The Pennsylvania Convention Center opened its doors to over 1,800 WordPress bloggers, designers and more for the first national WordCamp US event.
Another 700 users of the open-source web development platform watched an online live stream of the event, which took place from Friday to Sunday, according to WordPress cofounder and lead developer Matt Mullenweg.
“This is the largest WordCamp ever in the world,” he said in his annual State of the Word speech on Saturday evening. “Technology is at its very best when it brings people together.”
In celebration of the tech event, the city’s at-large Councilman David Oh presented a resolution to Mullenweg declaring Dec. 5 as WordPress Day in Philadelphia.
Previously, WordPress had held smaller WordCamps in various cities around the country, with Mullenweg usually announcing the biggest WordPress news at its hometown event in San Francisco.
Since making its first blogging platform available 13 years ago, WordPress has grown immensely and now accounts for 25 percent of websites on the internet, said Mullenweg. The company plans to release version 4.4 of the platform on Tuesday, he said.
Philadelphia will again host WordCamp US next year from Dec. 2-4, and then the national event will move on to another city for two years.
Tracy Levesque, one of the Philadelphia event’s organizers and co-owner of the Fishtown-based web design shop YIKES, told us the first WordCamp US has gone well.
“It’s exciting,” she said. “It’s all new territory because there’s never been a WordCamp US before.”
At the last WordCamp San Francisco, Mullenweg had asked for applications from cities wanting to host the first national WordPress event.
“We were in the middle of organizing WordCamp Philly, so we were all already meeting a lot and had our act together, and we had a lot of doers on our time, so we just put together a really strong application,” said Levesque.
Reed Gustow, another organizer and a principal at the WordPress web development shop Delta Angel, said the team hoped “to augment [Philadelphia’s] status in terms of tech cities.”
Cami Kaos, who is from Portland, Ore., and oversees the WordCamp conference program as community organizer for WordPress, said she was impressed with the city when she visited WordPress Philadelphia in June this year.
“It was a combination of just this super cohesive team, and Philly being an awesome place, and having the space,” she said.
It’s an honor for Philadelphia to host the first national event, said Levesque. “Philly’s a cool place where you can do stuff with not a lot of the same barriers as you do in a place like New York or San Francisco where things are so cost prohibitive.”
“If you have an idea, and you have a lot of initiative, and you’re motivated, you can do a lot of cool things,” she said.
Gustow said he’s seen a sea change in attitude toward technology in Philadelphia, said Gustow. “The city is much more future-oriented than it used to be.”
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter had planned to speak at WordCamp, but backed out at the last minute. However, Gustow said it was clear from conversations before the event that Nutter was excited about WordCamp US coming to Philly.
“It mattered to him,” he said.
Recorded video of the full WordCamp will be available soon on WordPress.tv.