Session details are presented here in alphabetical order. Follow WordCamp Orange County on Twitter or Facebook for the latest announcements, or check back here as the event approaches.

A Beginners Guide to Free WordPress Plugins

Presented by Christina Hills in Venture.

One of the most confusing (and exciting) features of using WordPress is Plugins! But how do you know for sure which ones you absolutely need and which you should avoid at all costs?

In this session, Christina Hills will walk you though, step-by-step, the various types of plugins you might need as well as how to properly evaluate and install them. Discover which free plugins are essential and know when and if you should upgrade to the Pro version. You’ll also learn the exact steps to take when a plugin goes “bad” so your website is up and running in no time.

Attend this session and you’ll walk away fully understanding the Wonderful World of WordPress Plugins!

A Me-Shaped Hole

Presented by Chris Ford in Discussions.

If there’s been one constant in my career it’s been the necessary reevaluation of who I am and what I’m doing next. I’d love to talk about how to know when it’s time to reinvent yourself, the challenges of doing so, and helpful tips and tricks for making a successful transition.

A WordPress Support Toolkit

Presented by Jarrett Gucci in Discussions.

Whether you are a weekend warrior building sites for your never ending ideas or a freelancer that has an ongoing list of clients using WordPress, it is soooooo important that you provide support for these sites.

This discussion will focus on tools and techniques for making sure you can support your WordPress development for as long as it is online.

Becoming a Better Blogger

Presented by Chris Lema in Workshops.

This workshop will help you go from training wheel blogging to high speed racing blogging. Practical tips and useful strategies will be shared.

Best Practices for Plugin Building

Presented by Russell Aaron in Discussions.

Have you ever installed a plugin(s), only to have your Left Side Menu Bar explode with extra menu items? We all have.

Most plugins are named something short. You could name your plugin with 550 words. Your description could contain paragraphs of text. YES Paragraphs.

In this discussion, we’ll be talking about the many ways one could be a WordPress Jerk. This is meant to be a fun and entertaining time. Let’s all laugh together!

Business Track

Can I Get You a Beer? A Story About Community Building.

Presented by Alex Vasquez in Beach.

Community. It’s what we make it. We have to put back into the community in order for it to grow and thrive. I talk a little about my involvement in the local WordPress community, how it’s evolved over time. Maintaining a community is everyone’s job and I give you the brass tacks on how to do it right.

Can’t We All Just Get Along

Presented by Ethan Grey in Discussions.

Have you ever worked with a client or team member and said “I don’t understand what they’re thinking”, or, even worse “I could do their job”. The overwhelming majority of successful WordPress projects are the result of skilled professionals across multiple roles working in partnership towards a common goal: making something great. It’s not always easy, or clear what purpose these roles serve or how they should collaborate; this can lead to personal & professional turmoil, and can kill great ideas before they even launch.

This talk is recommended for anyone that has worked with teams in the past, or is looking to make the transition from individual freelancer to an agency or corporation. We’ll discuss how to identify, and avoid common points of frustration when working with multiple disciplines and personalities, and examine strategies for engineers & creative professionals to make communicating with stakeholders & executives easier and more productive.

Common Sense and Accessibility

Presented by Andrew Bergeron in Beach.

As a UX Designer for a voting company – one of the most challenging tasks I face is creating design tools which are accessible for those with disabilities. In this process, I have quickly realized that designing for those with disabilities goes far beyond following a checklist of government requirements – often, it simply requires some common sense. In many cases, thinking about designing for those with disabilities has improved my designs for a much larger (general) audience. During this talk, I will share some of my insights, lessons learned and experiences with user testing for voters both with and without disabilities. My goal is to provide those in attendance some inspiration to consider how discovering design solutions for those for disabilities can also improve user experiences for a much larger audience.

Cybersecurity: Russian Hackers, Privacy, & You

Presented by Yvonne Conway-Williams in Venture.

Are we giving too much information away?

As we adopt use of technology into our daily routines, it’s easy to forget that our blogs and connected social media posts sometimes reach a wider audience than we mean them to. Updates intended for friends, family, and coworkers may seem innocuous enough, but often leak private information that hackers can use to invade our privacy and steal important data.

In this presentation I will discuss ways in which we can become more aware of our vulnerabilities online, and make recommendations on how to avoid some common pitfalls.

Decoupled Language Pack Updating

Presented by Andy Fragen in Venture.

