WordCamp Montreal 2012 Highlights - Part 3 - Theming and Project Management

WordCamp Montreal 2012 Highlights - Part 3 - Theming and Project Management

11 Sep
WordCamp Montreal 2012 article 3 - by Symetris

For my last article about WordCamp Montreal 2012, I'll adress some talks from Sunday, which focused mostly on theming and project management for WordPress websites.

Responsive design - [3.5/5]

This presentation was more elaborate than last year's "WordPress for mobile" conference. It addressedseveral interesting aspects about mobile websites such as the following:

  • Keeping in mind that smartphones only cache pages under 250k
  • Using "hardboiled CSS3" - a mobile-ready boilerplate
  • Using StyleTiles for wireframes, and for responsive design
  • The Mobius and Roots WordPress themes are good for mobile
  • There's still a debate between mobile sites and responsive design - which is most appropriate?...

Theme Development - [3.5/5]

This conference suggested ways to create a plugin, but most interesting were the technical aspects covered. Here are a few pointers we kept from this talk:

  • Always use a versionning system: Git, SVN or other
  • The "Sublime Text 2" IDE (software for coding) is awesome!
  • Use WP_Debug to debug your code
  • Check out make.wordpress.org for extensive WordPress development resources
  • Choose a theme not by its look, but by its content

Dry CSS - Efficient and scalable stylesheets - [3.5/5]

For some in our team, this conference was their favourite presentation. But it also sparked an intense debate within our ranks. Fairly technical, "Dry CSS" stands for "Don't Repeat Yourself" in your code.

Advantages

  • It leverages the "property inspector" add-on to modern browsers. This lets you find the related code when pointing to an item with your cursor and aims to make your site's appearance more standardized.
  • It also leverages the "cascade" (the "C" in CSS) and makes selectors less precise, and therefore more global throughout the site.

Disadvantages

  • The drawback is that your CSS code is not as clearly organized or easy to read.
  • Also, it might be difficult for a team to use the same file, as several parts of the page layout are managed within a single area of the css file.

The debate still rages on - good luck to all you coders out there!

Release your inner project manager and make more money - [4/5]

A great introduction to web project management, the premise of this conference was that projects fail when you lose control over them. How to keep that control, you ask? Here a few tips and tricks:

  • Define what you're being paid for (perimeter, specifications). What does "done" look like? When will you know the project's finished?
  • Have a project starter checklist. It should include: assumptions, scope, deliverables, timeline, cost.
  • Manage expectations. A kickoff meeting that goes through the list of all that is agreed upon can help.
  • Identify what's included vs. not included. What is not included will be added to a list of billable change requests.
  • Identify client activities from the start. The client can then add them in the calendar.
  • Beware of: "While you're at it, could you also ___". If it wasn't part of the original package, it shouldn't be completed without an extra estimate.

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Well, that's if for the WordCamp Montreal 2012 recap. I hope you enjoyed the articles. See you again next year!

Tags : 2012, Montreal, plugins, wordcamp, wordpress

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