WordCamp Europe 2017 Takeaways

Benoit Gütz, July 4, 2017

From June 15th until June 17th, WordCamp Europe took place in Paris. Savvii was present at this event, together with 7 co-workers. 5 of them also participated in the Contributor Day. Our co-workers Flip and Arno report on a number of interesting talks during the two conference days. These talks contain some great takeaways.

Quick takeaways:

What are the essential lessons that we learned from the WCEU 2017 talks? The best of them are listed below:

  1. Join the WordPress community. This will ensure a substantial contribution on a business level and a personal level.
    Talks: Petya Raykovska, Alain Schlesser
  2. Check your website on gender-specific terms. Are you addressing the right target group and does the phrasing not exclude anyone?
    Talk: Caspar Hübinger
  3. Work on the accessibility of your website(s). There are some quick wins to be gained.
    Talks: Rian Rietveld, Adrian Roselli
  4. Analyze your website sometimes, using XDebug. This could provide interesting insight in the performance of your website.
    Talk: Otto Kekäläinen

Read the summaries of the talks below and let us know what you have learned from them!

WordCamp Europe

WordPress Beyond Borders: Cross Cultural Communication and the Fundamentals of Caring – Petya Raykovska – Video

by Flip

Initially I’m not really impressed by the talk. Petya explains about her starting period in the community. How she found it hard to get acquainted with others. She was not sure whether she could make a useful contribution and whether others were curious about her opinion.

Now, some years later, she knows, all you have to do is just start. Just take the first steps to talk to others. Then the community will welcome you with open arms.

I had some trouble with the way she told her story, giggling and insecure. It was hard to keep focusing on the story. Until suddenly she showed on the screen in large letters:  “When you assume that the other person does whatever is in his power, life becomes more beautiful instantly”. It’s not an exact quote, but this is what I understand from it. The great thing is that it immediately changed my attitude and I listened to her talk with more appreciation. So it really works.

Thanks Petya, for this valuable lesson, right from the start of WordCamp Europe 2017.

Demystifying the WordPress Bootstrap Process – Alain Schlesser – Video

by Arno

Alain’s talk is about documenting the WordPress bootstrap and what is being done with this information. Bootstrapping is starting up WordPress. Something that is done at every page request.

I talked to Alain for more than an hour on Saturday, about what could be done with the bootstrap and WordPress core. His talk and particularly the conversation afterwards made me contribute to the core-bootstrap project too. So that was very inspiring!

Big Little Shame — A Tale of Empowered User Experience Through Localization – Caspar Hübinger 

by Flip

Caspar takes us into the history of the language. He shows that we were taught certain word forms from childhood, which have significant impact on the rest of our lives.

This concerns both masculine and feminine word forms.

Caspar raises an important issue. Sometimes we use a word to indicate men or women specifically. In other cases a word is used that specifies the group of men and women as a whole, a generic form.

In some languages it is agreed that the generic form is the same as the masculine form. For example ‘writers’ for all male and female authors. That is a disadvantage of course, particularly because you can’t explain to your kids that one time the word means something different than the next time.

In some languages there is no difference between the masculine and feminine form. Then probably that language won’t cause any problems. Things become tougher if you want to translate to a language where that difference does exist.

The problems he addresses have a lot do with the way in which WordPress allows you to translate. Specifically when you are committed to being accessible for everyone, which is the exact purpose of WordPress and its community. It is important to pay attention to this.

Caspar has different ways of showing that attention for this matter is appropriate and provides guidelines to help dealing with it. He makes it clear that in WordPress core changes are also necessary sometimes. Men and women are treated in different ways and feminine terms are underrepresented in WordPress.

In order to emphasize the importance of this issue, Casper refers to the story of Martin R. Schneider about how he swaps his email address with that of a female co-worker, for a week.

Improving WordPress Performance with XDebug and PHP Profiling – Otto Kekäläinen

by Arno

Otto does a talk about the profiling of a WordPress site. He explains the method in which XDebug is used, in order to find out which part of the code consumes most time/server resources. He manages to give the talk in such a way that everyone can understand it and this way he provides tools to analyze a website. Of course, sometimes it remains difficult to solve an issue, especially if it is located in the WordPress core, but just the insight alone can contribute to ease the burden.

