Last Friday and Saturday I spent at the Dutch PHP Conference, hosted by Ibuildings. Unfortunately, I had very little time to blog while there. I'd prepared my outlines and basic slides before heading to the conference, but had a large number of screenshots and images to prepare that kept me up until the wee hours of the morning each day. In addition, the conference was extremely well organized — which meant that any time not spent speaking was spent interacting with attendees or other speakers — never a bad thing!
First off, the big impression I had when the conference finished is that either PHP developers in Holland are incredibly professional, or that the best practices advocated by various community leaders are finally taking hold. My last talk was one addressing development best practices, and I was constantly amazed at how many people were already using most if not all the best practices I touched on in my talk. This is really fantastic news, as far as I'm concerned; hopefully all those PHP detractors out there are going to start taking notice that PHP development has matured, and, in fact become very quality oriented. Here's that presentation:
The big event for me, of course, was the full day Zend Framework workshop. My two regrets: a) not having a better script for the final hour, when I covered a simple demo bugapp used for developing the workshop, and b) running opposite Sebastian Bergmann — as I wanted to see what he's been working on recently with PHPUnit. That said, I feel the workshop went over very well; I was able to finish each section early enough that we had time for 5 - 15 minutes of questions over the material just covered, and there were excellent questions from those attending. The funny part was that with two of the questions, I simply fired up my browser to the tutorials I wrote on DevZone, and used the examples and materials from them to answer the questions.
As promised, I've uploaded the bug application I worked up to create the session. Be aware that it's incomplete; the main thing was to see how each of the various pieces could interact so I'd know what to cover and when in the workshop.
Following the night of the workshops, Ibuildings had a dinner for their employees, and I was invited to tag along. I had some great conversations with Lorna Jane and one of her colleagues, Bill, discussing topics ranging from family to training, from travel to PHP, and more. Dinner was timed to end as the big match between Holland and France began, and all I have to say about that is: if you've never witnessed the fans of a big football match in Holland when Oranje is winning, you haven't lived. 'Nuff said. :-)
I had a number of good conversations with a variety of people, really — Stefan Priebsch, Sebastian, Zeev, Marco Tabini, Lorna Jane, Stefan Koopfmanschap, Fabien Potencier, and more. (Believe it or not, you can get more than one framework lead in the same room and have things stay civil; Fabien and I swapped some information regarding plans for our next major releases, what issues we've seen, and what features we're excited about.) Felix De Vliegher and Michelangelo Van Dam were also there, representing PHP Belgium, and it was great to hear how their region's PHP community is starting to come together.
I also got a chance to meet a few people from the Zend Framework lists and IRC in person: Andries Seutens, Jurrien Stutterheim, and Bart McLeod — and a few others whose names I most regrettably forget. I wish I could have had more time to talk with each of you, and discuss your projects more.
Now, while the conference was fantastic, probably the best part for me personally was the day prior. My good friend Remi, with whom I've worked on some projects at Zend a number of times over the past year, came up from Gouda to hang with me for the day. We walked all over the city — through the Vondelpark, up by the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museums, along and over countless canals, near (but not through) the red light district, by the RAI (where the conference was held) and all the way up to Grand Centraal. I complained about sore feet and legs all weekend, but it was the best tour I could have imagined of the city, and one I shan't forget any time soon. And the reason we went to Grand Centraal was to meet up with Stefan Koopmanschap, with whom we would then have dinner and drinks that night. I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to spend some uninterrupted time with each of these fantastic developers and individuals.
So, the short summary: excellent conference, excellent friends, excellent city. Looking forward to DPC '09!