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DPC Wrap-up

Dear Reader,

I’m sitting in Schipol airport with Rob Allen waiting for my flight. (Rob is reviewing his photos) Thinking back over the past few days, the word that comes to mind is fantastic. DPC10 was fantastic.

For those that don’t know me, I have a personal interest in DPC as last year I worked at Ibuildings and hosted it. It’s always difficult to hand off something that means so much to you but I am happy to report that Lorna Jane took it and made it her own. It was everything I had hoped it would be.

Tutorial Day

Because of jet lag – yes, we’ll call it jet lag because saying I was hung over from Juliette’s party sounds tawdry – I missed the tutorial day and showed up just in time to catch the end of the the last tutorials. While all of them seemed to have been well done, from the comments I gathered talking to the attendees, Rob and Matthew Weier O’Phinney seem to have hit one out of the park with their Zend Framework tutorial.

Thursday evening was open and I ended up eating a surprisingly good bowl of chili at a pub with Matthew Weier O’Phinney. Is it me or does Matthew look like the piano player from Glee? (See picture)



Day 1

Friday morning came way too early but thanks to a good breakfast at the hotel, I was ready when Kevlin Henney took the stage for the opening keynote. If you have never head Kevlin speak, I highly recommend you do so if the opportunity presents itself. He is a phenomenal speaker. His talk “97 Things every programmer should know“, was a walk through several of the articles in the book, including one of mine. It is a great talk and inspired me to read the book when I get back home. (Up till this point, I’ve been trying to absorb the knowledge in it via osmosis. So far this method has failed.)

The rest of the day was spent preparing for my talk. I did park in Elizabeth Naramore’s “Technical Debt” talk and come up for air long enough to listen to it. She brings up some great points. If you’ve not heard it, make sure you keep an eye on the DPC Radio feed for when it drops, it is a must listen to session.

Just after lunch I caught Matthew Weier O’Phinney’s “Writing Re-usable, RESTful Web Services with Zend Framework“. Another great session and I learned a lot, even though it was directly after lunch and I had been partying for two nights in a row. I was nodding off but managed to catch enough to nod along.

Crash! Burn! Recover!

Much to my surprise, my talk was the last session on Friday, not Saturday as I had originally thought. I was prepared however and had a great time talking about Flex and Flash Builder in my talk, “Crash! Burn! Recover!” Judging by the tweets and the comments, most in attendance enjoyed themselves as well. I am glad they did and even though I couldn’t convert Erik Snoeijs to a Flex programmer, I am glad he came. I was very surprised at the size of the crowd I had. After all, I was up against Soctt MacVicar talking about HipHop. Even so, I had a good size crowd of about 30. (For a sponsored talk, that was good)

Day 1 ended with the speakers dinner and then the social. Both were great, we spent way too long at the speakers dinner and drank way too much. Most of us know each other well but only get to see each other once or twice a year. So it is always a great time when we get together and catch up.

Day 2

Day 2 was much less stressful for me as I didn’t have to speak. That did make getting out of bed a little harder though. After the speaker’s dinner and the social hosted by GitHub, I was wiped by the time I stumbled to bed at “stupid thirty”. However, a good breakfast and four of those little cups of coffee they serve over here and I was back in business.

Chris Shiflett’s keynote, “Security-Centered Design: Exploring the Impact of Human Behavior” is a great talk. I’ve seen it twice now and learn something new each time. Each time he does the change blindness test he uses a new pictures. (bastard) I had the previous version memorized. If you are at a conference where Chis is giving this talk, make time to go see it.

After another round of miniature coffees, I sat in on Rob Allen’sStress-free deployment“. This is the one talk I wish the lovely and talented Kathy could have been in. Every team lead needs to review Rob’s slides and make sure they are understanding the concepts. I am constantly surprised to find teams that don’t understand the concepts of best practices in deployment. In the “community fishbowl” we all get it. However, if you move outside of the conference regulars, you will find a lot of teams that don’t. Every one of those people should be tied to a chair and forced to listen to Rob’s talk until they nod in agreement.

The only other session I sat in on was Elizabeth Naramore’s “Technical Writing 101“. I chose that one because it was different and I had code dripping out my ears at this point. Elizabeth did not fail to educate and inspire. If you are currently writing magazine articles, books, blogs or anything else technical – or even if you are just considering it – you need to listen to this talk and stalk @elizabethn like Paul Reubens at an adult film festival…except not as creepy, ok? Elizabeth is a great resource for anyone who is writing and always willing to offer advice. For the record, I am also happy to offer advice but if you’ve read my un-edited works, you know my advice is limited to what crayon to use…stick with asking Liz. :)

…and the rest

Saturday night was great, I had dinner with a few friends and watched the US vs. England World Cup game. We all ended up in the hotel bar for a very sappy goodbye drink (or 3, I don’t actually recall) Which brings me to the last thing I want to point out. I often talk about the “Hallway track” (A term I believe Chris Shiflett coined but I love it and use it often) and the social aspects conferences and I do so for a reason. The goodbye drink was not just a clickish group of speakers wanting to get away from the audience rabble. There were people there I’ve known for years and people I met this week. It is the people that you meet at the conference that you will take home with you.

The knowledge you learned, you will forget. The inspiration you had will fade next week. The friendships however will last. I speak from experience when I say that the friendships I make at conferences help me more – technically and professionally – than any 100 tips or tricks I learn in a session.

The dirty little secret is that the sessions are to convince your boss you need to go. The real value is just hanging around and either making new friends or getting re-acquainted with old ones. The best part of the entire conference for me was a conversation in the lobby of the hotel that had nothing to do with PHP. The other participants probably don’t even realize it was the highlight of my trip. As great as the schedule was this year (and it was awesome, thank you @lornajane) it’s the people and conversation that are the real value of any conference.

Thank you

I started my session by telling everyone I was there shilling for Adobe. I’m not ashamed of it because I love Flex and Flex Builder 4. I would like to say thank you to Adobe. They went to great expense to get me over there and I hope what I did has helped to show a few of the PHP community that Flash (or at least Flex) has a place in their toolbox.

So that’s my wrap-up for the 2010 Dutch PHP Conference. Did you attend? If so, what were your thoughts? What did you see? What did you like? Who did you meet?

Until next time,
I <3 |<