Speaker Spotlight: Tom Auger!

Tom Auger

WordCamp Montreal is two weeks away! We’re excited to bring you a new speaker spotlight series this year!

I’m happy to present our next spotlight, Tom Auger!

Tom Auger (@TomAuger) is a designer, developer and educator and a core contributor to WordPress. His passion is to gain a deep understanding of the inner workings of WordPress internals and he leverages this knowledge in client-facing projects with digital agency Zeitguys, inc, as well as by giving back to the WordPress community through support forums, the WordPress Codex, and talking at WordCamps.

Tom will be giving a talk titled Advanced Post Queries: Best Practices for Accessing your Data.

What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

There have been some flashy UI and Theme changes that have been pretty neat and some great improvements under the hood, but wait ’till you see what 3.5 has in store…

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

I had a great time speaking last year, Montreal is a great city, and when you’ve been living and breathing WordPress for the last year like I have you really just want to talk about it to people who are interested! My family is sick of hearing about it.

What is your talk going to be about?

I’m diving deep into one of the most important (possibly THE most important) aspects of WordPress: the database, which of course is the gateway to all your content! What’s exciting is that you don’t have to be a database programmer or a SQL guru to interact with it (though SOME degree of coding of course is necessary). In fact, in most cases, even if you ARE good with database stuff, it’s best to leave the dirty work to WordPress and stay out of the weeds.

The problem is there are so many ways to get at your posts, categories and media, that it’s hard to know when you’re supposed to use what. So my talk will try to cover the entire range – from low-level actions and filters you may not have known about to really easy-to-use, high-level functions that make getting whatever slice of content you want possible even for WordPress beginners.

Will there be coding involved? Sure there will, but my aim is to have something for everyone – from people just starting to tweak their sites and themes to hard-core developers who want to just get that much more out of WordPress. I’m going to try to use real-world website examples and (gulp) I’ll be running a server off my laptop so we can see this stuff in action. It’s going to be an adventure for sure, so come along for the ride!

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

I want everyone to be using the correct methods for getting at their content (posts, categories, media etc), taking full advantage of the rich set of functions that WordPress makes available.

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do you follow?

Aside from the usual suspects like Nacin and Otto42, Koop, Scribu and the like (disclaimer: incomplete list!), I’m inspired by (and I’m not even kidding) all the guys like Jer who make things like WordCamp happen. Open Source projects are more than just code, and it’s this huge network of volunteers, orgnizers, documenters, testers that makes it happen. Guys like Sergey who basically live in Trac and just does triage on tickets that come in (not to mention contributing a truckload of patches) really impress me.

What new feature would you like to see in the future?

Well, my personal pet peeve with WordPress has always been the Media Centre, feature images (post thumbnails), the gallery, all that stuff. That needs a serious overhaul. The good news is that it’s very likely we’ll be seeing some big improvements in that area very soon. Keep your eyes on the dev channel and the new P2 blog for updates!

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