WordCamp SLC 2012

I live in the Salt Lake City area and once again it is time for WordCamp SLC. WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other. So if you ever get a chance to go to a WordCamp in your area I definitely recommend it. You can see a list WordCamp’s in your area by going here: http://central.wordcamp.org

I took notes on all the speakers and some of the highlights of the day below:

Opening Remarks:

Joseph Scott from the core automattic team welcomed everyone with a brief introduction.

How to Build WordPress Themes like a Boss (Chris Reynolds)

He discussed his experience in submitting a WordPress theme into the WordPress theme repository. He continued to go into the file structure of a theme. You can see the WordPress Template Hierarchy by going here: http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Hierarchy. After a quick overview of what files can be used in a theme, he discussed a plugin at can check your theme to make sure it’s ready to submit to WordPress.org theme repository.

If you are developing a theme he recommends turning on the wp_debug set to true (which is located in your wp-config.php file. Along with it is a great plugin call WP Debug that will give you a nice graphical interface to see the issues with your WordPress Theme.

If you are testing your sidebar widgets he suggest a plugin called Monster Widget that will load all widgets into the sidebar so you can see what all widgets would look like. This is helpful so when your are creating a theme you can make sure that all possible default widgets look great.

He recommended  a few WordPress Theme CSS Starter kits to start from.

Here are some great sites for WP news he recommends as well:

  • WP Candy
  • WP Tavern
  • WordPress News (wordpress.org/news)
  • wpmail.me

He then wrapped up with a few questions. A pretty good presentation overall, however, I was expecting to learn a bit more on really “HOW” to theme like a boss, where he more just rushed through some structure and such.

Responsive Theme Development (Jake Spurlock)

WordCamp SLC 2012The next speaker is discussing responsive theme development. If you are not familiar with responsive theme development, it’s basically the idea that your site will adapt to whatever screen size the user has. So one site for all screens, making your site very mobile friendly.

He starts off by introducing Bootstrap and the powerful reasons to using this. You can learn more about it by going to http://twitter.github.com

He begins on what you need to start the development with Bootstrap and continued to discuss how to use different elements using Bootstrap. I was pretty impressed with Bootstrap. It’s a pretty great tool.

The WordPress Developers Tool Bog (Patrick Cox)

WordCamp SLC 2012I was impressed with Patrick with his content, presentation, and him himself as a presenter. He gave a very intuitive presentation with some great tools to use for WordPress. Some I had already heard about and currently use, but others such as Gas Mask App for Mac (to modify your local host file easily w/o terminal) were great!

The first thing he started with was a list of tools that you’ll need to begin WordPress Development.

  1. A Great text editor
    • Sublime Text 2 or Coda 2
  2. local dev env
    1. MAMP (Mac)
    2. WAMP (Win)
    3. Gas Mask (Mac edit host file)
  3. a good browser
  4. FTP client
  5. and a version control system


Best Practices: Developing WordPress Themes + Plugins (George Ortiz)

WordCamp SLC 2012George first talked about that all developers should develop with passion.

57% of all themes are abandoned/deactivated. 32% average abandonment percentage for plugins. If you are developing a theme you can user wp-updates.com to help do theme updates.

If a framework helps you develop what you need so you can focus on the user experience…go for it.


  • Automattic’s framework – underscores.me
  • Skematik – skematiktheme.com
  • Genesis
  • Bootstrap

WordPress Multisite (Jason Gill)


  • One file set and database
  • One dashboard
  • Update everything in one place
  • Limit user access

You need to decide if you want to to a subdomain or a sub-directory. If you want to do more domains you’ll have to use a domain mapping plugin.

He then showed an example of setting up a multisite with WordPress

Domain Mapping

WordPress MU Domain Mapping

  1. Move plugin
  2. Add sunrise to wp-config.php
  3. Point domain name to IP
  4. Replace with site sub url with domain url
  5. Add domain with site ID and add domain
Cheat Sheet: jgill.me/WPCheat

Slide here: http://www.gilluminate.com/wcslc/

Turnkey eCommerce (Matt Jones)

Owner of StoreFrontThemes.com and author of SkematikTheme.com

3 things you need to do:

  1. Use WordPress
  2. Choose the Right Product
  3. Start with a Great Theme

(subscriber to members s2m)

He then walked through how to setup a site withWooCommerce.

Great resource for backgrounds and subtle patterns: http://subtlepatterns.com

WordPress Performance Optimization (John Levandowski)

Some great tools to test speed:

  • Google Page Speed
  • Yahoo Yslow Plugin
  • GT metrix
  • webpagetest.org
  • pingdom full page test
  • zoompf.com

Compression – add to your htaccess file

Minification – YUI Compressor http://refresh-sf.com/yui

Browser Caching – Remove eTags and expired headers

ImageOptim.com for Mac