WordCamp Udaipur 2017: The road less traveled !

“So… all of time and space, everything that ever happened or ever will — where do you want to start?”
— The Doctor (Matt Smith), The Eleventh Hour

It was destined to happen one day, and I’m glad it happened this year. The year couldn’t have started with a better event than the WordCamp Udaipur 2017. See, there is a reason it’s called a camp and not a conference. No boring suits, no all-too-formal conference vibe, just a refreshing community-driven meetup, for all things WordPress. Really passionate folks from India and abroad who were associated with WordPress in one way or the other were there, for the love of WordPress. And then I suddenly realized that I too wasn’t working in WordPress directly until recently, but it has been part of my life since a decade and I didn’t even realize it till date! This post is a result of this epiphany I had after we attended the WordCamp, held in Udaipur, the city of lakes!

Let’s go back in time…

It isn’t too hard to now see why my journey with WordPress has come full circle. Why you might ask. Well, a little flashback for you: almost a decade ago, in the darkest corners of the earth (the internet “lab” of my grad school! Don’t smirk, it was that “historic” pre-wifi era, duh!), I stumbled upon this exciting open-source content management system called WordPress. Back then it was pretty basic, but still feature-rich to get up and running with your blog in a jiffy. I didn’t have a clue of how to use it or why should I be trying it in a first place. Google’s Blogger was hot back then as well, but never caught my fancy for some reason. But just out of curiosity I tried and liked it. Still had no idea what to do next. So, I just left it there and moved on.

Some months later, I figured out it’s actually quite interesting to develop a website or blog, so went back to WordPress and started digging everything I could. What attracted me the most was that so many vibrant themes are available and they kinda looked better than those Blogger themes. (They still do!) Then I discovered the plugins for WordPress and the lazy bum in me was smiling from ear to ear, realizing I didn’t have to code much and still whatever this little piece of software can build will look awesome!

So then I built my website some moths later (it was with WP v2.x I think), went ahead and experimented to build some more for friends and acquaintances as well. Started to write for a couple of blogs which were also built with WordPress and the journey continued. The most important thing is that it has inspired me to write and express myself in a much better manner. So yeah, couldn’t have asked for more with an open-source blogging tool.

Flash Forward

After all these years, it feels amazing to see how the platform has evolved on its own, thanks to the wonderful community across the globe. As with any open-source software, it’s the community that has taken the capabilities of WordPress at another level. In addition of being the most complete CMS in the market, people using WordPress to build a wide variety of websites and web applications — is a testament to the fact that WordPress is now much more than that little blogging tool. (Feels a bit weird to post this on Medium instead of my WordPress blog, but that’s just the sign of the times, it has evolved into a much larger version of its original self!)

WordCamp Udaipur 2017 Mascot: Wapuu Saa, Image Courtesy: WordCamp Udaipur 2017 Blog Post

And that’s how it has begun. Thanks to my current gig in product management at Multidots (Kudos to all the guys who has organized and planned the trip, thank you!), I had a chance to visit my first WordCamp and it was a truly amazing experience. The beauty of the WordCamp is that almost anyone can attend it. Because there is something for everyone here. Various sessions are scheduled for the day, where any person who is selected as a speaker, will present his thoughts on a topic relevant to WordPress. As for the attendees, whether you are a techie (WordPress developer, designer, QA engineer etc) or a non-techie (business person or blogger), you will find something worth your time. There were 2 tracks running throughout the day: Business and Technical. So you can choose which sessions you can attend and which one you can skip, based on your preference. The schedule with complete details of sessions was declared beforehand, which made it quite easier to plan your day. Both business and technical sessions were quite interesting and I was glad to cover a bit of both.

WordCamp is special in so many ways, here a few of them:

  1. There were around 115 WordCamps organized in 2016, attended by over 35000 participants! I doubt if there is any other community-driven tech event in the world which receives this much attention and love from people. Moreover, as observed in WordCamp Udaipur as well, there are some “digital nomads”, who continue to travel to attend WordCamps wherever they are organized.
  2. It’s not just a knowledge sharing platform for WordPress community, but an experience sharing platform as well. In this camp, a designer-developer duo shared their experience on building applications on top of WordPress, while an entrepreneur team from USA shared an interesting story about their experience with WordPress in wholesale apparel industry.
  3. The sheer variety of topics for you to attend is amazing. We had various sessions ranging from how to make Hindi blogs visible on internet, WordPress REST API V2, legal aspects and licensing related to WordPress, creating videos for your blog and much more. My colleague at Multidots: Nirmal gave a really informative talk on how to contribute to WordPress.tv, which is a relatively lesser known repository of all WP event and walkthrough videos, uploaded and maintained by WordPress community.
  4. If you want to showcase your product or service, this would be the best location to do so. The sponsor companies can set up their booths at the camp for all the attendees, who can have a chat with the representatives for more info on their products or services.
  5. WordPress has given the world a voice to express themselves, democratized content publishing, as well as technology to build web apps. So the discussions and sharing of ideas in WordCamps are not limited to just technical stuff, but to rest of the areas as well. Meeting like-minded people who may not be great at coding in WordPress, or not even earning anything from WordPress, but still share the same passion — is a great experience!

In a nutshell, I couldn’t recommend this highly enough to all of you. If you are associated with WordPress even remotely and still haven’t visited any WordCamps yet, go and take a leap of faith. After all, everybody’s got to start somewhere! Godspeed. :)


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