2000+ people from over 76 countries who live and breathe WordPress, from developers, designers, freelancers, entrepreneurs, speakers and experts attended this event. You can guess that such an event can be huge and very hard to organize. But, it was very well-organized. A team of 55 organizers plus more than 170 volunteers brought this event to fruition.
In fact, we were surprised by how an event this big can be executed flawlessly with a human resource that was basically comprised of volunteers. This is how WordCamp Europe 2018 differentiates itself from similar tech events or community meetups.
You see, WordPress is like a family for everyone who uses it and likes it. The more you work with it, the more you feel yourself as part of the family. The perfect harmony between volunteers and organizers during the event days was a great example of how close, committed and passionate the members of this family are.
Contribution Day was The Best
The very first day of the WordCamp Europe 2018 was maybe the best one. Not because there was a better speaker lineup or workshop, but because an amazing community of people (which I guess was about a thousand people) were all gathered in Belgrade Belexpo center to give back to WordPress.
Looking at the flocks of people impatient to help different teams in WordPress, you would easily understand why WordPress is not only the most dominant CMS in the world, but has the largest community as well.
The most noticeable trend in this year WCEU was WordPress’s new editor Gutenberg. There were many talks and workshops about the new editor features and capabilities, the most important of which was Matt Mullenweg’s keynote on Saturday, 16 June.
The REST API was a focus point this year as Gutenberg is built on it. The core team is working hard to merge Gutenberg to core by mid August.
Matt Mullenweg Keynote
Mullenweg was so excited about the copy-and-paste feature in the new Gutenberg. You can now copy and paste from places like Microsoft Word, Office 365, Evernote, random web pages, Google docs, and more. In the Gutenberg-based WordPress, widgets will turn to blocks and this will increase customizability.
State of WordPress
When Mullenweg was asked about the problem he’s trying to solve with Gutenberg, he responded with what he sees for the future of the WordPress platform.
Additionally, when he was asked about the rumors about Google buying Automattic, which was amplified after Google sponsored the event for the first time this year, he said that while he believes “there is nothing wrong with big companies buying an open source company as long as they respect their license and soul, Automattic is not the kind of company that can be bought.
In response to a question from the audience about why Automattic is not paying enough attention to GDPR, he was cool enough to ask the attendee to first accept a cookie before he can answer his question. He walked across the stage and handed the cookie to the attendee. 🙂
Talk: “Mastering Feedback: You, the Team, the Product” by Davide Casali
One of the remarkable talks was ‘Mastering Feedback: You, the Team, the Product’ by Davide Casali, which was simply about feedback. Davide explained that giving and getting feedback are skills that should be developed over time. This talk gave insights, challenge myths, and provided practical ideas on how we can improve ourselves and how we can plan good feedback in groups.
Workshop > “Making Websites Talk: the rise of Voice Search and Conversational Interfaces” by Andrea Volpini
Maybe the best workshop we attended in WordCamp Europe 2018 was ‘The rise of Voice Search and Conversational Interfaces’ by Andrea Volpini of wordlift.com.
Andrea explained why semantically rich, intelligent content is important for artificial intelligence and machine learning applications. A thorough explanation of NLU. NLP. NLG, as well as a list of best practices to follow when creating chatbots for your app was particularly very useful for me.
Max and Andrea also had a discussion on a possible integration of Wordlift in Jupiter WP theme.
Talk > Yoast founder on ‘Technical SEO to grow your WordPress business’
We were excited for Joost de Valk -the founder of Yoast SEO– to talk about technical SEO. But, I guess it couldn’t live up to the hype. The talk was covering the same usual SEO practices. I wish they could come on stage with a handful of new techniques and findings.
One of the very interesting tools we got to know during WordCamp Europe 2018 was a tool called Menti, by which you can run interactive voting/commenting sessions in meetings, events and workshops. A simple code was given to every attendee to enter in this website, so they can post votes/comments.
The submitted votes/comments are immediately reflected in counters or visual dynamic summary reports to help a democratic and collective discussion evolve. You should definitely give it a try for your next workshop.
Following a 3-day event packed with great talks and workshops was one of the famous WordCamp after parties and it was nothing short of Above & Beyond Group Therapy shows!
We were lucky to catch Matt Mullenweg outside the venue and had a very nice chat about Jupiter WP theme and Gutenberg. Matt also shared his thoughts about how he believes Artbees should integrate Jupiter with Gutenberg.
Envato Meetup and Afterparty
Folks at Envato had stopped in belgrade for WordCamp Europe 2018 as part of their Europe tour, and joined the meetup they held in city center. hat was followed by an amazing after-party in Belgrade Play club.
A big shoutout to James Giroux, Aaron Rutley, Stephen Cronin and all the great members of Envato who arranged and organized the Europe tour and meetups. Great job guys!
Freemius Team Afterparty
Cheers to Vova Feldman from Freemius team who arranged a great after-party on the second day of the event in a nice pub right next to the Belgrade Sava River. We had a great time chatting with folks from different teams and authors in Envato marketplaces, as well as Ben, Boaz and Yaniv from Elementor team.
Next WordCamp Europe
In the closing talks, the WordCamp Europe 2019 was announced to happen in the lovely city of Berlin. Artbees for sure will attend WordCamp Europe 2019 and we’ll be twice as passionate next year. Hopefully, we will be able to contribute more to this event and the great community of WordPress next year and learn twice as much as we learned this year.
If you guys are up for contributing to the great team of organizers for next year’s event, please do join them and help make this great event happen. See you guys next year!