Each year the international WordPress Community gets together for WordCamp Europe, the worlds largest and possibly most important WordPress conference. After Porto 2022 and Athens 2023, this year it was held in Torino in Italy, which was a fantastic choice, not only but also from a culinary point of view.

The Italian “Wapuu” (Mascot of WordPress) peeking through a window in Lingotto Fiere.

For us, as a completely remote team, those events are always a welcome opportunity to meet in person, all while learning new things and connecting with old and new friends.

The venue for this years WordCamp Europe was Lingotto Fiere, a former Fiat factory.

The city of Turin does not only offer Pizza and Dolce Vita, but is also the home of the Italian car manufacturer Fiat. The conference was held in Lingotto Fiere, a former factory of Fiat with huge halls and open spaces. On the roof on top of the building, there is even an old testing racetrack “Pista 500” that is defunct today, but can still be visited, which we – like many others – did as well.

Florian and Claudio on the former Fiat testing racetrack “Pista 500” on the roof of Lingotto Fiere.

With 2,584 attendees you cannot count on randomly walking into exactly the people you set out to meet, which is why we decided to take a bit more of an active approach this time around. We contacted some people beforehand through social media and made sure people knew what we were looking for. This worked pretty well and we left with the feeling that we got a lot more out of the event than in previous years.

We mostly focused on connecting with other WP product founders, which led to some very good conversations and many new connections that we are eager to keep and foster now that the event is over.

Learning directly from leading experts

The WordCamp features talks by over 52 speakers, featuring lots of interesting topics. But for us, the most interesting things were happening outside the tracks this time, connecting and talking to other developers, product founders, indie plugin shops and the like. Therefore we haven’t seen as many of the talks as in other years, but from the ones we did, these two stood out:

Katie Keith and Matt Cromwell – We spoke with over 50 different WordPress product owners. Here’s what we learned.

The first was by Katie Keith and Matt Cromwell where they took a lot of insights from over 50 interviews with product founders, which they did on their podcast WP Product Talk. The talk was a true goldmine of ideas from their shared experience and we gained a ton of inspiration and ideas from it, some of which we’re already implementing.

Katie Keith and Matt Cromwell on stage, talking about all things WP product, from idea to marketing to customer support. Photo: Florian Ziegler

Katie Keith and Matt Cromwell – We spoke with over 50 different WordPress product owners. Here’s what we learned.

Adam Zieliński – WordPress Playground – use WordPress without a server

The other talk that stood out was by Adam Zieliński, the developer of WP Playground, which is a pretty new technology that lets you run a full WordPress instance right inside your web browser, without the need for any server running a database or PHP whatsoever.

We plan to use this for our plugin as well, to provide easier ways to test picu and maybe even picu Pro and to help in support. Florian was able to talk to Adam personally right after his talk to clarify the most pressing questions we had.

Adam Zieliński – WordPress Playground – use WordPress without a server

All the talks will be available on WordPress.tv and I have a list of the talks I missed and will watch over the next days.

Launching picu Dev Blog

After a few discussions we had in Turin, we decided that we want to share much more publicly what we are working on, right while we are working on it. We always wanted to have a space where we could throw such ideas out in the open to get some feedback, even if this means sharing rough ideas or stuff that doesn’t end up getting released. We didn’t want this to only happen on Social Media because we’d like to have a record of it somewhere independent, on the other hand this very blog here felt way too “official” for such things. A few days after the conference, it clicked and Florian came up with and quickly launched our new picu Dev Blog.

If you are interested in what we are working on at the moment, or in the thinking behind some of the stuff we do in picu, this is the place to visit.

picu 2.3.0, picu Pro 1.4.0 and beyond

With the latest update to picu and picu Pro, we introduced a few changes in the way proofing galleries work. One of the changes is that you can now send the same collection URL to a number of people and they can then “register” themselves to make a selection, which was requested quite a bit and makes the online proofing workflow a lot more flexible!

We released these updates just a few days before heading out to Turin, knowing full well the potential for disaster this had, but luckily there were not hundreds of support requests flooding in during the conference, but only a handful of emails with very helpful feedback. Other than that, people seem to be loving the new features! There were a few things in this release that lead to a bit of confusion, especially around the setting to make emails required. We are aware of and already working on it, to improve this in a next release.

Some of these features made quite substantial changes necessary in the way our proofing collections work behind the scenes. With these now out of the way, we can start to implement some ideas we wanted to tackle for a long time. One of which being e-Commerce integration, which is long, long overdue! We talked to a few people at the WordCamp and asked what they think about this and what they think would be the best ways to implement this, and got some great inputs. I feel like this year we will finally make some progress in that direction.

WordPress Community

WordCamps are only possible with the help of hundreds of volunteers who spend a good amount of their time to make these events possible. I have helped organising some WordCamps in Switzerland in the past and Florian was the lead of the photography team in 2017 in Paris and 2018 in Belgrade. This year I helped out a little bit in the design team, to get a glimpse of the tremendous amount of work that is done by those teams each year. A big round of applause to everyone involved, they did a fantastic job!

At the very end, after the closing remarks, there was another important announcement – especially for me as a Swiss – which is:

WordCamp Europe 2025 comes to… Basel, Switzerland!

That I helped out in the design team this year wasn’t totally without reason. Together with a few other members of the Swiss WordPress Community, we silently worked on the application for Switzerland as the next destination for WordCamp Europe 2025 during the last few months, which was successful and next year’s event will be held in Basel next June!

This is a huge but also well deserved step for the Swiss community and I look forward to welcome the international WP community in my home country next year.

The traditional “family photo” at WordCamp Europe 2024. Photo: WordCamp EuropeCC BY-SA 4.0

Conclusion

After conferences like these, we usually come home exhausted – because of the sheer size of the event – but also very much energized and motivated and with a strong feeling that we made the right choice to choose WordPress over any other platforms.

I look forward to all the things we have planned with picu this year, some of which we already started implementing while still in Turin.

For more impressions of WordCamp Europe 2024, head over to Florian’s Photo Blog, where he shares one photo every day and where he posted a beautiful gallery.

Feedback? Questions? Send us an email.