Looking Back at This Winter’s WordCamp in Philadelphia

January 9, 2017
Josh Henderson
Liberty Bell WordCamp logo, wordcamp

For the second year in a row, Philadelphia served as host to the annual WordCamp US. In years prior, WordCamp took place in San Francisco. While we love the Golden Gate, having this convention in our own backyard provided a great opportunity for the whole Push10 development team to experience it in person. 

Lots of great talks to choose from.

Planning your days around a packed weekend of WordPress focused talks is exciting, but a challenge. While all sessions were engaging in their own way, I found ‘Teaching the FBI to photoblog with WordPress’ the most interesting. Right? Who wouldn’t want to grab a seat to that one?

The speaker discussed his process of creating a WordPress website for the FBI called ‘BanditTracker‘ to catch criminals. The site originally focused on criminal activity in the Texas area, assisting authorities by allowing FBI to post photos of criminals. When the combination of tech ingenuity with good ol’ fashion detective work assisted in capturing several dangerous criminals, the website gained popularity! It was even referenced in the news. Authorities submitted photos and footage from various public cameras, while citizens helped identify the individuals.

The site’s successful because it provides a singular source for all various law enforcement agencies to gather and submit information. With s0 many contributors, usability is definitely critical. Since creating the original site, similar sites have popped including Bandittrackerchicago.com, bandittrackerstlouis.com and bandittrackernortheast.com with similar results. And that was done with WordPress?? YES!

Each day was filled with more compelling stories. Another interesting discussion was lead by Andrew Nacin, a WordPress developer working for the U.S Digital Service at the Whitehouse. In his talk, he discussed a few of the challenges he has encountered while at the White House which covered accessibility and user experience. He mentioned that in the White House, just like the rest of the world, software needs to be usable, and helpful. It was fascinating to learn that Wordpress is used in our highest office, and to get a glimpse behind that curtain.

Worthwhile? Definitely!

Overall, this year’s WordCamp was a great experience. Between roaming through all the sponsor tables (for the free stuff of course 🙂 ), the insightful talks, and the opportunity to see familiar faces as well as make new friends, it was a phenomenal event. Clearly, a lot of effort went into the success of the event by the volunteers and contributors.

If there was one oddity to speak of, it was the surprising lack of discussion topics on security. In his ‘State of the Word‘ , WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg stressed the importance of WordPress security. This is a topic that will no doubt take center stage in the next WordCamp.

Push10 prides itself on using the newest and most hearty security measures available. We’re looking forward to hearing more on the subject at next year’s WordCamp — Philly would definitely love to host again!