A day of code... - Grin with cat attached — LiveJournal
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A day of code... Feb. 23rd, 2007 09:01 pm
which still, somehow leaves me feeling like it's a Saturday evening rather than a Friday one, so I think I won in there somehow. On the downside, I've had three cups of coffee today, so am uncertain how well I'm going to sleep later (although I'm yawning fairly enthusiastically right now).

Today was the php-uk conference; when I attended last year I was the only person from the company; this year I took my team of three coders who I've hired in the meantime. It was better organised than last year (which was the first one) - the organising team have evidently learned from several of their mistakes and generally it worked pretty well.

The speakers this year were apparently chosen more for their presentational abilities than their uber-geek-fu, but the technical level was still pretty high (and I think had increased among the audience too). The only "name" (or at least one that I'd recognise) was Rasmus Lerdorf, who invented the language in the first place. Besides being a "founding father" and a very strong technical speaker, he's also an excellent engineer with a real drive for efficiency and quality. Rather than give us some outdate "wot I wrote" speech, he focussed on optimisation, profiling and security, issues about which he's clearly passionate. I think I learned plenty from that talk, particularly about the use of valgrind/callgrind to acheive 100-fold performance increase! (ymmv). Much of the security stuff I'd learned a while back, including from a previous talk he gave.

The best speaker though was a guy by the name of Kevlin Henney. He had, by his own admission, pretty much zero experience with PHP. His technical capability however was clear, and he gave an excellent "outside view" of the language, and of some thoughts on OOP that are often missed. His delivery led me to think he moonlights as a stand-up comic.

Continuing through the day in reverse order, there were also good talks on SOA/SDO in PHP, and a talk on "My First Mashup" which had a certain overlap. Particularly useful content: JSON, the (as yet unpolished) SOA framework, and an update on google's geographical APIs.

I've missed the last talk from this list; it was vaguely interesting but *completely* offtopic, to the extent that I felt mildy annoyed with the organisers for including it. ISTR I wrote last year that Harry Fuecks' talk wasn't suitable for a "single stream" conference; this one was far less so. Still, at least this year there was no Matt Zandstra.

The conference finished at 5, and I skipped the free-beer-and-blogathon in favour of getting some shopping done. I'm now feeling fairly wiped, and seem to have set on the sofa, with a vaguely social feeling of going out, but no real energy to follow up on it. For some reason my feet feel like I've walked halfway 'round London. Still, it was a very rewarding day technically, and I'm very glad I attended. I'm just sorry I missed FOWA this week.

Having got the shopping done tonight tomorrow looks faily clear. Sunday, I'm going out with the London Photo Meetup Group again.
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