This week I attended my first Girl Develop It meetup. The Fort Collins chapter started in June of this year and I saw they were having an open forum on WordPress. I messaged the meetup organizer Gretchen and she assured that men can also attend the Girl Develop It events.
After brief introductions, a lively discussion ensued about WordPress theme development practices, favorite WordPress plugins, and how to run a better WordPress business.
Building WordPress Themes
Many of the theme developers in attendance use the Genesis Framework to build out their custom WordPress themes. I have some experience with the framework, but personally I am not a fan. I use Underscores to build my custom themes and like its simplicity and stripped down nature.
I asked the group why they liked building themes with the Genesis Framework. They said that as new developers they posted questions in the support forums and received helpful answers from other developers. That along with cut and paste snippets from the documentation helped them master the “Genesis” way of building themes.
WordPress Plugins FTW
Favorite WordPress plugins came up next, with everyone eager to share their list. I’ve already written about some of my favorite plugins, but I always like to hear what other people in the industry are using. Besides the standards like WordPress SEO and Jetpack we also talked about cool new plugins like AppPresser. AppPresser lets you easily build iPhone Apps with a standard WordPress installation.
Running a WordPress Business
The final topic of the evening included what to charge to for building websites, providing website maintenance after launch, and how much control to give users in the WordPress admin.
Some people thought full admin access was appropriate for site owners, while others didn’t want to give that much control. They cautioned it would give the client the power to break the site unintentionally. Both good points.
I enjoyed the discussion at the Girl Develop It meetup. I also liked seeing the diversity in web development that exists in Fort Collins. Afterwards, Gretchen and I discussed the possibility of me teaching a workshop on building WordPress themes from scratch sometime in early 2015. We shall see!