The last day of ZendCon 2009 is always bittersweet. ZendCon is very intense for the few days you are here, and while it is awesome and the people are awesome and the learning is awesome, you are so exhausted that you are almost glad it’s over. So here is what I did on day 3.
Right Where You Belong: The PHP Community – Chris Cornutt
I met Chris the day before when I was talking to him about joind.in. His talk was really good for people who are interested in becoming part of the PHP Community (or really any community). He talked about how to contribute to the community as a whole, even if you are not a strong programmer (documentation FTW). This topic is really relevant to me as I enjoy being part of the PHP Community a lot. I find us PHPers are much different than most tech groups. You don’t often find PHPers who have that holier-than-thou attitude, which I think is because many of us who have been doing PHP for a long time have grown up and matured with the language. There is not a single person in the PHP community who can claim that they always wrote excellent code, so you don’t typically get people who have an overly high opinion of themselves. There are exceptions to the rule, but I find PHPers to be some of the best people in the business. Many of them “get it” and I appreciate that. Chris’s talk was all about getting involved and I thought he did a great job with it.
How to run an enterprise PHP Shop – Jim Plush
at Panasonic and they sound like they really have their development process figured out. He talked all about development cycle, bug fixing, hiring, etc. It was a great talk to hear. He even talked a little about how they do development. There was one mention of creating re-usable modules and distributing those across their applications, which is very similar to what we do with the OT Framework. Jim also really focused on testing and continuous integration, which I think we need to do a better job with. I went up to him after the talk and thanked him, then I asked him if he had any suggestions for those of us with a small shop and limited resources. His advice re: testing was “Just do it. Tell your clients and management that there is no other option than having unit-tested code. Work it into the estimate the same way you would any other part of the app.” This is excellent advice that I am going to make work.
Dependency Injection Round Table – Jeremy Kendall
My good friend Jeremy organized a dependency injection roundtable with some of the key PHP folks working on Zend Framework and Symfony. I went into the talk thinking I had a pretty good handle on what DI was and why I wanted to use it. It really isn’t any different than the way we make lots of things already, so I thought I could hang. I don’t know if it was the content or the pace or what, but I had a hard time following the discussion. Everyone else in the room seemed to really enjoy the talk, and I did too, I just felt lost at points. I think I am going to have to look into it some more so that next year I can hang with the discussion better.
Framework Shootout – ZF fearless leader Matthew Weier O’Phinney, David Zülke, Fabien Potencier, Edward Finkler, Nate Abele
This was a really cool idea. Reps from Zend Framework, Symfony, CodeIgniter, CakePHP, and Agavi had a question and answer session where they talked about the strengths and weaknesses of their respective framework. The session was very collegial, much to the dismay of most in the audience I think people wanted bloodshed, but it was actually really informative and super entertaining too. There were a few “OH SNAP” moments, but nothing to write home about really. The biggest surprise was that Symfony is not going to rewrite to take advantage of PHP5.3 features, which I think is a very big mistake. You gotta stay current and you have to push your usebase to stay up with the latest technology. Everyone in the PHP world did it when PHP5 replaced PHP4. While PHP5.3 may not be quite the same level of change, it is a big release that will finally give us developers some of the long-requested tools we need. Anyway, Matthew rocked the house and represented ZF really
well. I hope they continue to have similar “shootouts” in the future as I think it was very intriguing. And apparently the rest of the community thought so as well since the room was packed (usually, the last session of the day is barely attended).
That is it! Then end of ZendCon 2009. I will post my wrap-up later.