Panel: The use of WordPress at The Harrington School of Communication and Media, URI

Daniel Klotz –
@ the risk of revealing my age, I began publishing articles when the only available option was newsprint on something called ‘paper’. Gradually, my writing appeared in both paper and electronic form, and mirroring the industry trends nationally, more recently appears online only. Out of my published articles, highlights include interviews of NBA star Kevin Garnett; basketball coach and Brother-in Law Craig Robinson, Olympic gold medalist and pro volleyball player Kerri Walsh-Jennings, and others of note. I will speak about the transition to blogging and publishing using WordPress, and the ease with which that option presents itself even to someone not terribly up on the latest technology. I will also provide examples of how an Online presence can reach untapped audiences.

Kari Lukovics –
Blogging platforms can be used strategically for more than just daily thoughts and insights. The usability and customization capabilities of WordPress make it easy to create streamlined, impressive personal brand statements that are content-rich. I will highlight my experiences creating a unique, professional online platform as a student, and how this site will transfer into my career. 

Jonathan Friesem –
In today’s digital world, WordPress gives an opportunity for youth to express their unique identity and express their voice in many creative ways. As part of the First Star URI Ram Academy last summer, students experience many different digital ways to explore their identity as adolescents. In this presentation, participants will be able to see their website and the way it was used for research purposes.

Selling WordPress for Small Business

You know the drill — selling sucks.

It sucks even more when you’re trying to sell to the small business market with limited budgets, time, and understanding.

How can we overcome this struggle and make for a scalable business?

In this session, we’ll discuss setting up your own practice for success, what services you should be offering, and how-to engage with the small business client.

Matt Medeiros is co-founder of Slocum Studio a leading local WordPress design, development, and marketing firm. WordPress is a passion practice for Matt and his team at Slocum. Using WordPress to create solutions, build communities, and drive results for clients is what makes for a great journey.

Debugging, Testing, Security, Performance

Developing WordPress themes and plugins can sometimes be pretty complicated. If you’ve ever felt like you had no idea what’s broken, what changed, or what to do next, this session aims to help you find your way out of almost any issue you might have.

Plugin Development – Stirred not Shaken

Getting into WordPress plugin development can be quite intimidating, but the truth is, it’s not so bad.
This session will make sense of the pandemonium by breaking it down into three stages: planning, implementation, and release, while providing resources and discussing best practices.
Build your plugin development foundation and learn how to take your skills to the next level while enjoying a unique perspective on the WordPress world.

Truly Responsive Design

Perhaps the greatest sea-change in the industry since the “Web 2.0” meme, Responsive Design has been the unavoidable theme of the web industry in 2011 and 2012. But too much of the focus in responsive design has been on the mechanics: media queries, responsive images, javascript polyfills, and techniques for progressive enhancement.
Not enough attention has been paid to how responsive sites and applications should be designed to take into account the needs and contexts of users. In short, we’ve been designing sites that respond to the needs (and capabilities) of *browsers* and *devices* rather than the desires and contexts of users.
In this talk I’ll cover strategies and processes you can follow which help ensure your web applications are truly responsive to business goals and user needs, not just device capabilities.

The Implementation Of WordPress in The Academia

WordPress is increasingly used as a tool for teaching and learning by a wide range of educators from kindergarten to graduate school. Learn about the differing motivations of educators who make use of WordPress and reflect on what students learn about the writing and publication process. What are the affordances of WordPress that are most useful to educators and learners? What are the limitations of the tool? In this panel, we reflect on the strengths and limitations of WordPress as beginning users have experienced it and consider strategies for better understanding its potential benefits and limitations in the context of teaching and learning.

5 Ways to Maintain Brand Consistency in Your WordPress Theme

You and your clients are unique but your theme may not be quite so unique. So, how do you brand your WordPress theme and stand out in a sea of online competition?

In this talk we will discover how to take your theme from beach blah to seashore chic. You will learn what branding is, why branding is important and how branding can upscale your site.

Once you understand how branding can upscale your online presence, we will explore 5 specific ways to maintain brand consistency in your WordPress theme.

The topics we will cover include what to do with your logo, choosing colors for your site, maintaining font consistency, choosing images and altering theme supplied images to match your site design and finally, branding your content.

Now that your theme is brand savvy, up your rates, head for the beach, put your feet up and sip on a cocktail by the sea.

