WordCamp Europe 2019 Recap

Judging by the number of attendees and talks, this year’s WordCamp Europe was by far the largest one. It was held in Berlin, so our Front-end and WordPress teams used it to mix both business and pleasure.


A bit about WordCamp Europe

WordCamp is the largest WordPress conference in Europe. It’s held annually and every time it’s in a different country. Despite its size, you have a feeling that you know everyone because you see all of the familiar faces from the WordPress community. There are companies like Google, WooCommerce, Jetpack, Plesk, SiteGround, WPMUDEV and many more. Everyone important is here. It’s cool because as a WordPress Engineer I use their products and plugins every day, so talking to them about new cool stuff is super exciting and interesting, and of course, you get the cool swag.

Contributor Day – we got delayed

The first day of the conference is reserved for contributing to WordPress. There are 18 teams you can join and contribute – from design and development to support and documentation, every aspect of WordPress is covered. It doesn’t matter if you are a developer or a blogger or anything else – all variety of skills are needed. During this day, the main focus is to contribute to WordPress, collaborate with new and existing contributors, and learn new stuff about WordPress. Unfortunately, our flight got delayed so we missed this great first day. Next time, we’ll just have to arrive a day earlier.

And now for the Main Event

There were 46 talks across three tracks, so you physically couldn’t listen to all of the talks. We got to as much as we could fit into our schedule, so I’ll write a short summary about the talks we listened and found interesting.

John Jacoby – advanced database management for plugins

JJJ talked about how WordPress lacks migrations scripts and ORM in its Core, so development of custom tables isn’t as easy as it’s supposed to be. The tables are created and updated through dbDelta, so he explained the “magic” behind this largely used function and no so good practices. He then presented his implementation of an ORM system he implemented into some of his projects and is going to try to push it to WordPress Core. The idea behind it is that you create and update tables through PHP code like in most of the popular ORMs. This enables you to easily control and update the tables using versioning. I really like the idea because I think it will make database management much easier and I’m certain that the developers will be thankful.

Juliette Reinders Folmer – for the love of code: modernizing WordPress, plugins and themes

PHP 7+ is going to be the minimum version by the end of the year. Yesss!! 🙂
Juliette talked about the process of modernizing our code to be compliant with the upcoming changes that PHP 7 brings, but with backward compatibility. I think this is a big step for WordPress, because modernizing and being side by side with PHP is a must. She also talked about the changes to WordPress standards this will bring along and how plugin and theme developers must adapt. Great, great news!

Matt Mullenweg on WordPress

Matt’s keynote was mostly about Gutenberg and about future plans for it. He went back to 2018 and the anticipation of the major change that it will bring, as well as the fuzz that has risen because of it. And he ended with the situation today – Gutenberg is a huge part of WordPress and one of its crucial elements.

A lot of work and fixes on Gutenberg have been made in the past months to bring it to the level at which it is now – with 150.000 posts being published every day. In the Q&A section, there was a lot of talk about the future of WordPress development and about the community’s involvement in the development decision making. All in all, quite an amazing talk!

David Needham – find that bug you made months ago with Git Bisect

If you are not using Git Bisect, you really should. David talked about using Git Bisect and how to use it to find out why your site is not working. By using this technique you can quickly and easily find exactly when you broke your code.

Vladimír Smitka – WordPress through the bad guys glasses

This was one of the most entertaining, but also one of the scariest talks of the WCEU. Vladimir talked about what “normal” people see and what hackers see on your site. In his example, he showed a fake blog site and then just by looking at some information that was available on it, he tracked the blog’s author to her home, found out she has a cat and that she is currently in Berlin on WCEU. It was an entertaining presentation, but more importantly, it warned us all about our security.

The conclusion

WordCamp Europe was a great experience for our team. Both the organization and the venue were great and I have to give a round of applause for all 80 organizers and 167 volunteers who made this happen.

What’s even better is the fact that this year will be great for WordPress with Gutenberg strengthening its position and PHP 7+ becoming the minimal required version. As for some buzzwords, this year’s conference was all about Gutenberg – there were a lot of talks about the topic.

Before I finish, I just want to point out that WordCamp is a really great conference to attend. It combines a lot of different profiles of people – developers, business owners, content creators, marketers… You get to meet all of those different people, talk with them, share experiences and learn something new – and that makes this conference so diverse and exciting.