For many years, the members of the PHP usergroup in Manchester, England, gathered regularly in small groups. All those years they had that vision of a huge proper conference for the North-of-England PHP developer community. This year the time was right. On November 22, 2008, I attended the first of hopefully many upcoming PHP NW conferences.
The lineup of speakers was quite impressive and included travelers from near and (very) far.
Derick Rethans from the Netherlands opened the event with his keynote entitled "KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)." Manchester local Adrian Hardy followed with a very interesting Session called "MySQL EXPLAIN Explained," showing how easy it can be to optimize MySQL queries once you understand the EXPLAIN command. After that Ciarán Walsh taught the audience how to get into regex in his talk "Regular Expression Basics." PHP core developer Johannes Schlüter came from Munich to show "Whats new, whats hot in PHP 5.3," including features like the long awaited namespacing. This was also one of the most discussed new things during the breaks, as the syntax for this feature simply uses the "last available" separator: the backspace "" and is now widely described as very useful but also very ugly...
After the lunch break, another guest from the Netherlands, Stefan Koopmanschap, gave a very interesting talk about "The Power of Refactoring" showing how refactoring helps keep a project up and running while enhancing it's maintainability.
A very interesting and also very personal insight was presented by Stuart Herbert from Cardiff, who spoke about how he and his team developed and launched a twitter-to-SMS application in only seven days. Especially interesting was that he not only shared the successful parts but also what he would do differently today.
A panel discussion about the "State of the Community," featuring the PHP core developers Steph Fox, Ivo Jansch, Scott MacVicara, and Felix De Vliegher, wrapped up the day and provided behind-the-scenes information on how PHP itself is developed.
The day ended with a party at the club around the corner, before the visitors entered their planes and trains and the locals started planning the next meeting. Hopefully there will be a PHPNW09. :-)
?Web Developer, Yahoo! London