A Few Observations from php|tek 2009

We've just successfully wrapped up another edition of php|tek. Yet again, I was reminded of the significance of bringing together PHP developers, core dev members, and those in industry and related technologies. Our conferences are always a lot of fun-- we work hard and play hard, and we hope everyone comes away with something besides a postcard that says "wish you were here!" or a t-shirt from Shoeless Joe's.

I won't bore you with the tales of "Geeks Gone Wild" or recap the speakers' presentations; for all that, you can check out the 800+ pics on Flickr and the slides on Slideshare. You can also read other people's wrap-ups if you're really interested.

For those who weren't there (or those who were, but missed out), we at MTA made a few surprise announcements:

  • CodeWorks is our exciting fall conference this year. It's a traveling roadshow of PHP experts and we will be hitting 7 cities in 14 days! Check out the site to see if we'll be near a city near you, and be sure to take advantage of our early-bird pricing! Prices start at just $99, so make sure you check it out.
  • Attendees at the conference also got a sneak peek at our new line of PHP t-shirts. We have 5 different designs and will be selling them on our site shortly, so keep an eye out for these. We will also be adding new designs all the time.

I also wanted to mention some of the things that happened in the "Hallway Track" as we call it; that time between times when cool things arise out of nowhere: unplanned, unscheduled, and off-the-cuff.

  • an impromptu interview by Microsoft's Brian Gorbett, where he asked a few of the PHPWomen about our organization and what we'd like to achieve. The video is kind of long at almost 24 minutes, but if you're interested in PHPWomen, give it a look. Thanks Brian!
  • a meeting with some of the heads of high-profile PHP projects, including Symfony, CakePHP, ZF, PEAR, and others to discuss coding standards across the board. As Stefan Koopmanschap stated,
    The second conference day started with a meeting with quite a few people from the PHP frameworks world, on introducing certain advised standards for PHP libraries and frameworks. These standards should make it easier for people to include and use libraries. We had a great 2-hour discussion on namespaces and naming, exception naming and handling, and some slightly related off-topic discussions. All in all, a great meeting, which resulted in the start of a new PHP mailinglist.
    I'm very interested to see what comes of this, and I think it's great they got the ball rolling!
  • a compact little framework was written for fun by Travis Swicegood (of git fame) and Nate Abele (head CakePHP dev) in between sessions. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you're face to face with someone. I'm sure there are other examples of projects that were worked on while at the conference, and if so- let me know!

Other interesting things that were going on during the conference:

  • the Hackathon, which resulted in much code being written and much pizza being inhaled. Projects worked on included IRC Bot Phergie, ZF, Solar, and PEAR.
  • the Testfest, which resulted in improved test coverage for core PHP, by 19 tests. Not too shabby for a few hours late in the afternoon/evening - good job, guys!
  • the PHPWomen Craft Hour, which was scheduled as a part of the unconference.. and which also turned into a MakerFaire of sorts. For something that was so far off the beaten PHP path, a large group of us (men and women alike) had a great time crafting it up. A cool new remote controlled multi-car was also fashioned by some talented individuals.
  • Keith Casey did quite a few 4-5 minute interviews of speakers/attendees at the conference, on a variety of topics. You should really take the time to check them out; he did a fabulous job!

Add all this in with a few days of excellent sessions and tutorials, along with some very fun social events, and you have the makings of a fantastic conference. My personal thanks go out to all those who pitched in and/or offered their help (you know who you are ;) ), our fantastic speakers, and Marco and Arbi. Also want to thank Keith Casey for coordinating a stellar unconference, for being our emcee, and for assisting me with obtaining the proper AV equipment (duuuuuude.) :).

We're also very interested in getting your feedback from the conference, so if you have comments or suggestions, please send them to me at elizabeth.at.phparch.com. Looking forward to seeing you all next year!

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