This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.
Sloppy Sam is a hobbyist, who has been coding PHP off and on for a few months. One morning, she gets an idea for a new feature for Drupal core. She begins by searching the issue to see if something like it exists already and, finding it does not, posts a new issue with a general description of her idea. She then opens her IRC window and asks in #drupal, “Hey, folks! I had an idea for a new feature for core that [brief summary]. What do you think about this? [link]”
I have a feeling this is a post I’ll be coming back to often.
At the beginning of 2012, I did a soft reboot of this blog with the intention of using as a log for a daily practice of contributing to WordPress, no matter how small the day’s contribution: it could be as small as helping a beginner user with an easy (for me) question, or as big as a patch on a new feature.
I didn’t do so hot with the daily logging part, but the rest turned out pretty well:
- I contributed code to WordPress 3.4 and 3.5, and I’m busy thinking about what I can do for 3.6.
- I was named a Recent Rockstar for the 3.4 release, and you know I saved screenshots of the credits screen.
- I was invited to the first WordPress Community Summit, which was an incredible honor and a bit of a life-changer.
- I gave my first conference talk at WordCamp Raleigh, about making the move from being a committed user or dev to being a community contributor — and including all kinds of roles in “contributor”.
- Outside of WP-land, I was selected to attend the Ada Initiative’s AdaCamp DC conference. Between that and the Summit, I had two conferences this year that really expanded my views on what we do in open source and open culture, how our communities can make a foundation for that work, and my own place as a part of all that.
Looking ahead to 2013, I’m looking toward a mix of stepping up technical skills and turning everything I did last year into stuff that benefits people other than just me:
- I want to speak more. I want to polish up the community stuff, and also add at least one technical subject to the list of subjects I can talk about.
- Release more code in public. Whether it’s paid or free, the fact is that I do better work when it’s not just hidden away in the back end of a single site.
- Find a team, part 1. I don’t yet know what form this will take: whether it means looking for a job or redirecting my freelance work toward bigger projects with distributed teams, but I do know that solo projects are limited projects compared to what I can do with good partners.
- Find a team, part 2. As an outgrowth of the Community Summit, a new WordPress Community Outreach team was founded, and we’ll be starting up in the new year. Don’t worry — I’ll still be working on core code and reviews, but the Community team is an amazing mix of all the empowerment and outreach and learning ideas that drew me in to Open Source in the first place… of course I’m all over that!
- Blog more. Duh. Maybe I’ll try logging some of my contributions.
If you’re making a design for someone other than yourself or your client, use fonts that work in languages other than English. If you’re making a theme for public distribution, pick something that at least includes extended Latin, and preferably has a few other alphabets as well.
Hell, if you’re making a design just for yourself, use fonts that work in languages other than English. You can be the most monolingual American on earth, and the minute you copy/paste something that’s a little more worldly, all those accented characters will fail over to your fallback font. It looks awful. It looks unprofessional. And it looks like you haven’t considered any audience that isn’t just like you.
I’ll be tagging posts for new open-source (not only WordPress) contributors with the “Contributing” tag.
The slides are already up for my presentation I am WordPress and So Can You (Whizbangy html/js slides. Works right in your browser!).
I had a few followup questions about getting started with particular teams.
To get started with the Theme Review Team, go to the Ticket Request Queue (or find the current month, if you’re coming by this post at some later date) and leave a comment with your WordPress.org user name. Someone will assign a theme to you and make sure that you got through the reviewing process okay.
If you’re interested in UI/UX work, make.wordpress.org/ui is very active — read through the last few months of posts to get a sense of the kind of discussions we have, and then drop in to one of our meetings on Tuesday afternoons (Eastern) in the #wordpress-ui channel in IRC. If you don’t know IRC yet, you can chat through the web at webchat.freenode.net. Since we’re currently in beta for 3.5, most of the current work is cleanup and bug-fixing, but we’re happy to have you come by and we’ll be starting up the next design phase before you know it!
And for the people who asked about getting started in the forums, I really, truly meant it when I said you can just dive in. Start with answering a question — even if you think you’re just one tiny step more advanced than the person who’s asking. It’s a great feeling, and you’ll learn more every time you do it.
Some much-needed recharge time here:100 people who are no longer just avatars, twitter feeds, or IRC handles (sadly, a few couldn’t come due to visa trouble, life emergencies, or Hurricane Sandy. You were dearly missed.):
On top of all that (phew!) it was one of those rare conferences that really reworked my brain. I feel incredibly lucky to have had two of those this year, and just like AdaCamp DC in July, I left this one with a whole new sense of focus and community, mixed with some real, practical new knowledge and action.
There are summaries of the morning and afternoon discussions, with more detailed notes to come. I’ve always felt that the mark of a great conference is that I want to clone myself several times over in order to take in everything that’s going on at once. This one had that, plus overflow into more discussions (and hacking on everything and anything) the next day. Each session produced action items, many of which are already underway. There are new projects underway, making features people have wanted for a very, very long time. And I’m pretty sure the media system got about 3 new versions overnight…
I’m incredibly excited to be heading to the WordPress Community Summit in Tybee Island, GA later this weekend. It’s a unique event — it’s smaller than a typical WordCamp, and more important, the attendee list was picked to bring together people who represent different facets of the WordPress community, but who might otherwise not meet up with each other. I expect my brain to be overflowing with great discussions about the project and the WP world — but also, I’m looking forward to a couple of fantastic days near the beach with dear friends and brand-new ones.
Before that, I’ll be dropping in at DrupalCamp Atlanta, where the spouse is speaking. WP is by far my favorite CMS, but Drupal always impresses the hell out of me with their approach to building their community. And when the fates decide to send us both to Georgia on the same weekend — well, the Peach State is getting ALL its content managed, like it or not.
A lot of people have been talking about this already this morning, so I’ll just throw a very quick comment into the mix: This looks like it could be one of the very rare plugins that will completely change how I build and use WordPress.
There are a lot of plugins that are basically “nice-to-haves” that provide a little bit extra, and a somewhat smaller number that provide a chunk of functionality I need that isn’t and should never be in core — if I need a calendar or a shopping cart for a particular project, I go out and find the one that best fits that project’s requirements. But it’s much more rare to find one that changes how you interact with the system itself. WordPress has been a great publishing system for a long time now; I’d love for this to be the first step toward an equally great collaboration system.