The first WordCamp UK was a cracker

I spent the weekend in the company of 50 or so other WordPress users, designers, developers, the odd Aussie Automattician, and a WordPress lead developer at the first WordCamp UK. It was great to meet a such a varied and interesting group of bloggers and blog makers, many of whom I’m going to have to wait until next year to properly talk to… a weekend is just too short!

So, to cover just a few sessions:

Simon Dickson‘s talk on using WordPress in large corporates and government was very rousing. Simon’s a passionate advocate of providing agile solutions, rather than lumbering £10 million millstones, for the communications needs of large organisations. Simon’s exciting news was that soon the website for Number 10 will be running on WordPress. It’ll be interesting to see how the dynamic Number 10 comms team (currently using Twitter, Flickr and YouTube, amongst others, to document the business of government and kestrel rescues) use their new blog at their disposal… and will we see posts from Gordon?

Richard Williams‘ trot through his essential plugins highlighted some I hadn’t previously been aware of. (Who could be aware of everything in the WordPress plugin galaxy?) I’ve always shied away from SEO plugins, butAll In One SEO Pack looked interesting and would provide some of the title munging I always end up coding into my themes; another feature of the plugin, auto-generating meta descriptions and keywords, seemed a little spurious. Bad Behaviour also looked like an interesting bit of kit, it watches the actions of user agents (i.e. browsers or bots, anyone accessing your site basically) and bans them if they behave inhumanly, e.g. hitting the site too hard, etc, which will both reduce spam and potentially lower your server load.

During the blogging and journalism session, Bob Jones, who at 72 (I think) may be the most senior blogger in Britain, gave us his opinion on the difference between the two, and where he felt we should be heading. Bob’s a man with a social conscience, and he was pushing for more integrity and proactive investigation from bloggers into the political and social worlds around them.

Thanks to Sue Bailey, who let me and my fellow Code Surgeons (Sam Bauers, Rich Boakes, Mike Little and Peter Westwood) loose on her site, live in front of the baying crowd! The presentation from my session on WordPress Plugin Development is available on this very site.

Many people helped out with the organisation, both before and during the event: Jonny A put in some serious time sorting out the sponsors, and did a beautiful job on the video loops for their logos on various screens about the place. [Update] Ian Covey, who organised the first every Humphreys awards (amongst which, ahem, I was the recipient of the theme category first prize!) Benjamin Ellis served as dual mic runner for the frequent audience questions, and prolific photographer. Rich Boakes, and his lovely 7 (?) months pregnant wife Emma, manned the welcome desk. Not to mention the presenters and attendees…

… and lastly, but deserving of the highest praise, Tony Scott put in a Herculean effort herding the WordPress cats towards their WordCamp. At times he must have wished he’d never suggested the ideas; hats off, a low bow and the deepest thanks to Tony.

Here’s to next year!

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  1. Sounds very interesting!

    I must get myself away from this idea that anything internet related, such as blogging, and so on, has to take place only behind a desk and in front of a computer. It’s probably time I dragged my geek-self out into the real world, and met other bloggers.

    Get me away from my comfort zone! :-)

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