PHPUK Conference 2010

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Business Design Centre – 26th Feb 2010

A brilliant day, albeit one slot had zero interest for me.

Firstly we were greeted rather half-heartedly by the bloke who ran the show – Scott Macvicar, which went on to a talk about the simplicity of development. Really good – for the first 30 mins, then it seemed like he was repeating himself a lot, that talk could’ve been half as long. However, such as it was and was actually a really good talk. I like any other developer, loves knowing that he/she holds the only knowledge to how an api works and making brilliant and inspired choices when it comes to problem solving. This is not a good thing though. In commercial development, knowledge sharing, convention, simplicity is key. It was very useful to be reminded of this.

The second talk I attended was on AntiPHPPatterns. It was so interesting to learn just how much new applications are reliant on old technologies! I agree with Stefan Priebsch that globals belong back in the dark days of PHP4 and was seriously shocked, but quite amused by the fact that a previous framework I’ve worked on beat them hehehe. There were constants just to define something along the lines of INDEX_CATEGORY_LIST_ITEM_1_FONT_SIZE etc etc. I think that’s been addressed in the new rewrite thank goodness! It was also good to have a suspicion of mine confirmed that singletons are rarely appropriate in PHP and are used far too much! What’s the point when PHP is single threaded. I can see the point of static variables and classes obviously but the pattern is somewhat designed for multi threaded languages like Java etc. Thanks Stefan!

After a quick break to go get my freebies (disappointing this year I’m afraid, not an ElePHPant in sight!) I was sat down again to listen to a lecture on the new features of PHP 5.3. This was really informative as I have yet to find time to really experiment with it. I’m super excited about namespaces but will admit I took a while to grasp the point of anonymous functions that Fabien was giving us. It all seemed a rather too complex answer to a problem. Nice to know that dependency injection is something that more and more people are addressing. Symfony claims to have the only commercial “Injector” which prepares your objects. I may be being a bit stupid, but I failed to see the point when you can’t store the dependencies to be called (thereby still having to remember what to give the injector to prepare…). I would be really excited to take that forward to the point where not only is dependency injection stablised through the injector, but also without the object being created knowing about the injector, and the injector not caring what dependencies it’s given without the logic having to “hard remember” what it needs. I have built a service locator in the past with handles exactly how to create objects (each call is $locator->getSessionServer()) etc etc and the locator (along maybe with the injector) would give you exactly what you need each time. Of course, this may be going a bit far, but I’m not the only one who’s had that idea…….

Lunch was an MSG fest (turns out all kinds of stock is banned therefore the stew was a bad move) so I pretty much tried not to vomit/pass out/fall asleep through the next lecture on CouchDB. A very similar app to MongoDB which was talked about at work by one of the senior developers. I must say, Jon’s talk was more eloquent and easier to take on board without feeling that inherent mistrust in schemaless dbs. I would say more – but I was suffering rather so wouldn’t like to comment. This was the slot where I just couldn’t decide. I’d also just won Windows 7 Pro and was rather unhappy at not winning an XBox. I use Ubuntu and left Microsoft behind yonks ago…. Never mind! It’s still good to win 😀

The next talk sounded really promising on paper as it was going to include monitisation for mobile. Turns out it was just about how to use the PayPal API. Rather dull and look, it’s another API, when I need it, I’ll read the docs. I’ve integrated with enough 3rd party APIs to know what I’m doing. An ex-colleague of mine walked out as he was so unimpressed. I lolled :)

The last talk I attended (along with the rest of my colleagues who it was really nice to spend some time out of the office with and get to know them a bit more) a lecture about the design and development of Web Services. I was super chuffed to realise that I actually knew most of what she said and the things she does as best practise – I do too. Big Woop! Maybe I should’ve gone to that IBuildings interview after all….. The talk was given by someone from there called Lorna Mitchell who is a rather well known specialist and it was the first time I’d seen her talk. Very informative and I didn’t fall asleep. Good start.  My favourite development also being building standalone APIs, I had a good end to the conference.

My rather genius boss won a trip to the US for being super clever so we were all happy :)

All in all – a good day. But note to PHPUK – more ElePHPants next time please!

3 Comments on “PHPUK Conference 2010

  1. Sorry about the welcome, I had flu that day and didn’t want to skip out.

    Other than that thanks for the feedback, http://www.joind.in is also good for speakers.

  2. Oh now I feel bad… well done for battling on with flu!

  3. I would appreciate more visual materials, to make your blog more attractive, but your writing style really compensates it. But there is always place for improvement

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