Hello Dolly Bug

It just now occurred to me that at WordCamp I joked that the happiest moment of my life was when I found a bug in “Hello Dolly,” the ultra-simple example plugin that has been bundled with WordPress for as long as I can remember. Correction: I committed the fix for the bug, but I wasn’t the one who found the bug. Chalk that down to fuzzy memory. In any case, that’s why we track these things. Here is the now legendary commit, and here is the report. Sorry for accidentally taking credit for that, “joti!”

Note the time difference between the report and the fix. Thirteen minutes. Nothing but the best for our precious Dolly!

The bug existed because numerically indexed arrays start at 0, not 1. So the number of the last element in an array is actually one less than the number of elements in that array.

WordCamp 2007

I’ll be at WordCamp in San Francisco on July 21st and 22nd. I’m actually going to be arriving in San Francisco on the 17th. I’m taking advantage of the company-sponsored flight to take a little time off. My wife Sarah will be joining me for the duration of my stay. We don’t have any definite plans for the 17th through the 20th, but we’ll likely do some touristy stuff and catch up with some friends in the area. If you live in SF or are going to be arriving a few days early for WordCamp, drop me a line and maybe we can meet up! I definitely want to see the folks from Automattic and maybe get some WordPress brainstorming done before the conference!

I’ll be participating in two sessions at WordCamp — one on each day. The first day is oriented towards non-technical topics, and the second is more focused on developer topics.

At 3pm on Saturday, I’ll be doing Getting Involved with WordPress with Automattic’s Lloyd Budd. Lloyd will be covering the more general topics of why you might want to contribute to the project (and how you might already be doing so!) and I’ll be diving into the details a bit more as well as sharing what I’ve learned about the WordPress community and development process over the last three years.

On Sunday at 4:30pm I’ll be participating in the Developer Duke-out session along with Matt Mullenweg, Ryan Boren, Andy Skelton et al (probably anyone on the “about” page who happens to be there). I actually have no idea what we’re doing in this session, but if I had to guess, I’d imagine we’d be talking about the future of WordPress development as well as fielding a lot of questions from the audience.

The lineup of speakers is really great this year. I’m particularly looking forward to the sessions by Matt Cuts, Robert Hoekman, Jr., Rashmi Sinha, and Liz Danzico.

Hope to see you there!

WordCamp Thoughts… Late to the Game

Better late than never, eh?

WordCamp in San Francisco was, in a word, awesome. If you were considering going, but didn’t… you missed out. WordCamp was especially awesome for me, because I only in the last 6 months decided that this whole crazy WordPress-powered consulting/coding gig was going to be my full-time job. Previously, I was completing my dental prerequisites, and before that I spent three years in business school (and will finish that degree at some point). So as someone who just jumped with both feet into a very uncertain pool, deciding to make a career out of something that was previously a hobby and a part-time gig, WordCamp was my coming out party.

Undoubtedly, the best part about WordCamp was getting to meet all the people with whom I have been working and collaborating on WordPress. I arrived on the third, and had a day and a half to kill before the main event. Ryan Boren was kind enough to come pick me up and take me to the “Automattic Bungalow” where I got to meet Matt, Podz, Andy, Donncha, Barry and Glenda. It was amazingly natural. IRC, e-mail, message boards and blogs did a damn good job portraying their personalities, because it felt more like a reunion of old friends than a first time meeting. (Exception: I knew next-to-nothing about the ever elusive Barry before that night, so my favorable impression of him was formed that night.) The next day, I returned to the Bungalow and got to meet Toni Schneider, who is as nice and laid-back a CEO as there ever was. That night, I also got to meet Automattic‘s newest member, Brian Veloso, who I knew by reputation, and who honored me by knowing me by reputation. Nice guy, talented designer, big asset for Automattic.

Hanging out at the Bungalow gave me an interesting and unique (as Automattic is a virtual company 360 days a year) view of how they all work together. Well. Very well. In the hours I spend with them on Thursday and Friday, they launched Sandbox, editable CSS, the whole “Upgrade” store and the private blog feature… all the while chatting and laughing it up, joking around and having fun. Like a Web 1.0 company, except instead of playing pool and having scooter races, they were actually working while having fun.

WordCamp itself was fun, although somewhat nerve wracking for me. Matt informed me the night before that I would be leading two sessions (one by myself, and one with Barry). Then, the morning of, he told me that my solo session (WordPress as CMS, or other non-blog uses), in the main room, was the most-requested session… with double the votes of the 2nd place session… or something crazy like that. This, of course, was the session I was presenting first, and the session for which I had less adequate notes prepared. Somehow, I managed to scrap together enough material to cover 20 minutes of the ~50 minute session, and I just prayed that the audience would have enough questions to float me through the rest. And they saved me, big time. I had a whole bunch of people lining up to talk to me afterwards, even. So I worried myself silly over nothing… but that’s my way. Post-WordCamp vanity searches have revealed only positive reviews of my session, and even a couple people saying it was their favorite session. Honestly, I thought I was going to bomb. So a big “thank you” to everyone in the audience who piped up with good questions and gave me enough material to fill the session!

My second session, with Barry, worried me less. I had a pretty good outline of my talking points, and I had Barry to back me up when people started talking about alternative web servers or usage of multiple machines, and it was in the smaller room. It went well. Actually, at one point, Matt walked in, and chimed in with an answer that was almost verbatim what I had said not 10 minutes prior. I was, of course, encouraged, because here’s the guy who wrote the flippin’ thing independently coming up with the exact same answer I gave! I hoped it gave the audience additional confidence in the other answers I had given.

I met too many people to name… new people, people I knew but had never met, people I knew by reputation but had never met. I got a stack of business cards that made my wallet bulge, and several people were kind enough to follow up with comments or e-mails after the event. Just from business inquiries alone, I think it’s safe to say that the trip paid for itself. I’m definitely looking forward to next year!