My favourite talks of day 2 at WordCamp Mumbai 2016, in chronological order:
Naoko Takano (@naokomc) came all the way from Japan (and brought really cool WordPress tattoos for us – you saw a sample in yesterday’s post) to talk about how WordPress became successful in Japan, capturing 78% of the website share. A relevant talk for anyone interested in internationalization and localization.
Michael Eisenwasser (fb/eisenwasser) is the co-founder of BuddyBoss, a company which build products for the BuddyPress ecosystem. Great talk to help us build user engagement using “social tools” on WordPress.
Sakin Shrestha (@sakinshrestha) came all the way from Nepal, where he heads various companies and also manages to host WordCamp Nepal. He introduced the audience to different approaches to developing themes for WordPress, ranging from modifying an existing theme, to building one from scratch, including using frameworks and starter themes.
Darshan Sawardekar (@_dsawardekar) is a Lead Web Engineer at 10up, and a vim enthusiast – to the extent that he is the author of a vim plugin called WordPress.vim. He explained why URLs are important, how pretty URLs/permalinks work in WordPress, what Rewrite rules are, and how we can leverage them to our advantage.
Mahangu Weerasinghe (@MahanguW) is a Happiness Engineer at Automattic, and like Bryce & Sam, I had met him and heard him speak on stage for the first time at WordCamp Mumbai 2015. This time he shared how he, a non-programmer, taught himself to write code on WordPress that lets him do things one step at a time, using action & filter hooks. But beyond just the technique of it, his deeper message was that programming is not only for the math-minded toppers in school – essentially, programming (at least algorithms and high-level programming languages) is language, and similar to any language we speak in with each other – so any person who can communicate well can also code well.
Thus ended my fourth WordCamp and the volunteer stint with it. In the process I had the chance to discuss with great people, some of whom are employees at Automattic, others are business owners in India, some developers, and every one of them a WordPress enthusiast.
The venue was set, the sandwiches, tea, coffee, water was all fixed, the projection on stage, the sound from the laptops, the presenters/clickers were tested, the WiFi worked finally after a couple of hours of tinkering.
After around an hour of attendees walking in, collecting their goodie bags, and walking in to the auditorium after getting something to munch on & sip, we were ready for the talks to start.
WordCamp Mumbai 2016 was open!
This is my fourth ever WordCamp. I was an attendee at the first one (Mumbai 2014), a speaker at the next (Mumbai 2015), a sponsor at the next (Pune 2015), and I’m an organizer/volunteer/<localhost> at this one.
I was looking forward to this WordCamp eagerly, for the quality of the planned talks if not for anything else.
And this is the first WordCamp which was duly attended by the whole 13 Llama Studio team.
In the chronological order, here’s my take on what I liked about what went on today:
Shilpa Shah (@IdleGazer, HWS) told us what customers want. It’s been a recurring theme in WordCamps, and rightly so. Developers have been known to not fully understand the importance of dealing with customers with empathy and a kind word. Shilpa delivered the message in her disarming fun way. A great start to a great WordCamp.
Nirav Mehta (@niravmehta, StoreApps) had delivered this session at a WordPress meetup a few weeks ago, which I had missed. Later I heard many good things about it from those who hadn’t. Today I found out what I had missed then. Various insights into the WordPress plugin universe and what an aspiring plugin developer should focus on made this a must go.
Bryce Adams (@bryceadams): I had heard Bryce for the first time in WordCamp Mumbai 2015, and was just blown away with the way he built his case for the famous “decisions over choices” principle. This time he spoke about building Freemium plugins, and how it follows from looking at The Bigger Picture.
Sam Hotchkiss (@HotchkissWeb): Same as Bryce, I had heard Sam last year, and he showed us a very cool picture of the admin panel of the future. This time around, he took us through the best practices for Plugin development. Very thorough, and very enlightening.
