Steve Grunwell Speaker Interview

Steve Grunwell

Steve Grunwell is a full-stack developer at Buckeye Interactive, an interactive media agency in New Albany, OH. Specializing in WordPress and application development, he has worked with brands and organizations including Experience Columbus, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, Elmer’s, and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.

Steve has released several plugins in the repositories, including one from the grounds of The White House during the first annual National Day of Civic Hacking in 2013. When he’s not writing software, he enjoys hiking, music, and writing about writing software on his blog.

Steve holds a B.A. in Telecommunications from Bowling Green State University where he graduated Cum Laude with minors in General Business and Recording Technologies.

More information, including portfolio work and his development blog, can be found at

Steve will be presenting Keeping WordPress Under [Version] Control with Git.


Why do you use WordPress?

I’m a big proponent of open-source software, especially when it’s built well and encourages active engagement and contributions from the community. WordPress is flexible enough to suit many of my clients’ needs, will run pretty much anywhere, and has a huge community behind it.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I started using WordPress just after the release of 3.0 back in 2010 when a client needed a blog. The more I started playing with WordPress, the more I saw the power behind the platform and quickly stopped rolling my own content management systems, instead focusing on creating the best experience possible within WordPress.

In September of 2010 I released my first plugin, WP Password Generator, in the repositories, and it’s been rainbows and unicorns from there.

What tips or resources would you recommend to a new WordPress user?

Start by tearing apart one of the default WordPress themes. Learn how the loop works, how a theme is structured, and then build something awesome. Also, familiarize yourself with the WP_Query codex page; if you’re doing any real customization, you’ll need to be comfortable generating your own query objects. Learn the WordPress template hierarchy, too, because it makes theming a hundred times easier. Finally, avoid plugins that promise the moon. Some of best plugins will only do one or two things, but they do them *really* well.

What advice would you give someone who’s building a business around WordPress design or development?

If you’re maintaining the site after launch, consider installing something like WP Remote. It gives you a dashboard so you can see the available updates across all of your sites, which is pretty rad. You can also install updates directly from WP Remote, but you’d never do that and risk screwing up your version control, would you?

How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc.)?

I check Twitter daily and follow mostly developers, tutorial sites, and the occasional comedian. I’ll never have time to read everything, but I pretend I will someday but saving anything I can’t read right then to Pocket. I also subscribe to the WordPress Core Team’s blog via Feedly, for when I want to see what’s coming next.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

WordCamps are great for getting started with WordPress, learning how to take your site to the next level, and often meeting the people behind the tool that’s powering ~20% of the web. I love to sit there, take in everything I can, and see all the awesome stuff people are doing with WordPress.

Where can we find you online?

I occasionally blog about WordPress, Laravel, and other awesome stuff at and tweet @stevegrunwell. Open source contributions and presentation slides are on Github.