February WordPress Meetup at AJ’s Cafe

In our last meetup, Anthony Montalbano (@italianst4) gave us a presentation on “The Power of Plugins”.

Anthony on Plugins

The plugins he mentioned are listed is at Room3064.com, and titled “24 WordPress Plugins to extend WordPress beyond a blog“.

Everyone enjoyed hearing Anthony’s first-hand experience in using some of the popular plugins and other lesser-known yet useful ones. You can read descriptions and reviews about plugins, but sometimes it’s much more helpful when you can ask questions and compare usages.

I have a short video from this but it’s not ready yet. Coming soon… Update: Posted the video.

After the presentation each of us shared a couple of plugins that we like. I’ll just list them with a short descriptions.

Though it’s not a plugin, Press This was also mentioned as a very useful tool (FYI: Noel Jackson, another speaker from our past meetup worked on this!). If you don’t have it yet, go to the “Tools” panel on your WordPress dashboard. You can strat using it right away.

For March meetup, Tim will talk about some WordPress shopping cart solutions, and Trevor will shocase a non-profit organization site he worked on with Tim. I will post the date & details on the meetup site soon.

WordCamp Detroit 2010 – Sign up for Updates

WordCamp Detroit 2010 site is up! Currently it’s a 1-page site that Anthony put together. You can sign up to get future updates or find links to WordCamp Detroit Facebook & Twitter pages.

WordCamp is:

“a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other. WordCamps are open to WordPress.com and WordPress.org users alike.” (WordCamp Central).

Started as a BarCamp-style 1-day conference in 2006, it spread out fast — just like WordPress did — to become very active community events held in 50+ cities (each year) all around the world.

We are working on setting the date (sometime in the second half of this year) and venue for WordCamp Detroit right now. Until the event site is fully set up, I’ll post related news on this blog.

January Ferndale WordPress Meetup at AJ’s

January WordPress MeetupToday’s Ferndale WordPress Meetup had a nice turnout. I was happy to see lots of new people.

I am trying to schedule our meetups on more regular basis (same time, same week on every month). i3Detroit is a possibility (maybe after March) but let me know if you have any suggestions about the location.

Please join the Meetup.com group to get all updates about upcoming events. I also post things on Facebook and Twitter (@naokomc) time to time.

So in today’s meetup…

Developing a WordPress Theme

First, Trevor presented “Developing a WordPress Theme“. I posted the summary of it as another entry.

WordPress 3.0

Then we talked a little about WordPress 3.0.

  • WordPress MU merge is going well and a “pre-preview release” is coming soon.
  • There will be a new default theme called “2010” replacing Kubrick. You can read more about it on WordPress.org development blog’s entry 2010: A Theme Odyssey.
  • The project schedule for 3.0 is on WordPress Development Updates blog. For the latest updates, check that blog often. Currently, 3.0 release is scheduled for mid-April.
  • More new stuff: improved menu management, custom post type, core plugins… lots to look forward!

There were some questions about WordPress Foundation. The site explains its mission and purpose, but in short it’s a non-profit organization for open source WordPress projects. You can go to the site to check out the new default theme “2010”. The site is using a beta version of the theme.

WordCamp!

Some of us are planning trips to WordCamp Toronto and WordCamp Chicago. There is a discussion thread on Meetup.com message board about it, so post comments if you’re interested. Gary says get the ticket soon if you’re planning to go, because last year Chicago ticket got sold out quickly.

We are also going to kick off our WordCamp Detroit 2010 planning. If you are interested in volunteering or getting updates, please contact me. Speakers, sponsors, spreading the word – any help is appreciated! When I have more specific information, I’ll make sure to post it here.

Developing a WordPress Theme: Trevor Fitzgerald

Trevor Fitzgerald, the author of Crispp theme presented Developing a WordPress Theme (links to his slides) at today’s a January WordPress Meetup. Crispp is a very clean theme with customizable options. It’s simple and flexible.

Crispp Theme
Crispp Theme by Trevor Fitzgerald

He decided to choose WordPress.org theme directory as a channel of distribution because it’s easy, you can get good exposure (from the directory’s “Recently Updated” list & sites like Weblog Tools Collection which features new themes), and nice download stats is provided.

Other benefits for making your theme available for download are traffic to your site, Google Page Rank (“Designed by” footer link), and increase in inquiries for additional development services.
His theme has been downloaded 1500+ times in one month.

He says it’s good to make your theme extensible and flexible. Crispp is widgetized, has a theme options panel where you can edit the Welcome message on the home page and colors.

He is developing another theme called “Earthly” – contact him if you want to a sneak peek!

Related links:

We are always looking for presenters at the meetups. Please contact us if you are interested.

December WordPress Meetup at AJ’s Cafe

Thank you for taking your time to join December WordPress Meetup on the Saturday after Christmas.
Some topics we talked about included:

Please leave comments if you remember more (especially if you have links to share).

See you next year!

