Even though Mike Toppa takes a plane to WordCamp Nashville, he considers himself an honorary member of the Nashville WordPress community. We agree – he’ll be talking to developers Saturday for the third consecutive year.
He started blogging in 2004 with Movable Type, and after growing frustrated with its limitations, tried WordPress based on a friend’s recommendation in early 2005. His first post was titled “Hacking WordPress” because he was trying to figure out how to have a custom page as homepage before the platform built in that ability. And he’s been hacking WordPress in one way or another ever since.
As a developer, Mike loves the flexibility and accessibility of WordPress. “Even novice programmers can hack away at it and get a real sense of accomplishment, like I did when I started, and experienced programmers can make it do almost anything,” he says.
“The other thing I love about WordPress is the community. My first WordCamp (Philly in 2011) was an incredibly positive experience for me. The sense of community, the new things to learn, and the real sense of joy among everyone there was just amazing. It was not your typical tech conference. I think both of these things are a big part of why WordPress has become such a hugely popular web platform.”
He’s done professional WordPress development off and on for years, and previous positions include Director of Development for WebDevStudios and managing the WordPress VIP project for NBC Latino. He also has half a dozen plugins that that he maintains in wordpress.org repository.
Lately, Mike is focused on helping people write more maintainable and flexible code, especially for plugins. He takes his experiences from working in Ruby on Rails and other environments and finds lessons for WordPress development. Right now he’s trying to improve how unit testing is done in the WordPress environment.