WordPress development beginners’ workshop debrief

I helped out with a beginners’ WordPress development workshop with Jenny Wong for TECH(K)NOW Ada Lovelace Day. We had two hours and she talked about WordPress then I did a workshop bit.

WP Engine donated an account and I made transferrable installs for every participant so they could code along using the code editor in wp-admin. (It was 4.8.2 so I included the “Better Code Editing” plugin.) Here’s an XML file of the content Here are the images which will be missing (ooh lala fancy circle gallery).

And finally here is the repo with the plugin / theme for the site.

What worked:

  • having separate sites for everyone: used WP Engine account with transferrable installs, made the site then deployed it to all installs. There were wifi issues but if people could get connected, they could log in. Everyone had same username and password
  • having sheets of paper with the site and login details
  • the loop, filters and actions bits, in particular the_title smiley face filter
  • explaining how commenting works in style.css and plugins (maybe this worked less in plugins) so that WordPress knows they’re there.
  • using the code editor to edit

Challenges out of my control:

  • noisy space with a lot going on around us, hard for people to hear
  • wifi issues
  • unknown experience with coding

What could have been better:

  • more use of screenshots for examples and more detailed explanation of what I’m doing before I go to the code
  • context of directory structure and how it relates to the file being edited; show where the file is each and every time next time
  • do bit on about hosting and how files get where they are supposed to go BEFORE starting in on the workshop bits
  • clean up text and instructions
  • slow down
  • make sure everyone hears the question before answering it

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