Category: Conferences

WordCamp London, 2015

One of my recent goals has been to attend different conferences from the PHP-community-centric ones that I usually attend. I want to expose myself to different ideas, mindsets and communities. To this end, I attended WordCamp London last weekend and had a blast.

Everyone I spoke to was enthusiastic, friendly and welcoming which made for a very pleasant weekend and the selection of talks meant that I managed to learn about WordPress too!

The first day started with a talk by Laura Kalbag and on the potential pitfalls of using free products which harvest user data. I then followed this up by listening to Jack Lenonx talk about how to build themes with the new REST API that's coming to WordPress. This was a very interesting talk that showed how to use React in the browser to load data from the WordPress backend and display it as separate "pages" on the website without having to do a round-trip. Front-end development isn't one of my core skills, so I found this fascinating, though given that my clients sill need IE7 support, I wondered how practical it was…

Discussion of the new REST API was a consistent topic over the conference. The community is clearly very excited by this feature that's coming to WordPress core "soon". I think that being able to access data in a WordPress install via an API that gives back JSON is very useful and could potentially extend the uses of WordPress into the bespoke application world where I am. We'll have to see.

In the afternoon, Bruce Lawson spoke about how do to HTML responsive images with <picture> and the changes to <img> which I understood! As I've noted, front-end isn't really my bag, so Bruce's ability to put across these ideas in such a way that I thought that I could actually implement them was a god-send. We had more API stuff from Joe Hoyle who talked about how to implement your own endpoints in WordPress so that they were accessible to the new REST API and we finished the day with Simon Wheatley discussing how to write URL handlers. These two talks were quite WordPress specific; I found them interesting as background-knowledge about what's going on in a WordPress site.

The London WordCamp is a two day talk, so we did it all again on Sunday. You could certainly tell that it was an early start on the day after a late-night party! First up for me was Kathryn Reeve talking about JavaScript. I really liked this talk as it was easily digestible with a "this is the problem; this is the solution" format which worked really well. I then listened to Lorna Mitchell talk about more modern versions of PHP and what has changed. I've seen the slide before, but the performance improvements from PHP 5.2 to 5.6 are still very impressive!

After lunch, which was excellent both days, there were lightning talks in all three tracks. I went to the dev ones in the big room and we have 5 interesting short talks along with a few questions. I liked these a lot and liked that none ran over their allowed 5 minutes. It ran very smoothly and I learnt about the Codebug OS X client for Xdebug!

The final talk that I attended was the Q&A with three core developers. John, Helen & Mark answered questions from the audience intelligently and honestly. It gave us a good insight into the way the project "thinks" and if you want to help out, they would really appreciate some help with the Trac system!

At this point, I went to catch my train home. My thanks to Jenny for her excitement and enthusiasm which persuaded me to buy a ticket and attend. Hopefully, I'll get to attend more events like this.

Also, I got a new scarf!

RKA 2015 03 23 18 25 22

PHPNW12: Some photos

PHPNW12 was excellent. I gave a tutorial with Evan Coury and also talk on ZendForm, both of which seemed to be appreciated.

I also took some photos!

Tutorial day:
Tutorial day

Paul at the hackathon:
Paul at the hackathon

Keynote speaker Ade Oshineye:
Ade Oshineye takes a photo of the elephant!

Hacking in the bar:
Raphael hacks in the bar

Michelangelo's closing keynote:
Michelangelo presented the closing keynote

All in all, it was an excellent conference and I recommend that you read Rafael's write up to get a feel for what it was like.

ZF2 training at PHPNW 2012

Following on from last year, PHPNW 12 has a tutorial day again on 5th October 2012 and Evan Coury and I are presenting a full day tutorial on Zend Framework 2.

The Zend Framework 2 tutorial day will be fantastic! This is the information about it:

With Zend Framework 2 released, this tutorial will walk you through building a complete ZF2 MVC application from the ground up. Starting with the ZF2 skeleton application, we’ll discuss how and why it works and look at the core components used. Specifically, I’ll ensure that you understand how ZF2′s service manager, dependency injector and event manager are used with the HTTP and MVC components as the foundation of a ZF2 application. We will also look at how to use and install pre-existing modules, while also creating our own modules during the tutorial. Grab your laptop and come learn all about the new ZF2 MVC, event manage, robust module system, and more.

Head on over to the tutorial day page and buy a ticket now :)

Bring a laptop to my ZF2 tutorial at PHPNW11

If you are attending my ZF2 tutorial at the PHPNW11 conference on Friday, I thought I'd remind you that you may find it useful to bring a laptop.

