This Thursday I’m leaving for WordCamp in Savannah, GA and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve been to a lot of conferences. Design conferences, programming conferences, product conferences, but this is one I’m genuinely curious about. I’ve been using WordPress for a little while (I started with Blogger and LiveJournal, picking up on WordPress in the last year or so), and with the release of version 3.0 and my recent foray into the Genesis Theme Framework (not to mention the well-timed jump from ColdFusion to PHP… serendipity and all that), I’ve really started to get into the potential this whole platform has. Plus, I’m looking forward to mingling with some like-minded fellow geeks and picking some of the brains in attendance.
Why all the WordPress love? Let me use an analogy.
I’m a programmer (well, that’s how I’d have to describe myself if you held a gun to my head). Now, there’s a lot you can do with programming. If apps were cars (just go with me here) you pretty much have a lot of the same opportunities. You could design cars. You have a lot of terrific technical expertise to bring to bear and could design new cars that solve new problems. With a little tweak to your skillset, you could build cars. You know, buy raw materials, learn a bit of welding & fabricating, and out of thin air create something that maybe someone else has put some time and energy into designing. Some guys, however, enjoy chopping cars. Taking cars someone else has built, and chopping them up, reworking them, slapping on some hella paint job and delivering a whole new experience, albeit one that’s based on a solid, proven foundation. Heck, you could be a wunderkind and do it all. Design cars, build cars, and customize cars like a maestro. Those guys are out there, for sure, but it’s been my experience that the guys who focus on one part of that process do exceptionally well in the end.
Right now, I’m thoroughly enjoying building customs.
I like all the work they (WordPress) have done building a stable, expandable, open platform. I like that I don’t have to invent any wheels (but if I wanted to, I could, very easily). I like that the hooks and inner workings that are exposed to me are crystal clear, and all I have to do now is bring my skillset to the party and knock out the fun part. The creative part. The rewarding part (at least for me, at this stage in my life/career). I’m absolutely convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the framework these guys have built will suit the needs of about 99.9% of the businesses out there, and for about 75% of you, it’s WAY more than enough. Need a calendar? There’s a plugin for that. Need some crazy Flash doo-hicky or a whiz bang photo gallery? There’s a plugin for that (probably several). Wanna add a contact form? Oh yeah, plugin. Wanna hook your site up to the bazillion social services out there? Plugin, plugin, plugin. Need something but there’s no plugin? Write a plugin for it. Heck, find something someone else hasn’t done and write one just to get your name out there.
And that’s just the technical widgetry. I haven’t even gotten into the CSS do-goodery! Go get a theme. Shit, go get a theme framework. They have frameworks for themes that plug into a framework that’s a blogging platform. Go ahead, wrap your head around that one if you can. You get best practices coding, SEO, ease of use, an easily administrable back end… and more.
All I have to do it toss you the keys when I’m done and you’re all set. But don’t take my word for it. Look at some of the companies that have discovered this shit. Starbucks, CNN, Wired, The New York Times. They’ve all figured out that when you remove all the discussion about implementation and execution, you can focus on all the important stuff, like getting your site to do what it’s supposed to be doing.
So I’m really looking forward to going down to Savannah this weekend, taking along a great designer from my agency, and spending a few days immersed in all things WordPress. If anybody who’s reading this is planning on going down to Savannah, drop me a line, I’m staying at the Sheraton Four Points, and I would love to talk geekery!