2013 Overview and 2014 Goals

I’m quite happy with what happened in 2013 and I’m grateful to everyone who supported me in any way during my endeavor 🙂

WordPress Core

The most significant accomplishment for me was finally getting some of my patches in the WordPress Core. I have contributed more than 15 patches to the core in 3.7 and 3.8, and I’m determined to continue contributing in the next few versions as well.

Thanks to SiteGround I’m able to work on the core as a part of my WordPress Ambassador position duties so huge props to the company owners and all the incredible folks that I’ve been working with on a weekly basis 🙂

WordCamps

I spoke at 4 WordCamps this year – Norway, Sofia, Porto and London. Last year I spoke at Sofia and UK so it’s twice better now, stats wise 🙂 Additionally, I was finally able to get a US visa and fly to San Francisco for the famous WordCamp San Francisco, where I was able to meet people I’ve been following online and learning from for years, and even people that I’ve been working with for quite some time! Additionally, I have attended WordCamp Europe – another incredible event being first of its kind, bringing together numerous countries from Europe and visitors from all around the world. In June we drove to WordCamp Transylvania as well and met the active Romanian members.

While I was helping with the organization of WordCamp Sofia in 2012, I was responsible for most of the organization this year. We grew the event to 260-270 attendees and had 7 guest speakers who flew to Bulgaria – Brian Messenlehner, Joe Hoyle, Konstantin Kovshenin, Marko Heijnen, Noel Tock, Ryan Markel and Srdjan Jocic. I’d like to thank each one of them for coming to Sofia and sharing their experience with the local community.

We also had our first Contributor Day with 40 people working on theme reviews, translations, support in the forums and inline docs. An incredible day where several people got props in the WordPress core, joined the Theme Reviewers Team and helped the local and international communities with various contributions.

WPBGUG

After several attempts to bring some organization into the local meetup group, we were finally able to set some schedule and organization in this direction. We had several meetups this year with different speakers, where I also gave two talks. Our efforts into popularizing the platform here and bringing the community together facilitated the large 10 years anniversary event celebrating the WordPress birthday where we had more than 110 people attending our party.

Other Events

In April I had a talk at WordUp Sofia. I was also one of the speakers in WordSesh 1 and 2, the first virtual 24-hour long conference, freely available for everyone, that grew from one track event to two parallel rooms with outstanding speakers from the WordPress community.

As a teacher in TUES I kept on with my web development class for the 2012-2013 season (currently going on with 2013-2014) but I had several students who were working on WordPress projects for their graduation, building small hotel management systems, event management platforms and restaurant management projects. There are few ongoing projects from students in my class right now and I’m quite excited for being able to introduce more young talents to WordPress and help them build the foundations of their portfolios and joining the big WordPress family.

My WordPress training at Telerik Academy was extended this year and we managed to split it into several sessions, starting with PHP, moving to general WordPress usage into WordPress theme and plugin development. Marko Heijnen joined me in our last session – Contributing with WordPress, where we shared our experience and tips to junior WordPress developers.

Another talk I gave earlier this year was during the Zero Budget Marketing conference, outlining the advantages of building a WordPress website for starting businesses to people in other industries.

As a lead of the WordPress Developers community on Google+ we had several hangouts with WordPress members, and I’d love to have more people from the industry sharing their experience and best practices with the community.

Code Contributions

I have intentionally started to plan for giving back to other projects instead of looking for workaround to solve my problems or build my solutions from scratch. Some of my patches got into plugins like: WP-CLI, TGM Plugin Activator, Debug Objects, WP-Benchmark, P2P UI, WP Project Manager, WP-PostRatings, and libraries such as picturefill. Other patches of mine were altered or used in other way in different plugins of libraries.

I’ve also forked and re-released the WP Selected Text Sharer plugin as it was incompatible with the latest versions (and it’s currently activated on this blog as well). I built a few small plugins too, including DX Unanswered Comments that displays another list in the Comments area for comments that hadn’t been answered by the blog admin, and DX GitHub Zen leveraging the GitHub API for wise zen snippets.

