Speaker Spotlight: Morten Rand-Hendriksen!

Morten Rand-Hendriksen Morten is a staff author with lynda.com where he focuses on WordPress, standards-based code, and front-end web development. He is also the director of Pink & Yellow Media Inc., a Burnaby, B.C. based design and development agency specializing in WordPress. Morten is an active member of the WordPress community and a co-organizer of the Vancouver WordPress Meetup Group as well as several previous WordCamps. He writes about WordPress and web design on his blog at mor10.com, at the lynda.com Article Centre, at the MediaTemple Blog, and elsewhere on the web.

Follow @mor10 on Twitter.

Morten will be giving a talk titled Building Themes from Scratch with Underscores.

What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

From a user perspective the addition of widget handling in the Customizer is a big step forward. I can see a time in the near future when all front-end actions are handled on the front end and this will be a major improvement for anyone using WordPress.

From a developer standpoint I love the commitment WordPress has made to icon fonts. The use of Dashicons is stellar and is paving the way for designers and developers to start using this technology in their plugins and themes.

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

I live all the way on the west coast of Canada and rarely get a chance to interact with the community on the “other side” of the country. When I spoke at a conference in Montreal a few years ago I discovered its unique and thriving web community and I pitched a talk for WordCamp Montreal because I want to connect with this community and build a bridge across the provinces from east to west.

What is your talk going to be about?

My talk is about building themes from scratch using the _s (“Underscores”) starter theme. I’ve been designing and building custom WordPress themes from scratch for years and I’ve used pretty much every starter theme under the sun. _s is by far the best theme to start from in my opinion and in the talk I will show the audience a content- and mobile-first design and development approach built around this theme that allows them to quickly build standards-based, accessible, responsive, and content focussed themes that stand the test of time.

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

Start with _s and you have the freedom to build anything you want.

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

This is such a hard question to answer because there are so many inspiring people in our community and if I provided a list I’d end up leaving out too many people. Instead I’ll say my inspiration comes from all the people who are referred to as “users” – the ones that use WordPress to publish content but don’t do any code or design work. These are the people WordPress is for and these are the people that have propelled WordPress to become the most prevalent CMS.

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

The feature I most want to see is one that is already in development: The new JSON REST API which is slated for release later this year. This extension to WordPress will evolve the platform to something completely different and will allow designers and developers to do new and exciting things with WordPress that we’ve only dreamed of before. Great things lie ahead for the application and the community and that makes me excited!

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