Here are what I think are some Pros to this approach:

  • You can cover a lot of different topics
  • It is invigorating to have other workshops going on (folks did not seem as tired after 3hrs)

There are some downsides however:

  • Limited to ~8 people per workshop (other camps have workshops with 30-50 people)
  • Some folks had a hard time hearing with 2 tables and a presenter at the far end of one of the tables
  • Not directly related to this approach in general, but make sure everyone has power and presenters have a monitor with proper cables and adapters.

Although I would have liked to have been able to offer the workshop to more people, I think that this approach worked really well for WordCamp Denver.

 

3 Hours is a Good Length for a WordCamp Workshop

Most of the WordCamp workshops I have seen this year run 90 minutes or 2 hours.  I do not think this is enough time for attendees to practice on their own and cover enough content for people to walk away feeling like they really learned something.

 

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Three hours works well.  You can either move at a nice and relaxed pace and cover a single topic very well.  Or you can go faster and offer more ready made resources like exercise files, templates or example projects.  With this approach you can cover quite a lot of content in 3 hours, while still giving time for practice.

 

My Continually Evolving JavaScript Workshop

I did a lot of work between WordCamp DC and WordCamp Minneapolis modifying the JS for WP workshop I have been giving this year.

You can see the slide deck and example files for the WordCamp Denver version of the workshop here.

I took out a lot of things this time on the DOM (traversing, cloning, deleting), removed most examples that used webpack, and added in more on wp_localize_script and the Backbone API Client.

I also took out a section on JSON (w JSON.parse and JSON.stringify), instead relying on Axios, jQuery or the Backbone Client to get the JSON into a native JS object.  In hindsight this was a mistake.  I think it is valuable to learn if you are taking the approach of trying to learn how things work under the hood in JavaScript.

On the other hand, I could skip over JSON and AJAX completely if we are already inside of WordPress and just use the Backbone API Client.  In the past I have taught AJAX using Axios or jQuery and would really like to start pushing the Backbone Client as the recommended way to make JS WP API requests inside a theme or plugin.

 

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Even with taking a lot of things out of the workshop, it still has too much for a three hour workshop.  Really I think that this workshop should mostly (90%) focus on JavaScript (and less trying to cover different API implementations).  So an outline like this:

  • JS Basics
  • DOM selection, manipulation and creation
  • Events
  • JSON and AJAX (Then pull in WP REST API as the example)

Currently I am doing a lot more with enqueueing JavaScript in WordPress.  One approach could be to do the entire workshop inside of WordPress themes instead of stand alone JS and HTML files.  This may give it a more JavaScript for WordPress feel as opposed to more just a JavaScript workshop.  It will also ensure if we get cut short that this basic skill gets covered.

I will continue to work on giving and modifying this workshop through the end of this year.  Next week when I give this workshop at WordCamp San José and try out some different approaches mentioned here.

 

Hats Off to Leah Ashley (and other organizers)

Apparently, lead organizer, Leah Ashley, emailed each WordCamp attendee asking them what workshop they wanted to attend.  This resulted in pretty much all workshops completely full.  Great job Leah (and every one who helped and supported you).

If you are in the Denver area I would definitely suggest coming out to this camp in the future.  It was well run, fun and not too overwhelming.  Great job to all the volunteers and folks who made WordCamp Denver and Workshopalooza Denver 2017 possible.

If you want to learn more about JavaScript for WordPress, please check out some of my free JavaScript videos here.

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

 

Comparing JavaScript Library and Frameworks for WordPress – WordCamp Miami

A super big thanks to all the folks at WordCamp Miami for putting on a Learning JavaScript Deeply Track.

Here are my slide notes from the talk as well as some helpful links:

 

Please also check out my course, JavaScript for WordPress, which will cover all of this in much more depth.

 

The Sustaining Heart of the WordPress Community

This last week has been quite a week for me.  Treehouse, The online learning company where I have been teaching WordPress for the last 3+ years told me that they had decided to stop teaching WordPress and that I had been fired.  That was Monday.

On Friday the same week, WordCamp US started.  Between Monday and Thursday I knew I had to come up with some new idea of how to support myself and then get to WordCamp US to connect with the community about the idea and see if it would work.

My idea is simple, keep teaching WordPress.  I have been teaching WordPress long before Treehouse and apparently I will be teaching WordPress long after Treehouse too 😉

What I really want to share in this post though is the love and support and sustaining energy I felt from attending WordCamp US, sharing my idea with people, and getting their feedback.

Everyone who I told about leaving Treehouse was shocked.  Yet they were super supportive of me continuing to teach WordPress on my own.  This brought such joy to my heart and upliftment to my efforts.

As I set out to focus full time on WordPress education on my own I feel as if I am sailing on the thoughts, accomplishments and support of the amazing people in the WordPress Community.  For this I am very grateful.

I realize though that had an ordinary Joe Shmoe showed up at WordCamp US out of a job and looking to get support for a new venture they might walk away deflated and not like they have a lot of support.

The only reason my experience went the way it did, I believe, is because of how much I have participated in the community and tried to play a helpful role for people learning WordPress.

For the past several years I have been attending between 8-12 WordCamps per year and speaking about a range of the subjects.  Through this I formed personal relationships and tried to support other people in the community.

It’s cliché, but true.  Give in a good way to the WordPress community and it will support you.

My next venture in teaching WordPress is going to be my attempt to try to give back to the Community even more.  I believe I have identified a needed niche in the world of WordPress Education and I am going to hustle for the next few months to meet it at a level few others would be capable of doing (in part because of my teaching experience and in part because I have no job to take up my time).

While I know that this project will give a lot back to the community, I am also going to be asking for support from the community in a pretty big way.  The great thing though, is that I have faith.  I have faith in life, faith in following your passion, and faith in the Sustaining Heart of the WordPress Community.

Thank you to all of you who make it so.

Post Scriptum: I would specifically like to thank Rich Robinkoff for his talk at WordCamp US about keeping the spirit of #wpmom alive.  His talk inspired me to write this post and share what I would have normally kept to myself.

PPS: This post has been edited.

Technology Education Panel at WordCamp Orlando 2015

Today I had the chance to speak on a panel at WordCamp Orlando on Technology Education with the following rock stars:

  • Susanna Miller, Iron Yard
  • Gregg Pollack, Code School
  • Josh Murdock, Valencia College
  • Zac Gordon, Treehouse

We had a great moderator, Orrett Davis, who brought some great questions as well as fielded some superb questions from the audience as well.  Some of the things we talked about included the following:

  • How has the learning landscape changed over the years
  • How important is it for someone to have a college degree
  • Degree and certifications from non traditional schools
  • How to make sure someone is qualified for work after completing course
  • Trade offs of traditional, bootcamp and online learning
  • How do you stay up to date on content

Overall it was a really great panel and I enjoyed meeting the other panelists and discussing technology education.