WPTavern: WordCamp Europe 2017 Kicks Off with Contributor Day Focused on Growing WordPress through Inclusion
Hundreds of WordPress contributors gathered today with space for each team to have its own dedicated room. The Community Summit was held earlier in the week, lending a strong contingent of veteran contributors to this event, ready to use the short time they had together.
With a high concentration of WordPress expertise gathered in Paris, WCEU organizers were able to include 13 talks and workshops aimed at enriching contributors. For an event that has always focused on serving diverse communities, it’s no surprise that many of the contributor projects were focused on growing and improving WordPress through accessibility, internationalization, documentation, and inclusion.
WP REST API Team is Writing Docs to Make the API More Approachable to New Users and Contributors
WP REST API project co-lead Ryan McCue said their team was concentrated on improving documentation to give developers a better understanding of the REST API infrastructure and how it integrates with the rest of WordPress.
“The main thing we’re trying to work on is documentation for this sort of stuff, because we’re lacking a lot of documentation around the infrastructure,” McCue said. “One of the things we don’t do well is having a way to go from ‘I know nothing’ to ‘I know this stuff.’ A lot our documentation describes solutions without describing the problem and how you pick a solution.” Contributors are working on a new set of user guides, which are currently on GitHub, that will eventually be included in the developer handbook.
McCue said the next major project is completing work on OAuth 2, the new authentication method that will allow users to authorize applications to access data on their sites. He anticipates the team will have a “very workable plugin” that could be ready for testing within the next six months.
“We need to get this sorted if any of the mobile apps are going to use the REST API,” McCue said. These apps currently use the existing XML-RPC and WordPress.com APIs. Although OAuth hasn’t been a major focus so far this year, McCue said the team is looking at changing that going forward.
Documentation Team is Working Towards Making HelpHub the Go-To Resource for WordPress Support
John Ang, who helped lead the Documentation team, said they have been focused on writing documentation for new contributors, as well as ensuring current docs are gender neutral and not overly technical so that content writers can understand them.
“Helping with the project has traditionally been tough, because we don’t explain how you can get started,” Ang said. “We realized this across the entire documentation team. We are great at writing end-user documentation but not great at writing contributor documentation.”
One of the major documentation projects they have been working on for the past few years is HelpHub, a companion resource to DevHub that will eventually hold all end-user documentation for WordPress. Migration from the codex is complete and the goal is to retire the codex once the project launches. Docs contributors are working towards making HelpHub the first place that users search for assistance before taking to the forums, lifting some of the burden from support volunteers. HelpHub is being designed to be easily searchable, possibly powered by elasticsearch, with inter-connected articles that focus on a single topic with bite-sized content.
Ang estimates HelpHub is 30% complete in terms of content and 50% in terms of development. The backend is mostly finished and contributors are now working on the frontend. They are also bringing in content experts to write articles on critical topics, such as security. Ang hopes the team can deliver an MVP by the end of this year and finish the project within the next year.
Community Team is Working on Redesigning Central.WordCamp.org to be More Useful to the Wider WordPress Community
Community Team Contributors – photo credit: WordCamp Europe 2017 Photography Team
A segment of Community Team contributors are working on marketing events better to the wider WordPress community that is not as well-connected with news about the project. As redesign of central.wordcamp.org is part of this effort.
“Overall, the feeling is that we are not getting in front of the people who need our information the most,” Global Community Team member Josepha Hayden said. “Most WordCamps are educational. There is an aspirational aspect to all of them, of course. But the people who could use the information the most are, for example, the people who inherited a WordPress site and don’t know what to do about that.”
After reviewing Google Trends to see what people are actually looking for when they get to a WordCamp site, the Community Team found that most visitors are searching for a WordCamp and the year. The only reason they get to the site is because they already know the event is happening.
“The deputies we’ve spoken to in the last year or so have been echoing this feedback that the problem our WordCamp organizers have is they don’t have any way to get the information out to attendees better,” Hayden said. “If you already know about WordCamps, it’s easy to find your local WordCamp but if you don’t, then it’s not.”
The Community Team has begun working on a communication and marketing plan that may include things like automated emails or social media campaigns but their first priority is redesigning central.wordCamp.org.
“We realized the first place we need to start is to have a canonical place for them to go,” Hayden said. “Central.WordCamp.org was always supposed to be that place but for awhile it had kind of a hybrid audience. We’re working on identifying the content, who the correct audience is, and what we’re missing if we want to help somebody who has never heard about any WordPress events.”
The discussion around redesigning central.wordcamp.org discussion has been happening for a few years and the team already has a design that was donated. They have the homepage and several other pages complete and hope to have the new site launched by the end of the year.