We had an agenda, but the main agenda is really “meet and ask your questions”. We had a round of introductions where attendees stated their problem or their skill set. After that, we could move around to help each other accordingly. We had a speaker scheduled, but when he was delayed, the power of “let’s just mingle and help each other out” came into effect. As usual, some were WordPress novices and some had never blogged previously – in other words, all levels of experience were present – and welcome!
The Main Event – hacking the sandbox
Tore Vesterby, our scheduled speaker, arrived and proceeded to dazzle with his tricks in the sandbox. The sandbox theme, to be specific. OK, he had super CSS skills to begin with, so it was magic to watch selectors, attributes, and whatever roll off his fingertips. He did a live demo of using the simple sandbox theme to re-do the appearance of a website. He showed us a series of websites that were all done with sandbox, and they all looked very, very different. The power of CSS hacks! It was very impressive to watch him toss in 3 lines of code and change the entire appearance of a blog page. It was something to aspire to – or hire him to do!
What excited Tore? Sandbox has a lot of classes and ids to play with – if you like to play with those things.
The ingredients for Tore’s hacks?
- Coda – Tore uses it for editing his style sheet. (This is for Mac users – sorry PC people.) OMG that Coda looks nice. I have even heard impoverished students say they are willing to pay for it because it is so nice to work with.
- He’s also using Firebug (in Firefox) for decoding the code to find the bits he wants to edit. (Remember to check the Firefox add-ons page to see whether there are Firebug updates)
- Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox was another must for Tore.
- Flickr RSS is a nice little plugin to pull images into your WordPress blog from Flickr.
- Flickr Manager is another plugin for Flickr and WordPress. I am sorry to say that I forgot the difference – why did Tore recommend both – but, hey – go experiment and find out what suits your blog.
This and that
You get so many different bits of information at these meetups that it is sometimes hard to recall them all after the event. Some things need more digesting, and some things need to be worked out over time. One person (Grethe) got a huge start with some of her beginner issues, and you could see she walked away with new ideas and plenty of inspiration to keep her going for some time. (By the way, all the women present at this meetup were webgrrls! Yay!
I picked up a personal tip when someone asked about converting categories to tags. This topic was raised at a past meeting, probably more than a year ago, but chicken that I am, I still haven’t tried it. With 2.8 (if not earlier), the task should be even easier. From the dashboard, go to Tools where you’ll find the “Categories and Tags Converter.” The rest should be clear (I hope!)
I think this is the first time we had Linux users at our meetup – @Hammerfar and Louis. They were nice people. Louis came from “the South” – check out the new OpenSOVS.dk where he and others evangelize about open source in their local community.
I was surprised to see that we have only had 4 WordPress meetups since 4 March 2007 (where I brought the birthday cake!) Maybe I can’t count. Perhaps it is the sense of community we have through blogs and Twitter that makes me feel like we have been “hanging out together” much longer. Many of us meet at Webgrrls get-togethers or the #lastfriday events announced via Twitter. For wired and online people, we do meet up IRL (in real life) quite frequently. Very nice indeed.
I’ll close with a picture of our meetup where Kim’s t-shirt says it all.