2017 in Review

It’s so hard to believe that 2017 is nearly over. I feel like it was only a couple weeks ago that I sent my “New Year, New Training!” email to announce all of the excellent speakers that were coming this year.

In that email I said we would be hearing from 24 presenters at an average pace of two per month. I also mentioned that I had hired an assistant and that I was working on some other things I couldn’t share about at the time. Now that the year has passed, I’ve been longing to conduct a recap and see how I’ve done. I’ve now done just that and I thought I should share with you five major areas of focus for 2017:

  1. Loads of new training from lots of new faces
  2. Joining forces with 10 strategic media partners
  3. Hiring an assistant for the benefit of all
  4. Adding new services through private training
  5. New full-time focus on WPSessions

Let’s dig in!


1. Loads of new training

All told, I hosted 17 sessions this year. I fell short of the original plan to host 24 sessions, due largely to changes in schedules for our presenters, but I’m happy with every single one of these sessions!

Here’s the full list of sessions from 2017:

Mastering WordPress Troubleshooting with Kyle Maurer

Demystifying the Database with Benjamin Cool

The Modern Developer's Toolkit with Brian Richards

Lessons Learned Building a WordPress SaaS with Bryce Adams

Understanding & Supporting Web Accessibility with Rachel Cherry

Troubleshooting WordPress Performance with New Relic with Andrew Taylor

How to Train Your Clients (and Customers!) with Joe Casabona

What do you do with a problem? with Krissie VandeNoord

Don't Trust Your Clients with Kiko Doran

Progress Through Practice with Josepha Haden

Profitable Project Plans with Jennifer Bourn

Debugging Like a Pro with Brian Richards

What you didn't know you need to know about WordPress Databases with Gabor Javorsky

The Dating Game: Understanding Price Anchoring with Nathan Allotey

How to Sell Ongoing Service with Sara Dunn

Appearance Doesn't Matter if Nobody Visits with Andy Keson

12 tips for Better Content Creation with Peter DeHaan

What I find most remarkable about this list is that it would cost more than a full VIP Membership to buy only the presentations from 2017. Except, as a VIP you also get the entire backlog of sessions (another 60hrs of content), several highly-detailed courses, and discounts with popular products and services you’re probably using already. I’m just putting that observation out there, no pressure 🙂


2. Joining forces with awesome new partners

A major shift in how I previously operated the business occurred this spring when I began pursuing dedicated media partners, in lieu of one-off session sponsorships. Each of these partners help keep session broadcasts free and keep WPSessions running.

I had two rules for each of the partners I approached: 1) they had to be the producer of a tool or service that I use and love; 2) I would only forge 10 partnerships for the rest of the year. I want to be clear that I am the one who made first contact with each of these companies and I believe they’re the right/best answer in each of their domains.

With that, these are the awesome folks who made the cut:

  • SearchWP – WordPress core search sucks, and SearchWP fixes that in a big, big way. You can control which fields are included in search, how valuable each field is for ranking, and more. I can’t imagine launching a site that has visitor-facing search without this plugin.
  • SproutApps – Dan is the sole proprietor behind this incredible suite of tools made to make life for independent contractors and small businesses better: Sprout Invoices – an invoice generation and payment portal; Sprout Clients – a super simple CRM, and Help Scout Desk – a seamless integration between Help Scout and WordPress. All of them are awesome.
  • WP Migrate DB Pro – Effortlessly migrate content from one WP install to another. You can even push or pull data between sites in addition to doing a traditional export and import. CLI commands, media library integration, and other similarly great features make this my go-to tool for active development on all production sites and redesigns.
  • Beaver Builder – the only page builder that I even consider using. All content is compiled back to HTML and stored into the content area, portions can be saved as reusable template partials, and every single module can be handled differently for responsive layouts. They’re keeping a close eye on integration opportunities for Gutenberg too, so no need to worry about picking up a soon-to-be outmoded tool.
  • WooCommerce – the tool I use for every ecommerce site I build (including WPSessions). I love its flexibility and extensibility.
  • Sucuri – the only security company I trust with important sites. Sucuri provides monitoring and remediation services, among other things, to help you keep sites free from harm.
  • Gravity Forms – The form plugin I use on my site and sites I’m personally responsible for. I don’t think I’ve ever had a single complaint about using this plugin and the team continues to make it better each and every year.
  • WP All Import – The best tool I’ve found for bringing in foreign data into WordPress in a systemized way, without writing a pain-staking, custom migration script. Within WP you can specify the data source, drag & drop each piece of data into where it belongs (title, body, terms, meta, etc.), apply templates or transformations to each piece of data, and then save that import script for re-running again either manually or on an automated interval. It’s incredible.
  • Pantheon – the most agency- and developer-focused web host that I have found. Their infrastructure and tooling is pretty perfect for all of us, and perfect for our clients too. My two favorite things: 1) mutli-dev environments you can use to spin up individual sites for each feature being tested; 2) every account is free and fully-featured until you decide to launch the site to the public.
  • Hover – the only domain registrar I use and recommend (I seriously, genuinely love working with Hover). They have no upsells and zero friction between picking your domain and owning your domain. The DNS tools are crazy simple to operate. And all of it can be done effortlessly from your phone, too (I speak from first-hand experience, because that’s how I originally acquired WPSessions.com).

3. Hiring an assistant for the benefit of us all

Immediately at the start of the year I had the opportunity to hire Cate DeRosia as the first (and only) paid contractor to assist with WPSessions. Her help has been invaluable to me all throughout the year.

Most of Cate’s time and attention has been spent transcribing the back catalog of training videos. Thus far she has transcribed over 53 hours of video! Soon this effort will be visible to you as closed captions and on-page transcripts of our entire video library. This will allow you to read the training rather than listen, if that’s what you prefer, or jump to the specific section of video that narrates the subject you see in the transcript. I’m super excited to roll this out across 2018.

Besides transcribing, Cate has provided assistance with administrative work of the site: preparing session descriptions, navigating session scheduling, and other helpful tasks. I’m confident she would have been of even more help if I could have been bothered to properly outline and delegate other things that need to be done in this business.

In all, hiring Cate is handily the single best decision I made for WPSessions in a long time. I definitely recommend you consider hiring a quality assistant for your own work. But please find somebody else, because I really like having Cate in my corner and don’t want her to leave WPSessions for whatever exciting things you’re doing.


4. Introducing new services: private training

I actually piloted this service quietly in 2016 with two different teams, then rolled it out quietly again to two more teams here in 2017. This was one of those things I teased in my “New Year, New Training” email in January. Now I’d like to officially go on the record to say that Private, Team Training is something WPSessions proudly offers. I call it “team training”, but in reality it’s useful for individuals who want to increase their edge, teams who want to grow together, and your clients who need to learn how all of their new tools work.

Through this offering I am able to provide highly relevant and targeted training directly to you(r team or clients), in private, and deliver exactly what you need to learn at precisely the time it is most useful to learn it. For example, do you have a complex ecommerce project on the horizon? I can deliver a presentation, answer questions, review proposals or code, and help you move in the best possible direction. Need to learn how to better leverage the WP REST API? WP-CLI? Implement better workflow and project forecasting or management processes? Need a better on-boarding or vetting process for new hires? Yep, I can help with those, too.

I’ve worked with several leading WordPress agencies and shops, have run my own development and consultancy business since 1999, and have sold and built web services ranging from sub $1,000 to the many hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’ve managed teams of 3 and teams of 30. I’ve helped with hiring, training, leading, and developing. My experiences are varied and my insights are many. And I’d love to help you or your team learn, grow, and do better in 2018!

There is just one catch. This new level of service is extremely limited and only available through an application process. You can learn all about it and get in touch to discuss things further on the Team Training page.


5. A new full-time focus on WPSessions

I was also very quiet about this transition. In June I stepped away from many years of working in the agency space and leapt into full-time focus on all-things WPSessions. I didn’t want to make a lot of noise about it at the time because I knew how much work was still ahead of me steering WPSessions back towards a successful path. Now that we’re six months past the change I feel like it’s finally time to let the cat out of the bag.