Accessibility in the Age of the Headless CMS – Rian Rietveld – Video

by Flip

Rian Rietveld rapidly and humorously explains her findings regarding the accessibility of websites. It’s a serious topic that deserves much more attention. This becomes evident when she briefly asks the audience who is actively involved in accessibility. Who in the audience is concerned with navigation by use of just the keyboard? Who looks after the people who are forced to listen to the website instead of viewing it?

By using good examples, Rian shows that paying a little more attention to this subject will be much more beneficial to people with disabilities.

Furthermore she makes a few remarks concerning Stack Overflow which led her to numerous wrong answers during her quest. So take care when using this as a source for your lessons! The audience gave her a wonderful suggestion; you can also improve Stack Overflow together by editing answers of others.

Selfish Accessibility – Adrian Roselli – Video

by Flip

Apart from Rian Rietveld, Adrian Roselli also gives an interesting presentation about accessibility. After a brief introduction concerning popular use of Numeronyms and the applicable a11y project (accessibility project), Adrian explains to us that especially for this occasion he reduced his presentation from 108 to 121 slides.

Adrian posted his slides online for us in advance. This way the people in the back can easily follow the presentation as well. Talking about accessibility!

In this talk there is also a focus on code and particularly on the wrong use of code. By paying more attention, as a developer, to the correct use of HTML/ARIA, standard accessibility is also respected a lot more.

Adrian gives a number of examples on how to ensure that your website can be fully used by means of a keyboard. One thing you shouldn’t do is make use of <div onclick=”DoThing();”> to achieve something. In order to make it navigable, you need to add the tab index=”0″ obviously followed by an onkeypress=”DoThing();” and so, to do that correctly, onkeydown=e.preventDefault();”. Subsequently it can be finished as:

<div onclick=”DoThing();” tabindex=”0″ onkeypress=”DoThing();” onkeydown=”e.preventDefault();” role=”button”>Do a thing.</div>

Why not simply use <button>Do a thing.</button>?

5 Ways You May be Sabotaging Your Business + 2 Proven Ways to Success – Joshua Strebel

by Flip

Joshua explains in an inspiring manner about the most important pitfalls while starting Pagely. Joshua is very accessible and talks in a pleasant manner. He takes us on his personal quest along different pitfalls. These are the ones that I remember best:

  • Burning the candle at both ends

Joshua explains how, in the beginning, he also had a job on the side to be able to pay his bills. At some stage it became clear that this impeded the company’s growth. In his opinion, side projects and other interesting opportunities are similar threats.

  • Firing Slow

If somebody does not fit your corporate culture, it is wise to decide that each of you should go their separate ways. Even when top-performers are involved. So not only if somebody doesn’t match purely competence-wise, but also when the attitude is not in line, you should have the courage to say goodbye.

  • All hustle, no personal time

Joshua has experienced that although extreme working weeks are necessary sometimes for the growth of your enterprise, they systematically ruin yourself and others. Take care of each other. Work hard, but make sure that there is enough time for pleasure.

Joshua also mentions the two things you should absolutely do if you want to succeed:

  • Iterate, Iterate, Iterate

It is essential to keep making small adjustments continuously. He emphasizes that it is not only about product features. You’re bound to always lose the battle for the latest feature somehow. Make sure that you keep tweaking your proposition, making your message match better all the time with your customer’s wishes.

  • Invest in your team at every opportunity

It’s often mentioned by numerous companies, and yet many times subject to profit targets. Make sure that you keep looking for how to invest more in people, in terms of time, money, interesting jobs and foremost education and training.


WordCamp Europe 2017 was a very inspiring edition. We learned a lot from it. Did you too? Many of the above mentioned subjects were discussed with other WordCamp attendees on Friday night during WordPint.

Let us know what you have gained from this WCEU 2017 by commenting on this blogpost!

Are you curious about the other talks? Many of the talks can be found on WordPress.tv.

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