Having never been to a conference before I didn’t know what to expect from one of the larger UK PHP events. I regularly watch conference talks on youtube, so I was keen to see how attending compared.
Looking at the three-track schedule, the topics on offer were varied. There were framework specific talks on Zend and Slim. Security dos and don’ts, sysadmin setups and what’s new in PHP. The diversity in talks was also reflected in the in the diversity of delegates. Every developer I talked to used a different stack in their day jobs. It was great to gain ideas from outside of your own silo and see just how big the community is.
One of my favourite parts of the conference was the “uncon” room. This gave the event a bit of a music festival vibe. If you ventured down a maze of corridors. You could find a small room where speakers had an open mic to perform talks that were picked on the day. At the end of the first day, I managed to catch a great talk on a new learning tool call PHP School.
I got a lot out of the technical talks over the two days. But I think the most memorable were the meta-talks. These are the type of talks that I would pass over while on youtube, but made the conference worth attending. Listening to Gary Hockin’s closing keynote on contributing to open source and the effect on his career, it’s hard not to feel enthusiastic about the industry we work in.
I think going to a large conference is a great way for developers to stay inspired and mark a year at work. I’m looking forward to attending in 2017.