A significant portion of my energy these past six months has actually gone towards developing two different on-boarding programs as part of the new team training service. The rest went towards coordinating ever-changing speaker schedules, speaking at and attending several conferences, and designing the upcoming training curriculum for 2018. If you’re reading things closely, good news, I’m about to reward you with a little nugget that most other people won’t hear about until a big announcement several months from now: I’m personally producing dozens of hours of short, focused tutorial videos to help you learn just-in-time what you need to know to complete a current task or project.

I’ve really enjoyed working only on WPSessions these past many months and am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue this focus throughout 2018. The business currently has enough cash reserves to fund me through May of 2018. Between now and then I’d like to sell enough VIP memberships or Team Training contracts to fund training and development through to 2019. That means, if you like what I’m producing here and want it to continue, you should consider investing into one of those. And if you don’t like it that much, no hard feelings! Perhaps the content that arrives in 2018 will change your mind 🙂


Thank you, and thank our media partners!

With all things considered, 2017 was an incredible year for WPSessions. I’m looking forward to making 2018 even better. This site wouldn’t be possible without the multitude of customers and media partners that I’ve had the privilege of working with throughout the year. If you’re in either group, thank you very much for funding this and investing in me, yourself, and the broader WordPress community.

If you’re a beneficiary of the training provided here, please reach out to each media partner and tell them “thank you”, too. Here’s a list of their twitter handles:


If you’d like to stay informed with all the good things that are coming to WPSessions, you should join the newsletter! I send out a once-per-month update and an occasional (but rare) announcement or reminder.

PS – Don’t miss out on the 12 Days of WPS give-away! There are 78 different prizes available, including a lifetime VIP membership. There are different prizes with new opportunities to enter every day.

Meet Bryce Adams, WordPress Expert

Bryce presented Lessons Learned Building a WordPress SaaS on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 5pm EST. You can also purchase the recording to watch at any time for just $19.

During this session, Bryce explained the lessons he’s learned and mistakes he’s made while building a custom reporting service for WooCommerce. In particular, we spent a lot of time talking about the logistics, costs, and challenges presented by creating a SaaS.

Without any further ado, here are Bryce’s answers to my interview questions.

Where can we find you on the internet?

I’m mostly on Twitter @bryceadams but also have a personal blog at https://bryce.se. I don’t have much time to write posts these days but when I do, they tend to end up on Metorik’s Behind the Scenes blog. Why? Well, they’re all mostly related to Metorik, so why not?!

When and how did you get started with WordPress?

Many years ago I made my first blog, which of course ran WordPress. Slowly over the years I needed to customise more parts of the blog and other blogs I built for friends, so I began picking up the necessary developer skills and eventually ended up with my first real job in the WordPress space at WooThemes, working in WooCommerce support.

What resources do you turn to when you want to learn something new?

I’m working with Laravel & Vue a lot these days, so mostly Laracasts. But honestly I just haven’t really had the time to invest in learning recently. It’s something I’d love to dedicate more time to though.

What is your favorite WordPress feature/aspect?

The action/filter system really is quite good and unique to WordPress. It makes extending WordPress really that simple, which is great since it allows people to start writing code in moments.

What is one surprising thing you’ve learned while building a software service?

It’s as hard as everyone says 🙂 Juggling 100 different things at once, wearing the hat of a developer, designer, marketer, CEO, etc. all at once is truly difficult. But also, more significantly, it’s truly fulfilling. Building something from scratch into something that puts food on the table, without relying on any one individual or company is an amazing feeling. On top of that, working with some of my amazing customers to hear about how Metorik helps them grow their own businesses is very inspiring and motivating.

Is there a lesson you’ve learned since starting Metorik that would have saved you a lot of time or headache if you had already known it before starting the project?

I can’t think of any specific lesson, but I try not to hold too many regrets, so not really. Probably just that building an entire app is hard, and maybe I would have spent more time learning about all the technologies I use beforehand, but I didn’t really have much time as I wanted to get started the second I could.

