WordCamp Bristol 2019

The weekend kicked off on Friday, with me and Kayleigh Thorpe jumping on a train from Manchester Piccadilly to Bristol Temple Meads. We had a good journey down and arrived early evening. We climbed our way up the hills until we reached the town centre.

Here we learned it can be hard to find a store with a hairbrush for sale. Kay needed a hairbrush and me some toiletries. After visiting a few stores we headed on our way to the Premier Inn at Haymarket. We later met up with Tim Nash and headed for tea at the stables. Here we met Kate from Heart Internet / tsoHost. We had the ‘Pot of gold’ which was amazing followed by pies and pizzas. Once done we went pub hunting but ended up at a fabulous cocktail joint.

Coffee and cream…heavenly

Below is a summary of the weekend, along with the talks I went to and my takeaways from those.

Day One – Saturday May 18th 2019

Having had an early night, we set off at 7.30am in search of breakfast. We found a very cool bakery called Pinkmans, here I had the Bakers Breakfast which was very filling, I never managed to eat all of it. We headed up the final hill (oh so many hills) and arrived at the venue. Simon Pollard briefed me, as I was speaking first thing in track 2, had a chat to some of the sponsors and headed off for opening remarks.

Crunch time came and I went and set up in track 2, the AV guy mic’ed me up and I checked in with Sarah, to make sure my positioning would work with the camera angles. James was my MC (cheers James), he introduced me and off we rolled. Here is a link to my talk description and slides. I felt the talk went well and had lots of positive feedback from it. I am glad people enjoyed it and I am even more glad to hear people sharing their time-saving tips on social media as a result, thanks to Ross Wintle for championing that discussion.

Legacy systems in your head – Lizzie Darville

I thought this talk would be about old legacy software systems, however, it ended up being much better than that. Lizzie shared her experiences with fears and explained how legacy systems in our brains causes this and how to rationalise them. I found this talk useful and I know a few other attendees did too as they spoke to me about it afterwards.

Uses for WordPress Multisite you may not have thought of – Rachel McCollin

Rachel showed how she used a mix of both personal websites and business websites using multisite. She explained how maintaining plugins and themes across all sites was easier from a deployment point of view.

It is always interesting to see how others utilise multisite, outside of multilingual or multinational companies.

Lunch Break

During the lunch break, I was able to tweet my slides, which a number of people had requested. I then enjoyed the sandwiches laid on, very tasty and caught up with friends new and old. I met Nick Sommerfield, a young and aspiring PHP developer. He is new to the community and it was his first WordCamp. I managed to hook him up with Simon Pollard so he could find out about the Bristol WordPress User Group.

Custom theme building structures & techniques to save your sanity! – Jonny Allbut

Jonny’s talk was very detailed and covered all aspects of theme structure. He shared his workflow, including his Alfred workflows (which made my day of course). He reminded us of the importance to name scripts if we change their behaviour and how to lay out and structure things in a logical and streamlined way.

Break Time – Hallway Track

I had a really good chat with Steve from Newt Labs. We exchanged ideas and I was glad I was able to impart knowledge gained over 16 years in the hosting business. It is always nice at these events to be able to give something back to the community, especially those whose business is growing beyond working for themselves.

The rest of the afternoon I spent networking with various people. It was great to speak to the gentleman at the WP&UP stand. I believe his name is Tim? We have a great chat and I hope WP&UP will help small business owners as well as individuals when it comes to managing and providing a good mental health environment to work in.

Richard Hill demonstrated the new mind doodle plugin, soon to be released and how it uses mind mapping style interfaces to manage various aspects of sites within WordPress. I am really looking forward to having a play with it!

After party

The after party was at the Waterside, it was great to catch up with Dan Maby, Richard Hill and others. Somehow we ended up on the topic of making a movie about Tim Nash, only not starring him…long story!

Day two – Sunday May 19th 2019

So what have the new HTML5 elements ever done for accessibility? – Graham Armfield

I always find Graham’s talks fascinating. There are so many ways to do things in our industry, yet many of them are not screen reader friendly.
Graham talked us through the various HTML5 methods that are and are not reader-friendly, giving food for thought when developing interactive themes for WordPress.

Lightning Talks
Rich Copping, Luminus Alabi, Tess Coughlan-Allen

The Lightning talks kicked off with Rich talking us through his experiences in design and Pragmatic. Luminus talked us through how to rock home working and Tess talked us through her work in the community with the Bristol Usergroup for do_action.

Building websites using React.js and WordPress API – Mitko Kochkovsko

While this talk was outside my comfort zone a little (not a developer), it was interesting to see how the WordPress API can be integrated with React.js to achieve smoother interactions.

WordCamp Bristol in summary

I really enjoyed WordCamp Bristol. It had a good mix of talks, covering a wide range of topics. It was great to meet a lot of people and I was able to impart some of my own experience and knowledge back into the community.

I really enjoyed sharing my productivity hacks with everyone and look forward to doing it again soon. Finally, I need to say thank you to 34SP.com for funding our trips and also making it possible for us to contribute to the community in this way.

Until the next time WordCamp Bristol!