Review of WordCamp Bournemouth 2014

Posted on: 14 Jul 2014
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Seaside, sunshine and a group of fantastic people talking about WordPress for two days, WordCamp Bournemouth didn’t disappoint!

WordCamp Bournemouth was my fifth WordCamp and as always there were great quality speakers and a fun filled social times. The organisers did a fantastic job of picking a great venue with a multitude of projectors so everyone could see the presentations easily and the sponsors were great for helping keep ticket prices down.

Ngaire presenting 'Creating a base theme' at WordCamp Bournemouth

After the introduction, I kicked off the event in Room 1 with my presentation about ‘Creating a base theme’ where I went into the why and how behind creating a base/client/starter theme. If you’d like to check out the slides or a video of the presentation, check out the link ‘Creating a base theme’ »

There were two tracks running in the mornings and one track in the afternoons, so unfortunately I didn’t get around to all the presentations, but here are a few of the things I took into from a few of the presentations:

How to secure your WordPress website – presented by Mike Pead

Mike Pead - security
Mike reinforced a very important topic of WordPress web security. He talked about various plugins and tips that you can do to make your website more secure. One interesting thing he suggested was adding a password via the .htaccess file to help try block attackers before they start making requests on the WordPress login page.

EduPress – presented by Rachel McCollin

Rachel gave a presentation about a multisite that she and Mark Wilkinson have created for schools, a bit of a ‘happytables’ for schools so to speak. It was interesting to see how much you can convert the admin area to really clean it up and make it suitable to a specific audience.

How to be prepared for anything during that sales meeting – presented by Kirsty Burgoine

Kirsty gave interesting insight into coming from a developer perspective and having to sell your work and be more personable with potential clients. A few of her tips included:

  1. Prepare yourself. Be comfortable and have confidence in your work.
  2. Prepare for the meeting. Get as much information as possible beforehand.
  3. During the actual meeting let your knowledge shine through.


Designing with data – presented by Jonny Allbut

Jonny talked about identifying data versus content and figuring out what really needs to be configurable by the client. Thinking about what needs to be queried and how you will achieve the design requirements. In terms of development we can think about removing unnecessary widgets, using get_template_part and pre_get_posts, as well as sanitising input and escaping output.

Password Strength – presented by Mike Little

In this talk Mike showed up how important it is to have strong passwords and how fast they can be cracked. Basically anything below 12 characters could be cracked in a matter of seconds on a heavy-duty system. I’ve now learnt I need to ensure I have password software not just for my clients work, but for my personal accounts too. LastPass was highly recommended.

Secure from the start – presented by Kieran O’Shea

kieran o'shea
I really enjoyed Kieran’s security talk at WordCamp Edinburgh a few years ago, so it was brilliant to hear from him again. He talked about various types of hacks that have been going on lately and various ways we can try avoid them. The YubiKey was one way of 2 step authentication that was interesting to hear about, also using multiple email addresses for various accounts, using your own VPN and SSL where possible.

From Local to Staging to Live – presented by Mark Wilkinson

mark willkinson
This is something that really interested me as I’m always looking to improve my processes when it comes to web development. It was great to hear that a large portion of Mark’s talk I was already doing, like building locally with MAMP and using version control for backups and rollbacks. Something that I found really great to hear about was a deployment tool to go from local to staging/live – he uses Deploy HQ, I’m definitely going to look into that in the coming days. He also mentioned he’s found it useful to put the staging site on the same server as the live site in case some functionality is dependent on hosting settings like the PHP version they use. That way you can find out any little hiccups before it goes live.

Underscores – presented by Jack Lenox

Automattician Jack Lenox presented about a great starter theme called Underscores, which definitely gave me food for thought. Underscores is a very basic theme that could be good to look into even if it’s just to keep an eye on the best principles and practices for coding WordPress websites.

WOW Plugins – presented by Kimb Jones

Kimb JonesAs always the cheery Kim gave an insightful review of some popular plugins that he knows about that we can consider in websites. I really liked the idea of the Spots plugin to replace widgets. Imsanity is an image resizing one that I wish I’d known about a few weeks ago before redesigning this website. Then there was the plugin called BugHerd and a non-WordPress system called Bounce, both of which allow for client feedback directly on the website, which could come in really handy if clients want to make changes in the browser rather than during the design stage.

I’m so pleased that I went to WordCamp Bournemouth and presented for a second year running to such a fantastic group of people. I hope everyone will stay in touch and I look forward to hopefully seeing many of the people at the WordPress London Meetups that I help co-organise each month.

Categories: Blog, Website Design
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