Zend/PHP Conference – Day 2 – Updated

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. Just for refence's sake, this is being written on Wednesday (10/19) even though it won't go live until Thursday. So if dates seem a bit screwy, just relax. Also, coverage of Day 1 is available.

Today was even bigger and better than yesterday and as a result, it has been exhausting. My head is a bit fuzzy from the onset of a cold.

Things started off early at 8:30 with a presentation from Zend. They gave a bit of history on the company, discussed the appearance and growth of PHP over the past decade and where they thought it was going. They also announced their huge super-duper-take-over-the-world partnership which consists of IBM, Oracle, MySQL, Intel, Actuate, ADP, FileMaker, Schematic, StepUp Commerce, OmniTI, 100days.de, SugarCRM, bebe.com, and Marco Tabini, publisher of PHP Architect Magazine. Whoa. It seems to revolve around their IDE, improving the stack, and getting together with the community. I'm excited to see where it goes.

Next we had Rod Smith from IBM who spoke about where they see technology going and why they're attaching themselves to PHP. It seems that IBM sees PHP coming up strong on Java and taking the lead on the frontend/UI layer and the raw power that is offered amazes them. There was an amazing demo of a Wiki system that they're using internally. With a single line of code, the demo-guy was adding Google Maps, weather maps, etc to their app… with a single line of code on the frontend.

I found this especially interesting because yesterday I was making the point that the main things that PHP was lacking were a) the huge/active community that Java has built over the past decade and b) the heavy-hitters that Java has. It's nice to see these issues being addressed.

Next, I caught a presentation from Matthew Rechs from Schematic where he spoke about Successful LAMP Strategies for Big Business. This was *not* a technical presentation at all. It was essentially a FUD-combat training course which I found fascinating. Most Open Source/Linux/PHP developers have had FUD thrown at them in their careers and having more information and strategies of combating this can only be helpful.

I remember when one less-than-clueful Senior Developer I worked for spent five minutes telling me that “PHD is a crap language”. Then I asked if he meant PHP and he assured me that I didn't know what I was talking about and that it was properly called “PHD”.

The most interesting part was that I was IM'ing with one of my customers and he spoke very highly of Schematic and set up an introduction. They do quite a bit of creative work for customers, mostly in the media realms. Nifty.

Next, I attended Neil Green's presentation on Elements of an Enterprise PHP Framework. He was flying through the material, but covered it in enough detail to point out some of the key factors… such as don't roll your own and that your framework should bend to you, you should not bend to your framework. I really appreciated the Bruce Lee references and demonstrations. 😉 I talked to Neil afterwards a bit about dotProject as a framework and he pointed out a few things that should be considered. His self-rolled framework sounds pretty solid and he mentioned how he deals with the file systems/ftp via polymorphism and remotely zipping files. Interesting stuff, sharp guy.

Update: I can't believe I forgot this the first time around… One of the Keynotes was Marc Andreesen. For the three of you who have no clue who that is and can't Google for it, he's one of the founders of Netscape the IPO of which is credited with being the start of the dotcom boom. He had a 50 minute session, but he spoke for the first 20-30 minutes and then fielded questions for the rest. Hearing his perspective on Javascript, when the web has been and where it might be going was great.

Next, I attended Peter Yared's presentation on Building and Deploying Enterprise LAMP Applications. Quite a bit of it was a blatant sales pitch and why the progression from big iron to distributed. He did show some nifty IDE tools that allow super faster re-theming of pages and building database layers. Pretty nifty.

Finally, I attended Jeff Winner's presentation on Managing Development and Operations Together. This was The Joel Test plain and simple. Maybe he found it completely independent of Joel's checklist, but when you've been actively working to implement a 12 on the test for the past two years, there just wasn't anything to walk away with.

The exhibition floor opened today also, but that is a whole other story, so I'll post that later.