WordCamp London 2017 occurred this past weekend at London Metropolitan University and was another incredible experience. With more than 500 people on hand to make the event a success for the second year, read on for some highlights from #wcldn.

Location and Event Overview

It’s notable that many attendees are from the UK and travel to London for WordCamp. There are also many loyal members of the WordPress community that travel a great distance to take part and some even went above and beyond by volunteering their time and talents to help organize.

As a proud sponsor of WordCamp London, we had a booth that many attendees stopped by to chat with the WP Engine team and collect the latest and greatest WP Engine swag. It’s always a pleasure to meet our customers and it’s one of the things that I look forward to the most as WordCamp events.

The event was well thought out with regards to inclusivity, making sure that all would feel welcome, comfortable and could partake in sessions and all other aspects. Speech to text Reporters (STTRs) were stationed in each hall and were responsible for live captioning during all presentations throughout the event. This is actually more helpful that one might imagine and it is something that I took advantage of when I missed part of what a presenter was saying.

There were many nooks in the venue to hide away and grab some concentration for those people who needed to get things done in between talks or at other points throughout the event and even a Quiet Room for when the absolute focus was needed.

WordCamp London 2017 Contributor day

There were about 100 developers who came in a day early to volunteer their time and give back to the open source community. A large portion of the group went for an early workshop session where they learned to set up and provision VVV, a Vagrant based local development environment for WordPress so they could get started with contributing code to WP.

I noticed that people were just as willing to teach other contributors how to ramp up and get comfortable with contributing as they were to work on their own code, which was a huge example of how the WordPress Community is committed to welcoming new people to get involved. As a front end developer, I have been a part of the theme review team at prior events, but I’ve always had an eye on the core team as something I aspired to do. This time around I decided to push the boundaries of my knowledge and join the core team. I wanted to learn the process of contributing, which was one of my main goals that I set out for the day.

I shared a table with @swissspidy who helped me to get my environment up and running to tackle the list of good first bugs. London-based freelancer @tharsheblows, helped guide me through the patching process, which I would have struggled with on my own. I quickly found that I had chosen a bug that another new contributor, @cazphoto was looking at and decided to work together. I was happy to work collectively in an open, supportive group environment. In the end, I was an active participant in helping to squash a visible bug in WordPress which I hope to see in an upcoming release. Now that I’m up to speed with applying patches and working through tickets I feel like I can participate even when I’m not at WordCamp.

Speakers, Presentations and Talk Highlights

It’s impossible to see all of the talks that I wanted to, and with three simultaneous tracks throughout the event, it can be a challenge to figure out what session to listen in on. I managed to find a good mix of business, design and technical talks that were informative and insightful. This was not the most technically geared, latest and greatest, bleeding edge developer based WordCamp that I’ve been to, but there were plenty of interesting topics that were easily understood by both technical and non-technical folks. I ended up venturing outside my usual interests and finding several good sessions that I probably wouldn’t normally attend.

I really enjoyed the session entitled How to Grow From Freelancer to Agency Owner by David Lockie of Brighton based Digital Agency Pragmatic. This was a heartfelt journey on how a freelancer with a handful of WordPress sites grew a full scale, well-respected agency operation. I managed to spot several other agencies in attendance and it was an inspirational and enlightening talk.

Manifesto CEO and Scrum coach Jim Bowes shared his extensive knowledge of agile development methodologies and how an agile practice can optimize your workflow and increase productivity by streamlining processes.

Graham Armfield’s talk entitled Designing for Accessibility was a well-structured guide on the basics of what every site designer and developer should look for with regards to making their site accessible to everyone. This includes people with limitations that would make it otherwise difficult. One of the keys that developers need to look out for is how important color contrast can be for visually impaired users.

The Little Things

The Creche. Simply put, without this I wouldn’t have been able to attend WordCamp this year. There’s an ancient African proverb that says it takes a village to raise a child and this can be no further to the truth for my family. As my wife and I travel occasionally for work, we depend on family and others to help out with our kids. The @NipperboutLtd creche did a fantastic job of looking after the kids, keeping them both happy and engaged while giving me a chance to network and attend sessions. The kids had a fun weekend drawing wapuu for their own puppet show and after the first day, they were excited and looking forward to coming in again for the second day.


Developers tend to stick behind the keyboard and monitor for a significant part of their working days. As WordCamp is intended to be an event for networking, many developers and WordPress folk were doing just that. Since all of the sessions will be uploaded to WordCamp.tv, you can always catch up on something that you missed. WordCamp is a great opportunity to meet with friends, partners and companies that you many not be able to see on a regular basis and it is a great excuse to meet face-to-face in an otherwise online world. Many thanks to the organizers, speakers, and sponsors for making WordCamp London #wcldn a great event! Next stop for me is WordCamp Helsinki, where I’ll be talking about Configuration Management in WordPress.