Earlier today, I attended my first WordPress Meetup. It was one of the first times I’ve met other “WordPress people” in person.
I liked it.
I’ve made plans a couple of times to go to WordCamps, but they’ve never worked out (typically the one nearest me happens on a weekend when we’ve had friends in town). And, while I’ve interacted with a ton of WordPress professionals online through other dev companies, through several Facebook groups, and through Github, I’ve managed to work all the way up until now – purely by accident – remotely.
Even when I’ve worked as part of a team (which, for the last 9 months or so, has been on virtually every project), those teams have never been together in the same room. Some very good WordPress people I’ve worked with, I’ve worked with for more than a decade – we’ve just not been in the same place.
At the meeting, I had the opportunity to talk for a few moments with a couple of the group’s organizers, including Cory Webb of ReaktivStudios (who did a great job with today’s talk) and Jeffery Cannon of WPWaco, who actually built the website for Waco’s new coworking space, WacoWork.
As we walked through a presentation on a projector, I realized: “Oh, wow: the_title() takes parameters.” That might seem like kind of a strange a-ha moment, but, you see, the_title() is probably one of the very first functions a WordPress developer is exposed to. It does one thing: it grabs the title of the current thing, and it outputs that. And I’d never known that it did anything else.
What I realized is that I have a few big blind spots. I don’t read other people’s code enough, and I don’t see other people’s processes enough.
That’s because, as I mentioned, I rarely read through other theme authors’ code. I write Genesis themes, I’ve been doing it a long time, and, of course, I already know how to get the title of whatever thing we’re working on. But there’s another, sometimes better way I didn’t know.
Really a very strange experience – and it happened repeatedly. Another function, get_template_part(), is one that I just never happen to use. I almost always will set up something like do_action(), then attach an action to it, e.g. add_action( ‘tweedle’, ‘dee’ ). There were others; just little things that I’d never done in quite that way.
I’d never, for example, clicked the little dropdown arrow in the Chrome Inspector to be able to see, directly and unequivocally, the paths for various CSS files.
That’s actually a huge time-saver, and something I’d never realized worked that way.
And that leads to one more thing … this is my first post using Gutenberg, the much-maligned WordPress visual editor.
I don’t like Gutenberg (I’m open to convincing otherwise), but this is where WordPress is headed, and if I’m headed that way with everyone else, I might as well share this experience as well.