A Small Intro..
PHP North West 2014 was the first PHP Conference ever that I attended. I was full of emotions and excitement – this conference has a special meaning to me, it was like a ‘magical dream but in reality!‘ (Urm, I hope you get that craziness, passion involved here).
I was sponsored fully to attend PHPNW14 at the very last minutes – Read the whole story here!
The PHPNW Conferences aim to improve the skills of delegates whilst providing a platform for discussing the latest technology and innovation.
The Conference is the largest of its kind in the UK, outside of London. Magma Digital played a key role in organising the event and were proud to be Gold level sponsors for the 7th year running.
‘It’ Was There In Front of Me!
I arrived in front of the Manchester Conference Centre at around 9 a.m and my heart was throbbing – that’s it I was there – wow, how, magical! I could hardly realise all the emotions inside me, my wife whispered: “Wasseem you made it!!
That’s the place where PHPNW is being held!“. Yes in case you are asking, I was there with my wife. That’s not something strange as I believe Cal Evans is also accompanied by his lovely and talented wife Cathy at some conferences.
Yeah, I would *so* like to tread Cal Evans’ steps – that guy is an emblematic and sensational person aaand a phenomenal community guy! (HINT: See Cal Evans – The Icon Of The PHP Community). But that (my wife being with me) was not planned, it just turned out to be that way and that way it nicely was!
Door-Welcome by The Amazing Jenny Wong
As soon as I entered that first door, I was greeted by a yellowish-dressed young lady – she was of course Jenny Wong aka Miss Jwo. I recognised her instantly – we had skype video conversation 2 days before as she helped me a lot in sorting out my train tickets and so many other stuffs.
Jenny is someone very active and helpful beyond limits – that’s an amazing spirit! And no wonder she was one of the volunteer helper person in the #phpnw14 team.
She’s been very helpful to my wife too as she guided her to have a trip round Manchester while I was attending the conference – Jenny my wife also says you are simply too cool! #CommunityIsAmazinglyHelpful
Early Morning Registration
I set my feet inside the Manchester conference centre. There I saw the notice board and the welcome banner. I got down that small staircase and I was greeted warmly by Emma Parker.
She recognised me instantly and said she was Emma – we previously exchanged emails a few days back. She was someone very welcoming, always having a nice smile. She knew this conference was my first, so she helped me getting accustomed to the stuffs – she was just brilliant – thank you very much Emma.
Then I did the round of the tables, collecting my #phpnw14 t-shirt and the swags. Yay! My first conference swags – awesome! Thank you EVERYONE! #BeingThereWithCommunityIsHappiness
The Welcome Speech By Jeremy Coates
The first room was completely crowded, so I had to take the 2nd one. This meant we were seeing like a live virtual video of Jeremy who was talking in the other room.
Jeremy Coates is a fantastic guy and as you know he’s the founder/organiser of the PHP North West Conference. His insight, his courage, his perception, his motivation, his professional attitude, his passion for the community, his eagerness to sustaining this conference to the quality and magnitude are beyond perfection!
I say sustain because I already heard countlessly among the PHP Community folks that this conference was one of the greatest and most brilliant conference of its kind. #CommunityIsPassion
After being there myself, I can only confirm that statement when I see how things are done conscientiously coupled with how the “community spirit & warmth of a family” are the backbone of everything in there.
I had the honour and pleasure to have had a few chats with Jeremy – I could see that flaming passion inside him. I could see how far-sighted he is.
I could feel how humbled & more-determined-than-ever he was (is?) to sustaining PHPNW to the level he and his team (the amazing Magma Digital Team) brought ‘it’ into! Jeremy hats off to you and your team, may God Bless all of you to keep that kind of humble, sincere, pure and vibrant spirit going on and on and on! #CommunityIsFamily
Day 1 – Keynote by Anthony Ferrara
Anthony, developer advocate for Google Inc. & PHP security expert, delivered the keynote on “PHP Changed the World of Programming“. I have always heard good things about Anthony’s talks and I have been hearing him on podcasts and all, but being there and actually attending his talk was awesome!
