Review: WordCamp Nashville 2012


Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the first-ever WordCamp in Nashville, Tennessee. Nick Weaver and I took a quick seven hour road trip down to Nashville and, if I can speak for us both, had a great time.[ref]Nick, who you really should know from The Weekly Theme Show by now — shame on you if you don’t.[/ref]

The event was organized by John Housholder and members of his development shop Ah So Designs. They did a great job, pulling off a solid WordCamp in just nine weeks with what sounded like a budget on the lighter side. There were two tracks (one for beginners and intermediate users, another for developers) and eleven sessions. I stuck to the developer track sessions, though I missed out on Mitch Canter’s presentation in the morning (that’s what I get for relying on only one alarm) and was briefly distracted by an epic 34-level game of Jenga outside one of the rooms.

The highlight of the event

The highlight for me (aside from the after party, details of which are never, ever to be published of course) was the Otto and Nacin Show, wherein they went through and demonstrated the various features coming to WordPress in version 3.4. Although it was in the developer track, I’d say a majority of the session would have been interesting to any attendee there — particularly since a lot of it was focused on what’s coming in the near future.

I liveblogged a number of my choice favorite quotes from that session, but just in case you missed them:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/wpcandy/status/193742919528747009″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/wpcandy/status/193742275187179522″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/wpcandy/status/193738982448840708″]

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Too much fun, really.

The discussion on child themes that Ryan Green led was well received, and he covered the essentials. I also enjoyed hearing about child themes from a user experience professional’s point of view. Though, I think the session itself might have served better in an intermediate or advanced user track. As the session went on the room seemed split: half were curious about framework options, and the other half already had a workflow in place they were happy with.

Russel Fair’s Less presentation generated some interest and fit in well with plenty of code examples to show off. On a personal level I’m still unconvinced LESS is really worth all the trouble, but I certainly understand the features it brings to the table better now than before.

I started a discussion in our forums on this topic, because I’m interested in what others have to say about it.

From the forum:

Do you use Less or SASS when writing your CSS?

Started by Ryan Imel on April 28, 2012

Housholder himself held a session that I wasn’t sure about until it was underway called The Future of WordPress in Nashville. Taking up both tracks as what could be considered the keynote session of the event (and also the first time I’ve seen Google Hangouts used to stream a session into another room to accommodate seating requirements) it turned out to be a nice way for Housholder to walk through the state of WordPress meetups in Nashville and how those attending could get more involved. It’s only fitting, I think, that all WordCamps have something akin to this to help get more members involved in their regular, smaller events.

He also introduced the group to, a website he and his team are working on to offer a more ideal place to organize the group, citing problems relying on entirely as their motivation for putting something new together.

I selfishly look forward to seeing their development and what they put together at WPNashville so I can steal their ideas for updating and improving my own city’s WordPress meetup website.

You have to criticize something, right?

Really, my only criticism of the event would be what they recognized right at the beginning of the day: rooms were a bit overwhelmed with attendees (a good thing) and a larger venue will be needed in the future (also a good thing).

Oh, and I would also vote for two-sided nametags on badges in the future. No matter what you do, the laynyard always ends up twisted the wrong way. For your consideration:

Since the information you want to see is on the left, the side you’ll always see is on the right. It’s the Law of One-sided Conference Badges. But the schedule was on the badge, which is a definite plus.

Collection of presentations from speakers

There was a great group of speakers at Nashville, and though I couldn’t see them all in person I’ll be browsing their slide decks as they are posted. These were the speakers and their presentations, linked up if they’ve posted their slides:

If you see other activity, or posts relevant to WordCamp Nashville, feel free to drop a link in the comments below.

Liveblog, duh

I also maintained a liveblog here on WPCandy for the duration of the event, which I recommend checking out if you want to experience a bit of the day for yourself.

Recommended food and drink

What would a WordCamp weekend be without an awesome bar or two? Nick knew his way around Nashville better than me, so he gets kudos for the couple of spots we enjoyed.

  • Patterson House is one of the coolest bars I’ve ever been in. Pricey, but the cocktails were worth it.
  • Sitar: I’m not normally crazy about Indian food, but this was a nice little restaurant.

What did you think of WordCamp Nashville?

I enjoyed my time in the Music City, and look forward to heading back soon. My next visit might not be until there’s another WordCamp in town, but hey, I’m comfortable planning my travel around where WordCamps are happening any given weekend.

If you attended WordCamp in Nashville last weekend, share your thoughts on it in the comments below.

5 thoughts on “Review: WordCamp Nashville 2012

  1. Pingback: WordCamp Nashville | Nothing But Words

  2. Ryan,

    Fantastic recap. I particularly like that you focused on some “non-session” topics like conference badges and local food. The links to the slides are also a big time saver since they don’t appear to be centralized on the Nashville WordCamp site.
    The Nacin and Otto quotes were also a great way to summarize that session, nicely done.

    We did a video recap of our Atlanta WordCamp back in February and focused on the attendees and their opinions, we would love your opinion of the format:

    Any more WordCamps in your near future?

  3. hey man,
    gr8 review!
    tyty for coming down to our humble camp of words!
    here’s a link to the slides from my presentation,
    hm. kind of sparse in retrospect.
    i apologize in advance for the URL, it’s a kicker.
    if you ever find yourself on broadway in nashville you should check out paradise park.
    for the good times, good times.
    have a good one, man.

  4. Glad you enjoyed the WordCamp, we worked really hard to put it together! We definitely learned a lot. One of the biggest thing we’ll probably focus on next year is splitting out the dev track to accomodate for an intermediate track. I think we would do well to focus on a track for people who I think of as “theme shoppers”. Their not so much into the guts of the core, but do some amazing things with themes and plugins.

    The Jenga game was epic enough to make it into the session, it was actually kind of funny because when it fell everyone inside was a little confused about what might be going on out side, then someone said Jenga and it all made sense! :p

    For me I think the biggest thing we could have done better was catering and plan the after party in a way that would have gotten more people to come out. But, all in all we really didn’t have any major issues or problems which is quite amazing!

  5. Ryan, good review. #WCNash was a lot of fun. The Dependency Injection talk was not what I anticipated at all but really made me think about how I structure php classes and plugin hierarchy. The coolest thing in my opinion about any WordCamp is that it presents an opportunity for just about everyone to level up in some fashion. I’ll be back next year – really enjoyed meeting some new WPeeps!

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