Development Workflow Best Practices – Big Media & Enterprise Meetup Boston

Rob Martinez from NorthPoint Digital presented “Development Workflow: Best Practices and Tools in WordPress” at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in Boston.

View the presentation slides below: 

The Boston Big Media & Enterprise Meetup was held on June 11, 2014. Check out the other presentations from the event.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

WordPress and NESN.com – Big Media & Enterprise Meetup Boston

Michael Hall from the New England Sports Network (NESN.com) presented “How WordPress.com VIP helps NESN be a part of the ‘Digital Day’ for fans of New England sports” at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in Boston.

View the presentation slides below:

 

The Boston Big Media & Enterprise Meetup was held on June 11, 2014. Check out the other presentations from the event.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

Managing Hierarchical Content – Big Media & Enterprise Meetup Boston

Niall Kavanagh, Boston University, presented “Managing Hierarchical Content on Large Page-Count Sites” at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in Boston.

View the presentation slides here:

 

The Boston Big Media & Enterprise Meetup was held on June 11, 2014. Check out the other presentations from the event.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

Harvard Business Review and WordPress – Big Media & Enterprise Meetup Boston

Kevin Newman, Harvard Business Publishing, presented “Adapting WordPress’ role within a larger content strategy” at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in Boston.

View the presentation slides here:

 

The Boston Big Media & Enterprise Meetup was held on June 11, 2014. Check out the other presentations from the event.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

Why Choose WordPress CMS to Build Websites: A Government Perspective

WordPress.com VIP Director of Platform Services, Peter Slutsky, presented to the DigitalGov University about using WordPress CMS to build government websites, along with Dan Munz, from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, last year.

DigitalGov is brought to you by the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies in the U.S. General Services Administration and their job is to help government agencies build a 21st century digital government.

“Can WordPress be a full-fledged CMS? Our experience is absolutely yes, it can.” — Dan Munz, Deputy Assistant Director for Consumer Engagement at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In this presentation you’ll learn:

  • How to determine if WordPress is a good option for your agency
  • The important technical considerations
  • The biggest challenges and successes CFPB had with implementing WordPress
  • The resources you’ll need to implement it and keep it sustainable
  • How to get buy-in and make the business case to switch/choose WordPress
  • And a Q&A from the attendees

Below is the video of the presentation: 

If you’re looking for information about government sites using WordPress, check out our spotlight on Building Government Websites with WordPress CMS or get in touch directly with the WordPress.com VIP team.

A WordPress Agile Journey Through the Eyes of a Project Manager – Big Media & Enterprise Meetup Toronto

Joey Ryken, Rogers Digital Media, presented “A WordPress Agile Journey Through the Eyes of a Project Manager” at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in Toronto, Canada.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

WordPress and Olympic.ca – Big Media & Enterprise Meetup Toronto

Anthony Moore, TrewKnowledge, presented “WordPress and Olympic.ca” at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in Toronto, Canada. We’ve also featured the official Canadian Olympic Committee site before on VIP News.

You can see a copy of his presentation online at TrewKnowledge.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

SF Developer & Superuser Training: Remaining Spots Available!

VIP Training Days, developer and superuser (administrator / editorial staff) training will take place from June 17 – 19th in San Francisco. Each day is a separate, unique one-day course, limited to 20 participants and led by a team of WordPress.com VIP instructors, so you’re sure to get plenty of interaction time with the instructors.

We still have space available, so register now!

In addition to our Developer Fundamentals I and Superuser (administrator/editorial staff) courses, the upcoming training in San Francisco will also feature a new course for intermediate developers, which brings together a lot of the content and best practices we have shared at our VIP Workshop in the past, focused on security & performance! More information on the new course: WordPress Fundamentals: Security, Performance, & Debugging.

VIP Training courses are suitable for users of both self-hosted WordPress or WordPress.com VIP sites.

Register for VIP Training Days in San Francisco!

Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Events in San Francisco & Boston:

If you’re going to be in San Francisco but won’t attend the training, don’t forget to sign up for our first Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup on June 17th! There will be networking + some interesting flash talks from VIP clients and other enterprise WordPress users. There’s also a Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup in Boston tomorrow, June 11th!

For more information about upcoming WordPress.com VIP events, be sure to keep an eye on our Events page.

Documattic: WordPress.com VIP Presentations & Resources on GitHub!

We’re excited to release what we feel could be a valuable resource to the WordPress community at large, “Documattic,” which is a GitHub home for WordPress.com VIP presentations and other resources.

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On the WordPress.com VIP team, we spend a lot of time talking to big brands and enterprises about their WordPress needs, which things are working for them, and which situations, features, or functionality need additional information or assistance from the VIP team moving forward. We spend a lot of time explaining the great features of WordPress to client IT, security, and editorial teams, and work with partners and agencies to provide up-to-date information about WordPress software and its vast community of developers, designers, content creators, and site owners.

We’d like to provide even more of that information online, in the hope that it can be useful for the next enterprise looking for information about WordPress, for the agency that needs some reliable answers about how WordPress works in order to explain it to their clients, and for community members who continually have to answer the question, “Can WordPress do that?” We have that information, and we’re excited to start sharing, curating, and building it up in a collaborative way.

There are three resources in the repository to start: the Security FAQ, the WordPress in Government FAQ, and my recent presentation about Trends in Enterprise WordPress Content. We’re hoping to add more in the future and we’d love to hear which documents, presentations, and resources might be useful to you.

