Chiang Mai WordPress Meetup February 2014

Written by on in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The event on meetup.com

As with the monthly Web Programmer meetup this meetup was hosted and organized by Xavier, owner of the Cool Guesthouse in Chiang Mai. The hospitality, food and drinks were again as you would expect from the French - excellent.

The group was of around 15 people and tended to be mostly white male western Farangs. 1 Unfortunately that is nothing new. I think we need more women and more people who are from the outside of the tech bubble.2

I also would love to see more Thai people coming to these meet ups. That way we can make sure that as much people as possible benefit from technology and all voices are heard. Otherwise we isolate ourselves from the majority of society that we live in.

Topics discussed

I tried to make some notes about the topics we discussed:

Common problems with WP

Although the group wasn’t as diverse as I had wished, there were many different skills levels of people using WordPress - from starters to experts. The group quickly found that asking „what are common problems we have with WordPress“ can be a question everybody can answer.
And it works as an introduction: depending on how a person answers that question, you can tell which background she has.
I recommend we use this question more often on meet ups.

Installing cheap plugins

It was noted that although WordPress has a lot of free plugins to offer, it sometimes can save you more time and money to spend a few bucks on a commercial plugin or theme than going with a cheap but free solution.

Updating

A lot of people seem to get headaches from updating their code. It was mentioned that if you have websites that run for many years, it can be very difficult or impossible to update them and you just have to start from scratch. Or if you insert code into theme - such as analytics or social snippets - they are overwritten as soon as the next theme update comes out.

Always make sure you have an update strategy. Don’t just think about release day but think about the years to come after that.

I try to make this easier by spliting a website into different components that can work independent from each other: content and design, CMS and database, plugins and theme, HTML & CSS. That way can take out one piece without crashing the others or you can take it to build something new.
Also: be conservative about the things you use. Yes, adding a parallax scrolling effect can be fun today. But how will it look like in 5 years from now with new devices and a new audience?

Listen to @adactio:

The best way to be future friendly is to be backwards compatible.
Jeremy Keith

Our favorite plugins

This seems to be an all-time favorite topic. Among others these plugins were named:

I have all my favorite plugins saved at my wordpress.org profile. From the WordPress admin you can install someones favorited plugins by going to Plugins → Add New → switch to the Favorites tab and enter a wordpress.org user name there. For example jancbeck would list all my favorited plugins.

favorites

Ressources

I recommend you check out the official documentation site codex.wordpress.org. They not only have help for beginners but also advanced topics such as Hardening WordPress, Customizing the Login Form or Optimization.


  1. Farang (Thai: ฝรั่ง [faràŋ]) is a generic Thai word for someone of European ancestry, no matter where they may come from. More on Wikipedia 

  2. I recommend this interview with jQuery creator John Resig at ShopTalk Show where he talks about how Women Who Code and how we can bring technology to other fields like academia.