First Wordcamp experience
We decided to attend Wordcamp London at fairly short notice and once you do, there are a couple of decisions to make right away.
First up, do you want to attend the Contributor Day? For me I could only attend the contributor day because of weekend family commitments. You still have to purchase a ticket as if you’re attending but that was fine with me. Ian attended over the weekend and I’ll let him write about that.
OK so now you’re going to the contributor day, which team do you want to be in? Since we’ve been programmers for decades and have been doing PHP since circa 2004 it made sense to join the core team. The Wordcamp organisers are really clear that they value all contributions, not just code/core/techie and I applaud them for that.
On arrival from the Shires (OK, we were late, we’re not based in London!) the teams had already formed up and we walked into a room full of busy bees. I don’t know if the organisers were surprised by the demand but seats and power outlets were at a premium. A really friendly core team member Jenny made us feel welcome and put us at ease. We had a quick chat with the team leader Pascal and I think its fair to say he was relieved that onboarding didn’t include setting us up with a LAMP stack. I had a laptop running Debian, Ian was running Windows and VirtualBox on his. I had used an internal shell script to setup an empty virtual host the day before.
WordPress 5.2 will contain a site health-check feature and our task was to find bugs. The WordPress team recognise that there are still plenty of people running PHP 5.x and the site check should help site owners transition to PHP 7.x, at the time of writing its PHP 7.3.
We did a git clone of the latest development build of WordPress and started hunting. Since PHP has a history of deprecating functions between versions, I added a call to a non-existent function and voila! I found my first bug, verified it with Ian and discussed it with Pascal. We looked at the code to understand what was happening and then with Pascal’s help I was able to file my first bug report on WordPress core. Happy days, I’d made a contribution.
Lunch break was a great chance to chat with other visitors and get a sense of the WordPress community. There was a very positive vibe to the whole day. Later on I found and filed another bug and helped a core team member fix a bug with their own project.
Before I knew it we were wrapping up. Each team leader gave a precis of the day and then we were all invited down the pub. For some reason I met a lot of German speakers that day, a chance to practice my German and now I’m inspired to visit Wordcamp Berlin; hope to see you there. Tschüss :-)