Karthikraj Magapu (@KarthikMagapu, HWS) in his inimitable style, took Nirav Mehta, Rohan Thakare (@rohanthakare, Wisdm Labs), and yours truly, along with a member from the audience on a panel discussion – the topic being how can growing WordPress based companies get to their first million. As much as it was fun, it was thought-provoking, forcing us to look inwards, and learn from each other. The learning opportunity for me was immense, since both Nirav and Rohan have been in business longer than I, and run larger companies than I.
Rahul Bansal (@rahul286, rtCamp) is the god of scaling, speed, reliability, and taking off from his previous talk at Mumbai 2015, he taught us how to make WooCommerce scalable. Entertaining and educative.
Raghavendra: though I missed a major part of his talk, whatever I heard moved me to the core. As a developer, I have always insisted on the alt tag, and warned against the indiscriminate mixing of alt with title in imgs. Today I got validation for this seemingly pedantic practice. But the alt is only one of the things we developers need to take care of while making the web accessible to those with disabilities. And WordPress is the only platform which focuses on accessibility. Yet another reason to be proud of using WordPress and being in the community.
Kshitij Patil (@thekshitijpatil, kshitijpatil.com) is an entrepreneur who has sold web design services for years. And he shared his techniques and principles with the audience.
Saurabh Shukla (@actual_saurabh, hookrefineandtinker.com) delivered one of the most fun, engaging, and moving talks of the day, where he shared his numerous stints with a development career, the failures & struggles, and finally simplified talent retention through the famous Maslow’s Hierarchy of human needs.
The topic of my talk is WordPress as the backbone of a mobile app.
Do try to make it if you’re interested in WordPress, mobile app development, PHP, or programming. It’s one of the most high-power events for software professionals in India, and you can expect to hear and meet inspiring professionals working in the WordPress ecosystem and in software development for the two days of the event. And it’s right next to the Bandra Candy’s if you need more incentive to attend 🙂
I make a living working on WordPress. And this blog is on WordPress. And at the risk of sounding repetitive, I’ve been on WordPress for 4-5 years now. One of the most important things in the install workflow is selecting and installing the plugins you’d need. While the exact set of plugins varies from project to project, and depends on the intended functionality of the site, there are a few basic ones that I make sure to install on every site I deploy. The exhaustive list is too big, but here’s my top six, which you may find useful.
Akismet: Automattic’s own plugin which saves me a lot of time & energy in filtering out the comment spam, done by SEO bots mainly.
Google Analytics: Any GA plugin will do. But most loved by us is the one by Joost de Valk. Why do you need this? You do want to know the details of the traffic you get, don’t you? And then you can export that data, import it into your spreadsheet software, and soar into the dreamy world of pivot-tables.
YARPP: Remember how you forgot to leave Amazon the last time you went there, because you kept clicking on the “the people who bought this also saw this” products? Well, why not use the same tactic for your blog? Increase the stickiness. Increase the meaningful interlinks. Increase SEO juice. There are plenty of related posts plugin, but I favour Yet Another Related Posts Plugin. Why? Is the name not enough?
BWP Google XML Sitemaps: Sitemaps are important. Sitemaps let crawlers know where all your content is. It’s like the related posts for robots. Must for improved search rankings, and findability. Preferred plugin: BWP’s.
Regenerate Thumbnails: How many times during development have you realised you need a new size of an image, and found that WordPress is either giving you too small or too big an image? And then after registering a new thumbnail size, how many times have you wondered if you need to delete and reupload the images already in the library, so that the thumbnails in the new size are created for these images? If you have come across such questions, you need to install this plugin, which regenerates thumbnails for all the images already in the library.
Smushit: Have lots of images making your blog heavy to load? Install this plugin, so that every image you upload is passed through Yahoo!’s smush.it service and losslessly compressed.
Which plugins do you recommend as the bare necessities when installing a fresh WordPress setup? And do you have alternatives to the ones mentioned above?