This session will describe the benefits of decoupled language pack updating, and why you should do this for your plugins and themes not hosted with

How to Get Started with Building a Website for your Business

Presented by Tish Briseno in Venture.

Just getting started with WordPress and need to build a site? I’ll cover exactly how to do it! I’ll go over the basic elements you need to create a site (including domain & hosting) and also covering items to look for when selecting a theme. We’ll also cover the mistakes that some businesses make that prevent them from launching their site and how to avoid them.

Images that POP!: Create Photos that Amaze your Audience

Presented by Amber Hewitt in Venture.

Ever wonder how to create amazing images that will stand out? Find out the “secret sauce” process to take a photo from “meh” to “wow”! You’ll learn techniques like framing the shot with your camera/smartphone, lighting, editing your photo, and the right way to share your photo on the web or social media. You will see multiple examples ranging from product shots, to portraits, and even large-scale landscapes.

Inbound Marketing: Beyond the Newsletter Signup Form

Presented by Scott Buscemi in Venture.

You’ve set up your site and popped in a newsletter signup form on the sidebar… now what?

In this session, you’ll learn techniques that you can immediately apply to your site that’ll turn it into a marketing automation machine! Understand your visitors, boost up your SEO, and heat up those conversion rates.

Learn JavaScript & the WP REST API

Presented by Zac Gordon in Workshops.

In this workshop we will learn about JavaScript fundamentals like the DOM, Events and JSON all using native JavaScript. Then we will introduce the WordPress REST API and look at how to use it in both WordPress themes and decoupled JavaScript applications. Come get a foundation level understanding of this important topic of JavaScript and API driven WordPress development. Some experience with jQuery or JavaScript is encouraged.

Little Mistakes That Cost Big: Lessons Learned in 3 Million Plus Plugin Downloads

Presented by Julka Grodel in Beach.

Let’s get real and talk about bad code, bad feature decisions, and embarrassing moments — in the hope that you will make smarter decisions. Three million downloads, 90 releases; it’s been a roller coaster and boy have we’ve learned a lot about providing plugins to the WordPress community. We’ll talk about some particularly bad coding mistakes, unreadable coding practices, managing changing feature sets & community expectations, and touch on a couple of strategies that we’ve used to turn things around, increase our footprint and nearly double our main plugin’s rating. Some of this talk will be very technical, some not at all.

Pixel Imperfect: A Practical Approach To Responsive Design

Presented by Michelle Schulp in Beach.

With seemingly endless new ways to browse the web, we know that responsive design is here to stay. But how do we adapt the traditional design process to flexible screen sizes, device-based restrictions, and multiple use-cases without feeling like we’re giving up all control to the great unknown? We’ll learn how to use our Problem Solving Superpowers to move away from creating endless mockups, and into crafting Design Systems. You’ll learn actionable methods to transform how you design for the web, and workable ways to present these designs to your team or your client.


Presented by Chris Lema, Scott Bolinger, Jason Cosper, Chris Ford in Beach.

Our third annual plugin competition. Watch teams talk about how they developed their plugin and why. Who will walk away with the prizes as the winners of Plugin-A-Palooza 2017???

Protecting WordPress Like a Super Hero

Presented by Emanuel Costa in Discussions.

Today’s internet is broken. There are new data breaches announced daily and a simple hacked Twitter account can bring down the DOW. Cybersecurity has always been about defending against the unknown and the unknown is growing in power by the minute.

According to Google, 115,000 sites got compromised per week. WordPress runs the majority of the content-driven websites in the world. It’s become the number one target for hackers and phishing scammers.

WordPress developer, Emanuel “Manny” Costa will lead the discussion on the dangers of the internet in general and vulnerabilities on your WordPress site. They will provide you with some proactive tools that you can put in place to protect yourself and your site immediately.

Refactoring Legacy Applications

Presented by Aaron Holbrook in Discussions.

We’ll discuss some of the higher level ideals of how to build a maintainable code base and then we’ll get right down to specific examples of refactoring an old legacy application.

Discussion is welcome and even encouraged! Challenge assumptions, ask specifics – let’s learn something!

Speeding up WordPress for Mobile

Presented by Scott Bolinger in Venture.

Pros and cons of a few different ways to build an iOS or Android app that connects to your WordPress site.

Super Powered Single Page Apps

Presented by Jason Bahl in Workshops.

GraphQL is a query language that allows data from any system to be queried as if it were a Graph of data.

