Brad Parbs is a WordPress designer and developer, as well as an ASO customer. He reached out to us for one of our stickers, and we thought we’d ask him a few questions about what he does with WordPress.
How long have you been working with WordPress, and what drew you to that community?
I’ve been working with WordPress for about two years now. I started how most do, with just installing free and premium themes, and now I’m writing custom themes and plugins for clients. The main thing that drew me to WordPress was definitely the people. When I was just starting out, I struggled with a lot of basic questions. It’s extremely awesome being able to search online for something you’re dealing with, and find dozens of answers from a variety of people.
I noticed you mentioned in one of your talks that you were a core contributor to the brand new WordPress 3.5. What sorts of things did you work on, and how did you get involved in that project?
I did work with a few people on the new oEmbed integrations. I got involved with it when one of my Automattician friends, John James Jacoby (also a Wisconsin native!) was leading a hack day at WordCamp Grand Rapids. That’s when I learned to navigate through Trac and how to upload patches, as well as the best way to write tickets. I’ve always loved the idea of oEmbed, it’s a great concept. The concept is a website will return a JSON response with a whole bunch of data to allow a site to embed something. For example, in WordPress, if you want to embed a YouTube video, you don’t need to fiddle with the embed codes you get, you can just simply paste in the video link. I also worked with the HTTPS fixes, as well as testing patches, posting bugs, and all that fun stuff.
What sites or blogs do you visit to stay on top of the latest WordPress developments?
I follow quite a few WordPress blogs. My favorite is WPCandy, for sure. The podcasts Ryan does are really helpful, and a great way to stay on top of what’s happening in the community. I’m also partial to WPLift, WpRecipes.com, and WordPress Tavern. And of course, all of the Make.WordPress.org blogs. I’m also subscribed to a lot of the WordPress mailing lists, such as the log of all SVN commits and I follow Trac pretty closely.
You’re a responsive design enthusiast- can you suggest any resources for those interested in learning more about the world of responsive design?
The best resource I’ve ever used was the book “Responsive Web Design” by Ethan Marcotte. It’s really awesome. The thing a lot of people don’t realize about responsive design is that it’s actually quite simple. I’d also suggest taking a look at how projects like Twitter Bootstrap or Zurb Foundation achieve their responsive design, and start with their stuff, then build out your own.
What tutorial sites would you recommend to WordPress users looking to build on their skill set?
There are a lot of great sites out there. I really love Smashing Magazine and WPBeginner.com. If you’re looking to learn how to make plugins, PippinsPlugins.com is one of the best resources for it. If you ever run into an issue, or you need help on something, the WP-hackers mailing list is a great place to find some quick help.
What’s coming up for you in 2013? Any interesting projects?
I’m working on a few different startups in Milwaukee, dealing with a variety of things, but I’m most excited about theWPclass.com – I’m launching a service to provide in-depth videos and training courses for everything from Beginners looking to use WordPress, all the way to developers or designers looking for in-depth programming knowledge.
Last but not least, I really enjoyed how you interjected humor (and 20th/21st century heartthrob John Stamos) into your Responsive Design presentation, and appreciated how you seemed to keep your audience’s attention throughout- not always an easy thing. Any quick suggestions for developers or designers looking to share their ideas in a presentation?
When I write my presentations, I always try to inject some humor. One trick I learned a while ago is figure out about the middle point of your presentation, and figure out a way to give your audience a break of some sort. The thing about presentations, you never know 100% the skill level of everyone in the room. I’ve given developer talks and talks for beginners; no matter what it is I give all of my presentations to my parents, who don’t understand anything I do. This lets me pinpoint what parts are potentially too complex, what is way too boring.
Thanks for your time, Brad!
Thanks so much! Make sure you go sign up for theWPclass.com!