Ideally, your laptop should be set up with PHP 5.3 and MySQL and a working copy of my ZF1 tutorial. It would be a good idea to have a vhost set up on http://zf2tutorial.localhost or similar. Ability to create additional vhosts may come in handy. The PHP cli tool should also work as you'll need to run some php scripts from the command line.

I'm going to be covering ZF2's autoloader, dependency injector, event manager and then we'll go through the current Mvc prototype. We'll also be doing some exercises if we have time.

I'm looking forward to it and hope you are too!

Day Camp 4 Developers #3: Project Management

I'm delighted to be able to announce that I'm speaking at the next Day Camp 4 Developers on 1st October.

Day Camp 4 Developers is a one-day online conference run by our friend Cal Evans and is now onto its 3rd outing. An online conference is one that you attend in your own home (or office!) which keeps the costs down considerably, so you have no excuse not to buy a ticket: just $40!

Day Camp 4 Developers is unusual in that it it concentrates on the "soft" skills that a developer needs in order to do their job well. The topic for this Day Camp is Project Management which is something that every developer should have knowledge about. Even if you aren't a project manager yourself, understanding what it is and why it helps is vital for your career development in any team based undertaking.

I'm talking on how we manage projects in my company. The idea is to give you an idea of the things that have to be done in order to take a proposal through to a live website as there's more to it than just writing the code. I've found that now that all of our team here understand the project management side of the job, the whole process goes much more smoothly and more profitably for everyone. Hopefully I'll be able to help you understand what your project managers are doing during their day too!

tek11 photos

Following on from the previous post, these are some of my favourites from php|tek 11.

On the day before tek started, playing mini-golf with Helgi, Ian, Kathy, Rafael & Lorna was fun

Professional at work...

It wouldn't be a trip to Chicago without pizza!


I loved Liz's hat

Liz and her hat

Lig had a two-hands-one-mouth problem…

Red or White?!

The social events at tek are great. You can usually find Liz enjoying the party!

Centre of attention

It was always fun to see groups showing off some cool tech or another to each other. In this case, I think Lorna and Matthew were discussing using LaTeX for presentations

Matthew and Lorna

Jeremy took great pictures too and also posed on the couch

Here's looking at you!

I think the funniest moment of tek11 was when Ian read us excerpts from Page & Didday's Fortran 77 for Humans he found on the shelf at Potbelly's. Lunch will never be the same again.

Ian reads us exercepts from the Fortran book

Looking at this set of photos, you'd think that all we did was party. In fact, I also went to a number of amazing sessions where I learnt stuff, but I was so busy paying attention, I didn't take any photos during those times. I had a great time at both DPC and php|tek this year and if you haven't been to a PHP conference, then I recommend that you go to the next one you can!

The full set of photos is up on Flickr.

DPC 11 photos

A few weeks ago, I managed to visit two conferences back to back: DPC and php|tek. I managed to take some photos and these are some of my favourites from DPC.

I finally managed to snag a good picture of Juozas!

Juozas Kaziukenas

Harrie was an excellent DPC host.


Aral gave an excellent keynote and was around for the conference. He had us in stitches when trying to tweet from an Android phone!

Aral Balkan

On the hallway track, David wasn't shy about sharing his opinions on web services!

David and Lorna discussing Restful APIs

It was great catching up with Lig, who wore the best t-shirts!

Lig *is* the IT guy!

Finally, the best photos I took at DPC were both of Cal:

Cal, relaxing


The full set of photos is up on Flickr.

ZF2 Training at PHPNW 2011!

The fabulous PHPNW conference is back again this year on October 8th and 9th and tickets are now for sale for a mere £72. Buy now! as you only have a few days left at that price. There's no need to wait for the schedule as we know from the past 3 years, that it's going to be a great selection of relevant topics.

More importantly, this year there's a tutorial day on Friday 7th October which is also very cost-effective at £330 for the tutorial day and the conference.

There's a great set of tutorials:

  • Rob Allen on Zend Framework 2 (that's me!)
  • Marcus Deglos on Drupal performance and tools
  • Arne Blankerts on Security
  • Lorna Mitchell on Web services
  • Stuart Herbert on Maintainable applications in PHP using components

Obviously, I'm slightly biased, but I think that the Zend Framework 2 tutorial day will be great! ZF2 is so new, I'm not sure exactly what we'll be covering. My plan at the moment is to cover a few key topics in depth, so that you really understand them and be confident that you can develop new ZF2 applications going forward.

Head on over to the tutorial day page and buy a ticket now :)

If you're planning on attending the tutorial, I'm interested in what you'd like to see covered; let me know.

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