Over the past two years, I have been bombarded with suggestions from other developers to implement a GIT workflow along with adopting SASS/SCSS syntax to create more elegant development workflow.
Last week I finally had reason to adopt this – @southernweb is developing a new product that will focus on the real estate industry with a JSON REST API and a WordPress plugin to implement advanced search functionality.
The need for a parent theme built with SCSS along with the ability to organize the template hierarchy and numerous get_template_part()s to have a modular child with fallbacks made the big jump a natural one.
That big jump was simply a 3-feet step. For months I thought it would be stepping off a cliff to change my workflow but with an arsenal of tools and services at the ready it was barely a punch in the stomach.
After spending a wonderful weekend with one of my oldest friends who recently moved to San Francisco, Joseph, I enjoyed a free day alone to explore the city. On Monday, I was able to wander around Fisherman’s Wharf, get an amazing view of Alcatraz, bike across the Golden Gate bridge, ponder Lombard Streets curves followed by an amazing night out on the town with a newly minted friend.
On Tuesday came a strenuous day of training at the mothership of WordPress.com, Automattic Headquarters. Waking up early to grab Starbucks along with time to gawk at Moscone Center where all our favorite Apple products are typically revealed. I then made my way two blocks northwest of Moscone to find Automattic HQ. I was the first to arrive and waited patiently at door where I was eventually met by WordPress.com VIP Manager, Sara Rosso. Sara had initial struggle with my southern double name but graciously corrected herself. We ventured upstairs to a conference rooms with an impressive setup where I was able to setup my MacBook and ensure once again my local WordPress installs via 10up’s Varying Vagrant Vagrants were playing nicely.
As the other trainees filed in, I was surprised to be such a small group of seven. We all introduced ourselves and our respective companies and began. After 30 minutes of verifying everyones local setups, which I and one other only seemed to have in working order we delve into actions & filters by creating a simple plugin to modify the_excerpt(). Quickly it became clear not everyone was as well versed in the WordPress methodology. One guy from HP even asked what wp-config.php was.
While covering actions and filters, the nugget which gave me the most joy was finding a resource of all hooks within WordPress. After the initial exercises which I completed with ease, the trainers gave some more advanced tasks for me to complete as I was flying thru the basics.
After lunch we delve into my wheelhouse of themes, the exercise quickly progressed into building the barebones of a theme with index.php, content.php, header.php and footer.php. I overachieved by creating from memory the _s syntax, quickly having a styled blog while trainers were still covering header.php. I did however invest time in getting my code syntax & spacing just right to comply with WordPress PHP Coding Standards.
After we wrapped up, I gave honest feedback via Polldaddy survey that course seemed tailored to the level of developers they don’t actually want on WordPress.com VIP but novices who are new to WordPress ecosystem. I was hoping for more coverage of typical pitfalls during theme review, debugging tools, Subversion and useful hooks like pre_get_posts.
All in all the course was great exposure to methods at Automattic and VIP team but I will be hoping for more with future courses.