What advice do you have for others looking to become WordPress experts?

Build stuff. Anything. Learn, of course, but turn that knowledge into something tangible.

What is one interesting non-WordPress-related fact about yourself?

I used to own a few motorbikes/dirt-bikes and loved it!


Thanks Bryce!

If you want to learn more about selling a software as a service and you’re looking for a six month head start, make sure you register for Lessons Learned Building a WordPress SaaS.

Meet Kyle Maurer, WordPress Expert

Photo of Kyle MaurerKyle will be presenting Mastering WordPress Troubleshooting. You can join us for free for the live broadcast on Friday, January 20, 2017 at 1pm EST. You can also purchase the recording to watch at any time for just $19 (or $9 if you’re reading this before the broadcast).

During this session, Kyle is going to show you how to tackle any and every difficult bug you might encounter with a WordPress website, whether you currently understand the problem or not. By the time the presentation is done, you’ll be equipped and ready to identify, research, and solve even the trickiest of website bugs.

Without any further ado, here are Kyle’s answers to my interview questions.

Where can we find you on the internet?

https://realbigplugins.com
http://realbigmarketing.com
http://kyleblog.net
Twitter: @MrKyleMaurer
Github: brashrebel
WP Slack: brashrebel
Post Status Slack: kyle

When and how did you get started with WordPress?

I wrote a poem about that once over on my w.org profile. I also wrote a really long story over here on HeroPress.

What resources do you turn to when you want to learn something new?

Post Status Notes keep me very informed of everything important happening in WordPress. I also routinely peruse managewp.org and wptavern.com for more news. But probably my best source of information is podcasts. I listen to many different podcasts (and co-host a couple) on many topics. Some of the more educational variety which I enjoy include WordPress Weekly, Apply Filters, Shop Talk Show, Post Status Draft, Art of Value, Kitchen Sink WP, Startups for the Rest of Us and a few others.

What is your favorite WordPress feature/aspect?

WordPress is packed with hundreds of things we take for granted. The user roles and capabilities system and multisite are so awesome and powerful. But I also love little things like get_plugin_data() and all the other core functions which power the plugin system.

What is your most frustrating thing to debug/troubleshoot?

Humans. When it comes to WordPress though, email issues are typically quite tricky just because there’s so many points at which something can go wrong. Others would definitely be anything that requires waiting as a part of the troubleshooting process like cookies, caching, crons, DNS propagation, etc.

What advice do you have for others looking to become WordPress experts?

Paying for WP Sessions is a great start. But really, “expert” is an elusive and lofty title. It isn’t easy to become an expert in anything. My advice would be to work hard to immerse yourself in things that really challenge you and maybe even scare you. Hate public speaking (of course you do, everyone does)? Do that. Speak at local meetups and WordCamps. Those events will challenge you to become proficient in a topic and will work wonders for your self confidence. Also partner with others on ambitious projects that are just a little beyond what you already know. Avoid what’s easy. Make yourself uncomfortable.

What is one interesting non-WordPress-related fact about yourself?

m a pretty long time, die-hard fan of the Michigan Wolverines and the Green Bay Packers.


Thumbnail for Mastering WordPressThanks Kyle!

If you want to learn more about troubleshooting your own problems and how to save yourself both time and hassle, make sure you register for Mastering WordPress Troubleshooting

Why should you attend WordCamp US?

Me with Diane Kinney at WordCamp San Francisco 2014

Me with Diane Kinney at WordCamp San Francisco 2014

I want to tell you a story about the value of time. And I don’t strictly mean about value in terms of monetary sense, I mean in terms of intrinsic worth.

The Value of Your Time

On one hand, your time does have a direct monetary equivalent – in that you trade time for money. On the other hand, you also have time that is as measured beyond any monetary gain. This time is precious to you – it is infinitely valuable. For you, this time cannot be sold at any cost.

A Tale of Two Trips

Many years ago I had dreams and hopes of attending WordCamp San Francisco (WCSF). The cost of attendance was just beyond my reach and every year I said to myself, “not this year, but definitely next year.” I said this to myself several years in a row. The funny thing was, each year I would start to see commentary flowing from people who were at the event and immediately regret my decision to stay home.

