WordCamp Europe 2019 Recap: WordPress Professionals Have a Lot of Work to Do

Michael Firnkes Last updated 10/23/2020
9 Min.
The RAIDBOXES  team at WordCamp Europe Berlin 2019
Last updated 10/23/2020

WordCamp Europe in Berlin brought exciting insights into the future of WordPress . Gutenberg will clean up with many old concepts - freelancers and agencies have to adapt to this. We show you the most important things in the overview.

What is WordCamp Europe?

With over 2700 participants, the event was not only one of the largest WordCamps in Europe, but one of the largest in the world. Berlin attracted. For old WCEU hands and visitors of local WordCamps it was not always easy to handle the impressive number of visitors: Some old friends from the community were only met on the third day, during the diverse routes in the convention center. More facts about the first WCEU in Germany:

  • Over 70 people in 11 teams that organized the camp.
  • 60+ speakers from all over the world
  • Likewise over 60 sponsors, also RAIDBOXES was represented with its own booth and supports the WordCamp Europe (more about that later).
  • More than 160 volunteers. Our team member Leefke was also there, thank you very much!
  • Over 600 trees planted thanks to the participants, more information on this later as well
  • 5 yoga sessions and guided meditations, not to forget the health factor
  • A WordPress workshop for children who created their own website.

The character of WordCamps Europe has changed significantly with this scale, if you think back to the camps just 3/4/5 years ago. The nice thing, however, is that the camp in Berlin was extremely international, with supposedly over 50 languages represented.

RAIDBOXES Stand WCEU
Always well attended: The stand of RAIDBOXES

While at past events the German-speaking "bubble" tended to keep to itself, this was completely different here. In discussions, at the stands and during the evening leisure activities, there was a lively mixture, with English as the official language. It felt as if the exchange had never been so lively as at this WCEU. Besides all the technical facts, this is the most important message: WordPress and its community are colorful, open, future-oriented and diverse.

The future of WordPress : challenges for agencies and freelancers

As expected, the keynote by Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress , met with great interest. Not surprisingly, his main topic was the not-so-new WordPress editor Gutenberg, which is gradually developing into an exciting tool for collaborative and, above all, multilingual writing. This heralds a new chapter that does justice to the editor's great namesake.

Wapuu Quartet
Hotly sought after: The Wapuu Quartet from RAIDBOXES

However, the many small details Matt presented in his talk also pack a punch. Among other things with:

  • Install new blocks directly from the editor
  • A comprehensive block directory (similar to the existing Plugin directory)
  • Navigation blocks, blocks-in-blocks
  • A snap-to-grid function for uniform positioning of images and tables in your post
  • The Gutenberg team implements all new features in parallel for desktop, mobile and as an open source library.
  • The editor is increasingly available for other systems, such as Drupal or Laravel.

I myself - like so many in the community - have long cursed about Gutenberg . In the meantime, I am much more aware of the efficiency of the block-based approach. Even more: It's fun to write with Gutenberg - small bugs or not. And after all, that's what blogging (and everything else you can implement with WordPress ) is supposed to do: Joy.

Matt Mullenweg WordPress  Keynote
Full house at Matt Mullenweg's

By no means everyone likes the fact that Gutenberg is gradually taking over more and more CMS functions. In particular, the many service providers, agencies and freelancers who work with WordPress and WooCommerce must ask themselves: Will my Plugin/Theme/service still be in demand at all in the future? Or will it become obsolete through Gutenberg ? Matt, for example, was asked:

With the expansion of Gutenberg , will it even be necessary to use your own Theme ?

His answer was plain and honest:

I don't know (yet).

Matt Mullenweg assumes that there will continue to be concepts or a framework that corresponds to our current WordPress & WooCommerce-Themes . However, no one can yet seriously estimate what these will look like in concrete terms. Gutenberg will clean up with many old concepts. And nobody can rest on the agency or developer side.

Matt @ RAIDBOXES

The co-founder of WordPress visited our RAIDBOXES booth on the second day. Among other things, he was shown the particularly simple administration of the hosting packages and our 1-click Staging environment:

Matt Mullenweg RAIDBOXES
Matt Mullenweg has RAIDBOXES explained to him by Johannes (left) and Torben

Matt was particularly interested in our climate-friendly web hosting (more on this in a moment) and the target group we focus on – agencies and freelancers for WordPress and WooCommerce. The same applies to our focus on the German-speaking market, which we are gradually expanding internationally. At WordCamp Europe he sees the perfect stage for this.

WooCommerce is becoming more and more of an issue

For the first time we presented our new book "WooCommerce for professionals - Online shops with WordPress for freelancers & agencies" at WordCamp Europe. It will soon be available as an e-book and in German language - subscribe to us for a notification on Twitter, Facebook or via our newsletter.

WooCommerce book
Our new book on WooCommerce

We have spoken with several customers and visitors - from the local community but also internationally - about the topic WooCommerce . My personal conclusion from this:

  • Developers are well aware that the market for online shops with WordPress is on the rise. However, freelancers in particular, but also smaller agencies, shy away from the effort of familiarizing themselves with the complex topic of eCommerce.
  • This has less to do with technical restrictions - if you develop for WordPress , you can usually do the same for WooCommerce. With online shop projects, however, you are quickly confronted with questions about page topics such as online law, taxes or logistics.
  • The fear of contact also has to do with the fact that many freelancers originally come from the blogosphere - and have little experience with the sales and marketing-heavy processes of a web shop.
  • Those who already support customers in the eCommerce environment report steady and stable growth rates. A very small online shop with a few products often becomes a larger project in the medium term, which then also requires significantly more support.

