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Cheers for WordCamp Skopje 2018! A Recap

WordCamp Skopje 2018

Whether you were in Skopje last weekend or you missed out, one thing is for sure – the first ever WordCamp in Skopje was a revelation! We were impressed by the number of passionate WordPress enthusiasts and greeted with an excellent organization led by Mitko Kochovski and his crew.

But, everyone that is involved in the WordPress community knows that it’s not about the numbers, but the unforgettable moments that happen during the event. From the talks to the afterparty, and the contribution workshops, there was something for everyone that participated in WCSKP. Which lead us to the recap of our amazing experience at WordCamp Skopje.

The Location

Skopje had the pleasure of hosting the first WordCamp in Macedonia supported by the WordPress foundation. The event was held on October 13th and the 14th, in the premises of the Faculty of Information Sciences and Computer Engineering, in Skopje.

It was an inspiring weekend for us, the organizers and everyone that participated, especially for Stanko and Adelina who were thrilled to meet our content writer Martin.

The local WordPress team did an excellent job in finding a venue that would fit over 150 attendees who wanted to contribute to WordPress. Everyone was pleased with the turnout, the talks, wi-fi, and of course, the delicious coffee and food that we had in abundance.

WCSKP Day One – The Conference

The talks were all exceptional, as well as the range of speakers and the topics. Every talk had its own takeaway, and every hallway moment was a chance to enjoy the atmosphere, meet some familiar faces and make new friends, all while contributing and learning more on the spot.

After the opening remarks from Mitko and the MC Andrej, fixing the projector slider’s glitch, and thanking the sponsors, it was time to roll.

Mobile-First: A Future Friendly Approach to Design – Oliver Lazarevikj

WCSKP kicked-off with a talk from Oliver, a designer, UX/UI specialist and a founder.

For Oliver, thinking “mobile” is much more than fitting an app or a website in a smartphone. It’s about the improved usability, optimizing for screen real estate, and in the process, simplifying the design and layout.

According to Oliver, that mobile-first approach should also imply mobile-last. Thinking about the end user means designing as simple as possible, but at the same time, a perfectly usable product, like a refrigerator.

He told us all about adaptable images, navigations, the importance of one-finger usage trend, flat design, as well as the future of animations and how big businesses will use the mobile trend in the future.

It was an excellent topic to hit the ground running on WCSKP and Oliver made sure that we get the full grasp of his topic.

Caching, Optimization, Scaling Big – Darko Gjorgjijoski

Darko is an experienced software developer from Macedonia. He loves everything about IT and from the moment he started to test websites back in 2006, software became part of his blood and there’s no stopping since.

His presentation was focused on the technical details of development and he went through to all of the crucial aspects of caching within and outside the code, as well as providing us with powerful scaling tips for WordPress websites.

To relive his presentation, you can download it here. Thanks, Darko!

Creating Premium Themes – Boban Naumovski, Stefan Naumovski

This duo had one of the most interactive presentations on WCSKP. You could tell that these guys work together for years by the way they finish each other’s sentences. The organizers would say two for the price of one, and they were right.

They told us all about their experience with developing premium WordPress themes that are currently featured and are one of the best sellers on Mojo Marketplace and ThemeForest.

Stefan and Boban couldn’t emphasize the hard entry criteria for the theme marketplace more. When it comes to developing premium templates for WordPress, for them, it’s a combination of flawless design as the number one filter, demos, copyrighted media and code, and lots of persistence.

Perhaps the most crucial takeaway is finding the right marketplace and the niche where you won’t have too many competitors, and offer something unique, kinda like their MMA magazine template that’s used for almost every MMA magazine out there.

How to Ride a Blue Whale (Getting Familiar with Docker) – Nemanja Cimbaljevic

Nemanja is a PHP developer, WordPress enthusiast, and an Open-Source advocate. For him, WordPress is much more than a platform – it’s an idea, a cause. Before his presentation, he warned those that were into marketing and content development about the over-geekiness of his topic, but he was wrong because everyone enjoyed his talk.

Nemanja kicked off his talk with the basics of Docker, why it is that efficient, and how to set it up in your Local Environment Machine.

The audience got to know Docker, its different implementations and integrations, as well as the numerous benefits for our WordPress code. An excellent talk enriched with actionable tips right before we hit our first coffee break.