Eventually, I did make time and set aside money specifically so I could attend WordCamp San Francisco and my experience was indescribable. As a result I went again the following year. This year I immediately registered for WordCamp US once tickets became available.

The cost for me to attend WCSF, both in terms of money spent and the opportunity cost of my time away, was not insignificant for me. The benefit of attending, however, far surpassed any amount of money I could have spent.

I cannot fully describe to you how beneficial this trip was to me. I hope that I can at least demonstrate its impact through the Great Big Give-Away that I am hosting.

Last year I had the opportunity to do something like this for the first time and that was huge for me. This year I am excited to do it again. I promise you that I have so many other ways in which I could spend the $2000 but I am going to give away as part of this promotion, but I know that this is the right way to spend that money.

How can I be so certain? Let me share with you and excerpt from last year’s Grand Prize winner, Diane Kinney. I asked Diane if she wouldn’t mind sharing a little bit about her experience. Like me and my first trip, she two had trouble putting this into words.

Here’s what Diane had to say…

 

When I noticed WPSessions had created a VIP package, I was excited to join and take advantage of the high level content. Many of the presenters were folks I knew so there was no question the quality would be great. There was a giveaway for a trip to WCSF, but since I don’t win things, that was really an afterthought.

To my complete surprise I won! My WordCamp travel budget had been emptied for the year, so this was an incredibly amazing opportunity to attend what ended up being the last WCSF! I got to see old friends and meet new ones, experience the incredible vibe of such a large WordCamp, and explore San Francisco by adding a few days to my trip. I also got to meet (and hug) Kim Parsell in person for the first time, and that became a very precious memory.

I’m so incredibly grateful to Brian and WPSessions.

– Diane Kinney (@dkinney)

Enter: The Great Big Give-Away

I really, truly want to give as many people as possible this kind of experience. Not just by sending them to events like WordCamp San Francisco or WordCamp US, but also in the daily operation of WPSessions.

I obviously cannot afford to pay for everyone to attend WordCamp US (though I wish I could!) and I also cannot afford to provide regular discounts to the WPS VIP Membership and still provide quality training from the caliber of speakers we host.

Instead, what I can do, is best highlight the value of both opportunities and do my best to bring at least one more person with me whenever I can. That’s the impetus behind The (next) Great Big Give-Away that I’m hosting.

Now is Your chance!

Register to become a VIP Member today! You’ll gain access to our growing training library (over 70 hours currently) learning directly from several of the world’s foremost WordPress experts. You’ll also gain access to some pretty awesome and exclusive stuff, like our VIP member community, exclusive discounts to other sites, and other extra-special stuff.

Additionally, if you join or renew today (by 11:59pm EST on October 26, 2015), you’ll have a chance to win $2,000 USD to pay your way to WordCamp US (and maybe put some money back in your pocket, if you’re able to travel for less than that). You’ll get a full year membership to Post Status. You’ll also get some exclusive, limited-edition WPSessions swag. You can read all about the prizes in our announcement blog post.

If you’re ready to invest in yourself I really want to help you do that!

Become a VIP today!

 

So, why should you attend WordCamp US?

Your time spent at WordCamp US will return value in dividends compared to time spent elsewhere. There are going to be more than one thousand other attendees and some of the best speakers you’ll hear at any WordCamp – throughout the United States and beyond!

PS – If you were moved by this story, I hope you share it! Please use the hashtag #WPS2WCUS. Thanks!

The Next Great Big Give-Away: #WPS2WCUS

Introducing the next great big give-away

Good news everyone! I really enjoyed running last year’s give-away so I’m doing it again. The prizes are even sweeter this year and also more plentiful.

If you’ve been on the fence about becoming a VIP Member and indulging in our 70+ hours of WordPress training from many of the top WordPress experts, I would say now is a pretty good time to pull the trigger.

