Automating Theme Development Presentation at WordCamp Philly 2014

Over the weekend I got to speak at WordCamp Philly in the Developer Track, presenting on automating parts of the theme development workflow.

View on Speaker Deck

It was my first time speaking at a conference, much less giving a technical presentation (I’ve taught classes on technical topics but that’s pretty different than a conference presentation in front of a peer group). I was way more nervous than I expected (especially with some people I really admire in the WordPress world in the room), but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!

I started out by debunking three reasons developers might have for not checking out some of the newer more automated development tools:

Herd behavior/ mind over machine

Too much too learn/ magic

I am an island/ No man is an island

Then I moved through a rundown of various things that can be automated and how you’d automate them broken up by rough phases of theme development.

theme development workflow phases

I covered a lot of tools in my 35 minutes, including Sass, Gulp, Autoprefixer, Yeoman, Git, Deploy and more.

Gulp styles task

Overview of a Gulp task to process Sass, prefix the CSS output, and minify

Demo of a Yeoman generator process for my Emi Starter Theme

Demo of a Yeoman generator process for my Emi Starter Theme

Initializing Git for a theme

Working with Git as part of a deploy process

There were a ton of other amazing sessions at the conference as well, and I believe they’ll all be up on WordPress.tv shortly if they aren’t already, so even if you weren’t around (or if you were but you missed a session) you can see them.

You can also check out my full slide deck if you’d like to check out the rest of the info that way.

Automating is about replacing grunt work with magic.

Thanks so much to WordCamp for having me!

  1. Helmi

    Wonderfully done!

    I’m a PC guy, so I guess I missed all the best part with the command line thing. And I do feel old, been around coding WordPress for a while, still I haven’t found a way to use Github at its very potential.

    Guess we should never stop learning.

    • Zoe

      Thanks, Helmi! I’ve taught people to use this workflow on PCs so it can be done although I will admit that the setup is trickier to get right.

      For WordPress, I only keep each custom theme in source control, not entire WordPress installations, because my workflow is centered around themes so it makes sense for me. I do know that others do their version control at the install level and it works for them, particularly for people who are in charge of entire sites ongoing (I don’t do much in the way of maintenance work myself).

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