#RefreshCA WordPress Code Camp Brainstorm

It’s impossible to attend a meeting of the Central Arkansas Refresh Group and not have someone bring up the topic of WordPress.  I just thought that I was the head cheerleader for wordpress in this area until I started hanging around with some of the #RefreshCA guys, they love it just about as much as I do.  A few months back we had Daniel Spillers from UALR’s web team do a presentation on wordpress and it was probably one of our most popular meetings since the group formed.  You can see my blog post about Daniel’s presentation here.

Given my fascination with WordPress and my desire to learn even more about it, I posed a question to the group today on Twitter to see if there was any interest in having some sort of Saturday Code Camp of sorts dedicated only to WordPress.  I am not even quite sure in my head what such an event would look like, but I think it would be an awesome experience if we could pull something like this off.

I know that personally I have already picked up a lot of things from the group by just hanging out with them for an hour or two each month, and I can only imagine how cool it would be to have a code camp type setting where there wasn’t a speaker or presentation type of thing going on, instead it would be more interactive.

Here’s kind of what I was thinking, please add to the list…

  • Plugin Discussions: we could each discuss what plugins we actively use on projects and learn ways to tweak or better utilize their functionality.
  • Plugin Development: We could also discuss plugin development and what all is involved with authoring your own plugin, more here on plugin development.  I have had a small role in a few plugin projects in the past and I know that there are probably a few others and we can probably dive pretty deep into this topic.
  • Core Hacking: we could discuss ways to further extend wordpress beyond what’s available through the use of plugins, etc.  Here’s an example of a recent hack that I had to implement for a client.
  • Theme Development: we could also discuss theme development, and what goes into designing a theme for wordpress.  We could also touch on some of the design generation tools that are on the market as well, such as Artisteer.
  • Performance: another good topic of discussion could revolve around performance related issues with wordpress such as caching.
  • Enterprise / Multi-User Applications: possibly a member of our group has some experience with wordpress MU or enterprise and can give us some input on that end of the spectrum.

These are just a few areas that I am throwing out there, if you have some additional wordpress related topics you think would be interesting, please feel free to comment them out so we can have a list to work from when we are finally able to put something like this together.

The possibility that something specialized like this could spawn from our Central Arkansas Refresh group is kind of cool to think about because there are potentially several other specialized applications like Drupal, Joomla and MODx that could spawn out of it as well.  Darren Huckey is currently working on setting up a Drupal user group for Central Arkansas right now and as soon as he has the details on that I will be sure to share that on here as well.

Not that there is anything wrong with our existing format for the Central Arkansas Refresh Group meetings, I love the presentation / question and answer format and really enjoy the fellowship, but I think a specialized code camp type of setting could really be awesome.

Another thought, for this meeting we would probably need to find a good location that’s free from distractions and has a strong enough signal for all of us to be online at the same time.  Since this is a specialized type meeting, different from the broader scoped Refresh meetings, we will likely have a smaller turnout so a smaller venue might work well.  Thought’s, anyone??  Hit me back and let me know what you think…

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