July WordPress Meetup at AJ’s Cafe

The Wifi connection was a little slow, so I didn’t do live blogging using P2 (as I posted last time).

Thanks for coming to this month’s meetup!
Tim, David, Trevor, Ed, Dave, Brad, Jessie, and Andrew

David took notes and I posted some links on FriendFeed.

Topics we talked about (some overwraps with FriendFeed):

  • Do we want to plan a WordCamp here?
    • We need sponsors, speakers, & venue – exploring some possiblities
    • Work with other groups – BarCamp? “Tech weekend”? “Blogger week”?
  • It would be nice to have a2geeks.org type of local community for our area.
  • Ed mentioned some other groups
  • Dave demoed a BuddyPress onStar site that his team has been working on (no link – it will be live next week)
  • BuddyPress vs Ning: BuddyPress is much more customizable (especially in blog template) and can be easily learned by devs who use WordPress already
  • Andrew’s question: “what’s the best way to attract blog audience?”
    • Start communicating from your side. Comment on other people’s blogs
    • Build good content
    • Integrate other tools – e.g. Twitter, FriendFeed
  • Good Twitter plugin?
    • Simple Tweet – posts to Twitter when there is a new post
    • Twitter Feed – posts to WordPress (supports cron, local cache and multiple accounts)
  • What do you don’t like about WordPress?
    • Media upload handling (looking forward to 2.9!)
    • WordPress.com = less customizable for js/flash widgets than Blogger
  • What do you love about WordPress?
    • very extensible
    • easy and fun to customize
    • nice admin UI

June WordPress Meetup at AJ’s Cafe

Here’s my notes from yesterday’s meetup. Next time, I’ll try using real-time update on P2 theme (probably using this blog).

Roll call:
Naoko, Tim, Shawn, Raphael, David, Trevor, Ed, Matt

We talked about…

  • WordPress 2.8. Not everyone has upgraded yet – waiting for 2.8.1?
  • Facebook content is kind of “scattered around”. Shawn said he started a WordPress blog wanting to write more.
  • Windows Live Writer/Ecto – desktop apps for blogging
  • WordPress Stats. WordPress.com has built-in stats, which is also available for WordPress.org [screenshots]
  • Tim (@hogpath) said Role Scoper plugin for role management. Looks like a nice alternative to Role Manager. The author lives in Michigan 🙂
  • Talked about BuddyPress… You can test it out by signing up on BuddyPress.org or bp-dev.org
  • Raphael (@rsmudge) is presenting his project/WordPress plugin “After the Deadline” at the Ann Arbor New Tech June Meetup (today!).
  • Some discussion about WordPress.org/MU merge.
  • WordCamp San Francisco. Video will be up on wordpress.tv soon, I recommend Tim Ferriss’ presentation if I need to pick one to watch (besides the Keynote “The State of the Word”)
  • Matt (@lincolnwebs) talked about setting up 2 sites using 2 DBs and one WordPress install: using conditional statement based on the domain in wp-config.php.
  • He is looking into Vanilla forum software for integrating with WordPress.
  • Also Matt’s PHP book recommendation: Visual Quickstart Guide (beginners) and Visual QuickPro Guide (intermediate) by Larry Ullman, and an Apress advanced PHP book (not sure which)
  • Detroit Area PHP June Meetup is on Saturday, June 27th.
  • Ed mentioned JavaScript: The Good Parts book.
  • David (@Admore) stareted a FriendFeed Group for the meetup. Ferndale WordPress Group

Thank you all for coming.

Reminder to myself: send a reminder on the night before the meetup!

May WordPress Meetup at AJ’s Cafe

Happy 6th Anniversary to WordPress! Did you know WordPress just turned 6 years old today? (their first version 0.7 was released on May 27, 2003)

We had our third Ferndale WordPress Meetup at AJ’s yesterday.
I decided to start a WordPress blog here for this group to share links and keep track of things we talked about.

  • Tim is building a site for his client using a custom theme and plugins like Mass Edit Pages, Contact Form 7, and Faster Image Insert
  • Tina is working on a home page design for her church web site. I (Naoko) suggested using something like JQuery Cycle Plugin for slideshow (note: this is not a WordPress plugin!)
  • Raphael’s project After the Deadline is now released to the public and available as a WordPress plugin. He also mentioned usability testing site Feedback Army which he had built
  • Trevor said he custom-built his server and have it hosted at a hosting company that has a local location. Sounded like an alternative to self-hosting for having your own reasonable and reliable server.
  • Joe mentioned a couple of PHP-based community site building tools, Dolphin and Elgg that he had used. Maybe something to compare BuddyPress with?
  • We also briefly talked about WordPress 2.8 – it will include improved Widgets and one-click Theme install.
  • I showed some comps from my past project as inspiration for blog designing. Making iterative changes is good, and launching fast & making more changes after feedback is important.

Kirk & David, I was sitting too far away from you guys… please add things I didn’t catch!