If you’re an agency that works with WordPress, think about adding your own resources to the repository, so the WordPress community-at-large can benefit as well!

Check out the Documattic repo on GitHub.

The documents on the repository are released under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license. Any documents or resources you’d like to see added to the repository? Make a pull request, or comment below, and we’ll see what we can do!

How to Set a Vagrant Development System – Big Media & Enterprise Meetup Toronto

Paul Bearne presented “How to Set a Vagrant Development System” at MetroNews.ca, at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in Toronto, Canada.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

One Theme, One Multisite, 30+ Unique Websites – Big Media & Enterprise Meetup NYC

Simon Dickson and Simon WheatleyCode for the People, presented “One Theme, One Multisite, 30+ Unique Websites” at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in New York City.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup: Seeing your content as WordPress sees it

Simon Dickson, Code for the People, Director, presented at the Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup in London, with his presentation “Seeing your content as WordPress sees it.”

Simon explores using WordPress for a potential election campaign site and how visualizing the data from a slightly different viewpoint makes it easier to see how it can fit in with WordPress’ data structures and taxonomies.

Watch the video of his presentation and see his slide deck below!

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Defining New Urban Media with WordPress – Big Media & Enterprise Meetup NYC

Dave McKinley, CTO of Oomph, and Grant Cerny, SVP Products & Studios at Interactive One, presented “Defining New Urban Media with WordPress” at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in New York City.

The presentation focuses on the technology and business challenges the teams faced in launching the 75+ sites in their network. Below are the video and slides from their presentation.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup: RUFFLR – not just another WordPress site

Ed Coke-Steel, founder of Rufflr, presented at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in London.

His presentation, “Rufflr, not just another WordPress site,” focuses on the online wardrobe site he founded which allows users to share and follow fashion online. The site features popular users like musicians from Sony Music who share their fashion looks and fashion bloggers and other noted personalities. WordPress powers the entire site which features rich interaction in the form of profiles, collections, rankings, ratings, and more.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup: How IPC Media Chose WordPress

Lee Aylett, Head of Technology from IPC Media, presented at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in London.

Lee talked about the decision his team went through in choosing WordPress Multisite to run many of their brands and the struggle in choosing whether to do things good, cheap, or fast in his presentation, “Breaking the Project Management Triangle.” They chose WordPress, and IPC Media a wholly-owned subsidiary of Time, Inc., is starting to roll out some of the 55 brands in its portfolio on WordPress Multisite.

See Lee’s presentation deck below, and the video of his presentation, too.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Trends in Enterprise WordPress Content

Enterprises and big brands are always looking for better ways to get their content featured, shared, and visible. In this presentation, which was presented at WordCamp Switzerland earlier this month by WordPress.com VIP Global Services Manager Sara Rosso, we examine some of the latest trends related to enterprise content and how any site can take advantage of the experimentation happening on big volume and innovative publishers using WordPress.

Trends in Enterprise WordPress Content

The presentation is broken down in sections which focus on longform, newsletters, microsites/corporate sites, social media, multi-source & interactive content, and comments.

Longform: Automattic (makers of WordPress.com & WordPress.com VIP) recently acquired Longreads, a content curation and discovery site which features articles longer than 1,500 words. The site lets you search for longreads based on subject or reading length, and the number of sites which are featuring longer content has doubled (to more than 3,000 domains).

“The best pieces are either short, snappy and topical, or they are long analysis.” — Kevin Delaney, Editor-in-Chief, Quartz.

Quartz believes so strongly in the social media success of either short or long pieces, they have even made up a “V-chart” (in the presentation!) which shows mid-length stories just aren’t as compelling to be shared. Longform is growing, and the lack of time-sensitivity on that content means that it has life long beyond its publishing date.

Newsletters: We’ve seen an uptick in sites using newsletters to not only speak directly to their readers, but to also as a way to curate and surface content to them. After several conversations with VIPs at our annual VIP Workshop, it became really clear that it’s working for them, too, with good open rates and subscriptions continuing to climb. Newsletters are featuring popular content or even automated summary content directly through WordPress, and they can be sent several times a day based on the reader’s location or their interests. We’ve seen everyone from Harvard Business Review to USA Today to The Wall Street Journal increase their experimentation in newsletters and curating content directly for their readers. We examine Quartz’s popular Daily Brief in further detail in the presentation.

Microsites / Corporate sites: We’re continuing to see adoption by enterprises for their microsites and corporate sites, even in sectors like banking & finance, and highlight sites like Google Ventures, Facebook’s Newsroom, and other sites in the European Union in the presentation.

Social Media: Social media networks continue to be important organic content discovery channels for enterprise WordPress sites, but they are increasingly hard to control as content distribution channels. There’s no guarantee all of your followers or fans will see your updates or articles (thanks to continually changing algorithms and pay-for-play), which makes solutions like newsletters even more attractive. One thing is clear, however: any content being published on a WordPress site must be both easy to share and ready to share, and as the previews and excerpts Twitter and Facebook feature from links shared on their networks change, so must the publisher be ready to adapt their content as well.

Multi-source & Interactive Content: After the success of The New York Times’ interactive “Snowfall,” a lot of sites felt the pressure to produce something as engaging and interactive.

“Everyone wants to snow-fall now, every day, all desks” — Jill Abramson, The New York Times Executive Editor (former).

