As I write this, I’m sitting at the 2007 Vancouver PHP Conference. In fact, I’m sitting in the “Lightning Talks” session. Going to conferences is one of my favourite parts of my job. Yes, that’s right—going to conferences is part of my job. I love being exposed to new ideas and new concepts, and attendees can get a fair dose of this at most respectable PHP conferences, at speaker-led
sessions. At this conference, for the first time, I had the opportunity to give my own talk—based on my article in Volume 5 Issue 12, PHP Phone Home.
It was well attended, and I think it went pretty well. People generally seem pretty excited about VOIP, especially when they hear that it’s simple to connect their Web apps to telephones. Talks aside, my absolute favourite part of conferences is meeting and
speaking with my friends, the speakers. I see them a few times a year, and it’s nice to be able to catch up, on “Real Life,” as well as their projects in the PHP world.
The meeting of PHP’s collective minds is an invaluable asset to PHP development. Many of PHP’s best features were coined over a beer (or 3), between developers speaking at a conference. PDO is an excellent example of this. Recently, there’s been some buzz in the PHP world about the value of conferences, and it’s a bit difficult for me to speak out, publically. Obviously, we, at php|architect have a bias toward the value of conferences—we do run multiple conferences every year, after all. If you can possibly believe that I’m able to separate our conferences with PHP conferences in general, though, hopefully my ultimate endorsement of conferences can carry some weight.
It’s very rare that PHP core developers (and non-core php.net community members) are able to meet and discuss things openly, without their inten tions being fogged with the plaintext of mailing lists. It’s so much more effecient to discuss things face-to-face, and thus so much easier to accomplish great things—or at least plant ideas that may some day sprout into great
things.Conferences serve as the great enablers for these in-person meetings, and in my opinion, are one of the cornerstones of the PHP ecosystem.
If you’ve never been to a conference, you really owe it to yourself to attend one, and bask in the wisdom that flows freely from great (and not so great) PHP minds—it will likely change your outlook on the community as a whole.
Happy reading, and I hope to see you soon. I’d love to shake your hand and welcome you to the party.