This last Thursday I was lucky enough to attend the London WordPress Meetup. I say lucky enough, I do mean that as it was held at an amazing venue, had 2 great talks and I felt very welcome even though quite the out of Towner.
The venue was the Telegraph which is a jaw dropping example of modernity. The outside has light panels that change colour in an architecture nod to a lava lamp. The entrance hall and subsequent buildings an homage to clean, crispness. Mix in with that the experience of a real news paper main floor and you’ve got a jaw dropping venue for a WordPress Meetup.
The actual talks were held in a conference room that would have suited political announcements, overlooking the active main floor. The talks themselves were not overshadowed by the venue either and were very much worth the train journey giving a sense of a mini conference rather than just a Meetup.
Publishing with WordPress by Paul Gibbs
Paul Gibbs kicked off the evening talking with his talk ‘Publishing with WordPress’. Paul works at the Telegraph as their WordPress / BuddyPress developer and is also a BuddyPress core contributor. The talk covered the ins and outs of exactly what was run WordPress wise at the Telegraph along with some mind-blowing stats: over 90,000 user accounts, 4,000+ blogs. They run 2 sites with WordPress – Blogs for the journalists and their community site ‘My Telegraph’.
It was interesting to discover BuddyPress and a few other plugins scaled without any issues, however some still needed significant modification to get working on such a demanding environment. Perhaps telling as to how a lot of developers don’t consider scaling in their plugins. Another point I found interesting was the old ‘how secure is WordPress’ question that reared its head in the question time after the talk. Telegraph use Disqus which blocks yet another hole in the security and as Paul rightly said the less streams or external libraries the less security risk.
WordPress and Web Accessibility by Graham Armfield
The other talk was given by Graham Armfield and covered ‘WordPress and web accessibility’. Graham’s knowledge about usability certainly was vast and his insights came across in this informative talk. It was interesting to be shown the various technologies and cover the range of people the word ‘accessibility covers’. I found it a good reminder to consider not just the traditional view of ‘disabled’ but look at cognitive and also the older generations to be included in that mix.
Graham gave a nudge reminder to us all how whilst technologies like HTML5 may be exciting we shouldn’t lose sight of accessibility. I don’t think the ‘take home’ for me was don’t use modern tech if you want to be accessible it was more ‘remember accessible’ whilst getting into new things. A point all of us should remember. Graham has shared his slides here.
Worth the train fare
I don’t live in London so it was a little trek on the train for me, however I can really recommend even if you don’t live in London you consider this event. There was discussion that it may be held at the Telegraph again – I really hope that happens as it really was a great venue and added to the event. I would like to thank everyone that made me welcome and look forward to hopefully attending some more in the future.