Learn Javascript, deeply.

learn-javascript-deeplyThat’s the homework assignment given to the WordPress community from Matt Mullenwegg’s State of the Word address.  To repeat: ‘Learn Javascript, deeply’.

A lot of sessions and conversations at WordCampUS 2015 backed up the notion of WordPress and the rest of the web moving towards JavaScript development.  The examples were many:

Adam Silverstein of 10up said that the framework that one chooses is not that important.  He likes Backbone because it stays out of the way.  React is a very opinionated about how to do things.  He also agreed with the point that it may be unwise to use a technology that originates from Facebook, with their history of inconsistency, and always doing what’s best for Facebook.  Backbone gives you granular control, while other JavaScript frameworks make assumptions and do everything for you.

Dirty Stylus had 4 completed projects. See their talk ‘Decoupled Development with WordPress JSON APIs’.  The advantages included parallel development by PHP developers on the back end, and JavaScript developer working on the front end.  They demonstrated technologies using AngularJS, RiotJS, MapBox, and an ACF-to-WP-API plugin.

The new Calypso app for Mac was built for WordPress using React, Flux and node.js.

Rachel Baker, part of the team building the JSON REST API, showed WordCamp US how to build a WordPress theme with a JavaScript front end.

The WordPress JSON REST API is going to be an important part of advancing the web, and knowing how to use JavaScript on the front end will be very important for developers.  Matt Mullenwegg’s message, and the speakers at WordCamp US 2015 have helped set a course for the future of WordPress and the Internet.

 


WordCamp US 2015, Day 2

The Setting

Another day of great people and interesting conversations.  Lunch was amazing today, for a conference.  BBQ chicken, beef brisket, corn bread!  Soda! Not just water, ha.  The after-party at Lucky Strike bowling alley was perfect.  Open bar, catered food, fun people, though I couldn’t find the ping pong tables.  I wanted to challenge Derek Smart (Automattic Table Tennis Champion) to a game.

The Talks

Decoupled Development with WordPress JSON APIs:  Watch this talk.  Another inspirational talk about using JavaScript on the front end of a WordPress installation.  Lots of good technical data in this talk.

Make WP_CLI Work For You: Extending WP-CLI With Custom Commands: A talk about writing code to build tools to build websites.  Geek heaven.  If you’re not using WP-CLI, get started.

Gamify WP:  A fun talk on gamification, and how a developer Automattic used the technique to motivate people to test using Calypso to write blog posts.

High Performance WP: A quick talk on all the things one should do.  Yes, I need a better checklist.

Low Tech is Future of WP:  Another solid talk by Eric Mann now how slow WIFI, slow internet connections are an opportunity for WordPress websites.  And l learned Chrome Development Tools can mimic a slow connection for testing.

HTTP API:  Use REST, CRUD in communication with 3rd party APIs?  WordPress has built in functions to make this stuff easier to use.

WP and Museums, Mel Choyce:  A great 2 person talk with a client and a developer and their approach in putting together a website for a museum collection with 40,000 potential pieces of data.  These case study talks are great.

WP for Enterprise, Taylor Lovett: 10up has the best employees, and they give away their best practices.  Cool company.

State of the Word: Matt Mullenwegg maps out the potential future of WordPress.  Great stuff.  Watch this.

Best. WordCamp. Ever.


WordCamp US 2015, Day 1

The Setting

From the beginning, this WordCamp US felt a little different than the WordCamps I’ve attended previously.  Many people I’d seen as speakers previously were attendees.  Many popular WordPress twitter folks and bloggers were there, just walking around.  The topics of the talks seem higher level, more for developers and there was a lot of ‘I wish I could be at 3 talks at once’.

The attendees were friendly and every person I spoke to had something interesting to say about their work with WordPress.  All the organizers were kept solving problems, especially when the WIFI was overwhelmed in the first few hours of the conference.  Volunteers were everywhere and also helpful.

Philadelphia is a great city.  Easy access to downtown via Septa train from the airport, AirBnb rentals were plentiful if hotels aren’t your thing.  We stayed in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood just SE of downtown.  An easy walk to the conference.  My new favorite hangout in Philadelphia is Monk’s Cafe, an excellent Belgian Beer bar with great food too.  Heaven.  Downtown has some amazing architecture,  interesting sculptures,  great food and drink.   Even the restaurant staff were down-to-earth in the city, though you felt like you were in Manhattan.

The Talks

Curing a Critical Security Bug: This talk was about the MySQL vulnerability fixed earlier this year.  It feels good to know such experts are working on core.

A Bolt of Backbone: use it, learn it:  This talk confirmed everything about my goals to learn more JavaScript.  Adam Silverstein is a good speaker.

WordPress + The Internet of Things: Lots of opportunities for WordPress here, and RC Lations always give a great talk.  How does he stay so chill all the time?  Must be that clean Maine living.

The Future  Stack: Runnning WordPress with Tomorrow’s Technologies: This covered Http/2, php7, CSS4, Free SSL, JS2015.  Very fun presentation, and the talk made potentially dry material very interesting.  Short take is that  WordPress is ready for all the changes coming down the road.

React + WordPress: A motivating talk on using JavaScript.  Re-usable components sound pretty good and it looks like React removes a lot of the complexity of Single Page Application development.

Build a Theme with REST API: Rachel Baker comes out of the JSON REST API trenches to show us how to build a theme with JavaScript and the REST API.  Great cutting edge talk.

REST in Action: The Live Coverage Platform at the NYTimes: This talk was a bit of a disappointment since the title topic was only covered in the last 5 minutes of the talk, and no technical tips, no time for questions.  I think the speaker was busy making sure WordPress 4.4 would get out the door 3 days later as its lead developer, so it’s understandable.

A great first day, and I still need to see the talk by Nacin.  Always listen to Nacin.  Cheers, and off to Monk’s Cafe.

 

 


WordPress, JavaScript, and Me

With the release of Calypso, Automattic has shown their view of the future of WordPress.com and how users will interact with sites.  JavaScript driven applications offer a faster interaction for folks working on their sites.

Time to jump in and learn how to use JavaScript to create interfaces and allow clients to interact with their custom WordPress.org sites that I create for them.

My strategy has been to read some of the better JavaScript books: Javascript – The Good Parts,  and Functional Javascript.  After an overview there, the next step is to use Lynda.com courses and get some hands on experience.  Internally WordPress uses jQuery, underscores, and backbone.  That seems like a good place to start.  Lynda courses on my playlist: Up and running with Underscores, Javascript: Functions, Up and running with Backbone, Up and running with React, and WordPress REST API (WP-API): First Look.

Time to write some code.