2008 DCPHP Conference – Day 1

Last week saw the third DCPHP Conference happen on George Washington University. This post covers the first day of the conference and was written after everything was done.

The opening keynote was from Kshemendra Paul, Chief Architect for the Office of Management and Budget Executive Office of the President, who talked about their attempt collaboration and coordination going on between the different Federal Agencies. While I found some of his discussion points and examples interesting, there weren't many Fed or govt-types in the audience this time around. In addition, he didn't bring slides, so the url's he shared were spelled out for all to write down. Wha? The dynamic duo from the State of Iowa – Michael Tutty and Tony Bibbs – were in attendance and shared some perspective and ideas, but it simply wasn't relevant to a good portion of the audience.

Correction on 13 June 2008: As noted by Eli White, Mr Paul did provide slides to the conference but due to a miscommunication and/or lack of coordination, he believed that they'd be pre-loaded for him. Therefore, he didn't bring them or a laptop to display them on. That's what I get for missing the first few minutes…

The first and last sessions I caught were from Mike Lively of Selling Source on Automated Unit Testing and Advanced Unit Testing respectively. While I've done quite a bit of Unit Testing – I was a Java guy before a PHP guy – but I hadn't played much with Mocks or the DB testing. Mike gave a great overview of those and really tore into the guts and core of what Unit Testing is and should be about. I walked out armed with a few more tricks ready for next time. Unfortunately, since I sat in the same place in both sessions and took
notes on the same paper, I can't tell which presentation is which in my
head… regardless, I picked up lots of tricks.

The second session was from Eric Mandel and called "How Fast is Fast? Optimizing your Servers". This was a little different than most of the PHP Performance talks – like Eli White's who was in the other room. Eric's presentation was focused on the underlying server configuration exclusively. While the attitude lately seems to be "throw more boxes at it", people often forget that throwing a misconfigured box could just introduce more bottlenecks in unexpected places. Eli White was presenting opposite of Eric on "High Performance PHP & MySQL Scaling Techniques".

Unfortunately, Chris Jones' Keynote on "Accessing All My Data: Directions for PHP and Databases" was lost on me. I was tied up with a customer issue. I've caught his presentations before and he's been a huge advocate and ally in the PHP community, so I'm disappointed over this one.

The next session was from my esteemed friend Tony Bibbs on "Fed Up with the Framework Hype". If you don't know Tony, one of the first things you'll pick up about him is that he's direct. He doesn't dance around the topic and he calls it like he sees it. His presentation is more of the same. He gave some simple reasons (warnings!) on when not to use a framework, when it might be a good idea, and how to handle them appropriately. As much as I enjoy challenging or provoking Tony, he nailed this one.

I skipped the final sessions of the day from Damien Seguy on "Keep PHP Code Under Control" and Eli White on "SPL Iterators".

The day wrapped with a dinner and open bar – sponsored by Sun/Mysql – on the rooftop of the conference center. The weather worked out perfectly unlike DC weather this week.