Culture Inside the Agile Mind – Aleksandar Savkovic

From the moment Aleksandar discovered WordPress, he knew what was his next big thing and calling in life. He sees the Web Developer title as an ongoing process and contrary from the static image of web devs, for Aleks, a WordPress web developer is someone that constantly re-frames, re-thinks, and reconsiders himself/herself.

For Aleksandar, Agile is much more than a framework that needs to be implemented in companies. Without the right company culture, the framework itself is basically useless. Without the right culture, the company fails.

One of the strongest points of his talk was referred to Management. A top manager needs to make the employee understand the company culture and at the same time, know how to implement methodologies such as KANBAN and SCRUM to scale the work in timeboxed sprints.

Keeping everyone in line with the company goals is crucial, but what’s even more important is building a positive feedback culture. Every employee wants clarity, and at the same time, to feel supported by his managers. In the words of Aleksandar, it’s a winning moment which we should never kill!

On a “fight” with WordPress – Gere Equalist

We closed our eyes. All we can see was black void.

That’s how Gere felt when he first encountered WordPress. As his experience with WordPress grew, the black void turned into a light in the tunnel, which Gere used to solve major problems in the eCommerce space.

A diplomat by vocation, and a President/Project Manager of Skopje Poster Festival, after many trials and errors in the web development space, he discovered WordPress in 2014 and never looked back.

Implementation of an eCommerce system in Macedonia that you can use to sell products abroad was one of the major challenges that Gere managed to tackle successfully after the numerous hassles with the banking system. His major realization that WordPress combined with WooCommerce can produce a miracle reassured him that the scalability of the platform is limitless.

After the numerous successes and design awards, Gere is now focused on developing an app that can help people with disabilities to have better accessibility in big cities and move lot easier, which brought the loudest applause from the audience, and is something that has our full support!

WordPress Community – The Moving Force – Nikola Stulic

Nikola is a WordPress developer that is trapped inside of the mind of a math teacher, and vice versa as he put it. He’s a member of the WordPress Serbia Community, WordCamp Europe organizer, WordCamp Belgrade organizer, founder of WP meetup in Sombor, and host of the Belgrade WP meetup.

So, why does Nikola enjoys being in Skopje besides the WordCamp? Because he’s a proud Macedonian son-in-law, of course.

As soon as the first translation of WordPress broke out on Japanese, Nikola knew that he wanted to be a part of a global brand. He started to get involved in the community, organized and hosted one of the first meetups and WordCamps in Serbia, gradually contributing all the way to become a WCEU organizer and a renowned speaker to the community.

What Nikola taught us is that everyone can start contributing to the WordPress community, even if it’s just with a translation. This makes the platform a better place not just for devs, but for the clients too. Lunchtime!

Branched Deployment – Vladimir Novacki

Vladimir is a CTO with more than a decade of experience in the IT industry. His specialty is the development of apps that can handle a surge of millions of visitors, and he’s also the creator of the first Macedonian Android apps MKD Denar and Skopje Taximeter.

His talk was mostly focused on the DevOps aspect of scaling WordPress website for high traffic. According to Vladimir, to handle millions of unique visits per month, first and foremost, you’ll need to know how to automate the deployment process.

As an example, in his presentation, Vladimir demonstrated how we would build a website for the WordCamp, deploy it with GIT, and how we can resolve server problems and high traffic spikes with the help of Capistrano implementation and an NGINX configuration.

A thorough, and an actionable talk from which everyone got a sense of what an efficient deployment is.

Any Plans for June 2019? – Milan Ivanovic

Milan is a person that lives and breathes WordPress. He’s the global translation editor, WordPress Serbia leader, member of the Theme Review and Community Get Involved teams, and one of the lead WordCamp Europe organizers.

In his spare time, he holds WordPress lectures and collects t-shirts from attending WordCamps.

At the beginning of his talk, Milan showed us three photos. One from the WordCamp in Belgrade in 2013:

From the WCEU in Vienna 2016

And the one from this year, when the Serbian WP community successfully brought and organized WCEU in Belgrade

Without a doubt, the first WCEU in Oslo that he attended back in 2007 changed his life! Over the last decade, he told us how he gradually helped the community through different roles, and we are very proud to hear that WCEU Sofia 2014 was the one that struck him the most 🙌.

