PHP UK Conference 2009

Late last night I returned, exhausted, from a great 2 days at the PHP UK conference in London. I’m not a pro at writing, let alone reviewing a conference but I thought I’d post some of my views of the day! To start with, summaries on the talks I saw:

The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades (keynote)

I’d never heard of Aral before, and as he cheesily ran across the stage at the beginning (to a silent reaction) I was a little worried! It turns out I’d judged him too soon, as the talk turned out to be really interesting. I think his point about remembering the first piece of code you ever wrote, and how excited you were about what it did, really hit home with a lot of the people in the audience. He finished with “make sure you’re always working on things that excite you” (paraphrased, I’ll try to find the actual quote).. which is something I really want to work towards, but sometimes you just need to pay the bills.

Sharding Architectures

I’d already heard Scott talk about the new features of 5.3 so thought I’d checking Sharding. Although I didn’t know what “Sharding” was before the talk, I was familiar with the technique, I just didn’t know what it was called! 🙂 I thought the topic was delivered well, although some key points were missing from the explanation of consistent hashing.

Of Lambda Functions, Closures and Traits

Sebastien’s opening line: “I’d like to confirm that Marcus and I don’t hate each other”. I’d not heard any rumours but had always wondered what would happen if the SimpleTest and UnitTest creators had met up. Apparently nothing. 🙁 It was great to see some of the new PHP 5.3 features and examples of how to use them. I’m looking forward to the introduction of Lamba functions and closures but it sounds like there are a few useful (perhaps even key) related features that didn’t make it in to 5.3 in time that will hopefully get in to a future release soon. I couldn’t think of a use case for functors though?

Living with Frameworks

Although Stuart tried to stay impartial, he is clearly a big fan of Symfony. :p I think 80% of the room were already familiar with frameworks, me included, but it was good to hear other people had experienced similar issues to us when implemeting a framework. Towards the end I got a little bored with the reading of the quotes from Will, James and Bob (or whatever their names were). The talk was pretty popular though, and I was the last one to get in.. which was lucky, as the alternative was PHP on Windows. Its not that I have a problem with Windows, I just won’t be switching any time soon.

Flex and AIR for PHP programmers

Not a lot to say about this talk. Flex is something I’m interested in getting in to and so it was good to see Mihai creating an application live on stage. But I’m still not sure I had enough info to get me started. I’m gonna email him for one of those free books. 🙂

Security-Centered Design — exploring the impact of human behavior

I’d not heard of Chris before either, but he seems like an interesting guy and was pretty happy to openly share his opinion on pretty much anything. The talk didn’t get in to anything too specific, but shared some ideas on how to subtly let users know that they are on a secure site or, that they’re on the wrong site in the case of phishing. Either way I left the talk feeling I’d learnt something and had a good time.

Otherwise, the rest of the day was great. Lunch was tasty, events ran on time and everything seemed well organised. The only downside? I didn’t win anything. 🙁