ZendCon 2011 retrospective

Warning: This blogpost has been posted over two years ago. That is a long time in development-world! The story here may not be relevant, complete or secure. Code might not be complete or obsoleted, and even my current vision might have (completely) changed on the subject. So please do read further, but use it with caution.
Posted on 26 Oct 2011
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If there is a top-3 of conferences, ZendCon will be present in that list. It’s probably *THE* conference to be when it comes to PHP development, so how awesome is it when not only you can visit ZendCon, but are invited to speak about one of your favorite subjects? Answer:  VERY awesome :)


ZendCon 2011 was organized in the Santa Clara Convention Center, next door to the Hyatt Hotel in Santa Clara, near San Francisco. This made a perfect combo since you could walk right into the center from the hotel. After arrival, the lobby was already packed with a lot of people so during the evening we’ve spend some time drinking beer and meeting some new (and old) friends. The breakfast, lunch and dinners were excellent (even the IHOP breakfasts).

The opening keynote of ZendCon released the PHPCloud, a Zend Server on the cloud kind of system with some awesome functionality. I’m currently not really able to try it out, but as soon as I do, expect a blog post about it.

Because I’m a regular visitor (and/or speaker) on many conferences nowadays, I’ve seen and heard a lot of talks. ZendCon is no exception which is a cool thing but has a drawback: I’ve visited a lot of talks already. But actually it isn’t that much of a problem since it gives you time and opportunity to talk to other speakers and visitors roaming the hallways in and between talks. A lot of networking, software hacking, and exchanging idea’s take place during such times, so the next time you visit and aren’t sure which talk to visit: try the hallway :-)

Another neat thing about the conference: the amount of swag during this conference was just amazing. I’ve made sure I got some room inside my suitcase for the occasional extra t-shirt, but I seriously had so much stuff that I needed to buy a new suitcase to get everything back home. T-shirts, mugs, stickers, lightning-bolts, pens, you name it. Thanks to all the sponsors from ZendCon. Not only did we collect lot of neat stuff (i always like t-shirts), but it’s a good way to get talking to a lot of companies who do cool stuff.

Puppet for dummies

Thursday morning at 8AM was my presentation on puppet called “Puppet for Dummies”. Because this presentation was the first one of the day, and we have 2 major parties the night before, I was afraid that nobody would have been able to come to the talk because of the hangovers. Fortunately, not many of them had one, or maybe they just did not respond after I asked :).

The presentation itself went pretty good. It’s the second time I’ve did this presentation because of sickness. According to the joind.in feedback, people enjoyed it and hopefully we got some more people hooked on puppet. If you missed it, there will be other times I will do this presentation, so do drop by and attend my talk if you want to hear more about puppet.

Uncon track

This year there was an uncon track organized by Michelangelo van Dam (@dragonBe). During the uncon-track, everybody gets invited to talk about their favourite subject in either a “full talk” of an hour, or through a lightning-talk of 20 minutes.  On Tuesday, one of the first uncon-sessions was one done by me: “the pro-tips for MySQL” talk which was pretty well received by most.

On Thursday, Jeroen Keppens did a very cool presentation about “php in the dark”, a talk about using the php CLI-sapi, writing daemons and all the nifty little tips and tricks that come with it. For Jeroen it was a great way to introduce a new talk, it actually receives such good comments on joind.in that it’s 100% certain we will see this talk in account at a conference near you.

Other great uncon tracks was a talk about freelance entrepreneur ship  with Michael Kimsal and Michelango van Dam and the Introduction of zend framework modules by Even, Ben and Ralph.

Unfortunately, the uncon did not attract as many people as the uncon tracks on the DPC. Hopefully, next year the track will be promoted more.

So in conclusion, ZendCon was awesome. Hopefully next year I will be present again, maybe as a speaker with a “advanced puppeteering” talk? Who knows!