2012 has been pretty great to me so far, especially when it comes to the WordPress site of my life:
- I joined the WordPress Theme Review Team in March,
- Released my first Theme to the repository in the same month,
- Had my first patch committed to Core in May, therefore
- Became Core Contributor to 3.4 in June and
- Made it on the Twenty Twelve core development team in July.
But all this was topped today, when I received an invitation to the WordPress Community Summit on Tybee Island, GA in October!
In 2008, at the age of 25, I had no idea what a
$variable or a
function() is. After I started at an internet company as an intern in Online Marketing, I attended a series of workshops for non-tekkies to learn about how the web works (HTTP, HTML, CSS, PHP were the four courses). I had fun creating sites in static HTML and started to learn some CSS so they would look good. Whatever “good” was, back then.
Around half a year later, after I wanted more than just links and images and started to learn PHP, I came to a project to create a site for a couple of friends of mine. My plan was to write a revolutionary CMS from scratch with the help from my nerd brother. We were wondering how we should design the backend, when my brother showed me how WordPress 2.7.1 was doing it. I liked the design a lot! So … I started to copy the design, with my custom PHP code underneath!
Two days into copying the WordPress Admin, I was fed up. THAT’s when I had the glorious idea, to just use WordPress and create a custom Theme (which is enough work by itself). And this is what it (still) looks like. That was the time was when I got hooked on WordPress.
Ever since that day, I started to get more and more involved. I started to write Plugins. I started to write Themes. I started to get to know the WordPress Codebase. In 2010 I released my first Plugin to the WordPress repo. Until then, working with SVN really creeped me out. It was also in 2010, when I wrote my first Theme framework for said internet company. And I was contributing to the WordPress Codex.
In 2011 I really felt like I became part of the community, giving back by writing Plugins and releasing them, writing bad Tutorials and comment on other people’s tutorials to let them know how bad theirs were.
But it wasn’t until 2012, when I joined the Theme Review Team, that I really felt part of the community. Mailing with Chip Bennett. You know, the one whose name was underneath most of the posts in the Theme Unit Test, I’ve been using for months (he really exists!). Him having my back on my first reviews, when it came to discussions with Theme authors.
I didn’t fill out the form. I looked at it, thought about nominating people who I thought were awesome, I thought about nominating myself, but never actually filled one out. Jane wrote underneath the post: “Please do not nominate yourself if you just think it would be cool to hang out with this group.” – So I didn’t.
But then, well after the deadline to submit a nomination had passed, Jane started to tweet about nominating oneself. And again. And again. And then I saw this tweet:
@ericmann I’m looking for people to nominate themselves as well. If they can’t be bothered to fill in a survey/say they are interested…
— Jane Wells (@janeforshort) Mai 23, 2012
It was right after midnight in Germany and I was already laying in bed. But I felt challenged! So got back up, grabbed my laptop and filled out that form. And here I am. I never expected to be chosen. Wow.
Today I have the best time collaborating with Lance Willett and Drew Strojny and all the other contributors on Twenty Twelve. Never have I felt more at home in the WordPress community. So being allowed to attend the Contributor Summit really tops it off! Can’t wait to meet all the people in real life and have a beer with them!