We’re seeing WordPress being pushed and integrated in news ways — sometimes it’s the integrator of content from multiple sources and formats, and sometimes it’s the driver of content as a web app. Enterprise sites are incorporating interactive graphs and other media which keep the user coming back (and clicking around).

Comments: Comments continue to divide communities and publishing rooms, too. There’s such a spectrum of sites who have abolished comments altogether, to those who feature reader comment prominently integrated into their articles, and those who have tried to change the way people comment entirely by focusing on just a piece of the article or by directing & guiding the commenter’s viewpoint related to a specific point.

“…asking guiding questions and showing examples of ‘good’ comments focuses and elevates the conversation overall.” — Marc Lavallee, Deputy editor of interactive news, The New York Times.

Below is the complete deck from the presentation Trends in Enterprise WordPress Content (also on Slideshare). Once the video’s up on WordPress.tv, we’ll embed that here as well!

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

*Update: the slides, which were presented earlier this month, erroneously position Jill Abramson at Wired. She was at The New York Times, and is now formerly at The NYT.  

Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup: Metro UK’s Powerful Content Algorithm

A huge thank you to everyone who attended our first WordPress Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup in London last Wednesday! We had a solid group who came out to the event to hear the presentations, and afterwards we all went nearby to continue the networking.

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We had a great lineup of speakers from the London and UK community who are using WordPress for their big media and enterprise sites in different ways:

• Dave Jensen, Metro.co.uk, Head of Development, “Metro’s Content Algorithm

 Lee Aylett, IPC Media, Head of Web Technology, “Breaking the Project Management Triangle”

• Ed Coke-Steel, Rufflr, “RUFFLR – not just another WordPress site

• Simon Dickson, Code for the People, Director, “Seeing your content as WordPress sees it.

We were able to film all of the talks and we’ll be posting the videos of those talks right here on VIP News.

For the first installment, Dave Jensen (@elgrom) from Metro UK (hosted right here on WordPress.com VIP) explains how Metro continually experiments with their content algorithm to promote and feature the most interesting content for their readers and increase engagement on their site and mobile apps.

Dave recently shared some insight on how Metro UK has grown 350% through some growth hack experiments, so he provides another great inside look on what Metro has been doing internally to tweak their site content.

Below is his slide deck and the video from his presentation — thanks, Dave!

To see the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups, click hereFor Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Alberta Motor Association launches on WordPress.com VIP

Welcome to Alberta Motor Association (AMA), who recently launched on WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting! The AMA is a non-profit membership organization serving Alberta and the Northwest Territories, and is affiliated with the Canadian Automobile Association and AAA.

The Alberta Motor Association provides its members with roadside assistance service, a range of auto touring and leisure travel services, insurance services, and member discounts with partners.

AMA Home Page   AMA   Alberta Motor Association   CAA Alberta

The AMA site is packed full of features, including the ability for potential members to get a quote for their life, home, or auto insurance needs directly online.

Auto Insurance   Home Insurance   Life Insurance   Insurance   AMA

 

The AMA also offers extensive travel planning as a benefit, and members can plan their next cruise, vacation, or even business trip using their customized travel planning tool.

AMA Travel   Flights   Hotels   All Inclusive   Last Minute Deals   AMA

Visit the Alberta Motor Association site.

Interested in WordPress.com VIP for your corporate or enterprise site? Get in touch.

Buyers Rejoice! Roadloans.com launches on WordPress.com VIP

Congrats and welcome to RoadLoans.com, who just launched on WordPress.com VIP Hosting. It’s a great example of a corporate site packed with information & tools for their customers!
Car Loans l Car Refinance l Roadloans.com

RoadLoans’ guides to buying, getting loans, and other helpful information when it comes to test driving, buying, and financing a car are also supplemented with their shopping tools which help consumers make decisions on-the-go about which car is right for them.
Shopping Tools

The RoadLoans team also regularly blogs to keep their users informed about the latest happenings around the automotive world, and some tips & tricks, too.
Blog

 

Visit RoadLoans.com.

Interested in WordPress.com VIP for your corporate or enterprise site? Get in touch.

A New VIP Training course: Security, Performance, & Debugging

WordPress.com VIP Training Days - Security, Performance, & DebuggingAfter the success of our two initial training courses, we’re launching a second developer course in June in San Francisco!

The new course, WordPress Fundamentals: Security, Performance, & Debugging draws from issues and examples we’ve seen here with our WordPress.com VIP clients. We’ve worked with numerous VIP clients to make their sites more secure, faster, and able to scale WordPress for high traffic, and we’ll now work with you to help make the sites you build safe and scalable.

Below is a complete description of the course. You can sign up for the new training course in June in San Francisco now!

WordPress Fundamentals: Security, Performance, & Debugging is a day-long, intensive course meant to improve WordPress developers’ in advanced concepts like security and performance. Attendees should be familiar with developing WordPress plugins and themes or should have attended our Developer Fundamentals I course.

We’ll cover the basics of writing fast and secure code. Attendees will see and try popular profiling tools and we will show common performance problems, both on the front- and the back-end. Instead of just listing vulnerabilities, attendees will learn how to think like an attacker and exploit the vulnerabilities before fixing them.

