WordCamp Boston 2017 Thoughts & Takeways

WordCamp Boston 2017 Is in the Books

Many of the staff here at FirstTracks have been attending Boston WordCamp since the first year back in 2011. Since then our company and our team has grown. We have even given presentations at the event in 2013 and 2014 on how to setup your own WooCommerce store. These events are always fun, well attended, and full of great information from other peers and professionals who all work with WordPress every day just like we do.

We thought it would be fun this year to have each member of the team share his biggest takeaway from the event. As there were five of us in attendance, we all had a different perspective on the event. If you would like to see an archive of activity on Twitter you can search #wbcos.

Matt Nelson – President / Interactive Strategy Director

Matt Nelson at WordCamp Boston 2017

These events are always fun for me as I get to spend time talking with people at the event and learning more about how their businesses work. This year was particularly special because we got to help out with the WooCommerce booth and Happiness Bar because of our new Gold WooExpert Status. We even made cool T-shirts to wear so people could find us easily. We were looking sharp!

I think my biggest / best takeaway was getting to listen to the last presentation of the day—how Bill Gadless, president of Emagine, has grown his company to a 50-person firm. It’s always interesting to me to hear perspective from the people who have lived the journey that we are currently experiencing as we have grown over the past few years and are now approaching 15 people at FirstTracks. Gadless offered some very sound advice about making hard decisions regarding who the right clients are for you and what your true focus should be as an organization to provide the best clear direction for your growth. Words and strategies that we will continue to evolve by.

Ryan Davey – Website Developer / Support Specialist

Ryan Davey

WordCamp is great! Although we work in WordPress all the time, it’s nice to get different perspectives from other folks in the industry as you are always going to walk away with some new knowledge to help make websites even better and more efficient.

Among many things, I learned some new skills to bring my WordPress development up a notch and I was excited to hear about the new Gutenberg content editor in WordPress. Although I am sure that it will take some time for everyone to embrace it, I think that it is a step in the right direction. I’m looking forward to attending next year’s WordCamp!

David Strout – Website Developer

David Strout

WordPress is a powerful, mature platform for building everything from blogs to e-commerce sites. Part of what makes it so enjoyable to work with is its expandability. With so many plugins and themes already written, excellent documentation on how to roll your own, and a large and helpful community, WordPress is an excellent way to get online.

James Dudley – Web Development Manager

James Dudley

As usual, the WordCamp conference confirmed that the work we’re doing here at FirstTracks is using one of the industry’s best, most cutting-edge, and widely used platforms for building websites, online stores, and marketing platforms in the world today. The more we learn about WordPress, we realize just how powerful it is, and how it really can scale for our larger enterprise level clients. One of the seminar presentations said “It’s totally okay to brag about how fast your WordPress site loads.” We also enjoyed helping numerous people out at the WooCommerce table and at the Happiness Bar (helpdesk area) as well. See you next year!

Eric Murray – Senior Web Developer

Eric Murray

It’s great helping people solve problems, and getting to be the hero who could solve what no one else could is even better. I also love getting obscure questions and scenarios thrown at me that I might never had considered.

The WordPress community and diversity is its most valuable asset. The platform will continue to grow exponentially as long as more people are included in the development. PHP is not as limiting a factor as possibly thought, and can even be circumvented altogether if desired by relying on interacting through the REST API.

Being able to interact with a WP install and do all the CRUD tasks all from an external site/app creates a lot of options. A super-lean js app can leverage a large WP database and lean on the WP framework to handle all kinds of data manipulation. Ideal for an app to pair to a website and share management and info capabilities.

Functional Programming & Accessibility

Organizing functional blocks into smaller and smaller bits makes those functional pieces more flexible and easier to maintain, as well as making the code run faster in general. Something that is VERY important in reducing the not always easy to debug “slow server response time” variable. Logic is fast on modern computers, but it’s the parsing that is the bottleneck over network connections.

As the expectation of having an accessible sites grows, it’s more important than ever to have a well-formed document. At the most basic level, having relevant headings and content in a structure that makes sense is what search engines are looking for. There’s no reason to think that now and certainly in the future search engine algorithms wouldn’t give preference to accessible sites over non-accessible sites.


Everything has a cost. Every image, script, and external code coming into any web page needs to be scrutinized and offer a real end-benefit to pay for that cost. If the benefit can not justify the cost, then it should not be included. This is easy to lose track of, especially in a WP environment where adding plugins is only a few clicks away. In order to really make a site perform well this thinking needs to be applied from planning to design to implementation and then maintained going forward.

Bullet-Proof Software:

Building software using WP coding standards has huge benefits. Lots of functions already exist and have been curated in the WP core for years, making common tasks far quicker and less tedious when used over and over. This goes along with the functional programming piece in ensuring that plugins and features we program are reliable enough to be run on a server getting hit with thousands if not millions of page views.

Customizing WooCommerce:

WooCommerce customization is definitely in a good place. WooCommerce continues to evolve its software into being more functional and bullet proof, by adhering to the WP coding standards. The fact that it is so functional is a testament to what is possible using the WP framework of post types, taxonomies, and template structure. I’m convinced that being so flexible is what makes WooCommerce the easiest shopping platform to use, and being built on such a flexible framework makes it the easiest to customize.

FirstTracks Marketing Website Development Team
The FirstTracks development team enjoying an awesome meal together after a long day of learning!

Are you in need of WordPress / WooCommerce Development & Design?

The team at FirstTracks Marketing is extremely passionate and experienced in all areas of WordPress and WooCommerce design and development. If you have a website you need built, designed, or overhauled, we are the team to call. If you have an online store that you want to increase sales with, we are the team to call. So what are you waiting for? Give us a call today at 603-924-1978 or fill out our short request form and let’s get going!

New Ideas & Inspiration