Brad will be joining us for WPSession #4: WordPress Theme Bootcamp on September 19th, 2013.
Before you get too far into reading this, I want to give you the same warning Brad gave me. His answer to the bonus question at the end answer might just be the best answer ever, so be prepared (and don’t skip ahead).
Where can we find you on the internet?
The best place to find me is SnowDayGroup.com & BradParbs.com. I tweet at @BradParbs.
When and how did you get started with WordPress?
I got started with WordPress a few years ago while working at a web development company. We were making simple sites, and needed a way to build out sites quickly and easily. We were using a custom-coded PHP CMS that was very insecure. WordPress let us give our cusomers an amazing experience, and it was easier for us to use, too!
What resources to you turn to when you want to learn something new?
The first place I always go is to the Codex. The amount of amazing information there is great. If I’m developing some custom functionality for a client, and I don’t know where to start, I’ll usually look at a few other plugins doing similar things to see how they were done.
What is your favorite WordPress feature/aspect?
My favorite thing about WordPress isn’t a feature in the code – it’s the Community. The fact that things like WPSessions can even exist is because of all the awesome people in the WordPress community. As someone who runs a local WordPress Meetup group, I’ve gotten to see people progress from just being introduced to WordPress and then getting to the point where they’re giving talks about it. No other community has the breadth of information, resources, and everything else that the WordPress community has. It’s really, really amazing when you take a step back and look at it all.
What is one thing you wish you knew about WordPress themes when you were getting started?
The thing that really tripped me up when I first starting making WordPress themes was the template hierarchy. I remember always struggling with it. I always had to use the Debug bar to look at what file was being loaded, and then guess what I should name the new one. After I learned how the template hiearchy actually works inside of WordPress, I started feeling so much better. I could finally create the files I needed to have really quickly. The template hiearchy is a very powerful beast.
What advice do you have for others looking to become WordPress experts?
If you want to be a WordPress expert, there’s two things you need to do. First, you want to surround yourself with smart people that know more than you. I do this by going to as many WordCamps as I can, as well as helping organize my local Meetup group. By forming these connections, you’ll have an indispensible resource of people that you can ask questions, learn from, and potentially collaborate with.
The second thing you need to do to become a WordPress expert is keep pushing yourself to do more things. If you’re a theme author, build a plugin that you can put on WordPress.org. If you’re a plugin author, build a theme to release. The more projects you can work on, either for clients or for yourself, the better you’ll be. If you are scared of using something in WordPress, just do it. The worst thing that will happen is that you’ll fail. And we all fail. It just means you have to keep working at it and learning more. The awesome thing about doing something new is that you get to learn a whole ton of stuff!
Bonus Question: What is one interesting non-WordPress-related fact about yourself?
Probably stuff about cats.