Prerequisites

  • Proficiency with PHP development.
  • Awareness of WordPress as a platform, including common terminology such as a post, a page, widgets, and sidebars.
  • Proficiency with basic WordPress plugin and theme development – actions, filters, loading assets, main core APIs.
  • The latest version of VirtualBox: https://www.virtualbox.org/

Curriculum Overview

  • Performance: common reasons for slow back-end code
  • Performance: profiling back-end code with WordPress tools
  • Performance: profiling back-end code with lower level tools
  • Performance: profiling tools for front-end code and asset loading
  • Security: common types of vulnerabilities
  • Security: exploiting and fixing XSS problems
  • Security: exploiting and fixing SQL injection problems
  • Security: exploiting and fixing CSRF vulnerabilities
  • Security: exploiting and fixing remote file inclusion attacks

Sign up for the Security, Performance, & Debugging course in June in San Francisco, or take a look at our other upcoming events and training!

VIP Workshop 2014 v3 Recap

At the beginning of the month, dozens of WordPress.com VIP clients, partners, and team members gathered in Napa, California for our 3rd WordPress.com VIP Intensive Developer Workshop! This year was our largest event yet, though with a restricted number of attendees so we could keep the feeling of the event intimate and small.

We some great feedback from the attendees:
100% of participants surveyed said they would recommend the conference to their colleagues and
92.68% said they would come again!

Developers from the WordPress.com VIP team and extended Automattic team led our hands-on workshops focused on Security, Performance, and Elasticsearch and attendees also had a chance to sit down 1-on-1 with members of the VIP team to talk through their development aims or hack on a problem.

We again had some great flash talks from VIP clients and partners, and this year’s presentations included talks from CBS Local, Re/code, USA Today, Digital First Media, BlueHost, The New York Times, Tribune Broadcasting, and Interactive One.

The event provided a lot of networking opportunities and we’re hopeful the fruits of some of the discussions and ideas which happened over the course of three days will make their way into those VIP sites, projects, and contributions to WordPress soon!

If you missed this year’s VIP Workshop, don’t worry! We’re doing our 1-day in-person training courses, VIP Training Days, in 3 cities in the near-term, in Toronto, London, and San Francisco. In conjunction with the training for developers and superusers, we’re also helping to host the Big Media & Enterprise Meetups in those cities as well. Find out more and sign up for the meetup groups and for the training.

And keep your eye on our Events and Training pages to see what we’ve got planned in the future!

Here are some scenes from this year’s VIP Workshop: 

Interested in hearing more about WordPress.com VIP Training and Events? Check out our Events and Training pages and sign up for our newsletter.

You can recaps of the past events here: VIP Workshop 2013, VIP Workshop 2012.

Toronto, London, Boston, San Francisco Big Media & Enterprise Meetups Coming Soon!

Following the success of the Big Media & Enterprise Meetups in New York City, we’re going to help roll those out to three more cities in the next few months: Toronto, London, Boston, and San Francisco!

If you’ve never been to a meetup, they are focused on the operation, development, and scaling of large, high-traffic WordPress websites. The meetup features four 10-minute presentations, followed by an evening of networking. Take a peek at previous presentations here.

We’ve just created Meetup groups for the upcoming events in Toronto, London, and San Francisco, which start in May and June. Please join your local group and recommend it to your friends and colleagues in the area!

Toronto:

London: 

Boston

San Francisco:

Even if you can’t make the next Meetup, be sure to sign up for your local group so that you’re kept in the loop for the next event. If you’re interested in speaking, helping find space for the next meetup, or volunteering in general, leave a comment here and we’ll be in touch.

VIP Training Days in Toronto, London & San Francisco

We’re excited to announce upcoming VIP Training Days in Toronto, London, and San Francisco!

WordPress.com VIP Training Days

VIP Training Days are intensive, one-day in-person training courses led by a team of WordPress.com VIP instructors. We’ve already had two great sessions in San Francisco and New York, and we’re planning on doing many more.

We deliberately limit the size of each class to no more than 20 people with each team of VIP instructors so you can ask as many questions as you need to, and can get individual attention and assistance from the instructors.

In each location, we’ll be offering our existing Developer Fundamentals I and Superuser courses, and in San Francisco in June, we’ll be debuting a new course, Developer Fundamentals: Security, Debugging, & Performance, which we’ll introduce in the coming days in more detail.

Here are the upcoming dates & links to register for those courses! You can read on below for more information about the other courses, or go directly to the event registration pages where each course is explained in detail.

Hurry up and register! Space is limited for each class, and we definitely expect to sell out for each. VIP Training Days courses are open to the public, so VIP clients and non-VIP participants are equally welcome to sign up!  These courses are suitable for both self-hosted and WordPress.com VIP sites/superusers/developers – the large majority of the material will focus on core WordPress functionality/features.

We’re also hosting the Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup in each of those cities during the training week. Find out more about the event, and sign up to the group to get notifications!

About the courses:

Developer Fundamentals I Training

Description

WordPress Fundamentals I is a day-long, intensive course meant to introduce PHP developers to programming for WordPress. Attendees should be familiar with WordPress as a tool, and have a working understanding of its general terminology. Proficiency with PHP is also a must, but no knowledge of the WordPress code itself is expected. This is a great course for developers looking to build sites which will scale to VIP levels, and write secure and scalable code.

Prerequisites

  • Proficiency with basic PHP development.
  • Awareness of WordPress as a platform, including common terminology such as a post, a page, widgets, and sidebars.
  • A local development environment running WordPress Trunk. We will provide a virtual machine ahead of time for participants who don’t have their own development environments, but they will be responsible for setting it up ahead of time.

