I’m going to say, with emphasis, what I think everyone is probably thinking…

LoopConf is what you wish most WordCamps were

Here’s my gist:

  • Live streaming quality was excellent, because a professional crew was on-tap to handle all of it
  • The logistical planning of the entire conference felt very smooth – almost invisible, really
  • Vendor tables were in a single isle, making them impossible to miss and easily approachable because they needed to be constantly staffed
  • Speaker quality was excellent, and I predict we will see a few presentations remixed and repackaged by others for WordCamps this year and next
  • I never want to follow John O’Nolan (of Ghost fame) in a speaker lineup ever again – he is a well-prepared stage performer with relatable personality and charisma, and will easily make you second guess your own experience & abilities
  • Andy Nacin’s talk was revealing, and even still, is only really half of the story
  • Jeremy Felt is much more comfortable on stage than he used to be, and his Multisite presentation was spot on
  • So many mentions of the REST API, but not a lot of truly practical usages yet – everyone is building WordPress minus WordPress instead of replacing existing piecemeal AJAX calls or iteratively improving WordPress itself

Full disclosure: after O’Nolan’s talk, the reality of being the last session of an intense 3 day conference became very apparent, so I trimmed 10 slides from my presentation talking about code and stuck to the high-level overview of my perspective of what building (and maintaining) big plugins is like and means to me.

It didn’t help either that vendors started breaking down their tables & displays in the middle of the talk before mine. It confirmed my suspicions that at least some people were ready to be done with the event, and demotivated me enough to cut my talk a few minutes short so everyone could call LoopConf done-done and move on to reflecting rather than ingesting. I know some events penalize vendors for this, and I’m not exactly endorsing that, but I can say in my experience that it certainly influenced my mood on stage.

Going back to the WordCamp vs. LoopConf angle, I like that WordCamps are casual and inviting, and I like that conferences like LoopConf and the WordPress.com VIP Workshop strive to achieve something more professional. I think there will be some WordCamps that try to upgrade themselves to compete, and others that will purposely stay intimate and niche. And I love that event planners have the freedom to choose what they think is best for their audiences, and that attendees are able to tweak their own experiences within the WordPress specific conference space.

LoopConf in general was super great event. It felt well executed, with plenty to do, learn, and accomplish afterwards. I hope I’m invited back next year to go more in-depth about something niche and interesting happening in the WordPress community, and if so, that I don’t end up following that O’Nolan chap again.

P.S. – here’s the recording of my talk, if you’re interested


8 responses to “LoopConf”

  1. Great writeup. Thanks for sharing your takeaways for those who couldn’t make it!

  2. Thanks for sharing these reflections. Do you think “WordPress minus WordPress” will yield practical results — other than attracting or keeping a hold on developers who want to work with other frameworks and WP on the framework level? That in itself has been seen as an imperative in the other big, 10+ year old, open source CMS projects. They too seem to have had challenges negotiating the need for both continuity (technical accessibility) and change (technical depth and maturity). The diverse and flexible (something for everyone) quality of the WP conference scene (as well as the marketplace) does seem to reflect and mediate this process in a rather healthy way.

    1. I think it will (and that it has to) but at our current pace it will take years to achieve – enough years where I don’t think it’s unreasonable to consider that “full coverage” may not happen before a newer better API is being developed, not unlike xml-rpc.

      It is healthy and important for growth and change to occur, and like any valuable technology it will be pushed to its absolute limits before being trickled down to the masses, but even though the WordPress REST API is no longer new, it’s still a few years away from being a mature foundation to heavily invest in the same way we have with WordPress already.

  3. […] “I’m going to say, with emphasis, what I think everyone is probably thinking: LoopConf is what you wish most WordCamps were,” Speaker and attendee John James Jacoby said in his writeup. […]

  4. BTW, we were breaking down because we had heard that the shipping office was closing at 5, and really didn’t want to be stuck with a bunch of crates of booths and nowhere to ship them. : If there had been clear communication that we didn’t need to break down so early to get stuff shipped, we wouldn’t have.

    1. I have no idea what the restrictions or requirements were for vendor booths, and it’s not really relevant information for speakers that weren’t also vendors, but I understand that everyone works within the boundaries presented to them at the time, and that no one wants to risk being stuck or stranded.

  5. […] Baker’s session will essentially be a crash course in getting started, covering all the basics and more. While there has been a great deal of excitement surrounding the API and what it means for the future of WordPress, many developers are still getting a grasp on how they can incorporate it into real world projects. John James Jacoby made an interesting observation in his recap of LoopConf: […]