For Milan, we’re all contributing and volunteering by just being at the WordCamp and spreading the word. We can all get involved, be there, and help!

Milan invited us all to the next WCEU in Berlin June 20-22 and got us excited about the venue and the theme for the next WCEU which will be Street Art. It’s so cool and we wouldn’t miss it for anything Milan!

Ascending to The Rank of WordPress Developer – Phil Bennett

Phil is a web developer and a technical lead with almost two decades of experience. He considers himself a pragmatic technologist and he’s a huge advocate of Components, which was one of the main takeaways from his talk. Also, as all the other speakers, proud of his sexy badge!

After a decade of working with different platforms such as Joomla and Drupal, as he progressed in his field of expertise, Phil discovered, as he likes to say – The Holy Grail aka WordPress. He quickly realized that WordPress is the right platform to implement components.

As a matter of fact, components are the reason for the success of websites. According to Phil, the perfect web components must have the following traits: simplicity, reusability, and intelligible communication. We are looking forward to seeing you again in Berlin next year Phil!

Clients from Hell – WordPress Edition – Tomaz Zaman

Born and raised in Slovenia, Tomas became a WordPress web developer after moving to the most remote parts of his country looking for online work. When he’s off duty, besides being a husband and a proud father, he does all sorts of crazy stuff, such as skydiving.

During his early struggles with Elance (UpWork), and the countless clients that he worked with in his company, Tomaz became exceptionally good at discovering the types of clients that came straight from hell!

Because we’ve all encountered these types of clients during our work, at some moments, Tomaz looked like he performed a stand-up for us, which was brilliant because we all needed to be energized a bit at 4 pm.

According to Tomaz, the El Cheapo, Scope Creeper, All-Know, and the Impatient, can all be solved by scheduling a talk, communicate and educate them about our process, pricing, and the exact stages of the project development.

We should never underestimate the value of our work because we don’t have clients and we should never sacrifice the quality of our work. Looking forward to the “Developers from Hell” talk Tomaz!

The Swiss Knife of a WordPress Developer – Ivelina Dimova

Ivelina is a WordPress engineer focused on back-end development, deployment, and version control systems. As a person excited to travel and visit WordCamps, the first WCSKP was an excellent opportunity to showcase the community the different tools that she herself uses for a faster and easier development of WordPress projects.

Just as harvesting is now done with automated machinery, so can our code be developed, tracked, tested, and deployed much easier with the help of tools such as Atom, PHP CodeSniffer, Linter, Gulp, Capistrano, and many more that form the Swiss Knife of WordPress Development.

According to Ivelina, there’s not an exact number of tools that we can use. But they should be just enough to make our lives as developers easier. Learning all of the tools can be difficult, but in return, the work is much easier, and the code itself is much more harmonious.

Master Remote Work by Contributing to Open Source Projects – Petya Raykovska

Petya is one of the leading WordPress polyglots. Her talk was focused on how we can all contribute to the WordPress success and how we can find our dream remote job by contributing to the platform.

Petya is not a developer, but after sharing a table on WCEU Leiden 2013 Contributor Day with the Polyglots, she started to translate WordPress to Bulgarian. Consequently, she dedicated her time and efforts on contributing to the project, and soon after that, she got hired.

Remote work can be fun, you can work everywhere. However, it brings its own set of challenges, such as different time zones, and having no face-to-face interaction.

But, if you consistently show up, prove that you’re the right person, and lead, you can give back a lot to the community, and get your dream remote job. Show up, because things happen to those that do!

Closing Remarks

After a long day, we couldn’t wait for the After Party and have a well-deserved beer. But first, Mitko with the closing remarks. Almost 🙂

With a big round of applause, gratitude to the sponsors and every attendee, it was time to cool down and celebrate the first WordCamp Skopje together.

Contributor’s Day – Of Course We Contributed

Staying too late for the After-after-party was tempting, however, we had a strong reason to wake up earlier – The WCSKP Contributor day!

Stanko, as an experienced developer always contributes to Theme Reviewing and the Core, but for two of our members, this was the first such experience. With a little guidance, Adelina and Martin got inspired to get involved with the Translation group and contribute to the Macedonian version of WordPress.