PHPNW09 Round Up

Last weekend Janeth, Andy and Simon (from Business Systems Solutions) headed over to Manchester Conference Centre for the second Annual PHP North West Conference. Organised by volunteers from the PHPNW user group it has a great community feel to it yet has a great reputation.

A few thoughts about some of the sessions I attended…

The Uncertainty Principle – Kelvin Henney

Nice start to the conference and a well presented talk.  Main thing I picked up was that when presented with a choice you may not have to make a decision immediately.

Passing the Joel Test in the PHP world – Lorna Mitchell

Lorna Mitchell’s talk looked at how relevant the Joel Test is to PHP development.  We have some way to go before we pass completely and it’s something I’ll be looking at over the next few weeks.

Tools and Talent – Rowan Merewood

Plusnet’s Rowan Merewood gave a really good presentation about how they go about developing and deploying new tools.  I was a little preoccupied finishing my own talk so I’ll be interested to take another look at the video.

Making your life easier: Xdebug – Derick Rethans

I’ve been aware of Xdebug for a long time, and I may have even tried it out but this talk showed some of the nice ways it can be used.  Probably worth us having another look at deploying it on our development server.

Building an Anti-CMS – Michael Nolan

That’ll be me!  Think it went okay – a few suggestions for improvements on joind.in but it could have gone much worse!  You can see a slidecast of the talk on another post.

Integrating Zend Framework and symfony – Stefan Koopmanschap

Skoop’s talk covered how Zend and Symfony can be used together.  We actually already do this – our search engine is powered by Zend Lucene – but there’s probably more components we can use, and some of the new Symfony components look like they have potential.

Everything you wanted to know about UTF-8 – Juliette Reinders Folmer

Maybe a little too detailed for 10am on a Sunday morning, but interesting to see how difficult this problem is to solve.

Intro to OOP with PHP – Rick Ogden

Pretty basic introduction to OOP but we often forget that not everyone learns this stuff so it was good to see.

PHP 5.3 – Hot or Not? – Sara Golemon

If PHP 4’s unwillingness to die is anything to go by then 5.3 may take a while to adopt widely. There’s some nice features though and if they’re required for a future version of symfony then it’s well worth us starting to make use of them.

jQuery – Michael Heap

We use jQuery pretty extensively as part of GO and our corporate website so I understood most of the code demonstrated but it was nice to see how to create plugins.

That’s all for my quick round up of PHP North West 2009.  Overall a very good event.  Thanks must go to Jeremy, his team at Solution Perspective Media and Lorna Mitchell, without whom the conference wouldn’t happen.

Building an Anti-CMS

At last weekend’s PHP North West Conference I delivered a talk titled Building an Anti-CMS (and how it’s changed our web team).  Feedback has generally been pretty positive so I thought I’d open it up to a bit of constructive criticism from inside the sector (because every web team reads our blog, right?!).

Video from the talk itself is due out within the next month but I re-recorded some audio to turn it into a slidecast to make it a bit more useful:

I’ve given a number of talks before at Edge Hill, at BarCamps and at IWMW but for PHPNW I’ve tried to further develop my style of presentation. Over the last 6 weeks I’ve watched quite a few “Lessig style” talks – making use of lots of short sentences and pictures and not being afraid to have nothing on the screen.

It leads to a massive slidedeck – 86 slides for 13 minutes – and there’s far less room to ad lib but it gets away from some of the things that annoy me about regular death by powerpoint. I’ll let you make up your own mind whether it’s worked!

PHP North West Conference 2009

PHPNW 2009Last year, Andy and I attended the first Annual PHP North West Conference.  Well it’s back for PHPNW2009 next month – Saturday 10th October with extra stuff happening Friday evening and Sunday morning – at the Manchester Conference Centre.  This year there will be a few of us attending from Web Services allowing us to cover more of the conference sessions in more detail.

I also found out a couple of weeks ago that my session proposal was accepted so I’ll be speaking about “Building an Anti-CMS (and how it’s changed our web team)”.  What exactly this consists of will be decided on a two hour train journey to London next week but the abstract obviously sounded good!

As with last year, they’re offering concession tickets to students so I recommend anyone studying Web Systems Development or other Computing courses try to head over to Manchester and check it out – there’s a load of well known speakers (and me!) covering everything from PHP frameworks (Zend, Yii and Symfony all covered) to tools to programming best practices.

If you’re at Edge Hill and are going let me know and I’ll catch you in Manchester!

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