Pragmatism in the real world

A review of PHP Benelux 2011

A couple of weeks ago, the 2011 PHP Benelux conference was held near Antwerp. This was the first time that I’ve been to this conference and I was very impressed by it. I presented two sessions that seemed to go down well which was nice.

I travelled to Belgium with Ryan Mauger on Thursday and we had a poor journey that took around 12 hours to get there. Our first flight (10:45) was cancelled, and then the second flight (16:45) was delayed until 20:15 or so. On the plus side, I got to spend all day in the bar with Bittarman!

Our plane!

On arrival at Brussels, the famous PHPBenelux hospitality kicked in as Michelangelo was waiting for us to give us a lift to the hotel. I had heard about how hospitable this conference was to their speakers and having now experienced it, I can confirm that their reputation is well deserved. As a result of the travel problems, I missed the speakers’ dinner, but managed to get in a drink (or two!) in the bar.

Friday, the first day of the conference, was tutorials first appeared well attended. I spent a bit of time in the morning going over my deployment presentation which was useful. The conference started at 1pm with a keynote by Lorna and Ivo. This was a good keynote providing many ideas on how to become a better developer and I took away a number of ideas that I need to explore. I was then up with Stress-free deployment which I enjoy giving as adding a deployment strategy to our company was so beneficial that I like to tell everyone! The rest of the afternoon also had interesting talks and I need to call out David Zülke’s talk on REST which was very helpful.

David Zülke performs the air guitar

After the closing keynote, there was a social in the hotel bar which was well attended and I got to talk to many interesting people and again, stayed up much too late!

Day 2 dawned bright and sunny and I managed to miss the first session whilst catching up with email. I did get to Scott’s talk on HipHop and then I was up with a look at what’s new in ZF 2. I didn’t manage to get across my enthusiasm for ZF 2 as well as I should have though and will do better in future as ZF 2 is going to be great! I visited the hallway track after lunch and watched several people clone and start looking at bugs which was exciting. Keith Casey was then up with a look at project triage which was a fascinating insight into how to get a handle on a “legacy” project and turn it into something to be proud off.

The conference was closed by Elizabeth’s keynote on community. Elizabeth is an enthusiastic and inspiring speaker and I’m very proud to be part of the PHP community and will do my bit to keep it strong! Obviously, after the conference, we put this into practice with a meal and then a few more drinks in the bar…

Relaxing after the conference