Dutch PHP Conference 2008, afterwards.

I just got back from the Dutch PHP Conference at the RAI in Amsterdam, and I had a great time! The 2 days conference (organized by the great people of Ibuildings and Zend) in Amsterdam were packed with fun stuff, interesting talks and people, and a cool football match (although I’m totally not into sports :-))

At thursday evening, we arrived in Amsterdam by car and first checked into our hotel. Afterwards there was still some time left to go to the city centre, so we did a bit of sightseeing. We knew quite some guys were going to a place called Fidelio, so after a good meal we went over there. As it was pretty late then, quite some people were already gone, but we still found Sebastian, Lorna, Derick, Scott, Stefan and some PHP London guys over there. It was closing time soon, so we decided to go to the hotel then.

Next day I chose the Zend Framework tutorial by Matthew Weier O’Phinney. After a short introduction and an overview of the Framework, we looked a bit deeper into specific components of the framework. Topics that were covered are how to use and write action and view helpers, the plugin architecture, extending Zend Framework classes, creating custom decorators, validators and filters, forms, how to test your code and much more! Matthew is a great speaker and the tutorial touched a lot of advanced topics, so it was definitely worth it :-)

That evening, there was a pre-conference social at the Werck bar in the city centre. We first went to diner at a great vegetarian place called “De Bolhoed” and got just in to see the start of the football match with the netherlands and france. At about half time, I decided to have it a bit and ended up with Matthew Weier O’Phinney, Remi Woler and Terry Chay talking about scalability issues and social network architectures. Really interesting stuff! The Dutch football players won the match with 4-1, so you can imagine a big party was about to start. We decided to take a walk to the central station so we could see (and feel) some of the victory happyness, afterwards we took the metro back to our hotel.

The last (and the main conference) day started with meeting some friends, such as Michelangelo and Andries. The first keynote by Zeev Suraski talked about a bit of history of PHP and where it is today. It was a funny and interesting talk with a lot of nice facts about PHP and the PHP community I didn’t know. Then Marco Tabini took the stage with his keynote “PHP and the taste of mayo”. After a pretty funny introduction, Marco moved on to keeping it simple in PHP (just as preparing mayo should be simple). He also talked about the revenue generated per visitor in different types of websites. As always, Marco delivered a good talk which makes you think about some topics.

After lunch, I accidentally missed Gaylord Aulke‘s talk “An Infrastructure for Team Based PHP Development”, but instead had a very interesting talk with Terry Chay. We talked about the viral workflow of a social networking site, data analysing techniques and photo cameras. Even though he states in the closing keynote he’s not a good photographer, he has very thorough knowledge on how cameras work. He’s great in explaining difficult topics in a way you actually could understand it :-)

Next up, Lorna Michell went to the stage with her talk “PHP Deployment with subversion”. While she said in advance she was very nervous about it, she actually did great, and I very much enjoyed her way of presenting the topic. Her overview of what is possible for deploying PHP projects was nice. After all, if you throw in references to Super Mario and Nabaztag‘s, what could go wrong? ;-)

Finally, Terry Chay prepared for the closing keynote, titled “The internet is an Ogre”. After making the analogy of the internet being big ugly fat ogre with layers, he continued on Stability, Scalability, Speed and Security and why you should handle them in that order. It’s always fun to hear Terry’s ideas, and while he might use some explicit language to get his point across, I mostly agree with what he’s saying.

This was a great conference. I got the chance to meet old friends, friends I only knew from IRC or online, but also meet interesting new people. The speakers presented some new ideas and it was very cool to see PHP be so much “alive”. A big thanks to all organizers and speakers for making this possible. I can easily say it was the best PHP conference I’ve attended yet, and I’m very much looking forward to going back next year! See you!