It's About Community.

Developers are an odd lot. We derive great humor from what others see as only incoherent strings of meaningless characters. We eschew the light and find pleasure in tinkering with code and (occasionally) circuitry. And when we decide to nerd out about technology, we'll go to the ends of the earth to do so.

I recently attended WordCamp Miami, a three day celebration of an open source web publishing platform. (Seriously, read that last sentence again.) More than just a conference that I was fortunate enough to speak at, WordCamps are an opportunity for people as passionate as I about what they do for a living to hang together, maybe grab a few drinks at an after party, and share war stories. If a little learning manages to slip its way in, so much the better.

Yours truly excluded, there were some terrific talks at WordCamp Miami. Pippin Williamson gave a great presentation on how to make your code play nicely with others. WordPress lead developer Mark Jaquith spoke to my own JavaScript insecurities with an excellent presentation, "I Can't JavaScript, and So Can You." Noel Tock completely blew my mind with a demonstration on how to customize the WordPress administration for your clients (look for the results of that coming soon to an RP3 project near you). And my good friend Aaron Jorbin gave an impassioned talk on the future of WordPress theming. And there were many, many more on topics that ranged from design to development and even the business of WordPress.

But perhaps, as is often the case, I learned as much in the hallways (and in some cases, the back alleys) as I did inside the lecture halls. I had several great hotel-to-venue commutes with Brad Touesnard, creator of WP Migrate DB Pro, where he clued me into some things I didn't know about WordPress logging and error reporting. Trust me, that is a big deal. I was also able to personally consult with other developers I know and trust and gain insight on how to solve problems I'd been having in my projects, and turning that around, was able to offer advice to others.

It's this building and fostering of community that is so important to what we do. Knowledge can't be hoarded and protected; it needs to be shared in order to thrive. We only get better at what we do when we open ourselves up to teaching as well as learning. It's also a way of putting physical form to a world where so many of our interactions are limited to social media exchanges with people who are hundreds — or even thousands — of miles away.

But you don't have to go to WordCamps in Miami, Philadelphia, New York, or even Israel. Smaller communities thrive all around us, even in our own home town. To this end, RP3 Agency is proud to be a sponsor of our local WordPress community, WordPress DC. We will be sponsoring their next meeting on June 10 along with Carr Workplaces — gracious hosts for this event and one of our valued clients. These meetups — and others like it — provide opportunities for learning and sharing at a smaller, more personal level. Instead of two days crammed with lectures in front of hundreds of people, we'll spend an evening with one or two talks in a room with about 80. We'll also get to know the people in our own backyard who are working with the same issues we find ourselves facing every day.

I'm grateful for and appreciative of all the friends I have in the various communities in which I participate: my RP3 family, my friends in the DC-area WordPress community, and all of the people in the broader WordPress world that I normally only see as 140 bytes in a Twitter stream, except a few times a year when I can hang out with them in real life at a WordCamp. It's community, and that's what it's all about.