All in all, the opportunity to include WooCommerce in the portfolio is quite favorable. More and more stationary shops - which so far only publish content - are interested in a shop. In addition to their actual WordPress portal.

In this sense, customers might jump off your site in the future if you do not deal with the leading shop system. You can find more information about the opportunities of WooCommerce for freelancers and agencies in the following articles:

Personal impressions of the team

A total of 10 employees from RAIDBOXES were present in Berlin to present our WordPress Hosting for agencies, freelancers and WP professionals to an international audience. Numerous interested parties but also customers took the opportunity to learn more about our features and our sustainable approach. The booth was extremely well attended. Here are a few comments from the team at RAIDBOXES.

Torben Simon Meier - Founder/Managing Director & CMO:

For us as RAIDBOXES it was the first time we were on site with our own booth at one of the biggest WordPress events like WordCamp Europe. I am still overwhelmed by the international community, the exchange at eye level and the great interest in our climate-friendly WordPress hosting, where we have already planted more than 11,000 trees for our customers in the last three months.

Johannes Benz - Managing Director & CFO:

The WCEU was a great event. A big compliment to the organizing team. For us, it was not only great to receive direct personal feedback from our customers, but also to encourage the exchange between our customers. WordCamp Europe is a great opportunity to network.

Matthias Held - Head of Development & Product Manager:

As table-lead of the hosting community it was a great experience to see how other web hosting companies work and how we come up with great basic guidelines together. Also the exchange with friends from the German and international community was very nice. Of course the 80s party was my personal highlight and I could dress as usual at home 😉

WCEU Party Berlin
Leefke, Matthias and Ariane – ready for the WCEU 80s party

Ariane Rowe - Administration & Happy Management:

As a "newcomer" in the community, the WCEU Berlin was the first event for me. I am totally thrilled about so much positive feedback. And I am happy to be a member of RAIDBOXES .

Leefke Krönke - Content & Social Media Manager:

I was totally thrilled that this year's WCEU felt like a class reunion despite the unprecedented size. Getting to know WP enthusiasts from all over the world and being able to contribute to the success of the event as a volunteer were my personal highlights. And of course the awesome afterparty. 😉

Auke Tembrink - System Administrator

For me as a newcomer in the WP community it was an overwhelming experience. The international community is awesome. I met a lot of nice and interesting people and I am really looking forward to seeing everybody again at future WordCamps.

My own conclusion (Michael Firnkes) as a content & WooCommerce manager:

It was great to meet many old WP colleagues after I had neglected the camps for a while. And I am pleased how well our implementation of green hosting is received. Despite the current climate protection discussions, I would not have expected this.

RAIDBOXES plants WCEU trees

Climate protection is on everyone's lips - web hosting consumes a lot of resources. We take a stand against this with the first climate-positive hosting for WordPress & WooCommerce. One of our measures: For each WordPress site or WooCommerce shop you host with us, we plant a tree for you. So far we have been able to contribute over 11,000 trees - thanks to our customers. For more information about the program and our partner Eden Reforestation Projects, click here.

We make an additional contribution to WordCamp Europe, in the spirit of the worldwide community. All participants of the camp could set an example at our stand and hand in a card for climate protection. Our promise was: For every received card, we will plant an additional tree. In the end 301 cards came together.

green hosting
The participants support climate protection

Our managing director Johannes has doubled this number again, so that we are now planting 602 additional trees – a nice additional success of WCEU!

The RAIDBOXES competition

At the same time, we raffled an iPad among all participants of the campaign, as a small incentive for as many new trees as possible. About 40 of them did not miss the chance to be present live at the raffle on the second day. The lucky winner is Andrew Liyanage from Switzerland:

RAIDBOXES Sweepstakes
Andrew Liyanage was the lucky winner of our raffle.

Once again, a big thank you to everyone who supported our campaign at the stand. Again, the participants came from all over the world, we received great feedback and a lot of praise for our Green Hosting.

Voices of other participants

Some participants have already written about WordCamp Europe 2019, below you will find a small selection. Your recap is not included? Feel free to mention it in the comments, so we can add it to the list.

German articles:

English articles:

You can find the recordings of the individual sessions here on YouTube.

See you in Porto

A big thank you goes to the international but also local organizing team of WordCamp Europe in Berlin. The group around Milan Ivanovic (Global Lead) and Bernhard Kau (Local Lead) managed to master a big challenge. Anyone who has ever organized a WordCamp knows what kind of workload the team has mastered. Especially since the WCEU now has completely different dimensions and requires much more professional planning.

RAIDBOXES social
Our Social Frame at #WCEU

The eighth WordCamp Europe will take place in 2020 in Porto / Portugal. After the Spanish community (2015, Sevilla), this is a great opportunity to get to know the Portuguese community better. RAIDBOXES will definitely be there again. We are already looking forward to seeing you!

What are your impressions of the WCEU in Berlin? We are looking forward to your comment. You want to be informed about new articles about WordPress and WooCommerce ? Then follow us on Twitter, Facebook or via our newsletter.

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