WordCamp Boston 2012

July 14th marked the beginning of yet another successful WordCamp in the City on a Hill, making it Boston’s third time to host the event. Approximately 600 speakers, attendees and volunteers arrived at Boston University from all over the world to congregate around a common entity, our beloved WordPress.

Saturday morning kicked off with one of what I found to be one of the most well-presented and informative talks, How We can have Nice Things, by K. Adam White.  The session was focused on demonstrating how the modern WordPress developer can spearhead new and upcoming web technologies such as CSS pre-processing, server-side Javascript, client-side templating, and source control.  Doing so allows developers to expand and update their creative process outside of the traditional LAMP stack workflows.

Adam demonstrated how using tools, unconventional to typical WordPress development, results in less work and better products.  Who wouldn’t want that?  Stylesheet pre-processors, such as SASS and LESS can be used to programmatically create stylesheets on the fly in WordPress based on rules, functions, and variables which allow for maximum flexibility and consistency.  Pre-processed stylesheets can be both minified and concatenated at “runtime” leaving the original code untouched for easy re-factoring. Check out WP-LESS from Thomas Parisot which allows for integration into WordPress via this useful plugin.

Source control  was the next hot topic of conversation.  Adam pointed out that while WordPress is stuck with SVN (for now), Github is the  undisputed home for jQuery, javascript, and other front-end technologies and jokingly stated “resistance is futile”. Github offers many useful tools for code review, bug tracking, documentation (Wikis), and gist (for sharing code snippets and pastes).  If you are interested in checking out some of these tools while working with your favorite open-source project, check out the WordPress Github mirror managed by Mark Jacquith.

To read more about these technologies, access Adam’s slides online. I also recommend looking into a subsequent session, “Developing an Automated Workflow for Front End Development” presented by Aaron Jorbin.


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