ZendCon07 – Day 1, Part 1 – Kickoff

This is the first half of coverage of Day 1 of ZendCon 2007. The tutorials day is covered here – ZendCon Day 0.

The morning began with the opening keynote from Harold Goldberg, the CEO of Zend. He started with some initial thoughts and comments thanking the bloggers and reporters providing coverage and then dove into the thick of it. He gave some background on himself and what he's doing at Zend – he's only been there for nine months – and what is happening with PHP in general. I was impressed with what he did next. He gave an overview of various major PHP projects – most having nothing to do with Zend – and as he talked about the projects, he identified the involved developers in attendance and introduced them. After the drubbing that the tech guy got last year, I thought this showed a lot of consideration and credit. Nice job.

The second half of the keynote was given by Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski. They built upon the community announcement slides made at 2005 and talked about what Zend has done in that space since. DevZone, ZendFramework, and PDT (PHP Development Tools) for Eclipse are the biggest things here, but the new announcement is the Zend Studio for Eclipse*. It's interesting as its both a major vote of confidence and support for Eclipse but it also signals a shift in strategy for the ZendIDE… I don't know if it's being deprecated, but personally I wouldn't mind one bit.

* Disclaimer: I've been following this project – codenamed Neon – since the MySQL Conference this past spring and have been a user for the private beta. It's nifty and pretty handy… and I think it's almost ready for production. As of this announcement, I can talk about it now. Yea!

The third half of the keynote was dedicated to some announcements and attempted show and tell. IBM tried to show their QEDWiki… but the network didn't cooperate. They handled it well and managed to bring it up for the end of the keynote. Their lead guy built a simple stockticker tracker/command center in three minutes. Yes, three minutes. I've been wanting to play with it for two years… and now I can. It's available for download.

The fourth and final half of the keynote was from Microsoft. They followed on their announcement from last year and talked about their efforts with FastCGI which is now available for download – http://iis.net/php – imagine that, the PHP logo on a Microsoft site. But more importantly, IIS7 and Windows Server 2008 support PHP out of the box and as of this week, there's a SQL Server 2005 driver for PHP. Despite not being a Windows user anymore, I have to admit that it's good seeing them getting engaged in the community.