Grownups can have camp too. At least, grownups who are fond of building sites with WordPress, the free, open-source website development platform.
WordCamp Baltimore comes to the Maryland Science Center on Sept. 8. For nearly eight hours beginning at 8 a.m., WordPress developers, designers and users can attend a slate of sessions on optimizing WordPress sites for speed, responsive, scalable design between computers and mobile devices, and making a career out of designing WordPress sites, among several others.
WordCamp organizer Andy Stratton says he has been working on this event since February. Thus far, about 100 people are attending, although he says there’s space for up to 300 people. It’s the first official Baltimore WordCamp, although two previous mid-Atlantic WordCamps have been held in Baltimore.
WordCamps are regional conferences that are organized and hosted locally but carry the imprimatur of the nonprofit WordPress Foundation, which has been arranging these camps on an international scale since 2006. A variety of topics related to WordPress are covered. Stratton says WordCamp Baltimore will have two tracks of sessions: one specifically for users of WordPress, and another for developers and designers.
In addition, a WordPress unconference will be held for youth under 18. Stratton says he thought of the idea after attending May’s WebSlam event. Held at the University of Baltimore, and organized in part by Digital Harbor Foundation co-executive director Andrew Coy, the WebSlam was a hackathon for junior high and high school students during which they made WordPress websites for Baltimore city nonprofits.
“There are actually youth in Baltimore working on WordPress, which is awesome,” Stratton says. “This is an invite to them.”
Stratton, who grew up in Severn, Anne Arundel County, but now lives in Fells Point, is a freelance developer who runs a cooperative called Sizeable Interactive, a WordPress design and development shop that works with local and national clients.
[Full disclosure: The Maryland Science Center is one of Sizeable Interactive’s clients.]
One of the highlights of the inaugural Baltimore WordCamp, says Stratton, is the opening talk, which will be delivered by Lisa Sabin-Wilson, author of WordPress for Dummies. An after party at a bar in the Federal Hill area will take place after the conference, and each participant receives a t-shirt.