This weekend I attended the PHP Unconference in the lovely city of Hamburg (if you don't count the wheather in). It was a really great event with a superb organisation, from my point of view even better then the some "professional" conferences. So, first a big thank you to the hosts from the PHP Usergroup Hamburg, you did a wonderful job.
Speaking about professional conferences, it's interesting to see that I'm not the only one with a very sceptical look on the International PHP Conference. Other attendees I spoke with had similar thoughts: always the same speakers with nearly the same topics, degrading the purpose of IPC to networking only. It would be more interesting with more fresh blood and a broader range of topics. Of course this would mean more risk for the host, but I believe in the long run the current development will ruin the IPC. Or can I just not imagine that there are so much companies out there paying several hundred Euros just for networking?
From the sessions I attended the Performance pessimization talk was really fun and insightful. Starting with an optimal (hardware) architecture Kris Köhntopp, Johann Hartmann, Stefan Priebsch and Lars Jankofsky made changes to this architecture to decrease its performance one after another. Both the audience and the speakers had very much fun in adding one "improvement" after another.
For the PHP in the Enterprise session I have rather mixed feelings. While Kris Köhntopp made some really good remarks on maturity of business models and their surrounding processes I think the whole session suffered from an undefined target. "Talking about Enterprise PHP" is not sufficient as session target. It was like a "Let's have a meeting on topic X, but we don't define an agenda for it." Well, from that point it was really enterprisy.
Together with Thorsten Rinne I did a presentation on Things to consider for testable code - I feel a bit sorry for Thorsten as his main purpose was to stress the important points of my presentation rather then talking about refactoring bad code to better code, the topic originally voted for.
To my surprise the audience seemed to appreciate it. I was very unsure if it would work out in the way I intended it. Probably I should add more examples for the Dependency Injection part as it was requested to see some real-life code, however I'm not sure how much it helped to better understand how it works. In every case I will add one or another point against Dependency Injection, as it seems that there are only benefits but no drawbacks. If you attended the session and would like to give feedback about what can be improved please drop a comment.
On sunday Oliver Müller (Btw, thanks to Oliver for taking us on a tourist tour around the Reeperbahn on saturday night. ) gave an interesting overview of current state-of-the-art technologies for implementing Single Sign-on systems. It raised new questions for a project I will do in the upcoming months.
Another interesting session was from Stefan Priebsch about the Model-View-Controler (MVC) design pattern. While I felt uncomfortable with the label "MVC" on Stubbles for quite some time now the talk finally convinced me to drop this label. MVC in the web is fundamentally different from MVC in desktop gui applications, where it was originally invented for, and there seems to be no common understanding of what MVC in web applications should really look like. That's not surprising as there are different solutions possible, and it strongly depends on the type and size of the application you create. Heck, there are even frameworks out there with a "Model" class you should inherit all your models from, which is independend of the application totally pointless and makes me cry.
Because the Deployment talk took not place due to a missing speaker I switched to a MySQL High Availability talk. I'm really glad we have database admins in our company which take care of this, but it was interesting to see what the important points are and how such an architecture is build.
The last talk was about experiences on pre-commit-hooks. It was suggested to deny commits if they do not fulfill the coding guidelines. For projects with release cycles of at least several days it seems to be really useful, but if you do several releases per day it has a high chance of getting in the way in the moment you want to deploy a bugfix for a bug you deployed earlier the day. (Please do not comment that one should not do this - it boils down to a business decision if you do it or not, wheighing less quality against time to market.) Doing a php lint check and enforcing a certain style of commit messages however seem to be useful in such projects as well.
Finally: thanks to everyone who attended. It was a great event with really interesting topics, chats and a fantastic atmosphere.
If you take a look at http://it-republik.de/php/phpconference09/sessions/ , you'll see that there are plenty of sessions which haven't been held before on IPC. We got more than 200 session proposals and decided carefully which session to choose.
On the other hand you may be right that there are the "usual suspects" as speakers. We try to give our best to get new speakers in, but you have to know that attendees want to have a good speaker who has experience in speaking at a Conference.
Finally, I would like to conclude that I take this feedback very serious and we'll get better for 2010 (although I'm convinced that the lineup for this year's fall conference is pretty great).
thanks for your comment. The session plan for IPC 2009 indeed features some new speakers and session topics.
> attendees want to have a good speaker
> who has experience in speaking at a
That's a bit problematic: having only good speakers with experience prevents other people from becoming experienced speakers. But attendees expectations of course need to be considered, and it can be hard to find the right way in between.