Course Materials & Requirements

Each student will provide their own computer (laptop) for the course, with working wifi functionality. A lunch break and light lunch will be provided by WordPress.com VIP. Students should have a local working copy of WordPress trunk installed and tested prior to the training. To download trunk: http://wordpress.org/download/svn/

Curriculum Overview

  • Intro to WordPress core, SVN, and Trac, history and culture
  • Developer environment and debugging tools
  • WordPress Development Best Practices
  • Introduction to Plugins
  • Actions and filters
  • Introduction to Themes
  • The Loop & WP_Query
  • More on themes
  • …and more!

Superuser Training

Description

In this course, you’ll learn how to manage and use the WordPress interface from a site owner’s point of view; as someone who will be managing multiple users, their permissions, and ultimately sharing knowledge with them about how to use WordPress to publish a great site with an active community and/or audience. We like to think of this course as our teachers teaching your teachers – those who will serve as the WordPress expert in an organization.

We’ll also do a deep dive into the publishing process so our superusers can teach their editors, authors, and contributors how to best use the WordPress interface. From creating and publishing posts to managing tags and categories, from mastering multimedia and images in articles, and bulk management of posts and pages, we’ll cover the entire publishing process from draft to done.

Prerequisites

Users should have a working (beyond basic) knowledge of the WordPress administration panel / backend. They should be managers, administrators, or editors of an existing or future WordPress site with multiple users.

Course Materials & Requirements

Each student will provide their own laptop computer (no tablets) for the course, with working wifi functionality. A lunch break and light lunch will be provided by WordPress.com VIP to all students. For the purposes of the course, students will be given access to a WordPress.com site. Users will be requested to create a WordPress.com username if they don’t have one, and this username will be submitted to the course instructor. To create a WordPress.com username: http://en.wordpress.com/signup/

Curriculum Overview

  • User Management: roles, permissions, and invitations
  • User Profiles: settings, preferences, and Gravatars
  • Comments: moderation, spam, and notifications
  • Creating & Publishing posts
  • Managing tags and categories
  • Mastering Media: images, galleries, and slideshows
  • Bulk management of Posts and Pages
  • …and more!

Sign up for one of these courses!

If you’re interested in VIP training and can’t make it to this location or these dates, keep an eye on future VIP training events, or you can register your interest and let us know your location preferences (no commitment required). It’s possible we’ll add more dates or locations in the future.

InStyle Launches New Look for What’s Right Now

TIME’s InStyle launched new desktop and mobile designs of their popular fashion and lifestyle news site, InStyle’s What’s Right Now, on WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting.

InStyle What's Right Now

The fully responsive site features up-to-the-minute articles about fashion and celebrity news and has some great new features which they detail in their site refresh post:

“…effortless sharing from everywhere; a new way to save your favorite finds; bigger, bolder images; and a new How-To section packed with videos, slide shows and even a few GIFS that will show you how to get the latest fashion and beauty looks. What’s more, you’ll find the same clean and intuitive layouts on every device and screen size.”

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The site also tracks and showcases the stories which are most popular and are getting shared on various social media channels:

What's Popular on InStyle What's Right now

The WordPress.com VIP team was excited to help this get launched! Congrats to the InStyle team.

Want more information about WordPress services for your fashion or publishing site? Get in touch

Last-minute spots opened up for VIP Workshop

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Are you a developer or technical lead running a high-scale WordPress site? Are you interested in learning more about scaling, security, and performance from the WordPress.com VIP team and from other VIP clients and partners? 

Due to some last-minute changes, a couple of spots have opened up for the WordPress.com VIP Intensive Developer Workshop v3.0, which will take place at the end of the month from March 31st – April 3, 2014.

If you’re interested in participating, fill out the pre-registration form and we’ll follow up with you.

Pricing, schedule, and other information are all available on the VIP Workshop page.

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight Launches on WordPress.com VIP

Welcome to FiveThirtyEight, which launched today! FiveThirtyEight is devoted to rigorous analysis of politics, polling, public affairs, sports, science and culture, largely through statistical means.

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The site, which is led by Nate Silver, was formerly part of The New York Times and is now operated by ESPN, and joins ESPN’s Grantland on our WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting platform.

Nate announced the change back in July and his team has since been working hard on launching the new site and its verticals on the VIP platform.

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The team has expanded to address all the site’s verticals and Nate explains the aim of the site in his launch post, What the Fox Knows.

The breadth of our coverage will be much clearer at this new version of FiveThirtyEight, which is launching Monday under the auspices of ESPN. We’ve expanded our staff from two full-time journalists to 20 and counting. Few of them will focus on politics exclusively; instead, our coverage will span five major subject areas — politics, economics, science, life and sports.

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Here’s the FiveThirtyEight team counting down the launch of the new site:

http://twitter.com/NateSilver538/status/445588802506354688/

In true FiveThirtyEight style, they even predict the probability of you reaching the new site during the launch (WordPress.com VIP’s note: only during DNS propagation…after which we predict 99.9999% uptime!)

On the development side, WordPress.com VIP Featured Partner 10up assisted in creating the new site:

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Highlights from Matt Mullenweg’s ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Reddit

Reddit’s popular Ask Me Anything (AMA) series is an open forum between notable personalities and their users. Matt Mullenweg, WordPress co-founding developer and Automattic’s CEO & President, hosted a question & answer session several months ago. Here, we’ve excerpted some of the most interesting questions and answers as they pertain to WordPress core, WordPress.com, and other Automattic products. Questions have been slightly modified to isolate the question. Original AMA thread here.

