PHP UK Conference review

The past days I’ve been in London to attend the PHP UK Conference 2009. I’ve been to the previous edition which I liked very much and thanks to my employer, I was able to go to this year’s conference too.

No conference is a real PHP conference without the pre- and post-conference socials, and luckily we were spoiled in that part. Thursday evening, there was a pre-conference social in the Brook Green Hotel Bar. Already running in a bit late, we were just in time to see Derick be done with talking about dbus which was a shame, because I looked forward to that talk. Nevertheless, I got to see old friends and meet new friends, which made the social a success.

The conference day started with collecting our badge, which went pretty smooth. I went to check out the Ibuildings stand and got myself an Ibuildings shirt to wear. The opening speech by Marcus Baker had an original take to it, and made it clear that a reasonable amount of the conference visitors was from a foreign country. Some pictures were taken and promised to put online, but I’ve not heard from those since. If anyone knows where they are, please let me know!

Next up on stage was Aral Balkan with “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”, a refreshing view on new trends and tools for developers. He’s got an energetic and playful way of presenting, which was received well by the audience. Through the talk, he definitely made his points across. Differentiation in development work is largely based on having fun in what you do and working on things you really get inspired from.

The next talk was David Sorria Parra on Sharding Architectures. This was one of the more advanced talks but at the same time one of the talks I looked forward to the most. David talked about different sharding techniques, describing the advantages and pitfalls of each. He concluded that consistent hashing is the best (and most scalable) approach to sharding, something I’m definitely going to look into a bit more.

David Axmark, one of the co-founders of MySQL, talked a bit about Drizzle. Drizzle is a database server optimized for cloud and internet applications. By focussing on for example scaling, multi-core support and high concurrency, Drizzle is on its way to become quite an interesting alternative to MySQL. David mentioned where the Drizzle project is today, explained some of the features and where Drizzle is heading. Although clearly far from usable for production, I’m very much looking forward to at least try it out. It also opens up a lot of possibilities for writing plugins, which is a cumbersome task in the current MySQL distribution and made a lot easier with Drizzle.

After skipping a track (well not really, the hallway track is quite interesting too :) ), my collegue Stefan Koopmanschap was ready to deliver a talk on symfony. With “MyPHP-busters”, Stefan busted some of the myths that the Symfony framework has been suffering from. All of his points were certainly valid, and the presentation as a whole looked very nice. Kudos to Stefan for this one.

To close the day off, I saw Chris Shiflett talk on Security Centered Design. This must have been the one presentation I was underestimating the most. By regularly applying psychology patterns to security and user interface design, Chris emphasized there’s much more to developing an application than only functionality. This is certainly a topic that appeals to me, maybe even enough to have a look at the book recommended by Jon Gibbins: Defensive design for the web.

After the open bar provided by MySQL/Sun, we went off to the bar again to have the post-conference social, to conclude a nice conference. Congrats to the PHP UK organizers, you succeeded in having a great and enjoyable conference with lots of interesting talks. You can expect me again next year.

One response to “PHP UK Conference review”

  1. Thanks for the nice review, Felix. :-)

    I do have one small correction. I didn’t recommend a book in the talk. Jon Gibbins recommended that book to me, because it spoke about similar things, so I mentioned that on Twitter. I haven’t read it, so I can’t recommend it yet.

    Thanks again.