Recently I decided to make Lisbon my permanently base by utilising the D7 Visa, more commonly known as the ‘Nomad’ visa on the circuit. Lisbon is renowned for its digital nomad scene and this is how I discovered that the WordPress conference; WordCamp would be held in Porto. For the last couple of years, it has been a virtual conference due to Covid restrictions.
Being in Lisbon and the conference celebrating its 10th anniversary, this was an ideal opportunity to attend the three-day event and meet fellow WordPress professionals in person.
What is WordCamp?
It is an event organized by the people of the WordPress community to enlighten people about WordPress, its usage, plugin development, themes, and its security. Here, you can discuss everything about WordPress and new updates.
Just like every event and workshop, WordCamp is also unique and you can expect discussions, talks and network events. The whole event aims to ensure the attendees learn everything about WordPress. There is no minimum skill level to attend the event.
The registration process and Contributors day
As part of the event, the first day consists of a ‘contributors day’. Unfortunately, I really hadn’t researched the event schedule and missed the registration for this part of the conference. Registration for the workshops for the following two days did open between 2 pm – 4 pm and I took the opportunity to register during this period.
Having attended a number of professional events, I attended Websummit in 2018 and was scarred from the long queues of the registration process, I was super surprised by how well organised and quick this took at WordCamp. I arrived at the Super Bock arena at around 3:30 pm, picked up my name tag, and swag bag and registered my place in three of the workshops to take place over the next two days.
The whole process was painless and must have taken no longer than 20 minutes.
The main conference: Day 1 and 2nd of the WordCamp
To stay fresh for the upcoming two-day conference, I decided to skip the opening remarks to remain fresh. Without doing much research, I had no expectations and I think this really helped when attending.
The first talk I wanted to attend started at 11 am and I first discovered the exhibition hall to my surprise. A good number of the major players who provide premium plugins for WordPress had their stalls set up, including most major hosting companies. These included:
- WP Rocket
- Nitro Pack
The morning of the first day was extremely busy throughout the exhibition hall. It proved difficult to speak to people during this period, I took this time to scout who was attending and who to come back to later.
Coincidentally I received a support request in relation to a button not working on a client’s WordPress website. Believing this could be related to WPRocket, I found a quiet period to pick their brains for a solution. Amazingly, a member of the team jumped on a laptop and began inspecting the code and soon provided a solution to fix the WordPress website. This was an excellent experience and confounded a feeling of putting a face behind the plugins. The conference humanized the plugins you work with every day and gave me a level of appreciation I didn’t have before.
A number of stalls were running competitions and demonstrations. I had a chance to chat with a number of web developers working with WooCommerce before I test driver their new block builder.
In addition to many of the most well-known plugins, there were many stalls of extensions I hadn’t heard of before, such as Nitro Pack. Further stalls included translations, speed, security and usability.
The third day did appear to be quieter when visiting the exhibition halls.
Over the two days of the conference, I was seriously impressed by the talks and workshops held. There was a wide variety of topics being discussed, including security, accessibility, optimisation, marketing and Web3.0. There were talks being held and ‘workshops’, however, I am uncertain what made one different from the other.
Regardless of this small point, the speakers were very insightful and well presented.
Check out the schedule below.
The WP Cafe was a section outside the Super Bock arena which held food and drink. On the website, there appears to be a schedule of specific topics.
‘The WP Café area was said to have three different sections, each section colour coded and would hold a different subject. Each section was supposed to host a morning and an afternoon session on each day of the event.’
The area where lunch was held and the coffee van had big flags up naming itself as the WP Cafe but I had no luck finding where the three different sections were located. I am unsure if this even took place.
Exhibition Stands: Being able to speak to the teams behind the everyday plugins used on our websites was a really great experience. In particular, the team at WPRocket were hugely helpful.
While the big hitters of WordPress were present, there was an abundance of WordPress plugins I hadn’t heard of before. This gave me a great opportunity to discover new extensions that could improve the services of our WordPress agency. Such an encounter led to us installing Nitro Pack to our personal website and we are super impressed with the results.
Session – Why does a 5d build become a 4-6w project with clients?
This was an excellent session held by Vito Peleg, the session was well presented, humourous and provided real-world experiences to take away and apply to our own agency. The room was particular full for this session and someone mentioned Vito should be on the main stage next year.
Takeaways from WordCamp 2022
As far as WordPress conferences go and having attended a number of other conferences, I thought WordCamp was hugely great value for money and is an excellent option. Having the chance to connect directly with the teams behind the most popular WordPress plugins you use every day was very beneficial.
To arrange such a great event on such a low-cost ticket was surprising to me compared to other events. A buffet lunch was provided on all three days, while this was a bit hectic and I didn’t enjoy the food on offer, it is hard to complain when it was completely unexpected. In addition to this, on the last night, entertainment and food is provided.
I plan to attend WordCamp next year in Athens and will aim to make more effort to attend the side events as I missed out on networking and connecting with people. This was my own fault, sometimes it can be quite hard to be in the mood to try and start up conversations and network with strangers. I was quite happy by myself on this occasion and my attention was kept throughout the conference.
WordCamp 2023 takes place in Athens and will be held over multiple dates in 2023.