DE{CODE} 2022 is how you put on a tech conference!

The conference was nothing short of amazing.  Although it was a WordPress-focused conference, the speakers never made you feel like you had to be a WordPress expert or superfan to take in their knowledge.

I had the pleasure of attending DE{CODE} 2022, a tech conference hosted by the wonderful folks at WP engine.  Their mission for the conference as stated on their website is:

“DE{CODE}, WP Engine’s free virtual event dedicated to helping developers build better WordPress experiences faster, is back! We’ve gathered top industry leaders to go deep on the 4 key areas of development most requested by you: headless WordPress, eCommerce, managed WordPress hosting, and the builder experience.”

WP Engine

Also, in a move to make the conference more accessible to others all over the world, the conference was held in 3 different time zones.  

APAC: 10am – 4pm AEST on 20th April
North America: 10am – 4pm CST on 20th April
Europe, Middle East and Africa: 10am – 4pm BST on 21st April
Join us for free and learn how to uplevel your development skills and make your WordPress sites even better.

What I REALLY loved

The conference was nothing short of amazing.  Although it was a WordPress-focused conference, the speakers never made you feel like you had to be a WordPress expert or superfan to take in their knowledge.  Every concept that may have been old news to experienced WordPress developers was explained as if it were just introduced that day.  Many do not realize how helpful this was for those who are new to WordPress or are interested in joining the community.  WordPress at times does not have the reputation for being the most accepting of newbies.  However, WP Engine made it clear that they were not one of those companies and that everyone was welcomed.  How could you not want to come in and use their products after being welcomed into the community like that?

Brian Gardner, the principal developer and advocate at WP Engine, gave an AMAZING talk on the future of WordPress.  He started off by talking about the past changes to WordPress and the future updates that are coming (again explained in a way that even newbies could comprehend).  His commitment to open-source software was also felt.  He stressed the importance of it because it opened the door to new creativity and ideas but also that it allowed anyone from anywhere to contribute.  This is something I’ve always been a big champion for.  Open source gives learning opportunities to everyone and anyone regardless of nationality, race, or gender.  The final big takeaway from his talk to me is when he posted common critiques and criticisms received.  

Translation of info in photo:  Gutenberg Plugin Reviews (Conflict)  "Not friendly at all, bad user experience."  "Bye-bye, WordPress! Bye-bye, Gutenberg!"  "It's as if a blog hell had Gutenberg to induce mental torments."  "Burn the WordPress & community - historic mistake ever!"  "An absolute crock of sh*t that has ruined WordPress."

As you can see, people are very dramatic vocal when they hate things, and the WordPress community is no different.  Instead of letting this get to them, they took the route of working with actual constructive criticism and have a mission to improve where they can.  There is no echo chamber with them, clear and concise messaging, work, and an acceptance of new ideas. I cannot express how refreshing that is to see in the community.  

But there is hope  "Don't listen to the moaners, you are on the right way."  "Gutenberg won me over, and my site looks great."  "A work in progress, and progress there is!"  "I've adapted - it Rules!"

Long Live Virtual Conferences 

It was virtual and recorded for others who could not make the scheduled times.  2022 is the year that a lot of tech conferences are going back to in-person.  And with that, there have been many concerns about COVID, travel expenses, and access for those who are new to the community.  DE{CODE} solved ALL those issues by hosting a conference that was not only virtual but also recorded and distributed.  This was a win also for accessibility as it allows others to review on their own time with captions and no associated time constraints.  You can see the entire conference by registering here.

The DJ

How can I not mention the AMAZING DJ?   DJ Boogie Bones played music in between sessions to keep morale high and everyone energized.  Although I was home on my couch, I could not help but get up and dance whenever there was a break.  This was an awesome idea to keep the attention of those who may have not been able to get up and move around as the case is when at an in-person conference.  It was also a great opportunity to network with others who were there to listen and learn as well.  Although we were all in different places, I felt very connected to other members.  

All in all, it was a wonderful experience.  It was great to hear from so many experts at WP Engine and it was great to feel so welcomed.  I sent the conference out to several newbies who asked afterward, “Will the other WordPress conferences always be this fun and helpful?!” My response was, “With the standard that DE{CODE} 2022 set, I don’t see why not!”  

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Nyasha is the Editorial Director at MasterWP and a software developer at Howard Development & Consulting, the company behind WP Wallet.

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