Similar to REST, GraphQL allows for data to be fetched and a JSON response to be returned, but unlike REST, GraphQL allows for data to be queried as if it were stored in a Graph. Additionally, a single GraphQL request can return multiple resources, including related resources, and is built on a strong type system which has led to powerful tooling, such as powerful introspection and tools such as the GraphiQL IDE.

In this workshop we’ll go over:

  • Overview GraphQL, what problems it solves, etc.
  • Comparisons with other WordPress API’s (REST, XML-RPC)
  • How to use GraphQL to consume data from WordPress
  • Client-side tools for managing data consumed by GraphQL queries, managing refetching of data, and other issues that are difficult to accomplish with decoupled applications.

Super-Powered WordPress Application Development

Presented by Ben Cole in Venture.

Suddenly your once small website has grown and there are tens of thousands of users or more! I’ll run through things you should do to ensure your growing web application remains at peak-performance so that users have a fantastic experience on your site. This talk is for the developers who build medium to large, complex WordPress sites that might handle a lot of users and interactions. We’ll go over 1) performance tips to keep your server fast, 2) development workflow optimizations to keep your team deploying continuously, and 3) UX and design pointers to make your website/app look and FEEL fast, even when it’s not.

The Dark Side of Democratization

Presented by Dennis Hong in Venture.

No one can dispute the power that democratized publishing affords us. After all, anyone today can start a website and be heard by the world. And of course, WordPress has played a central role in all this. But let’s face it, we have a problem on our hands. Over the past year now, misinformation on the internet seems to have reached a tipping point, not just in the United States, but all over the world. From the persistence of content designed to manipulate our emotions to the polarization of politics and the spread of radicalism, all of these issues can be attributed in some way to the ease with which anyone can find a voice on the internet today. My talk will therefore 1) describe the problems democratization can create, and 2) discuss potential solutions. To paraphrase a well-known saying, “The price of democratization is eternal vigilance.”

The Minimal Dev

Presented by Jason Cosper in Beach.

No offense, but most local development environments are overkill. Vagrant is great if you want to match your site’s production environment, but it can often be fussy, and slow to spin up. Docker runs faster and is more lightweight, but it can be hard to get up and running if you’re not intimately familiar with how containers work.

Laravel’s Valet project is a simplified, local, PHP development environment for minimalists that uses lightweight packages—not virtual machines— to speed up development time.

In this session I will demonstrate how to install Valet, show off some of the features that make it so useful for WordPress developers, and share some power user tricks that I’ve learned while using it.

The Proper Care & Feeding of Your WordPress Website

Presented by Adam Silver in Venture.

A website is a piece of your the overall business & marketing plan. It needs fresh content, perhaps enhanced features (eCommerce, membership), security, backups and perhaps, eventually a redesign.

The Simple 5-Step Strategy for Attracting an Audience

Presented by Brian Clark in Beach.

Never face the “blank page blues” again! In this presentation from blogging pioneer and Copyblogger founder Brian Clark, he reveals his process for developing a winning content strategy for any niche or industry. This simple 5-step process will provide you with the hands-on methodology that you can use to understand exactly who your audience is, what information they need, and how they need to “hear” that information.

The Story Behind the Story

Presented by Lauren Milligan in Workshops.

EVERYONE, not just the unemployed, should have an updated and polished resume. And unlike years ago, it’s no longer good enough to merely list where you worked and what you did. Employers want those stand-out candidates!

And of course, there’s more than “just the facts, ma’am” to your story. Attendees are walked through each component of a resume in an engaging and interactive way, using real-world examples and class exercises. Lauren also shares her #1 trade secret that will drastically improve anyone’s resume in 30 seconds or less, as well as employment industry secrets that employers and recruiters won’t share. Everyone comes out with a better resume than when the presentation started.

Theme Setup: A DIY Guide

Presented by Verious B. Smith III in Workshops.

In this workshop I will walk users through a complete setup of the fundamental principles needed to setup a WordPress theme. Many free & premium themes actually lack a setup guide but this workshop will introduce users to a completed WP Theme Setup guide that I created as a free resource for DIY business owners. The workshop will take users through the basics but each user will be given access to a complete guide to access for free after the workshop that includes slides & over 25 videos to give users the fundamentals of what it takes to set up any custom theme they would ever purchase or download for free.

Understanding and Supporting Web Accessibility

Presented by Rachel Cherry in Venture.

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, websites by people with disabilities.

When your website is accessible, all users can access your content and functionality no matter their abilities. Visually-impaired users can visit your website using a screen reader. Those who can’t use a mouse can navigate your site using a keyboard or other input device. Most accessibility features will also improve your SEO. When your site is inaccessible, research shows you could be excluding up to 20 percent of your users.