Not convinced? Let me give you 3 more good reasons to consider…

#1. I’m bringing you to WordCamp US

WordCamp US: Dec 4-6, 2015
I’m going to pay $2,000 (USD) of my own money to get you to the inaugural WordCamp US. If you haven’t heard anything about WCUS yet, let me take just a moment to tell you about it. WordCamp US will take place from December 4th-6th, 2015 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA – featuring two full days of sessions plus a contributor day. I can already tell that it’s going to be a lot of fun.

If you live within the continental United States this should be more than enough to cover your entire trip (flight, lodging, meals, etc). If you’re from outside the US it should, at the very least, be enough to pay for your flights and at least make the trip possible for you. The $40 event ticket is also on me, in addition to the $2,000 for travel, lodging, etc.


#2. You’ll get a Post Status Club membership.

PostStatus.com
I love Post Status. And the Post Status Club membership has made the site even sweeter. Every day – right now, even – people are hanging out in the Post Status slack channel talking about WordPress, Business, ecommerce, health, fitness, and just about every other topic that humans converse about.

Whenever relevant news happens you’re the first in-the-know because Brian Krogsgard, the man behind Post Status, personally writes you an email with the important details. These emails are never sent too often nor are they too infrequent, they arrive precisely when they need to. It’s the only newsletter I actually want to read.

I love Post Status so much I want to share it with you, which is why I’m going to buy you a year-long membership. If you’re already a PS Club member this will automatically extend your membership by another full year.

This means you’re also coming to the Post Status WordCamp US Party, a very exclusive event limited to Post Status Club members.


#3. Plus some super special, super secret swag.

WPSessions custom swag
Not very many people in this world have had an opportunity to get their hands on our limited-edition swag, but thanks to this give-away you will soon be able to count yourself among them. You’ll get a custom designed t-shirt, some sweet stickers, and a few awesome buttons. It’s all top-quality stuff that I’m sure you’ll love.


How many people can win?

One (1) randomly selected Grand Prize winner is going to get a $2,000 cash disbursement for attending WordCamp US, plus a free event ticket. They will also get a one-year membership (or membership extension) at PostStatus.com and invitation to the official Post Status WordCamp US Party. Finally, the winner will also get a custom WPSessions swag package.

Five (5) additional randomly selected winners will receive a one-year membership (or membership extension) at PostStatus.com and a custom WPSessions swag package.

Or, maybe more…


What are the odds of winning?

1 in 16, or better. Your specific odds of winning one of the prizes in our random drawing is entirely dependent on how many people register or renew their VIP Membership. I promise that your chance of winning will never be lower than 1 in 16.

How is this possible?
If more than 100 people register within this window I’ll double the prizes to ensure (and improve) your odds. This means two people coming to WCUS and 10 people winning a PS Club membership and swag pack. Yes, even if registration only reaches 101 people, we’ll still do double of everything. If more than 200 people register we’ll increase the prizes again.

If you do the math, 101 entries with 12 prizes means you’ll actually have roughly a 1 in 8 chance of winning something awesome, which is the same as if 50 people register. If only 30 people register you’ll have a 1 in 5 chance of winning. If only 6 people register, congratulations, you’re an automatic winner!


How can someone register?

This give-away is just for VIP Members. Specifically, VIP Members who register or renew their membership between today and Monday, October 26, 2015 by 11:59pm EST. And that’s all you have to do.

Actually, if you registered for a VIP Membership any time in the past couple of weeks you’re also automatically included, too.

Become a WPSessions VIP Member - Learn more


Rules for Entry

This give-away is restricted to WPSessions VIP Members only. All VIP Members who have registered or renewed during the contest dates are automatically registered and eligible to win, no additional purchase is necessary. Must be at least 18 years old at time of drawing to win. Open to all VIP Members, worldwide.

The grand prize cash prize will be disbursed only after winner submits flight and lodging receipts as proof of intent to travel. I earnestly want you join me at WCUS, that’s the whole point!

Read the full legal terms of the give-away.


Spread the word, increase the pot!

