Speaker highlights: Drew Jaynes

Drew Jaynes is a web engineer from the USA, working for 10up. He’s heavily involved in the WordPress community, contributing to the core, documentation, and meta teams. He’s a core docs committer, and has contributed to every major WordPress release since v3.3. In 2015, he was named the WordPress 4.2 release lead.

Drew is also one of our WordCamp Europe speakers this year (he’s first talk in Europe, yay!), so we’re excited to give you the opportunity to get to know him better before meeting him in person in Seville.


Hey Drew, could you introduce yourself to everyone?

Hi, I’m Drew. I live in Denver, Colorado and work remotely as a web engineer at 10up and as a docs committer for WordPress core.

How did you get involved with WordPress? When did you make your first contribution?

I first got involved with WordPress about six years ago when I built a news site for my college newspaper. It wasn’t until about two years later that I really started to get involved in contributing to WordPress core, first with a simple patch and ticket (I was super intimidated) and my contributions sort of blossomed from there. I’ve been doing it ever since and I love it.

Could you tell us a bit more about the work the teams you are involved with do?

I recently lead the 4.2 release for core (the 10th release I’ve contributed to!) and I also contribute to the docs, meta, and support teams. Since the meta team pretty much supports anything having to do with WordPress.org, several of the projects I’ve been working on lately have actually been what are considered hybrids. The developer hub, for instance, is a hybrid of the docs and meta teams, just as the inline documentation effort I’ve been leading as the core docs committer sees contributions from both the docs and core teams.

The WordPress Docs team

The WordPress Docs team

What are your lessons learned from leading the 4.2 release that other release leads should follow?

Probably the biggest lesson I learned in leading the 4.2 release is that it’s all about staying organized. It’s amazing how much stress you can avoid by simply being organized and aware of all of the moving parts. I had a blast leading 4.2, and would absolutely do it again!

What was the most challenging thing about being a release lead?

The most challenging aspect of leading a release is definitely working with volunteers. WordPress, like many open source projects, is entirely dependent on volunteers. They don’t have to be there and they don’t necessarily have to do what they volunteer for. The best we can do is promote a sense of pride and community in getting contributors to stick around. Working within that dynamic is always a challenge because you have to be careful about not upsetting the balance while still trying to meet your goals.

What is your WordCamp Europe talk about? What will people learn from you?

My WordCamp Europe talk is all about examining the new user experience of setting up various areas of WordPress. I ran two sets of user tests, first with new users on setting up a variety of things in WordPress, then again using a proof of concept plugin that guides new users through the process. I doubt the results of the tests will that surprising to most people, but it’s worth having the conversation anyway. As we continue to try to drive adoption of WordPress, first impressions are everything, and we can certainly improve on it.

Anything we missed asking you and you’d like to share?

This will be the first time I’m presenting overseas, something I’ve been working toward for the last couple of years. So go easy on me!


Make sure you add Drew Jaynes’ talk “Getting WordPress Out of its Own Way: A NUX Case Study” on your #wceu calendar!

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