This talk will cover:

  • The basics of accessibility and why it’s important
  • Common accessibility issues
  • Legal requirements
  • How to test the accessibility of themes and other products before you buy
  • How to test and support accessibility in your projects

Using Component Libraries for Rapid Theme Development

Presented by Carrie Forde in Venture.

This presentation will:

  • Define what a Component Library is
  • How to use a Component Library
  • Essential ingredients for creating your own Component Library
  • How atomic design and component libraries work together
  • How to consolidate your components used in a project into a pattern library

Vue.js: The JavaScript Framework for Designers Who Know Just Enough JavaScript and jQuery To Get By

Presented by Jacob Arriola in Workshops.

Vue is a JavaScript framework for building user interfaces that is becoming increasingly popular in the framework world.

One of the Vue’s biggest win is how approachable it is due its simplicity while also being capable of powering sophisticated Single-Page Applications.

Prepare to get super hands-on! I will be live-coding and walking through some of the fundamentals of Vue. At the end, we will be building a feature for an a existing WordPress site using Vue.

In this workshop, we will cover:

  • What is Vue and why you should consider it
  • How to get started with Vue
  • Integrating Vue with WordPress


  • Some fundamental JavaScript knowledge will help you follow along easier. Feeling a little light with your JavaScript chops? Go to Zac’s JavaScript workshop, which is right before mine!

******If you’re going to be coding alongside me during the workshop, you’ll have two options:

1. Run a local WordPress site, with a theme I uploaded on GitHub. I’ll need you to do a few things before you come to the workshop.

— OR —

2. Use CodePen. I have a starter pen ready with a basic Vue instance.

WordPress for Non-Profits

Presented by Brian Coords in Venture.

How can WordPress be a game changer for nonprofits or anyone with a limited budget? Dive into the pros and cons of building your own donor management system with WordPress.

WordPress Helps Keep Boing Boing Weird

Presented by Jason Weisberger in Beach.

Boing Boing is one of the longest running independent publications on the Internet. From our start as ‘zine to our currently self-hosted WordPress site, we’ve had our ass kicked by every platform we’ve tried. WordPress doesn’t have me in a murderous rage, but that is largely because the guys at WP VIP are so good at sorting out the weird and often suicidal things we do to ourselves. Actually, some issues with 2FA, and our cookies expiring weirdly leave me kinda frustrated… but hey, at least Google can crawl the site this week!

WordPress load testing with Elastic Beanstalk, Locust and CasperJS

Presented by Erik Mathy in Venture.

As WordPress becomes an ever larger mainstay in the Enterprise world of Internet websites and applications, it becomes more important for developers to test their work’s ability to scale. While a piece of functionality may work perfectly fine with 5, or even 50, concurrent users, how does it work with 200? 500? 1000? Past WordPress itself, do the other pieces of the infrastructure such a MySQL, Redis, Varnish or other services keep up as the user requests pile up?

To answer these questions and more has moved well past the abilities of older load testing solutions. Apache Bench is fantastic, for example, but it doesn’t parse a page, gather information, and act accordingly. It can’t mimic a user working through a shopping cart, nor peruse all the mystery books on an online bookstore.

After several years of in the trenches load testing it’s been both my pain and pleasure to have worked through many different solutions as I’ve tried to find the One Load Testing Framework To Rule Them All. While the magic solution has yet to present itself, I’ve found a pretty good combination:

Elastic Beanstalk + Locust + CasperJS = A highly scalable, fairly easy to set up, functional open source load testing framework that meets 95% of my daily needs.

In this talk I will introduce the moving parts and walk through one of our more common load testing scenarios: A WordPress WooCommerce site. I will create the tests, run them, and go through the results to see where our bottlenecks are. Hopefully in doing so we can shed some light on how to test not only your code, but the other parts of your WordPress architecture.

You Created A Plugin. Now What?

Presented by Adam Warner in Beach.

Do you have a plugin (or several) in the repository? Have you ever wondered how to turn your plugin development skills into a sustaining income-based business? Not sure how to go about it? In this session, Adam details his story of creating a sustainable plugin business. He shares actionable advice that audience members can put into practice immediately to grow not only a user-base, but also a customer-base. Adam also explains the techniques he uses to guide free-users to premium product. Attendees will learn everything they need to know to create a plugin that people will love, and recommend to others.