Work Related

I was working as a WordPress Engineer at Placester until June where I was lucky to work it outstanding engineers, managers and designers. It was an immeasurable experience for me, working with a great team on a large platform with a modern ecosystem.

Honestly, I’m unable to define my role at the moment – which has been the case since I’ve started my own company almost 3 years ago. Apart from my work with SiteGround, I’m the owner of DevriX – a WordPress web studio for development and trainings. I work with two people in my team on various projects, collaborating with few other agencies on different projects (as a backend engineer or a team leader), freelancing for clients, consulting two startups, outsourcing some work as content writing, flash development and design (where we don’t specialize). We are working with few large clients on SaaS solutions, frameworks or API integration gigs and I spend as much time as possible on contributing back to WordPress and educating people on web development and WordPress.

Plans for 2014

Targets in the long run are tough to plan for, but it’s worth trying, and it’s also easier to follow a list of targets instead of just wandering around. 🙂

My only real wish is for health and prosperity to my family, friends, colleagues and fellows around. It’s the only important thing out there and it’s the base of everything else.

What I could do myself next year is:

  1. Get more people involved in contributing to Open Source products (code is just one of the many ways here)
  2. Educate more young developers on WordPress development and mentor some of them until they land their first real project or job, since it’s always hard for juniors to get their first year or two in the field
  3. Contribute more to WordPress – the core in particular, the ecosystem (plugins like WP-CLI, VVV and other dev/systems/devops tools)
  4. Build a new WordPress training strategy for the Software University – a training academy is currently in progress and I’m sort of involved with the project, so we will work together on building a great WordPress schedule being taught few times a year. New developers would be able to specialize further, get experienced in building high quality code, using design patterns, getting acquainted with popular frameworks for building modern applications
  5. Bring another client or two to our new brand – WPComm.it – that handles the full-stack for our largest clients, including server setup and maintenance, WordPress SaaS/PaaS solutions, larger frameworks and everything that a real high-end business aims for their large or enterprise project. Getting more people on board for the project is also a target that is on the table
  6. Update some of my existing projects – there are few projects in my backlog that need some love
  7. Get better in server architecture/setup and on the top of handy tools and libraries that could improve my development flow, including best practices and tools from the Ruby/node.js communities
  8. Attend several WordCamps – I’d like to make two or three WordCamps in the States this year, and/or probably attend a WordCamp on another continent – currently Russia, South Africa or Australia (or Eastern Asia) seem appealing, who knows?
  9. Help more local projects migrate to WordPress – using custom frameworks for news websites or other projects where WordPress is a great fit is a common thing here, and I’d like to support some of them
  10. Support more charity causes – I’m always trying to donate to different charities and I try to plan ahead for my resources. Getting regular payments to some of them and helping people find jobs and working together for stabilizing the overall economic standard of them and their families is a painful and hard task, but I won’t give up anytime soon

So, what is your track record for 2013 and your goal for 2014?

8 thoughts on “2013 Overview and 2014 Goals

  1. It was a pleasure of knowing you this year and it’s great to see your involvement in the WordPress community by contributing back to core and with WordCamp Sofia. It was an amazing WordCamp and can’t wait to come back next year. As a speaker this was the best WordCamp that I attended.

    1. Thanks for commenting Marko, we should plan a few WordCamps together next year for sure, it’s always fun. 🙂

      I’m glad that you enjoyed your stay in Sofia and looking forward to having you here again. Also, waiting for your New Year resolution post.

  2. Mario, WC London was great fun. And, am glad I met you and all the folks out there. I got to still draft my post.

    2013 was a good year and I look forward to 2014 🙂

  3. Thank you also here for your contribution on the Debug Objects plugin. Also thanks for the hints in your screen casts about debugging in WordPress. It was also fine for me to you get to know.

Your thoughts?