WordCamp San Francisco 2013 Liveblog: Tracy Levesque

WordCampSFThis weekend, I’m virtually attending WordCamp San Francisco. That is, I am watching the livestream from the comfort of my living room, while my toddler races around me. It’s a bit hectic, but better than not going to the conference at all!

I’ve already written about Natalie MacLees’ talk today, but the other one I wanted to cover was Tracy Levesque’s amazing presentation entitled “What You Don’t Know You Can Do: WordPress Development for Absolutely Everyone.”

Tracy is the co-owner of Philadelphia-based YIKES, Inc. She introduces herself as a “power user” because she knows HTML and CSS, but she doesn’t know PHP. Sounds familiar – that’s exactly how I would classify myself!

Tracy’s talk was exactly along the lines of what we love here at WP SuperGeek: translating geek speak so it can be understood by regular users.

Like many of the presenters at WordCamp, Tracy made her slides available for viewing at SlideShare, so I can embed the slideshow here. I’d recommend you take the time to flick through them all – there’s some great content within!

Some of my favourite parts of her talk were:

  • The analogy of the Loop as being like a stack of sandwiches – there are specific ingredients that are repeated.
  • Her discussion of custom post types was very clear – I liked the explanation of there being Posts and Pages already, but custom post types allows you to create more.
  • Taxonomies: Categories and tags are the existing taxonomies in WordPress. But you can also create custom taxonomies to group posts together. For instance, on a movie rating website we could have custom taxonomies of Genre, Year, Director and Rating, for instance.
  • Hooks, Actions and Filters: I have to admit that I was a little blurry on what these all meant, before Tracy’s talk. I loved her demonstration using a live model!

She also made some salient points in question time that are worth noting:

  • Tags vs Categories: personal preference, but for Tracy, categories are major groupings of posts and tags are more like keywords that you would want to come up in a search. I definitely agree with this differentiation!
  • Plugins: Vet plugins before installing – research them by looking at the ratings, see how often it’s updated, how often support tickets are resolved, how many people downloaded it. But still, even plugins that are well supported can have security vulnerabilities. That’s when you need to look to your hosting, make sure you’re using hosting with good security measures.

I really enjoyed Tracy’s talk, and hopefully there is also some interesting info here for you as well!

One response to “WordCamp San Francisco 2013 Liveblog: Tracy Levesque”

  1. Thank you so much for the nice review! I’m glad you enjoyed my talk.

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