Zend/PHP Conference – Day 1

This week I'm attending the Zend/PHP Conference & Expo in San Francisco and I thought I'd share some notes on the initial presentations.

The first day (18 Oct) was made up of 3 hour long tutorials. I went to XML, Web Services and PHP (SOAP & REST) by a smart guy named Christian Wenz. The first half was almost entirely a background on XML and different XML Technologies. There have been some incremental improvements over the past 4 years that I've been doing it, but nothing significant.

The interesting part of the presentation was the second half. Christian started going into details about the XML libraries which are available with php5 and php5.1 Wow. I've been stuck in the php4 area due to having to maintain compatibility with dotProject and we've missed out. He did a good job laying out the options and convincing me to switch because of what I'm missing out on. If you're interested in reading a bit of his stuff, check out his weblog and his newly released book: PHP Phrasebook… and a “phrasebook” is just like a “cookbook”.

The afternoon presentation that I went to was George Schlossnagle's presentation on Building Scalable PHP Applications. He hit about 10 main points that should be a developers' first consideration in building their apps. It consisted of things like “Use the right tool for the job” which was in reference to caching/database access and RegEx usage. He also went over some profiling and pointed out the fact that optimizing a single component can only give you as much benefit as that component uses. For example, it's probably silly to optimize something that takes 1% of your runtime when a single process takes 50% of your runtime.

The major downside was that he had some sort of DaVinci theme on his slides with a screwy font and that made them difficult to read at times, but the information and perspective offered was great for established developers or newcomers.

Tomorrow I'll post about Zend's announcement this morning…