Managua: Part Three

WP Not Just for Beginners

A Hackathon with Local Social Impact

WPABQ Hackthon

In early February, the Albuquerque WordPress Meetup group (WPABQ) organized a hackathon at a local coworking space called TechLove to create some websites for local non-profits. In the past, WPABQ hackathons have included Sky Garden (now Flow), Fairfield Farms, Cathryn McGill (performing artist). This time WPABQ worked with ABQ Zine Fest, Nano Network of New Mexico, and Querencia Green.


Typically our groups work on self-hosted sites, but, Querencia Green, had an existing site, so we challenged the team to use instead of exporting to self-hosted. The Querencia team members took the challenge as you can see on their site. Even though I love all the projects, I admit I have a special affinity for Querencia since they are on

ABQ Zine Fest, another fantastic participant, had used Blogger for some time, and the team brought everything over to a self-hosted WordPress site on GoDaddy. She was a bit nervous about coming over to WordPress, but we told her it’s what the cool kids are using :)

Nano Network of New Mexico had a really large project scope, but the selection team really liked the idea behind the project. The team brought their project into scope for the time we had available and gave them a great site. As of this writing this site isn’t live yet since it has to go through an approval process with the NNNM board.


Hackathons can look different depending on the scene and the group making it happen so I will take a moment before I get too far ahead of myself to explain what a Hackathon means in this context.

A gathering of talented designers, developers, content writers, marketers to create a website in a very short period for a pre-selected organization. The organizations selected depend on specific criteria pre-determined by the hackathon organizers.

The Goal

Mostly the goal is to have fun and to create something nice. Specifically, the goal is to pool local design, developer, publisher/content writer resources and work as a team to make a live website; a functioning, appealing, usable website for pre-selected local groups.

The Purpose

The way I see it, there are two main purposes behind the WPABQ meetup hackathons.

1. Teamwork: Many web professionals work from home and rarely work in a team environment to produce websites. A hackathon gives us the opportunity to experience the sort of teamwork that is part of a web project. It forces us (in a good way) to come out of our comfort zones to brainstorm, plan, prepare, and complete a project with other people we are not accustomed to working with.

2. Outreach: Since community is the main focus of this meetup group, it is natural for us to periodically give back to the community. We are always giving to each other, learning, helping and at a hackathon we give back to organizations that are not connected with the WordPress community. The best way we can give back is to use our talents to create a WordPress website.

It may seem that this second reason is really the first, but it’s not. Since this is a community, the focus is on the community effort that is necessary to produce the work for the projects we select. For anyone wondering how we organize our hackathons here are some basics. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions.

Click on page 2 for the specifics on schedule, process, and lessons learned.

Hanni and Chris

Pull Quotes

Here is my fascinating quote.

You can always learn something new. I just found out that you can use pull quotes with some WordPress themes. They go a little bit like so:

This should align to the side and have text wrapped around it.

How fun is that?

WordCamp Albuquerque for Kids

WordCamp AlbuquerqueThere is nothing quite so amazing, fun, and inspiring (I could think of more adjectives, but I will leave it at that for now) as watching a classroom of children get excited about WordPress.  The two hours that Sean Wells and I spent with our group of young students at the WordCamp kid’s session flew by.

For those who are wondering:

WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other. WordCamps are open to and users alike.

When we first visualized a WordCamp in Albuquerque it was an absolute no-brainer that we would have a kid session.  WordCamp Phoenix had just had a very successful session for kids and as a homeschool mom, it didn’t make any sense to not include it in our event.   I didn’t know what to expect going into the session except for the couple of email conversations I had with Abbie Sanderson about the session she taught in Phoenix.  We were prepared for pretty much anything, open to whatever the kids had to go over.

We started out the session with a few questions for the kids, asking them to tell us their names and what they wanted to do with a website or how they were going to use their website.   I was surprised at how entrepreneurial the group was, a boy who is going to rent his toys out on his website and a girl who is making fancy cakes and selling them.

Here is a list of what we covered:

  • The layout of the Dashboard
  • How to set privacy settings (this was more for the parents than the kids)
  • How to search for a theme and activate it
  • How to customize Twenty Eleven (background and headers)
  • How to add widgets, move them, and how to find them when you theme loses them from the sidebar
  • How to add a new post and the difference between posts and pages
After each topic we paused to help everyone with any issues and to give the kids time to work with the new concept.