Free on the green

Matt Mullenweg speaking at WordcampNZ in Wellington, August 2009. © 2009 Kathryn Wilson, used with permission.

Matt Mullenweg speaking at WordcampNZ. © 2009 Kathryn Wilson, used with permission.

I spent much of last weekend in the peaceful surroundings of the Mount Victoria Bowling Club with a committed crowd of  bloggers, and software developers enjoying New Zealand’s first WordPress conference, WordcampNZ.

Attendees came from around the country, with a scattering travelling further, including an appearance by Matt Mullenweg, one of the founders of the WordPress project. Mullenweg ran a ‘town hall’ session where he talked about his passion for open source, the software bill of rights and some of the background of the WordPress project and then took questions from attendees on the future of WordPress development. While he was in town he also visited RadioNZ for an interview on the Saturday Morning with Kim Hill programme: Matt Mullenweg: blog king [ogg].

The two day conference covered a wide range of topics related to WordPress and blogging. Barrister Steven Price, who writes the Media Law Journal blog, opened proceedings with an excellent talk entitled “Staying out of legal trouble”. He outlined six rules that can help bloggers to do just that and, having piqued my interest, disappeared straight afterwards.

Day one’s other presentations covered various uses and developments for WordPress: organiser Dan Milward talked about building stores with the WP e-Commerce plugin; Ryan Hellyer of discussed his theme services for helping people to theme WordPress without writing HTML and CSS; Miraz Jordan spoke about supporting communities for virtual Zen retreats; Philip Fierlinger of talked about corporate blogging; Gareth Townsend talked about developing a better WordPress interface for iPhone users; the folks at and the Indie Travel Podcast talked about travel writing; and Doug Casement told us all how to work with the press in “How to be a media darling“.

Day two had more of the same: Anthony Cole opened with a presentation on BuddyPress, the WordPress “Facebook-in-a-box”; Chris Ipscombe gave a business angle with “Making great deals”; Harley Alexander discussed some of the finer points of theme development; Nicki Gemmell talked about the use of WordPress to support school web sites; Bernard Hickey discussed his experiences of financial reporting using WordPress at; Jeff Waugh discussed tactics for improving your WordPress site performance; and, for the last of the formal presentations, Sam Bauers of Automattic talked about the forum software from the creators of WordPress, bbPress.

It was a great conference for ideas and interesting discussions with other WordPress developers and users and I’m looking forward to more like it in the future.

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