Q: I was at your State of the Word in SF and you talked about moving WordPress more towards being an application framework rather than a CMS or blog platform. What specifically do you have in mind for this (better settings API, developer features, etc)? And then if you could break backwards compatibility (which really isn’t a option for WP), what would you really like to completely redo or add to WordPress? (submitted by andrewry)

Matt: First and foremost the most important things for a platform are stability, speed, and security. To do those well you need the ability to push updates and fixes as close to real-time as possible. And it needs to work in every language. User authentication, data and caching abstraction.

A lot of what people think of as platform stuff is actually at the CMS layer — custom post types, taxonomy meta.

If backwards compatibility wasn’t a concern I would rename all the inconsistent column names and variables to match our style guide, drop TinyMCE, simplify the user roles and capabilities system, replace widgets with page blocks, redo the admin menu system, denormalize the DB, flatten dependencies and deep hierarchy in function execution, and completely reorganize the code so the bare minimum of files are included with any given request.

Q: Are there any plans to improve the search in Plugins directory, Theme directory, and Support forums at WordPress.org? Options for sorting results after searching would be awesome. We are constantly bombarded with “What’s a good plugin/theme for such and such function/type of site?” questions on r/WordPress. Seems to me that an improved search on WordPress.org would help a ton. (submitted by summerchilde)

Matt: Completely agree.

Q: Hit me with some Akismet stats. (submitted by andrewinmelbourne)

Matt: We’re blocking 40-50 million more spam every day than we were last year. The volume of spam has been growing unusually fast.

Q: What individual do you think is the most under recognized contributor to the WordPress community at large? (submitted by jb510)

Matt: That’s a tough one… I’m going to say the volunteers on the support forums. There are 2M+ posts there, and it’s easy to forget that a huge number of WP users end up in the forums and get help that allows them to use the software when they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Q: I find WP so much more user-friendly than the competition. Was that a conscious decision from the outset? Was it hard work to make it that way or was it just the way you guys did things? Do you have a warehouse full of useability testers or does it just come naturally to you guys? (submitted by jimmerd)

Matt: The first few users were friends of mine who weren’t into technology at all, so from the start we needed to make it work for regular people. As we grow it’s mostly just a matter of reminding ourselves of that, sitting down with them to see how they use the software, and anticipating their needs.

Q: PHP has matured a lot in the last few years, with new tools such as Composer and new frameworks such as Laravel. The relationship between this side of the PHP community and WordPress seems to be pretty strained.
# Are there plans to address this relationship, particularly with the new focus on WordPress as a web app framework?
#Thoughts on forking WordPress, a la jQuery? (http://eamann.com/tech/wordpress-forking-and-the-road-to-4-0/)
# Multiple content areas – probably the most important CMS feature not baked into core. Will it ever happen?
(submitted by d_abernathy89)

Matt:
# I think the PHP and WP community are coming closer together, I know it’s something that Nacin has been spending time on and we’ve had more presence at PHP-focused conferences.
# I don’t think forking as described there is a good idea.
# There’s something around multiple content areas that could be really interesting we’re going to start working on this year, hopefully ready by early 2014.

Q: Are open source contributions a prerequisite to work at Automattic? (submitted by twinkeel)

Matt: No, but they get you to the top of the list when we’re reviewing applications. (I know, I look at every incoming resume.)

Q: I see a lot of desperate web development companies locally that try to stress that WordPress is insecure and shouldn’t be used. What would be the best thing to say to people like that to shut them up? (submitted by xHyperGx)

Matt: Some of the largest and most important publishers in the world rely on WordPress. (Show them the showcase.) If WordPress was insecure we’d see it on the front page of nytimes.com, wired.com, and cnn.com. 🙂

Q: What do you think about App websites/themes that seem to be using WordPress as the choice of CMS, do you think WordPress is a good platform for these types of sites? Scaling, Performance issues considering? Examples, Dating sites, Crowdfunding sites, Job board, etc. (submitted by throwaway201e3)

Matt: I think it’s a great framework for anything content-driven. For things like messaging that don’t map well to WP’s data model, you can still do it just make some new tables, don’t try to shoehorn it in the standard ones.

Q: And any plans to launch a Premium paid version of Photon service with more features? (submitted by pranjalgupta)

Matt: Not on features, we’ll make anything new there free to everybody, but might have a paid tier for top 1% of users by bandwidth/usage. But probably a few years from that, plenty of bandwidth and CPU here in the meantime, and it’s just getting cheaper and faster.

Q: Why is Hello Dolly still a default plugin? Do you have any statistics about how many people actually activate/use it? Have you personally written any other plugins? (submitted by the_MikePayne)

Matt: This is an interesting one, and I pulled up some stats around it:
Hello Dolly is actually the 13th most active plugin, with an active userbase of about 16% of Akismet (the most-activated plugin), and about a third as popular as Jetpack. It’s ahead of W3 Total Cache! Again this is not just installations, it’s currently active.
Some of the other plugins I’ve been involved with are here on my profile: http://profiles.wordpress.org/matt/
They’re obsolete but at the time I was proud of Advanced Caching, Staticize Reloaded, and Cache Images and the early and since-rewritten work on bbPress, HyperDB, and Akismet.

