I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to attend the 2014 Lone Star PHP Conference in Addison, TX (Dallas metro area) over the April last weekend in April. I just had to get myself there. Thank you, Lone Star PHP and NomadPHP!
I enjoyed meeting some of the luminaries of the PHP Renaissance, meeting some of the local PHP aficionados, and attending talks. I walked into the conference feeling very much like a n00b and left realizing that I know more than I give myself credit for — I am the very model of a modern major impostor-syndromite.
Some items of particular note: I attended the inaugural PHPBridge course, provided by PHPWomen, and ended up helping a few PHP-ers getting their dev environments set up with Vagrant and VirtualBox. I met Elizabeth Smith (@auroraeosrose), Michelle Sanver (@michellesanver), Matthew Frost (@shrtwhitebldguy), and Davey Shafik (@dshafik)— all of whom were leading the all-day course. In the process of taking the course, I forked the lesson in Github and submitted a few pull requests. I also met a few Texas PHP folks whom I continued talking with after class and after the conference. As I mentioned to several of the course coordinators and students, I plan to take PHPBridge to my local PHP User Group.
The first-afternoon’s keynote was by Alison Gianotto (@snipeyhead) on why web security is important and how to mitigate against security failures. Mind === blown. Snipe is an entertaining speaker and I would have loved to learn more from her.
The after-party was notable in that I met a few PHP luminaries and attended the live-recording of the 3rd “Loosely Coupled” podcast. I talked with Adam Culp (@adamculp) about extreme marathon running, a topic of which I know nothing, and learned a new respect for the sport. I talked for a while with Cal (@CalEvans) and Kathy Evans (@Kateva). I also drank some tasty beers brewed by speaker Omni Adams (@omnicolor. A murder of nerds then headed over to a sushi joint for a late dinner where I sat at a table with Omni, Ben Ramsey(@ramsey), the folks behind PHP Dev Hired (Mike (I didn’t catch his last name) and Lonnie Brown(@lbrown972) and someone else whose name I didn’t catch (sorry!); the conversations spanned the gamut from the deep to the sublime. My miso was meh and I was glad that my sushi order never arrived.
The following day, I attended six talks: Dustin Whittle's (@dustinwhittle) “Silex: From micro to full-stack,” Ralph Schindler’s (@ralphschindler) “Single Page Apps with AngularJS,” Emma Jane Westby’s (@emmajanehw) “Git for Teams of One or More,” Eli White’s (@EliW) “Web Security and You,” Justin Carmony’s (@JustinCarmony)“Top to Bottom PHP Profiling,” and Patrick Mizer’s “Continuous Integration: Stop procrastinating and build often!”
Larry Garfield’s (@Crell) keynote, “Turning Big Ships,” was interesting. He spoke about what one can and should refactor in converting legacy code to something more modern. His example was migrating Drupal from its procedural D7 codebase to the more object-oriented D8. He talked about why one should refactor or re-engineer the small stuff before doing so to the heavy stuff — don’t abandon your userbase; let them get used to the new way before hitting them with the whammy.
The after-party seemed much more relaxed. I talked with Cal and Kathy Evans and Adam Culp some more, had some more of Omni’s homebrew, met a few other folks, and discovered that I stink at playing cornhole.
In all, I had a great time, met some great folks, and was introduced to some new ideas and technologies. I can’t wait to go back!