Speaking at WordCamp Antwerp 2018

I found WordPress in 2013. I have created my profile page on February 4, just about 5 years ago. I was new to web design and very happy to be able to use open source WordPress and start creating websites.

I was very much into web design and development, and I still am. The excitement of learning something new was great. Greater than the thought of never being able to really master it. Nowadays, I am more aware of my preferences, but also my shortcomings. I can learn more focused. But I know that I am lacking time go as fast as I would want to. But that’s the reason that…

I am very proud, happy and honoured to be speaking at WordCamp Antwerp on March 3, 2018.

My talk is about the WordPress Customizer and how users and designers/developers can benefit from it. I will try to show the possibilities for creating a customizable website. It’s a lightning talk, so it will be short and focused. Well, it should be, so I better go practicing. 🙂

Hope to see you there!

The WordPress admin: WP’s strength and weakness

I love the WordPress admin. It is WordPress’ backend, the place where you can take a glance and tweak your site’s content:

  • The dashboard is clearly designed and allows you to see the most important recent changes, the amounts of posts, comments and so on.
  • The list tables containing your blog posts, pages and whatever custom content (portfolio, products, testimonials, …) you have is fairly uncluttered.
  • The admin allows us to manage users and plugins in a relatively easy way.
  • It makes possible to manage navigation menus, widgets and global site data, although I prefer to do a lot of this in the Customizer.

The admin is WordPress’ strength when compared to other well-known content managements systems. But the admin is WordPress’ weakness when compared to modern website creation tools.

The good

WordPress would not have become this popular without the admin interface. And popular it is, powering more than 28% of all websites. Of course, it is not only the admin. Many developers and designers prefer to use WordPress for small and intermediate websites. Its ease of on-boarding, use and extensibility for designers and developers is very important. It is often not the user that choses to work with WordPress, but the person who creates the website. But by using WordPress, a lot of users learn to know and appreciate the admin that allows them to keep their sites up-to-date.

Of course, the admin is not perfect and easy.

The bad (or the improvable)

The admin can be bloated and slow. Definitely for some complex use cases and with a lot of plugins.

But not all users need every functionality available. It is our job as a developer to educate our clients and make the admin as smooth as possible for their use case. But customizing the admin is time consuming and not that straightforward.

On the technical side of things, the admin could leverage more modern standards, like using the WordPress REST API for saving, loading, … A full page refresh is so 2000… 🙂 But that’s easy to say, harder to change and develop.

And why would you change a winning team? Because the team will get tired and old.
Also, change is difficult and risky. People don’t like change or at least, changing. Just take the example of Gutenberg, a new publishing experience for WordPress. It is coming soon.

As they say:

“What got WordPress here, won’t get it there.”

And “there” is the future.

The future?

WordPress’ future may be a combination of Gutenberg and the Customizer: editing, arranging and live previewing content blocks.

  • Gutenberg allows people to add blocks with content to create a page or post. “Freely” or based on a predefined template.
  • The Customizer will enable this in a “live” fashion, previewing, drafting and scheduling the changes.

Maybe not in their current appearance and with their current functionalities, but they may define WordPress for the next 15 years. And hopefully, the future of (a large part) the web.

Balancing family life and kids with work

WP Tavern has published a great post about balancing family life, and especially kids, with work and improving your professional skills.

It sounds very familiar! 🙂 I have started to be involved in web development when we were expecting our second child, Noah. 4 years and another little girl (Kato) later, we have 3 children and I am freelancing as a web developer next to a full-time job. We have also just bought a house that needs some serious renovating… Let’s say that time management is essential, I try to use every minute of my day productively. I might write a longer post about this period of my life later… when I’ll have the time! 😉