The biggest PHP event in Holland is over. Two great days have passed and it feels like it were just two hours. I didn’t attend the tutorial day so at friday after a brief intro by Cal Evans (with great cartoony visuals) the event kicked off with the opening keynote by Andrei Zmievski. A talk about what makes PHP the language it is and about where PHP is heading with 5.3 and 6. It had humor, appealing imagery and a nice metaphor comparing PHP to a ball of nails: ‘whatever you throw it at it sticks to’. For me what showed the maturity of PHP, was the fact PHP6 is undergoing (or will so) compatibility tests with respect to packages like Drupal, WordPress and Zend Framework.
Next I attended Michelangelo van Dam’s talk about SPL. With some parts of SPL I was allready quite familiar but some, like SplFileInfo I have to keep in mind for later use. Although a bit short the talk gave a nice overview. I liked that performance of the SPL examples was compared to the ‘native’ PHP approach, showing that SPL is actually faster.
Michael Wittke then showed how how PHP can be compiled and run on ARM chipset based devices like the Nokia 810. A bit academic but it’s great to see the unorthodox things that can be done with PHP.
After that the guys from IBM demonstrated a new platform Websphere sMash. Take a look at the site for what it’s about. I was expecting it to be more enterprise oriented and there were some powerful examples but I for myself don’t (yet) see the real advantage. Especially as using sMash-specific functions ties a developed app to the (non-free) sMash platform. On the other hand, the possibilities offered by the good integration with Java libraries like Lucene and POI looked very interesting.
Next was a talk from Stefan Esser looking security topics like SQL injection, XSS and CSRF from a Zend Framework perspective. Important topic but I must admit I didn’t get much new information out of it although preventing CSRF by subclassing Zend_Form to add a hash element was a nice example.
Last talk of the day was about how the dutch news site nu.nl is built and how it handles peak traffic. Content was the same as covered in the techportal article but it was nice to get a peek at how the CMS looks like.
The rest of the evening can be summarised with: Strand Zuid, sun, drinks, not so much food, social event, inspiring (at least for me) chats with some of the speakers, Nieuwmarkt, Leidseplein.
The alarm clock won the battle and I was just in time for Eli White’s presentation about scalable applications. Really great talk covering a lot of techniques for building application in such a way that database capacity can be expanded. I’m definitely going to give the presentation slides another look.
Next on schedule was Paul Reinheimer. Colleagues of mine were enthousiast about his talk of the first day and he certainly is a great speaker. Content was interesting too, touching usability aspects (I like) and addressing some pitfalls with respect to asynchronous requests and the browser’s ‘back button’.
After that Eli had another great talk, this time about release management. He covered SVN branching and tagging strategies, release scripts and it definitely made some of the puzzle pieces ‘fit’.
The last break-out session I attended was about DTrace, a kernel module to analyse the load of the C system calls PHP executes. Good to know about the possibilities but I don’t think I’ll be going that road in the near future. Xdebug is a bit ‘closer’.
The event was concluded with the Cal & Ivo show where Cal & Ivo interviewed some of the speakers and some (twitter-) questions from the audience were answered. The tweets and images running in the background grabbed the atmosphere well and formed a nice way of closing the event.
So. A very nice event it was. Just like last year I got home full of new ideas. It’s very inspiring to meet new people that are equally enthusiast about their profession. Next year, count me in.