WordCamp Toronto 2018 Featuring Gutenberg Is Free

WordCamp Toronto 2018 is coming to the North York Civic Centre at roughly the same time as WordPress 5.0 and the new Gutenberg will be released.  So it should not be a surprise that the  WordCamp theme is Gutenberg  and the Future of WordPress. The timing could not be more  fortuitous because the much delayed new WordPress Visual Editor will be arriving at least in feature complete Gutenberg Release Candidate form. And so you can imagine there is ample coverage of Gutenberg and a distinct looks at WordPress’ future.

Gutenberg and WP Futures

Gutenberg is arriving and spurring a  WordPress UI and coding revolution. Lets look at the coding revolution first. Heretofore WordPress has been a HTML, CSS, PHP, SL, and simple JavaScript based CMS-Content Management System. But with Gutenberg, WordPress has committed itself to a 2nd Level JavaScript with the extensive use of React.js and the lastest EcmaScript 2015 and 2016 versions. The advantage is both creation-time and operational speed of JavaScript over PHP. The downside is that React.js, despite popularity claims, actually can be brittle and subject to rapid change in coding standards. But most important, with Calypso, Gutenberg, RestAPI, and increasing chunks of the WP Core in React.js, WordPress developers have a new level of coding change and complexity to deal with. Several of the WordCamp Sessions cited below discuss these broad issues.

Readers of the OpenSourcery got a 3-year ahead of time preview of the WordPress UI/UX Revolution. In the past 3 years the revolution has accelerated – especially with the emergence of SiteBuilders  which combine ever more powerful PageBuilders such as Beaver Bulder, Divi, Elementor, Themify, etc with powerful new enabling MultiPurpose themes like Astra, Generate Press, and OceanWP. Now Elementor or Divi developers can design the complete look and feel of a page or post from header to footer and everything in between laid out and styled to their hearts content. Now Gutenberg is trying to muscle into that UI Interface coding territory and as we shall see below in the WordCamp 2018 Sessions, there is some pushback.

The Gutenberg  Sessions

Gutenberg and the Content Design Opportunity with Jesse Emmanuel (Jem) Rosario at 10:30AM – Jem looks at Gutenberg and some of the inherent trade-offs in using Gutenberg when existing PageBuilders have superior widget libraries,  many more CSS easy styling options, more advanced templating capabilities and deliver right now front-end UI Design features that Gutenberg can only pledge to as Futures.  Jem credits Gutenberg for being a step up,  bringing WordPress on par with if not a step beyond the Medium editor.  But there is a push back sentiment.

Our Beloved Plugins and Gutenberg with Thiago Loureiro at 11:30AM – “The goal of this session is to show how some of the most popular WordPress plugins are responding to, interacting with and supporting Gutenberg as well as what’s in their roadmaps.” This is an ambitious undertaking because a)whats in Gutenberg and how the plugin vendors are responding is rapidly changing [ See our coverage of some Gutenberg signposts here ] and b)inevitably some favorite them or plugin usr will feel “left out” if it is not covered . The Q&A at end of this session should be most interesting.

Who Moved My Editor? Addressing Gutenberg Facts and Fears with Mike Demo at 1:30PM – Mike addresses the elephant in the room presented by Gutenberg. Use of Gutenberg currently means abandoning a lot of the plugins and development tools that currently work well in WordPress plus the existing Visual editor [and the TinyMCE  at the core of the Classic Editor that will likely see a number of future improvements]. So this session is about coping and adapting to Gutenberg and the Future of WordPress including a possible forking of WordPress. One can foresee a not dull session.

There are, count ’em, six sessions about Gutenberg’s impact on WP Marketing and SEO:
The One Stop Marketing Shop: Gutenberg’s Marketing Toolbox with Troy Fawkes at 9:30AM
Storytelling with Gutenberg: How to use the new editor to boost your blog with Andrea Zoellner at 10:30AM
WordPress as a Digital Marketing Hub: Gutenberg Edition with Rebeca Godin at 10:30AM
Growth and the Future of SEO using Gutenberg with Ryan Meghdies at 2:30PM
Democratizing Digital Marketing. Why We Need To Create A Better User Experience. with Adrian Tobey at  2:30PM
Current Trends in SEO For Businesses and Bloggers with Brian Rotsztein at 3:30PM
This coverage matches the survey of interests of GTA WordPress users where 75% of users indicated interest in Marketing and SEO topics.
There are three sessions about coding for Gutenberg:
Building my first Gutenberg Block with Thiago Loureiro at 3:30PM
Building Gutenberg Blocks, the Playlist Block Story with Anthony Burchell at 3:30PM
Gutenberg & Custom Block Development with Abdullah Ramzan at 4:30PM
Click on the links above to get a description of the lectures in order decide the better fit.

WordPress Futures Sessions

One can easily see that this WordCamp covered the Gutenberg and Mrketing/SEO topics comprehensively And there are two sessions on other relevant WP Futures – CSSGrid Layouts in WP and WP Accessibility and AODA. However, we were unable to cover such Futures as WP 5.0 and the next phase of Gutenberg – Customizations and PageBuilding. Nor have we views on the new 2019 theme. Perhaps the biggest omission is the new RestAPI v3 and its relationship with the increasingly popular GraphQL.

Summary

WordCamp Toronto 2018 really arrives on time to cover the release of WordPress 5 and especially the pivotal Gutenberg editor. WordPress developers that got caught out by the GDPR disruptive change-over in early Spring, may find WordCamp Toronto 2018 the best tonic for handling the big changes in WordPress 5 and Gutenberg.PM And the price of $0 is the best part of the deal. Note there is a limit of 400 tickets available on a first come, first serve basis

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