PHPLondon Conference 2008

OK. After the very brief rundown of the day, here is the detail.

The day kicked of with Ivo from iBuildings talking about Enterprise PHP which detailed a rigorous engineering approach to PHP instead of the ‘script kiddies’ approach which some people bring to it because the barrier to entry to PHP is low.

Mike Sullivan and Scott MacVicar from continued the theme with more detail around these topics. I know it is a high level talk but when talks say testing is the way forward and then have trivial examples like assert(2, 2, 4); for a function that adds two parameters. It doesn’t really add much more to the understanding. It would be nice to see more real world example so that people making the shift to the testing mindset see how it really works. Being fair though, this more detailed information is the sort of thing you would expect from a tutorial from Sebastian Bergmann, not 5 minutes in a larger talk.

After lunch I went to Marcus Bointon’s mail talks. This was partly a replacement of Wez Furlong’s talk and partly the talk Marcus was scheduled to give. This partly explains why he ran over as there was a lot of content in the presentation. Mail, despite it’s simplicity is a bit topic and you can imagine that someone who sends millions of opt-in email messages is going to know a trick or two. The best trick that I learned from Marcus was the VERP field in mail messages. This field can be populated so that on receiving a bounce you can identify the person who it was sent to . There are more detail in the slides.

The big showdown session was the “My framework is better than your framework” featuring no less than Code Ignigter, Symfony and the Zend Framework. I stayed for Rob Allen talk on the Zend Framework and then bailed for session in the other track on Project Zero. Once I finished that session I came back to the main room and they were still at it. They were in question mode and from what I could gather they session had been pretty civil. the worst it got was when someone from the floor questioned the implementation of MVC in the frameworks and could you do XY and Z in three clicks. The question was a big aggressive and the speakers did well to politely answer the question and move on. Marcus has a blow by blow account of what happened.

But back to Project Zero. IBM in Hersley and Research Triangle are doing some very interesting stuff with PHP running in a JVM Ant Phillips showed off some great REST applications written in a few lines of PHP that looked very cool.

The last session of the day was from Derek Rethans, who took us through a personal journey of his involvement with PHP and how PHP has improved over the years. It tied into the Enterprise theme that Ivo started with – PHP has grown up and it is not as CIO magazine would have you believe that:

 PHP works well for prototyping because it is easy to get a site up and running. Use PHP to design the site, to determine functional needs and to solve performance bottlenecks—but when it comes time for development, tell the development team you want the result to look and act like this PHP site…but in Java (or another enterprise-ready language).

PHP is enterprise ready.

What is very cool is that out of the conference Derek has already added a date function to PHP 5.3 to take care of creating date with a format. Thanks Derek. I want 5.3 already just for that!

The user group will be linking mp3’s and slides of the main PHPLondon website as they become available. Thanks once again for those that organised the event. It was a great day.

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