Speaker Spotlight: Brian P. Hoke!

Brian Hoke

Brian Hoke is Principal of Bentley Hoke, a web consultancy in Syracuse, New York, USA, founded in 2000. The firm offers development, design, and marketing services for clients from the professional development, nonprofit, education, retail, and government sectors, with particular development strengths in WordPress, jQuery, Ruby on Rails, and responsive design.

Follow @bentleyhoke on Twitter.

Brian will be giving a talk titled jQuery and WordPress: Enhancing Sites with Client-Side Scripting.

What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

While not specific to this past year, I very much appreciate the continuing development of custom post types in WordPress of late: the ability to render domain-specific fields, properties, and display for a given kind of item more easily makes WordPress so much more flexible than in years past. For a developer like me, custom post types feels very much like object oriented programming – the same convenience of tying idiosyncratic fields, item-specific behavior, and custom rendering for a “book”, an “item for sale”, or a “directory listing”, say, makes WordPress that much more powerful.

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

The chance to participate in a conference of like-minded folks, the professional-development opportunity to flesh out ideas I use in my own consulting work, and the chance to again visit Montreal were all reasons. Since signing up, I’ve been very much excited by the list of speakers and topics and impressed with the professionalism of the conference organizers.

What is your talk going to be about?

I’ll discuss how to use jQuery, the JavaScript library, to add functionality to WordPress sites. I’ll start with some discussion of how to add JS libraries (like jQuery, as well as jQuery plugins) to WordPress, then cover how to add DOM manipulation, render content via AJAX, effect autocomplete search, and some other topics.

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

I’d like folks to walk away with some sense of what I constantly struggle with in my own day-to-day consulting: working through WordPress is almost always easier than working around or against it. As a developer, my first tendency is to bang out some code to solve a given functionality or display challenge – but WordPress really exists as an ecosystem to facilitate this kind of thing. Whether it’s through including JavaScript scripts, using built-in DOM elements like classes and ids, or making use of existing-theme CSS, I find that my work is most successful when I write the least code. In using the twentytwelve theme as a starting point for my presentation, I’m hoping to show that, with just a little bit of jQuery client-side code, one can add a whole bunch of useful functionality and cool presentational pizzazz with just what WordPress offers out of the box.

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

I find some of the weekly-digest emails quite useful: wpMail.me is great, as are the ones from SitePoint and some others. While not Wordprss-specific, I read A List Apart religiously.

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

I don’t have any specific wishlist features – most of the time, I end up finding that WordPress already has some (or quite a bit) of what I need for a given project or site already built in. I guess my biggest wish is to keep finding out more about what WordPress already offers in terms of existing code and use it more and more effectively!

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