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Summary of the Inaugural LoopConf

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the first ever LoopConf. Unlike the community-focused WordCamps, LoopConf is the first WordPress event aimed directly at developers.  It was a bit of a risk going to the first one, nobody knew exactly how it would set itself apart, and whether it would be worth the higher price tag. The good news is:

They nailed it!

My observations from LoopConf.  First, the pros:

  • The venue, the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort, was great.  A beautiful setting in the middle of nowhere – allowed us to relax, and kept the whole group together for post-conference socializing.
  • The workshop day provided a chance to go further in-depth on topics such as Unit Testing, TLS Security, Mobile App Development and the WordPress REST API.
  • The sessions were all professionally recorded, and live-streamed. You don’t see that at a WordCamp!  Bonus – the individual talks were available on YouTube within hours.
  • The content delivered went much deeper than you’d usually get at a WordCamp.  Talks like Andrew Nacin’s Anatomy of a Critial Security Bug. Ilya Grigorik’s Performance Guide RAIL and Chris Wiegman’s  Securing Your Code provided a welcomed level of detail.
  • The attendees were all professionals. It felt like a Who’s Who of the WordPress dev world. This made the “hallway track” discussions even more valuable than usual.  Putting a few hundred people together, each with a lot of experience developing for WordPress, and the problems and solutions being discussed are at a different scale than you’ll find at other events.  Plus, on a personal level, it was great to put faces to so many names of people I’ve met online throughout the years.
  • A pool-side after party…. yeah, that was a nice bonus!

Of course, no event is perfect. So, here is  the, much shorter, list of cons:

  • The workshops, while good, could have been better. They felt a little bit more like extended talks than full workshops.  I think they should have had attendees come with laptops configured to do X, so you could follow along with the presenter, or do exercises along the way.
  • The main workshops days (especially the 2nd day) were a little on the long side.  By the end of the afternoon my brain was melting – from information overload, not the desert heat.

Now that everyone has an idea of what the conference is all about, I expect we’ll see many more attendees interested in showing up in 2016 (which we’ve been told is already being planned).

Thank you so much to Ryan Sullivan and the rest of the organizing team for putting on this conference.  To the speakers, bravo!  To the sponsors, thank you for enabling this to happen. Your support of the WordPress developer community is greatly appreciated.

 

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