Q: Do you think an app store for plugin and themes built with high quality standards and framework, could be a good solution for WordPress end users? (submitted by nicolaballotta)

Matt: The plugin directory is an app store where everything is free.
Would having paid stuff there make it better? I don’t think so.

Q: I have been using WordPress for 10 years, make most of my living from it, and will always love it. Thank you for that! It is by far the easiest way I have found to build websites that my clients find easy to use. I see the reasons why WordPress does not use more modern coding practices and tools and appreciate the need for backward compatibility, but wonder if you ever see the code base moving forward to a time when developers can use the newest features of PHP, best coding practices (i.e. testing), and the great tools that are available these days, like Composer. Do you think there will ever be some kind of fork or offshoot of WordPress that functions as an application development framework, since so many developers are using it for that these days? (submitted by lori_b)

Matt: I disagree with the premise — WordPress does use modern coding practices. People assume that supporting say an older version of PHP or MySQL holds us back far, far more than it actually causes any trouble. Supporting older browsers is a way bigger deal.
Our biggest challenge is figuring out the user side of things, the front-end code. How things should work for a user rather than how they should work for a computer.

Q: What is your opinion about current state of PHP in general? Do you like any particular framework? Templating engine? (submitted by houdas)

Matt: I think it’s pretty great, would just love to see continuing development around performance. Nothing really in the language that’s holding us back. Wish it was trendier with younger devs.

Q: Automattic has a lot of side projects (Gravatar, PollDaddy, etc) – What’s next? (submitted by baaaatmaaan)

Matt: There’s always a struggle between doing new things or experiments under a new brand — like VaultPress — vs putting it under an existing brand. A lot of the things I’ve been thinking about we’re going to put under the Jetpack brand, for example Jetpack Photon (CDN + dynamic image resizing and filtering) could be a standalone product, but decided to bundle it. So keep an eye on some big things coming to Jetpack, especially for Code Poets, people who use WordPress professionally.

Q: Will you ever support multiple languages in the WordPress core? What do you think of new writing platforms like Quip and Editorially? Will the WordPress post editor ever have any of those ‘team’ features? (submitted by chedonline)

Matt: No plans for multiple languages in core, sorry.
I really dig the new writing platforms, I do think we’ll get some of those team features if not in core than in Jetpack.

10 Growth Hacks That Helped Metro.Co.Uk Achieve 27 Million Monthly Visitors

In this post, WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting client Metro.co.uk‘s Head of Development Dave Jensen shares some insights on how their popular site achieved an incredible growth since its migration and launch on WordPress.com VIP. Originally posted on his blog, he’s agreed to share it here on VIP News as well. 

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Metro Monthly Unique Visitors (Jan’12 – Feb’14)

Over the past 12 months Metro has been on an amazing growth curve. Some of it is being in the right place at the right time for algorithm changes but a lot of it was planning and then execution of a growth (hacking) strategy.

Hack 1: Responsive Design

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Monthly Unique Visitors from Mobile (Jan’12 – Feb’14)

We decided a responsive design would be the best way to capitalise on the explosive growth in mobile. A nine month redesign process culminated in Metro going responsive on 7th Dec ’12. We immediately saw growth from social referrals with Twitter’s almost doubling over night. The other benefit of responsive sites is that there is only one URL. As this is the key used to store ranking information in search and social algorithms you don’t want this split between multiple domains like m dot.

The key takeaway is that if you give people a great experience on all devices then they are much more likely to read, share and return to your content.

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Weekly Visits from Twitter (Oct’12 – Feb’13)

Hack 2: Focus all development efforts on growth

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WordPress.com Stats for Metro (Dec’12 – Feb’14)

We also migrated to the hosted platform as a service provided by Automattic on wpvip.com. This enabled all of our costs and resources to be focused on growth as they didn’t have to worry about caching, servers or anything that didn’t improve experience for our readers or editorial users. The amazing thing about the platform is that it is a flat fee. This means that although our traffic has grown 350% year on year our costs have not changed. The depth of their out of the box features plus ecosystem of plugins ensured that we did’t have to worry about commodity features such as SEO, site maps and editorial workflows as someone else had built and open sourced an approach.

Hack 3: Open up content creation to anyone

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Metro Blogs Monthly Unique Users (Dec’12 – Feb’14)

The other great thing about the WordPress platform is that it enabled us to allow bloggers to contribute content directly into our core CMS. This started out as a feature for Metro employees but grew to encompass a much wider set of sources. Club Metro is now the most prominent and now contributes over 1M unique visitors a month. Having blogs content on the same domain placed amongst the rest of Metro’s content ensured we leveraged our existing algorithmic rankings. A single editorial workflow also helped keep the overheads low. The added bonus that most bloggers were already using WordPress and can write from anywhere helped us secure some top talent.

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Club Metro Article

Hack 4: Facebook page as a major marketing channel

173,000 Facebook Page likes Feb ’13 to 562,000 Facebook Page Likes Feb ’14

Social referrals were another large contributor to growth. We focused on growing our Facebook page “Likes” as a content marketing strategy and this was very successful. We had always been careful to only send a small amount of our best posts out a day on our Facebook page. This had a solid base of users and growing this was a key goal for the last year. We employed many strategies including competitions with like gates and boosting posts. Competitions were effective in bringing in users but there were a lot of repeat entries. Varying the prize helped to minimise this and our email based CRM platform really helped to drive entries. The most cost effective way we found was boosting posts as friends of people who already liked Metro were shown a great piece of our content. They were then much more likely to then go on to like the page. As they were similar to people who already liked Metro they were very receptive and continued to engage with our content.