Learning WordPress from Itself

The WordPress Codex is a great resource for new developers, but as many have noted, it is far from complete and isn’t necessarily always accurate. While there are myriad web-based alternatives that can serve as a guide to WordPress’ inner workings, there is no better aid than Core itself.

Intimidated by all of those files? Don’t be. They’re actually rather well organized, and with a bit of guidance, one can easily locate the appropriate function for a given task.

As you’ll find, there are even many useful functions that don’t even appear in Core. I’ll provide an overview of how Core is organized, discuss why certain functions exist only in wp-admin, and highlight some of the exceptions to the organizational rule that lead to frustration when first exploring Core.

With this understanding, not only can one more efficiently identify the proper function for a given situation, but also give back to the community by updating the Codex; it’s just a Wiki after all.

WordPress and Version Control

Version Control lets you track your files over time. Why should you care? So when you mess up you can easily get back to a previous working version! I will take you through what version control is, why it’s important and how to start using it today on projects you’re already working on.

The Holy Grail of Development, Deployment, and Hosting

Is your development cycle scalable? Is it flexible? Is it reliable? Is it secure? Is it version-controlled? Are your deployments simple and automated? Do you have a staging server? If you do client work, are you earning the big bucks hosting sites? If you answered yes to all of these questions, move right along and keep being awesome. Otherwise, have I got a presentation for you!

In this talk, we’ll discuss scalable and inexpensive solutions for development, deployment, and hosting an unlimited number of sites with a team of any size. After going over the basics, we’ll setup a WordPress Multisite development environment, get it under version control using Git, setup a scalable hosting platform on Rackspace Cloud, and setup deployment routines using GitHub.

We’ll deal with some of the challenges, like file uploads and different wp-config.php files, and we’ll touch on some more advanced topics like staging servers, caching, domain mapping, and DNS. Best of all, this is so easy that we’ll do it all in real time. When we’re done, you’ll be armed with real world take-aways that you’ll be able to implement first thing Monday morning; not just fluffy idealistic concepts.

Selecting a Theme for Your WordPress Website

One of the great benefits of using WordPress is the fact that there are thousands of quality free themes available, along with premium and custom themes. But all of these choices can sometimes make the decision even more difficult.

In this talk I will cover things to consider when picking the perfect theme for your WordPress website or blog.

Topics include:
– What’s the purpose of your site
– Does it match your style or brand?
– If you have a logo, will it work in the theme?
– Is the design appropriate for the kind of website you want to build?
– Is the theme widget ready?
– Is the header easily modifiable?
– Does it have good page templates, e.g. CMS style front-page, unique archive design etc.
– Is the theme search engine friendly?
– Is it compatibility with every browser?

Responsive Design Primer

Responsive Design Primer: Want to learn what Responsive Design is? Learn the history of web design, what RWD is, why you should care, how you can get started using it, and some great tips for anyone who uses WordPress.

Tailoring WordPress To Meet Your Client Needs

We choose to build on WordPress to provide our clients with a proven and flexible backend for their web presence. These projects often have specific goals that make them unique from other sites on the web and frequently need to be tailored for specific functional and business requirements.

WordPress is built on the core philosophy that it should be simple to use. This talk covers a variety of methods in which we can optimize and tailor the WordPress Admin for different use cases. The goal is to provide clients with a backend solution that meets their needs and follows the core WordPress philosophy surrounding simplicity.

Help, I’m a newbie and I can’t get (WordPress) up!

An overview of how to get help with WordPress when you get stuck. I’ll talk about the various avenues available for getting help, such as the WordPress support forums, chat, meetups, etc.

I’ll also go over how to ask a question so you actually get an answer, and how you can start to give back, even though you think you don’t know anything.

Custom Theming Power

You have the power to create your own themes. Thanks to powerful tools in FireFox, we can whip the designs and layouts into shape quickly and efficiently. I will show you how we go from a standard Genesis responsive, child template to a custom theme based on a Photoshop design.

I’ll be demonstrating how to use FireFox’s Firebug to inspect and modify CSS styling on the fly.

OOP for Theme Development

This session will cover techniques and coding standards for developing concise, high-quality, re-usable theme functionality using Object Oriented Programming methodology.

Learn how you can make use of PHP’s OOP features to help write compact, encapsulated code which can be re-used in other themes. Learn how to employ the WordPress actions and filters API to create communication channels between objects without creating fragile object dependencies.

Topics covers will include encapsulation, re-usability, singletons and best practices. Naming conventions for symbols and files will be covered and explained. You’ll also learn how you can leverage class inheritance to simplify code for re-usability and maintainability.

