After a year of anticipation and planning, SiteLock arrived in Nashville, TN for WordCamp US – ready to ‘beat hackers to the draw!’ We sponsored the event again this year, allowing us to meet many of the 1,702 attendees from all around the world. There were also 1,182 viewers who live-streamed the event, making the total attendee count a whopping 3,584!
As a global sponsor of WordCamps for the last two years, we’ve experienced many events. We can say without hesitation that the organizing team did a fantastic job communicating, planning and executing the WordCamp US sponsor experience!
To start, the exhibit hall was large with ample space between booths for participants to navigate easily. We, along with several others, utilized a 4-sided open booth space that allowed for an easy flow of traffic.
It also made it much easier to talk with attendees about website security and our exciting product announcements (keep reading for more new product details!). This open booth concept provided a unique branding opportunity for all sponsors and we were really able to communicate our message to “Secure Your Word.”
We always try to do something a little special for the largest US WordCamp of the year. This year we invited a local digital caricature artist, Matt Cox, to attend with us. Thanks to his help, we had the chance to meet a bunch of awesome WordCampers who waited in line for a custom caricature.
We also want to thank those who waited patiently in a very long line! We were blown away by the popularity of our artist’s work and appreciated everyone’s enthusiasm and cooperation! Our theme seemed to be quite a hit judging by the positive feedback and comments we received as well as the social shares! If you haven’t yet shared your caricature online, you can join the ranks of people who have already done so by tagging us on Twitter at @WPDistrict or using the hashtag, #SiteLock.
We also can’t forget to mention our event-specific t-shirts featuring our weekend’s slogan, “Beat Hackers to the Draw with Website Security.”
This open space also allowed us to easily share information and have conversations about our new product, SMART PLUS, launching on Monday, December 11. SMART PLUS includes two new ways to protect, clean, and automatically apply security patches to whatever CMS platform you, your clients, or your customers may be running, even if the core software version hasn’t been updated.
Several attendees even came back to our booth, bringing along their colleagues to learn about the benefits of SMART PLUS. We were very pleased with the “buzz” around our new product, and we’re pretty excited about it too;)
SMART PLUS will include the following:
Matt Mullenweg updated attendees about what the WordPress community has accomplished over the past year and talked about the future of the WordPress platform. Brian Krogsgaard has an in-depth report over at PostStatus which we encourage you to read, but below are some of the highlights that excited us most.
The WordPress Foundation is now accepting donations from the public. It exists to ensure free access to supported software projects, protecting the WordPress trademark, and to fund a variety of programs. These programs are educational in nature and intended to increase understanding of WordPress, free software, and open-source development.
The WordPress platform got involved with the HackerOne bug bounty system in 2017, and it’s been a success in helping to find and fix security issues and other bugs in the core software. To date, 52 bugs have been reported and resolved, and 39 bug bounties have been awarded.
In 2018, HackerOne will also be rolled out to plugins and themes in addition to core. This helps ensure that more plugin and theme developers will be made aware of potential issues with their own software and continue to make website security a top priority.
A new initiative named Tide was announced which aims to run automated tests against every plugin and theme in the .org directory. Tide utilizes, in part, the WPCS (WordPress Coding Standards) project which is built on PHP_CodeSniffer rules to enforce WordPress coding standards. Not only does this help force standards across all plugins and themes, but also includes the opportunity to recognize security gaps and correct them proactively.
The Gutenberg Editor project will be the biggest change to WordPress since its inception in 2003. It promises a completely new way to create content. It’s no secret that since the announcement of Gutenberg at WordCamp U.S. in 2016, there have been passionate conversations about what it means for the future of the platform for both end users and developers.
Gutenberg has developed quickly over the past year with over 100 people contributing to the code and 18 iterations so far. Matias Ventura showed the crowd a live demo of Gutenberg in its current state, which included several interruptions due to audience applause. Features like inline warnings when users try using incorrect heading structure and other best practices when creating semantically correct web pages had them excited.
Like most WordCamps, #WCUS included a day set aside for individuals in the community to contribute to the software itself and the larger eco-system that powers the WordPress project. We don’t have the exact numbers just yet, but the turnout was huge. It was obvious that the promoting the value of contributing over this past year has paid off. WordPress wouldn’t power 29% of the web without the contributions by thousands of people over the past fifteen years. It was great to see so many passionate people helping to move WordPress into the future.
WordCamp US 2017 was an excellent event all around. The highest praise should be given to the entire organizing team, volunteers, speakers, sponsors and all of those helping to sustain WordPress through the years. You are the ones who have helped ensure that WordPress continues to serve the needs of those who are passionate about Democratizing Publishing across the world. And a big thank you to everyone in attendance for helping us ‘beat hackers to the draw!’
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