PHPNW09 Conference

What a thoroughly enjoyable (and tiring) weekend I had at PHPNW09. Met many people from last conference/test fest, and many new people as well. On top of the drinking, socialising, networking, eating side of things, I actually saw some talks as well! So I thought I’d post a quick run down of who I saw.

The keynote speaker was Kevlin Henney who was a great speaker, talking about uncertainty when undertaking a project and when coding/debugging, and how to deal with these uncertainties. He was enthusiastic, interesting and kept the delegates engaged throughout! After the break was my good friend Lorna Mitchell giving a talk on the Joel test. Although I’d heard of the Joel test before, I hadn’t really looked into it, nor had I realised how it would apply to me (as a lone developer). Lorna soon set me straight with her talk.  Following her was Rowan Merewood from PlusNet talking on “Tools and Talent”. He was highly amusing throughout, certainly one of the funniest talks I have ever seen at a conference. Then lunch!

The catering was excellent, and we were all well fed and well up for more in the afternoon. Rob Allen kicked off the afternoon talks with his talk on the process that he goes through with his company when they get a project. This was one of the most insightful talks of the session, and it was fascinating to see how these things happen, and how it is all managed. After Rob was Derick Rethans who spoke about his php extension Xdebug. This was great as I have been using Xdebug for a while now, but I always wanted to learn how to use it better, and his talk definitely showed me how to get more out of this great debugger!

After some more refreshments I went to see Steve Richardson talking about the relatively new Yii framework. This looked very quick and easy to set up, however I think I will stick to Zend Framework as it seems more flexible and has a larger number of features. The last real talk of the day was by Scott MacVicar, who is always a laugh. He got badly heckled (which at this event was to be expected). Scott spoke about getting involved with various areas of the PHP project, from documentation through to core development. Finally for the Saturday was the closing session, and this featured a demonstration from Microsoft of Expression Studio. They took everything in good humour (this is Microsoft talking at an open-source conference) and even included Star Wars imperial force jokes. Their product looked very impressive (up until the point it stopped working), but I couldn’t help but feel they’ve completely over engineered something that is meant to be simple, rough and ready.

That was it for the main day talks, had another good meal then hit the bar for drinks courtesy of Sun Microsystems (although they were nowhere to be seen). Had a very enjoyable evening talking with some very interesting people from the PHP community, and then went home to try and sleep off the alcohol ready for my talk the day after. On the Sunday morning I saw Juliette Reinders Folmer giving a fascinating and insightful talk on UTF-8, and I learnt a lot about this format of text, and how it is the way of the future. Finally, we went off for more drinks (and food)!

On the whole a really enjoyable weekend, learnt many things and spoke to some great people. Thanks to everyone who was there!

  • Peter Spain

    An excellent write up, Rick. I had a great day on Saturday and I am dissapointed I couldn’t make the Sunday talks.

    Concerning the Microsoft demonstration, the reason it didn’t work was due to the Internet connection – or lack of. Rather unfortunate timing to be sure.

    As for the product itself, I think it is a great idea. It packs in a lot of functionality as you would expect with a Microsoft product. I wouldn’t say it was over-engineered however. I agree it probably isn’t as useful in some of the ways described at the talk.

    All in all it was a fantastic event and I am very eager for another! And someone get on the phone to Sun Microsystems – some inconsiderate bastards put 2k on their tab…