If you post about this on Facebook or tweet about this give-away on Twitter you won’t actually impact your entry in any way (positively or negatively). You may just improve everyone’s odds of winning something, though. As I mentioned above, as soon as we cross 100 registrations the prizes will double, crossing into 200 they will triple, and so on.

Please be sure to use the hashtag #WPS2WCSF anywhere you share this online.

I look forward to seeing you in the VIP community, and I look forward to bringing you with me to WordCamp US!

Become a VIP Member

 

Meet Justin Sternberg, WordPress Expert

Justin will be presenting Custom Meta and Settings with CMB2. You can join us for free for the live broadcast on Friday, May 29, 2015 at 3pm EST. You can also purchase the recording to watch at any time for just $9.

During this session, Justin is going to talk about how you can leverage the incredible work that has gone into the CMB2 library to quickly and easily create custom meta inputs for all of your different post types. What’s more, CMB2 can also be used for creating settings pages, managing user meta, and even for creating visitor-facing forms on the front-end of sites. It takes care a of a lot of tedious work, leaving you time to take care of the important things.

There aren’t enough nice things I can say about how great and genuine Justin is as a person. He’s the perfect person to have at the helm of the CMB2 project as he takes a very pragmatic approach to problem solving. I’ve had the privilege of knowing him for a number of years now and it is my absolute pleasure to host him here on WPSessions. I can only hope you’ll someday get an opportunity to know him as well as I do!

Without any further ado, here are Justin’s answers to my interview questions.

Where can we find you on the internet?

http://dsgnwrks.pro
http://jtsternberg.com
https://twitter.com/jtsternberg
https://www.facebook.com/Jtsternberg

When and how did you get started with WordPress?

I began working with WordPress around 2009 as I was looking for a cheap CMS solution to use for our church’s website.

What resources do you turn to when you want to learn something new?

Usually I keep a log of things I want to learn and as resources float in front of me (via things like Twitter, or JavaScript Weekly, etc), I bookmark them so that when I get a chunk of time to research and learn a new thing, I have a backlog of resources to pull from.

Also, when it comes to getting some advice about WordPress-related questions, having a crowd on Twitter to poll is immensely valuable. Other than that, it’s the usual: google, stack-overflow, digging into the source code, etc.

What is your favorite WordPress feature/aspect?

How flexible it is. There are so many awesome nuggets you can find just digging through core. My appreciation for that in core has been the driving philosophy behind the development of CMB2.

How did you inherit the codebase for CMB2?

I began using the original, Custom Metaboxes and Fields for WordPress by Jared Atchison, Bill Erickson, and Andrew Norcross. I loved the utility-belt nature of the library, but found there were just a few things I thought would make it really killer… I started submitting pull requests, and after a few of those Jared offered to give me commit access.

After taking over and driving development of that library for over a year, we (WebDevStudios) approached Jared about transferring the project over to us. It wasn’t much longer after that we decided to completely revamp the library, and CMB2 was born.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve made using CMB2?

I think the story|ftw plugin is a pretty cool example of what you can do with it.

What does the future hold for CMB2?

The road map is long and arduous… We have many goals like allowing wysiwyg fields to be repeatable, making repeatable groups more robust, Adding a tabbed UI, Adding customizer and widget support, etc, etc. The list gets longer every day. 🙂 My overriding goal is to continue to refine CMB2 and sand down the rough edges. There’s only so much time in a day, so contributions are welcomed and encouraged!

What advice do you have for others looking to become WordPress experts?

Practice, practice, practice. Just start building plugins and releasing them. Who cares if there’s already one out there.. if yours does something just a little bit better or different, release it. You’ll be surprised by A) how many people will appreciate it, B) How many bugs can exist in software 🙂 and C) how much you can learn by releasing code publicly. Also, It’s never too early to try and start contributing to WordPress core. You’ll never have a higher-caliber group of people looking over your code than when contributing to an open source project, especially one as established and popular as WordPress. Oh, and did I mention practice?

What is one interesting non-WordPress-related fact about yourself?

I am a licensed minister, so I could marry you or bury you. 😀


wpsession20_thumbThanks Justin!

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