What I learnt at the WordPress Oxford Meetup – 24/06/2020

WordPress Meetup events are a great way to help you improve your knowledge with WordPress, as well as meet and network with other WordPress developers, designers, bloggers, marketers, enthusiasts, experts and novices. A couple of weeks before I attended the WordPress Oxford Meetup for June 2020, I attended the Cambridge WordPress Meetup (read about it here). As with the Cambridge event, I attended it via Zoom, as did everyone else due the Coronavirus pandemic.

Here is what I learnt about the WordPress Oxford Meetup:

There are different resources available such a Udemy, Linked In Learning and Smashing Magazine – many great places to learn more about WordPress.

A good method to learn and get better is to simply ‘play’ around with WordPress templates and its files. Dive-deep into the core of WordPress and see how it works. Some developers don’t use frameworks, however, some such as myself do, and either is fine.

The Meetup also had a brief discussion regarding Gutenberg and the pros and cons of it. It was discussed that whilst there has was some resistance to the layout at first and with some reverting back to the classic layout, many are warming to it. Gutenberg has introduced block development to WordPress within pages, much like there is Drupal, and the aim for WordPress in the upcoming years is to become a key player in the website builder market next to platforms such as Wix, as well as still being a top development CMS for web developer and bloggers.

Useful plugins

Custom Post Types – a very useful tool that allows developers to create unique post pages based on a set-list of categories and values.

Autoptimize – This plugin aims to help improve your site and page speed by compressing style sheets and JS files, adding styling to the page head, optimising lazy-load images, optimising Google Fonts and much more.

Query Monitor – A tool that is very useful for developers. It has the ability to debug database queries and PHP errors. It is perhaps most useful for depicting page calls and speeds. This is useful for knowing what calls are being made on a particular page as to trace any issues regarding page-loading for example.

Lastly, it was good to see an old college mate at this event – one of the co-hosts, Lee.

What I learnt from the Cambridge WordPress Meetup – June 2020

8th June 2020 – Online via Zoom

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of disruption and chaos to businesses and people’s way of life in 2020. Seeing friends, family and work colleagues in person has been replaced with Zoom and WhatsApp calls. Normally, WordPress meetups take-place in a set room, but as with meetings of late, this one took place via Zoom.

I have to admit, this was my first Cambridge meetup, mainly because travelling to Cambridge is a bit of a trek for me, especially during a weeknight.

This months presentation was discussed images for WordPress, and it was presented by Chris Cox.

The main points from the presentation that I found were:

  • The image format WebP. This is a modern image format, developed by Google. It uses a far superior lossy and lossless file compression technique compared to both PNG and JPEG, meaning smaller file sizes and potentially faster web page load speeds. Learn more here https://developers.google.com/speed/webp
  • There are many image hosting sites that offer free downloadable images such as Unsplash, Pexels, Rijks Museum, LottieFiles, Canva, UnDraw, The Noun Project -Some of these are new to me, some aren’t
  • For those unaware, there are a few good image editing applications – great for resizing, compressing and creating logos etc with – Canva, PhotoShop and PhotoShop Element, Gimp, Paint and Paint.Net
  • There are plugins that can aid image compression and file size. One that was discussed a lot was Short Pixel – https://shortpixel.com/
  • A plugin called Media Library Assistant –https://wordpress.org/plugins/media-library-assistant/ This create categories, taxonomies, shortcodes and other custom fields for your images
  • Another plugin created by the same team that created Short Pixel, Enable Media Replace – https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/enable-media-replace/ Useful for finding and replacing images, without the need for renaming and deleting