Developing software in the Real World

PHP UK Conference 2006

Just got back from the conference and thought it was excellent. The social last night was good too – makes me wish I lived in London!

It was a one day event for £50 on the early bird thing and £75 if you ordered later. I stayed at a B&B around the corner for £35 inc breakfast. I drove down and parked at Perivale tube station and used the Underground from there. Total cost for the entire trip was about £130 including petrol, travelcards, and beer bought during the social the night before!

The pre-conference social was held at the pub that the PHP London group use for their monthly meets. I can see why they use it as it has a basement room that seats 30 or so. More importantly, it isn’t a “formulaic” pub and it served lager from the brewery! Only £1.97 a pint too. Around 20 people turned up for the social I suppose and I quite enjoyed it, even though we had the obligatory argument about templating systems.

The conference itself consisted of 5 talks:

* ezComponents by Derick Rethans
* Pico/Dependency Injection by Pawel Kozlowski
* The Template Path by Matt Zandstra
* PHP Hardening and Security by Christopher Kunz
* AJAX@localhost by Harry Fuecks

One thing that all the talks had in common was that they all overran! Every speaker seemed very optimistic on what they could cover in the time available.

ezComponents has always been billed as a set of components and not a framework and so far what they’ve got looks quite good. I too thought that ezcMail looked promising and the console stuff was also interesting. I wasn’t so sure about the database stuff as I’m not (yet) about how useful fluent interfaces are long term for maintainability. Also, need to look at the configuration file for the database stuff to see what it’s like.

Pavel’s DI talk was fascinating – I can see lots of uses and just need to wrap my head around it. I was very glad I sat near the front for that one!

Lunch at the local Wetherspoons was ok. Next year, I hope they lay on some catering though!

After lunch, Matt Zandstra talked about template overriding in an N-dimensional space. This was the most unexpected talk for me as I didn’t have a clue what it would be about. I came away from it knowing that I need to do a lot more thinking in this area.

Christopher Kunz talked about the Hardening Patch for PHP which was interesting, but not something that I’m considering using at the moment. He also gave a potted history of the major security issues that arose in PHP core last year which was very interesting.

Lastly HarryF talked about the difficulties of using AJAX technologies in the real world. This was a great way to end the conference and it highlighted to me that I need to wait till the who AJAX space matures a bit before doing anything serious with it.

Overall, I think that the speakers did a very good job, but need to work harder on keeping to time. I know this is hard though, so maybe trying to do less within the talk would be a good idea? More time for breaks and networking would also be good, especially as I didnt’ get into the post-conference Blogathan (limited to 80 people) so missed out there.

Summary: Great conference! Can I pre-book for 2007 yet?!