#WCEU: Looking back on WordCamp Europe 2017

A weekend of WordPress in Paris

Hundreds of WordCamps are held all over the world each year. WordCamps are volunteer-run conferences all about WordPress, and their sizes range from small one-day gatherings to large events that can run for several days — like WordCamp Europe 2017.

Every year, a different city and country hosts WordCamp Europe. This time, it was in Paris, France.

WordCamp Europe plays an important role in spreading WordPress globally. This year, the three-day event was attended by more than 1,900 people representing 79 countries. It also livestreamed to another 1,000 people, reaching a total of 92 countries! It’s always exciting to see the reach open-source tools, and particularly WordPress, have around the world.

What people shared at WordCamp Europe 2017

WordCamp Europe 2017 MannyThe content was absolutely amazing. The schedule for WordCamp Europe 2017 had talks ranging from technical to inspirational, with quite a few focusing on people and communities.

Andrew Nacin of the United States Digital Services (USDS) gave a talk titled, “People Over Code.” He shared several stories about his time thus far in the USDS, explaining why he thinks we should all be focusing on the importance of people and communications over code. Nacin warned against allowing excessive complexity to get in the way of function, saying:

“WordPress isn’t perfect — and that’s ok — I’d rather have imperfect software that people use than perfect software nobody uses.”

The sentiment drove home both the need for practicality as well as the altruistic values held by so many that contribute time to building free, open-source tools.

Boone Gorges, who is both a long time WordPress developer and a doctor of philosophy, gave an amazing talk called, “The Pernicious Myth of the Code Poet.” Boone aired his concerns about people taking the unofficial WordPress slogan, Code is Poetry, too seriously. He stressed that it is a metaphor, one that developers love to embrace because their work often feels purposeless when it’s not. They can fancy themselves the artist, and it feels worthwhile. But art and code are not the same, and Boone laid out the risks inherent with treating them as though they are.

The keynote was an interview of Matt Mullenweg, WordPress co-founder, by Om Malik, founder of Gigaom. They talked about the future of WordPress — whether it was in apps, in being a centralized repository of content that pushes to other places or social networks, or something completely different.

Matt gave a preview of Gutenberg, a project that was announced publicly at WordCamp US last December, and the future editing screen in WordPress. It’s made a huge amount of progress over the last six months, giving users to much more control over the look and layout of their posts and ultimately their entire site.

Notable tweets from #WCEU

Want to go beyond this recap? Here are a few key highlights from notable tweets circling the awesomeness of #WCEU.

WordCamp Europe 2017 was amazing

Thanks to all of the organizers, volunteers (more than 200!), speakers and sponsors for making WordCamp Europe 2017 such an amazing experience. For other perspectives on WCEU 2017, don’t forget to check out the recaps from WP Tavern and Freemius.

See you in Belgrade, Serbia, for WordCamp Europe 2018!

Aaron Campbell
Aaron is the WordPress Core Security Team lead, has been a regular contributor to WordPress for more than 10 years, and is currently funded by GoDaddy to work full time on the WordPress open source project. He has over 17 years of web development experience and worked with clients ranging from small local businesses to Google, Yahoo, Disney, and Harvard. He’s been called both a coffee snob and a beer snob, but considers both to be compliments. When not buried in code, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son, riding his motorcycle, and reading sci-fi/fantasy books. Follow @aaroncampbell on Twitter.