Approaches to WordPress Theme Development

Late last year I attended and spoke at three WordCamps about several approaches to WordPress theme development. I was quite happy with the talks, but felt like they needed supplementary information beyond the basics covered at WordCamp. That information is now live in the form of a Code Poet article, which wraps up my season of talks on the topic. I had fun talking about starter themes and theme approaches, and I’m looking forward to coming up with other great topics for this year’s WordCamps.

Twenty Thirteen

2012 came and went, and some important events happened along the way…

  • I spoke at three WordCamps—Mumbai, Manila, and Kathmandu—and in the process met some of the most wonderful people who I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. My passion for the WordPress community has only grown stronger with time.
  • I bounced around the globe with Automattic, attending team and company meetups in New York City, Las Vegas, Winnipeg, San Francisco, and San Diego. In the process I learned that traveling so far to North America that frequently induces unhappiness and dementia, and that San Francisco has become very dear to my heart.
  • I reached my 1-year anniversary working with Automattic (October 24th, 2012).
  • I reached my 1-year anniversary in Ba Đình (December).
  • Donna married James and I was fortunate enough to attend the event. Donna’s been my best friend since we were 15, and to be there with her and James meant the world to me. I love her family so very much.
  • I lost 20 more pounds. In 2011 I lost 54, and in 2010 I lost 55. If you do the math on that, you’ll see how absurdly large I used to be. 2006 to 2009 were some of the hardest years of my entire life—accompanied by weight gain—both professionally and personally. I went through a devastating breakup, my father died, and I started having severe issues with anxiety and panic. The last three years, though, have been better. Not perfect, but better. The struggle to find health and balance still remains strong, but with every single day I’m doing all that I can to experience life with a little more joy and purpose.

Like the year before it, this year was filled with travel. I was on the road for 142 days, which means that my goal of staying put during 2012 was an utter failure. Goal setting is hard and an inexact science, so I might just consider not setting them in 2013 (Naoko’s advice and outlook are starting to nudge me in the right direction).

During Twenty Thirteen I would like not to set a specific, quantifiable goal. I will instead take every single breath with appreciation and try my best to live in the present, mindfully. I will be open with my love for new friends and make sure my family knows that I care for them. I will live knowing that control is an illusion and let go of being so rigid so often.

That doesn’t mean I’ll wake up tomorrow with no direction. It mostly just means that next year I’ll do my best to let go of my death grip on the steering wheel.

One Year At Automattic

I was going to write a super-long post about what working at Automattic during the last year has been like; about what it feels like to deploy code out to millions of people several times per day; about how my involvement in premium themes on WordPress.com has strengthened my passion for the game; about how it’s gone by quickly and how time, or wasting it at least, has become the biggest enemy.

Something something something about feeling validated in my line of work and more comfortable being stubborn because I care, not only about Automattic but also about making hard decisions that make our lives and our users’ lives better.

And something something else about how it only looks glamorous from outside the hedges and how it’s probably been the most grueling, and most rewarding, year of both my professional and personal lives.

But several paragraphs were all the energy I could muster because I’d rather be figuring out ways to make Automattic and WordPress.com better right now.

So, that’s what the last year has been like.

At some point I stopped thinking everything was peachy keen and started thinking about the thousand ways we could be a better company.

Stay tuned.

Upcoming WordCamp Presentations

I’m pleased to announce that I will speak at the following upcoming WordCamps:

In both Mumbai and Manila I will give developer-focused talks about building WordPress themes using _s; in Nepal I’ll do similar but also chat with my former colleague Chandra Maharzan about the WordPress.com theme onboarding process.

If you plan on attending either one of these events get in touch with me; I love nothing more than meeting other WordPressers.

The Hanoi WordPress Meetup Group’s First Meetup Is Happening!

The Hanoi WordPress Meetup Group will hold its first meetup tomorrow evening. I’m excited, to say the least, mostly because it’s finally happening six months after the group was established and there are people in Hanoi who care about and use WordPress.

If you’re available tomorrow at 7:00 PM, then come out to AiM Cafe on 102 Linh Lang and let’s talk about WordPress. And if you haven’t joined the group and want to be more involved with the WordPress community in Hanoi, hop on over to our group page and join.

See you tomorrow!

Announcing The Hanoi WordPress Meetup Group

2012 has been declared the Year of the WordPress Meetup.

So what is a WordPress Meetup? Basically, it’s people in a community getting together — meeting up — who share an interest in WordPress, whether they be bloggers, business users, developers, consultants, or any other category of person able to say, “I use WordPress in some way and I like it, and I want to meet other people who can say the same.” (Jane Wells)

There’s no better time than now, then, to begin participating in what I hope will this year become a healthy and active Hanoi WordPress Meetup Group. The aim of the group is simple: to find and connect WordPress enthusiasts who either live in Hanoi or may be passing through for a visit.

Any WordPresser—blogger, designer, or developer—is welcomed. The ultimate goal is to create and foster a network, big or small, in which we as WordPress lovers will thrive and grow together. In short, if you live in or will visit Hanoi and you’re a user of WordPress—beginner, intermediate, or advanced—then this group is for you.

On signup to the Hanoi WordPress Meetup Group you will be asked four important questions:

  1. How long have you been using WordPress?
  2. Are you primarily a WordPress user, developer, or designer?
  3. What would you like to learn about WordPress?
  4. What would you like to teach others about WordPress?

These questions do not take long at all to answer but they will greatly help us all figure out suitable topics of discussion for meetups, which I envision taking place once a month. Because the group will be small at its outset—I’ll consider a 6-person first meetup a massive success— finding venues for meetups around the city will be quite easy. As the group grows and becomes more stable, we’ll work on finding a more constant space for meetups within Hanoi.

We’ll decide on topics of discussion later, although I imagine a first meetup being mostly introductory. Less important is what we discuss at first than just getting to know each other and creating a network in Hanoi, which up until now has been largely nonexistent.

I’m excited about this and would like to begin meeting up as early as March. If you live in Hanoi (or will be in town) and use WordPress, then join the group!