This month we feature Huanyi (Eric) Chuang, a front end developer from Taiwan, who helps connect local groups to WordPress and the worldwide open source community. He is part of the team helping to make the first WordCamp Asia a success in 2023.
The People of WordPress series shares some of the inspiring stories of how people’s lives can change for the better through WordPress and its global network of contributors.
Discovering WordPress and the benefit of child themes
Huanyi’s first footsteps in WordPress began in 2017 when he worked for a firm that built blogs and developed ad content for clients.
After building a few sites using the platform, he discovered child themes and through them opened up a world of possibilities for his clients. To this day, he uses child themes to deliver truly custom designs and functionality for clients.
Meetups bring together software users to learn together
When Huanyi had a problem with a client’s site, he looked to WordPress meetups near where he lived in Taipei to help find the solutions.
“When I encountered an issue with the custom archive pages, a local meetup announcement showed up on my WordPress dashboard.”
At the meetup, he met more experienced WordPress users and developers there, who answered his questions and helped him learn.
“When I encountered an issue with the custom archive pages, a local meetup announcement showed up on my WordPress dashboard. That was my original connection with the local community,” Huanyi said.
The WordPress community gave Huanyi a chance to connect with people, feed his curiosity about the software, and join a circle of people he could share this interest.
At first, he thought meetups were an opportunity to source new clients, and he took his business cards to every event. However, he soon found that these events offered him the opportunity to make friends and share knowledge.
From then on, Huanyi started focusing more on what he could give to these events and networks, making new friends, and listening to people. This led him to share as a meetup speaker his own commercial website management experience.
The road to WordCamp
It was going to his first meetup and then getting involved with WordCamps that changed Huanyi’s whole relationship with WordPress.
In 2018, he took the step to help as an organizer, having joined the Taoyuan Meetup in Taiwan. He played several parts across the organizing team, and the welcoming feeling he got in every situation encouraged him to get more involved.
He recalls meeting new friends from different fields and other countries, which gave him a great sense of achievement and strengthened his passion for participating in the community.
When the team started this meetup, numbers were much lower than in the group in the city of Taipei, but they were not disheartened and gradually grew the local WordPress community.
They created a pattern of ‘multiple organizers,’ which spread the workload and grew friendships.
“Being connected to and from meetups is the most valuable part of the community. Having these friends makes me gather more information. We share information and benefit from others’ information, and thus we gain more trust in each other. With such credibility, we share more deeply and build deeper relations.”
Before the pandemic, the meetup met every month and grew to become the second largest meetup in Taiwan. Huanyi also contributed to the WordPress community as an organizer of WordCamp Taipei 2018 in the speaker team and lead organizer of WordCamp Taiwan 2021.
So why should you join the community?
According to Huanyi, you will always have something to take home with you. It might be new information or experiences. It might be plugins or theme ideas. But most of all, it is the chance to meet fascinating people and make new friends.
Huanyi’s message to other contributors:
“Keep participating, and you will find more you can achieve than you expect.”
He added that long-term participation will ‘let you feel the humanity behind the project’.
Localize: the road ahead for WordPress
Huanyi believes WordPress has the power to break down the barriers between designers, project managers, developers, marketers, writers, and publishers. In Taiwan, he said WordPress is ‘a common protocol’ that lets people from all of these disciplines work and communicate together more easily than they ever have before.
That is why he works on and encourages others to localize plugins today. He believes localization of the software is the foundation for the extension of the WordPress community as it enables people to ‘Flex their Freedom’ in a language they speak!
He has helped to organize online events around previous WordPress Translation Day events.
Huanyi said: “I think it’s important to localize WordPress because its very concept of ‘open source’ means that people can access it freely. In another way, free from the monopoly of knowledge and speech. To achieve it, it’s important that people can access it with their own language.
“Localization is the foundation of the extension of WordPress community because it helps people using different languages to access the project and lowers the hurdle to understand how things work.”
Share the stories
Help share these stories of open source contributors and continue to grow the community. Meet more WordPressers in the People of WordPress series.
Thank you to @no249a002 for sharing his adventures in WordPress.
Thank you to Abha Thakor (@webcommsat), Mary Baum (@marybaum), Meher Bala (@meher), Chloe Bringmann (@cbringmann), Surendra Thakor (@sthakor), Adeeb Malik (@adeebmalik) for research, interviews, and contributing to this feature article.
This People of WordPress feature is inspired by an essay originally published on HeroPress.com, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. It highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories might otherwise go unheard. #HeroPress