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Metro Facebook Page

Hack 5: Made to share content

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Weekly Social Visits to Metro (Jan’13 – Feb’14)

Ensuring that not just the content put out on the Facebook page was made to share also really helped grow our social referrals. When the content is written they set a success measure of 100 shares on an article and then set performance targets on achieving that on 25% of our content. This has allowed some interesting conversations around the areas of the site where that was less prevalent. More than anything it is a very easy test for all of the content creators to know what they should focus on. If it won’t hit that bar then find something else. A key growth hack we developed was the ability to show different headlines for social and search so we didn’t impact our search traffic.

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SEO and Social Headlines on Made to Share Content

Hack 6: Made to share UX

metro-made-to-share

Share and follow functionality on Metro.co.uk after the Made to Share focus.

The other side of social was increasing the number of people sharing from the site. The development team had a made to share focus where we introduced much larger, clearer social buttons and reduced the number of clicks it took to share. This with the addition of a sticky sharing bar that floats on desktop has seen a large increase in the number of direct shares from our site. This seems to have also affected the amount of people copying and pasting links from the site from the subtle reinforcement due constantly present share cues. It would also seem that Facebook take direct site shares as a strong signal in their algorithm as we have continued to see growth from social.

Hack 7: If something feels wrong don’t give up on it

metro-search-referrals

Referral from Natural Search (Google Fixed, July ’12)

After the redesign only 20% of our stories indexed in Google News had our pictures next to them. We spent months experimenting on different options before we finally managed to ask Google the right question in July ’13 so they could fix it for us. It turned out that they were still using the Webmaster Tools account we had been using before the migration which pointed to our old domain that included www. Not only did this change help our referrals from Google News but it gave us a major kick in all search referrals. It would have been much easier to give up on this earlier but relentlessly focusing on this until we solved it really paid dividends.

Hack 8: Let technology automate repetition

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Metro Development Releases to Production (Nov’12 – Feb’14)

Automation of all of our development and test processes allowed us to release 4.5 times on average every day (apart from Fridays) for the past 12 months. This enabled short feedback cycles and decision making to happen at a much faster pace. We have five different environments that are used for testing before we push code live. This kept errors to a minimum and kept the feedback flowing. This environment of automated front end tests and frameworks was a major investment but has continued to pay dividends.

Hack 9: Ensure proximity of key people who are focusing on a goal

Single Goal: 700,000 Average Daily Mobile Visitors in September 2013

A single goal of growth allowed us to work together cross functionally and a focus on data and numbers ensured that feedback was alway digestible. Content, social and tech sitting together and working together enabled the good ideas to come to the top quicker and equally the bad ones get ignored. Equally focusing on data helped take emotion out of decision making which enabled data to win arguments. This sped up innovation and focus. In most cases we have done less but done what we have done better to achieve growth.

Hack 10: Get out of the way

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Voticle: Are you a true Brit?

Once people are working cross functionally together towards a goal then get out of the way and let them get on with it. In the past two months we have relaxed our process and now the content creators are working directly with the developers on new article formats to continue our growth. Out of this we have developed five new ways of displaying content from quizzes to lists and beyond.

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Quizicle: How much of a Londoner are you.

Conclusion

None of the above would have been possible without the adoption of a lean mindset and the approach of build, measure, learn, iterate. It has been an amazing 12 months of growth at Metro and an great feeling to be part of a team that came up with and then executed a plan which delivered these results.

It was a pleasure to work with the below as well as many others on this journey.

Thank you to Dave and the Metro.co.uk team for sharing their tips with VIP News.

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TIME.com Launches on WordPress.com VIP

TIME.com just launched a great responsive redesign of their homepage, and the site is now hosted on WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting! The popular homepage joins their numerous other TIME sites already running on the WordPress.com VIP infrastructure.

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Their new design also focuses on their growing mobile audience:

…the new site is designed especially for busy, mobile readers. In fact, our data suggest that nearly half of you are currently reading this on a smartphone or tablet. TIME invented the news brief; the original magazine included 100 stories, none longer than 400 words. Fittingly, the centerpiece of our new home page is The Brief, a fast take on the 12 stories you need to know about right now, as chosen by TIME’s editors. No matter where you enter our site, you’ll get a continuous story feed on every page that allows you to move around TIME.com for a quick take on what’s happening now.

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You can read more about TIME.com’s redesign in their launch post or visit TIME.com.

The WordPress.com VIP team was all on hand during our team meetup to oversee the exciting launch.

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Remaining Spaces for the VIP Workshop in March – Register Now!

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The WordPress.com VIP Intensive Developer Workshop is March 31 – April 3, 2014. The event will dive deep into topics which concern enterprise-level sites the most like security & performance, and provides many opportunities to talk strategy and learn from other VIPs in beautiful Napa Valley, California.

We’ve had an incredibly good response from participants in the past two editions (100% and 95% respectively said they would recommend the VIP Workshop to a colleague) and we can’t wait to welcome this year’s group.

Participation costs $3,600 per person, and covers 3-nights’ lodging, meals, and airport transfer. So pretty much all you need to do is book a flight! What are you waiting for?
This event will sell out, but as of today spaces are still available for current VIP clients and partners. Here’s more information, or register directly.

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