Tag: zendcon

Why UnCons are Important

My good friend, Keith Casey, is once again chairing Zendcon's UnCon. For those who have never attended, it's basically one or more tracks running parallel to the main conference, but with content pitched by attendees -- sometimes presented by them, other times presented by others who are knowledgeable in the field.

Why should you care? There are great sessions already selected for the conference featuring some well-known speakers from the PHP world; why would you want to either attend or present at the uncon?

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2007 Retrospective

2007 was a busy year, both personally and professionally. I won't go into the personal too much, because, well, it's personal, and some of the details are simply inappropriate for blogging material.

Here's the short version:

  • One trip to Belgium and The Netherlands.
  • Two trips to Israel.
  • Two trips to Atlanta, GA (not counting the return trip from Europe, when I was stranded for a day due to storms in the Northeast).
  • Three different user groups attended, with three presentations.
  • One major Zend Framework release
  • One PEAR release.
  • One podcast.
  • One webinar.
  • One book published.
  • One conference attended.

What follows is my month-by-month breakdown:

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ZendCon is over at last

ZendCon '07 is finally over, the dust has settled, and I finally find myself with some time alone... practically the first I've had since Sunday. The week was fantastic, and I had many good conversations and brainstorming sessions. Oh, and I ended up giving three different sessions, so it's time for links to slides and materials:

  • Best Practices of PHP Development. Sebastian, Mike, and I presented a full-day tutorial on PHP development best practices, focussing primarily on testing and testing strategies, but also covering coding standards, usage of SCM tools, and deployment. There were a ton of questions from the attendees, and Sebastian even whipped out some extra slides at the end showing new and little-known features of PHPUnit. Basically, reading the slides won't really indicate what we covered, but is more of a general outline. It was an honor and pleasure to work with Sebastian and Mike on this, and I hope we can do it again in the future some time.
  • Zend Framework MVC Quick Start. This was basically the same session I did in my webinar a couple weeks ago, with a few corrections and a small demonstration. Cal put me on directly following Terry Chay, in the largest of the four session rooms -- the one where all the keynotes occurred -- talk about intimidating! Amazingly, the session was really well attended -- others I talked to estimate between 100 and 150 people showed up. The most amazing part, though, was that when I asked how many people knew what 'MVC' was, I don't think there was a single person who didn't raise their hand -- definitely a sign of how well accepted the pattern now is in PHP.
  • AJAX-Enabling Your Zend Framework Controllers. I did this talk for the Unconference, mainly because its a topic I've been interested in and wanted to present. In it, I detailed how to ajax-enable an application through some easy tricks with Action and View Helpers and using JS to decorate your existing application. The reference app I used was a pastebin, and I've got code for both Dojo and Prototype flavors available:

The two highlight keynote speakers, for me, were definitely Joel Spolsky and Cory Doctorow. Neither spoke about PHP, but both spoke about topics that PHP developers should take to heart. Perhaps I'll elaborate on those in another post.

Another bonus for me was the number of old and new friends alike I got to see -- I had many good conversations with Paul M. Jones, Nate Abele, Ivo Jansch, and Ralph Schindler, and opportunities to finally meet fellow co-author Lig Turmelle, Ben Ramsey, Chris Shifflet (dude, we've been to four conferences together, and never yet met!), and many, many others. I was also overwhelmed by the number of Zend Framework users who sought me out either to ask me questions or simply thank me and the others on the team for the project; I'm deeply honored that I can work on a project that affects so many developers.

And now for some down time to recuperate...

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