BuddyCamp Vancouver Report

BuddyCamp Vancouver Report

Bowe flew all the way from Vancouver to attend the world's very first BuddyCamp. He got drunk, had fun, and did awesome things with BuddyPress. Here's what he has to say about it.

After landing on the moon, the creation of the internet, and The Matrix hitting theaters, BuddyCamp Vancouver is pretty much mankind’s greatest achievement. In less then four years BuddyPress has evolved to the point where it can be at the center of two full days of awesomeness. 18 speakers, three BuddyPress core developers, the co-founder of WordPress, and a whole bunch of others where there to witness the magic.

Before you continue reading, please take a few seconds to thank the people that have made this possible. Y’all know who they are!

As I am writing this I’m looking at an ocean of water with mountains of ice. My seat is horrible, my throat is dry and I could really use a beer (or eleven). Yep… You guessed it, I’m on a plane from Vancouver to Amsterdam. No reason to complain though, because the last few days have been nothing short of amazing. Hopefully this report will give you a good impression on how BuddyPress Vancouver 2012 went down.

BuddyCamp Pre-Party

Summary; Booze. Lots of booze!

Slightly longer version; It’s always something special if you finally meet some of the people you’ve been hanging out with on the interwebs for such a long time. Are they just as awesome in real life? Luckily by the end of the night I could safely conclude that they are. Something that constantly surprises me when I look at the people attending WordCamps is how open-minded and social they are. During the course of the night I had inspiring conversations with a wide range of people with different backgrounds, and hardly any of those were about geek stuff (not that there is anything wrong with unleashing the inner geek in you!). I think the picture says enough. Special shout out to the photobomber in the background!


After waking up with a slight hangover (Thanks for that Sarah & Marion) we left to the BCIT Burnaby Campus in the middle of the lovely Vancouver. But not before I took some shots of Vancouver at the dawn of a new day!

After the essential morning coffee it was time to get the show started. The legendary Paul Gibbs was supposed to make his long awaited video introduction. Sadly for us, and Paul himself, he was not feeling well.

The first event made up for that, because the BuddyPress Panel was the crème de la crème when it comes to BuddyPress development. And oh yeah, there was some guy named Matt doing something with WordPress too. The panel was about the Future of the Social Web. I can’t really tell you much more than that because I was still riding the waves of joy caused by being on the first BuddyCamp and seeing so many people having a good time. All I remember is seeing these guys have a blast talking about the future of BuddyPress, WordPress and the social web. BuddyPress founder Andy seemed to be genuinenly overwhelmed by it all, which resulted in few words but lots of smiles.

After the presentation I was getting ready for my own talk about the Commons in a Box project that will be launched next week (19th of November). It was quite a great feeling to be part of the speakers group for the first BuddyCamp and hopefully I managed to excite everyone who is using BuddyPress to build their academic commons to check out the project!

The rest of the day was filled with presentations covering a wide range of BuddyPress related topics. From Sarah Gooding talking building BuddyPress themes using Bootstrap, to a hilarious presentation by Andreas Karsten about BuddyPress and Open Education (you SHOULD see his slides to appreciate the awesomeness of it all) it was all good stuff.

If you are interested in reading more detailled reports about what was talked about during the BuddyCamp Presentations you can find a wealth of information and some great picures and tweets here:

We ended the day with a bang on Vancouver Mountain enjoying the view. Thanks to extreme mist that “view” was limited to about 4 feet, but it was still quite the experience simply going up there and having fancy drinks in a beautiful lodge. The BuddyCamp organisers really went out of their way to make everyone feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and they succeeded! Personal highlight of the night was the -pretty serious- talk about starting a Free Jazz band consisting of WordPress/BuddyPres people. Coming soon to a jazzclub near you!

BuddyCamp Hack Day

I’ve never been to a hack day before so I woke up on Monday excited like a child at Christmas. The weather was still horrible, but for some reason that made sitting inside doing BuddyPress geekery an even better the experience. After the morning coffee, served by a Starbucks located on campus (which blew my mind, that would never ever be allowed in Holland), we quickly got started.

John James Jacoby did a great introductory workshop on how to contribute to WordPress/BuddyPress through SVN and how to set up a useful local working enviroment. Boone seemed to be doing all kinds of things at once (as always) and a group of slightly less technical people focused on getting started writing a BuddyPress eBook for Beginners. I spent most of the day testing the amazing new BuddyPress 1.7 Theme Compatibility feature and squashing some bugs for the Commons in a Box project with R-A-Y.

All in all it was a very work focused day that was closed off with some beers and a lunch. That also meant the end of the weekend and, after frantic handshakes and non-awkward hugs, people starting going back to their regular lives. I spent another sun-filled two days in the beautiful Vancouver and before I knew it I was back home with an overexcited dog greeting me. Life is good!


    • Bowe Frankema says

      Would be quite awesome.. Maybe me and Andreas could talk about it. I think we could pull it off.. the problem is that the Berlin WP community is ehmmm.. non existant?! Maybe we should start with WordCamp NY ;-)

      • says

        Uhoh, leave me alone with those wpcamp.de guys – for one, the event is in German, and a BuddyPress Camp Berlin would rather have to be a BuddyPress Camp Europe. For another, they distance themselves from the foundation with what I find are childish arguments.

        Childish or not, some of them are not even true: they bitch, for example, about what they claim is a fixed and pre-determined entrance fee for WordPress Camps, even though that is not the case – “typical prices run about $15-20 per day” is the recommendation [source].

        Guess what the entrance fee was at the hach-we-are-so-independent-because-we-know-how-to-make-everything-better-because-we-are-cool-locals wpcamp.de? 10 Euros = $12.95 on the day of the event.

    • Bowe Frankema says

      Thanks Joey! It was such an awesome weekend, I hope it happens again next year :-) Thanks again for the time you put into the organisation of it all :-)

  1. says

    Awww, nice writeup Bowe! I loved meeting all the BuddyPress people and can’t wait for the next BuddyCamp. Berlin would be great – think of all the delicious German beer! :D But there are tons of BuddyPress people in the UK so that might also be a good location.

    • Bowe Frankema says

      If it happens in the UK it will just be one huge booze fest.. which would be.. AMAZING! But if we can make it happen in Berlin that would be sweet too. Beer will be cheap, food will be plenty, and the after parties will be earth shattering. No matter where the next BuddyCamp will be held, it’s going to be fun no matter what :-)


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