Building Your Niche Freelance Business With WordPress

There comes a time in every freelancer’s career when it’s time to shake things up. Renew your focus, build scalability, and take your business to the next level. How do we do that?

One way is to go niche.

By focusing on a tightly targeted niche market, we can free ourselves from the ups and downs of accepting any and every client that hits our contact form. In this talk, we’ll discuss how to pick the right niche, how to market your services or products to that market, and the path to grow beyond your one-man shop.

Of course, it will geared for WordPress consultants, and WP product creators. But these ideas can apply to anyone running their own business.

Circle Gets the Square: Harnessing the Power of WordPress and Making it Work for You…

At first it seemed that WordPress killed web design as we knew it. That we had to limit our creativity and find a way to conform to the constraints of themes, plugins, and even WordPress itself.

Then we find out that the exact opposite is true…

For designers and developers, the WordPress framework is so open that we have pretty much total control of the design, function, and purpose of just about any site we come across.

…on the other hand, focusing on a site’s purpose allows business owners, educators, and students to control their online presence through a functional and easily usable interface through powerful pre-programmed themes and templates.

Evergreen SEO for WordPress

The subject off SEO is becoming more complex every day.  There are seemingly thousands of conflicting viewpoints as to what is best practice for helping your site to rank better within the search engines.

We will discuss an enduring view of SEO that will increase ranking for the long term, through evergreen SEO. Subjects include:

Types of SEO
Creating an SEO plan
-Keyword research
-Recommended Tools
-The importance of conversion
-Mapping Keywords to Content
On-Page SEO
-Wordpress and SEO
-SEO Plugins
-Template Optimization
-SEO and Site Speed
Off-Page SEO
-Backlinks: do they still work?
-Best practices for backlinking
Off-page Local SEO
-Google Places
-Local directories
Social Media
-Social Signals
-Guest Blogging
Measuring Results
-Split testing

From Employee, to Freelancer, to Business Owner (An Unnatural Progression)

Take a trip with Aaron as he discusses his journey from small business employee, to cog in the corporate machine, to freelancer and finally to small business owner.

Aaron will be sharing insights from his experiences over the past decade and providing helpful tips to any adventurer looking to journey into the world of freelance or into starting their own business.

Some items within his track include: Planning your eventual “escape” to do Freelance Full Time, the Pros and Cons of Freelancing and Business Ownership and being prepared for the unknown road ahead.

WordPress for Teachers

The promise of online learning has spawned a host of heavy duty classroom management software: blackboard and coursera being two of the most widely known. These enterprise solutions are designed and priced for Universities with support budgets and personnel.

Never mind the cost, the software is fairly regimented and inflexible, limiting the way that the instructor presents his/her classroom digitally. See why WordPress, with its easy set-up and open-source architecture, is an ideal fit for the adjunct instructor or the University department.

This talk leads you through former adjunct faculty member — now full-time at R.I.S.D. — John Caserta’s WordPress theme for teachers. He’ll demonstrate scores of classes that have used the theme, demonstrating its range and flexibility. You’ll learn what it takes to get your classroom theme up and running quickly, and with the control you’ll inevitably want.

Underscore and Backbone: jQuery’s New Friends

WordPress 3.5 will see the addition of two new JavaScript libraries to WordPress core: Backbone.js and Underscore.js. These libraries serve very different functions than old favorites like jQuery, providing application architecture and functional programming support to enable the creation of more robust, flexible and maintainable JavaScript web applications.

This talk will focus on the basics of how to use Underscore to make your theme and plugin scripts more efficient, but we’ll touch on the significance of adding Backbone to core and I will provide some resources for Model-View-Controller (MVC, or “MVWTF”) JavaScript development on top of WordPress.

Writing Tools for WordPress

In this session we’ll review offline and online tools to help you brainstorm topics for your blog, produce great content for your audience, and distribute that content to your online communities.

From one theme, many.

Every WordPress theme is different, built by different developers offering different advantages and disadvantages and each with their own learning curve for you the developer to become proficient with.

In this discussion learn how selecting a theme on it’s functionality and not on it’s outward appearance can be one of the most significant decisions you make in your development workflow. By learning how to customize a theme to make it’s outward appearance anything you need it to be, the selection of the theme based on functionality becomes far more important.

Once you learn the underlying functions of a solid theme, you can then leverage that knowledge to more quickly and easily build any website you need creating several websites on the solid foundation of a strong underlying WordPress theme.

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