He made an inspiring talk and I’m sure he incited most of the people to the way ‘by working together as a community it is possible to achieve miracles‘. This guy is thought-provoking.
Even thing that seems otherwise trivial, starts to flow like something ingenious inviting the listener to react in himself: “go take that step, you are responsible to make things happen, you are responsible for the rise (and fall) of a whole community – so make the right decision!” He spoke about the dangers of forking a community, I completely agree to the wave that’s been emerging more and more recently: ‘splitting communities‘.
I’m not saying that if you make a GreatThing Y, you should not make a community around it – by all means if you are passionate, do it! *But* it’s your (ethical) responsibility to educate and inform your community to acknowledge, respect, contribute and boost the root – The PHP Community.
[A true Hero you are, if you do this] As Anthony said: “amazing things can be achieved if we unite as ONE Community”. #CommunityWorks
Davey Shafik – The Best Bits
I attended Davey’s talk. He was also among those guys that I wanted to listed to. He talked about ‘PHP 5.NEW: The Best Bits‘. He made a good summary of all the new things in the recent PHP versions.
But I felt the pace was too fast and I did not have time to digest the examples. The ‘iterator’ part seemed to be a bit confusing though (to me perhaps I was too much overloaded with emotions).
Since there were so many list of stuffs to be accounted as new features/changes, I do agree though it’s not a simple thing to deliver in a talk – so I would say it was a good job.
On the side, I was very happy to meet Davey Shafik in person. He is a very humble, friendly and interesting guy. His passion for The PHP Community and his job at EngineYard is fascinating. I would strongly recommend you read his ‘On Love, Open Source, and Community‘.
One thing that amazed me, is that he always goes almost everywhere with his big pink #elephpant in his left arm, incredible relationship in there. And I was very touched when I came in front of him and said: ‘hey Davey Shafik, I’m Khayrattee 7PHP’, he immediately came to shake hands while saying: “Oh, 7PHP!”. Thank you Davey, you rock! #elephpantIsAnAmazingFriend
Hey Sara Golemon!
Before I went to listen to Sara’s talk on “What a Hack!”, I met her while I was on my way to a cup of coffee. (damm UK’s got some incredibly-good coffee, I miss that!) I still remember I saw Sara crossing my path and I immediately shouted with enthusiasm: “Hey Sara!!” – yeah I was so happy to see her. Then she turned back to see and she seemed puzzled.
Then I said “I’m Khayrattee of 7PHP”. I was yet again overwhelmed as she said “oh 7PHP” and there she came to shake hands.
Back to her talk, Sara is a very lively and jovial speaker. I like her voice tone and the way she can entertain her audience to keep them ‘in the flow’ with her. She’s a good speaker with no doubt. She’s very knowledgeable, very intelligent and knows her stuffs too well.
From her talk, you can feel the passion that she has. It was a good talk on HHVM, although I admit I could not digest all in there – it was too overwhelming for me all that at once. But definitely an informative talk with objective point of views.
Jenny Wong’s Uncon Talk
Just after having a quick (yummy) meal for lunch time, I rushed to attend Jenny’s uncon talk which was timed inside the lunch time actually. I was not to miss her talk as it was about ‘Integrating Communities’ and I felt she had a lot to say and show.
Besides I love to stay tuned to community that this was a talk I would never had missed. I entered the small room, it was almost filled. I sat just behind Anthony Ferrara who was having his awesome Canon ready for some shots.
Jenny was phenomenal [full-stop]. She was amazing, she had a lot lot lot of energy + passion + commitment + caring attitude for what she was talking about: “helping the WordPress Community integrate the wider PHP Community“.
You could feel how she was true and connected to that cause. Wow! Jenny for me you were the winner of uncons in there and you won the respect, admiration and consideration of so many of us – wish you all the very best in your WordPress_Bridge-in_Community! #CommunityBridgesRelationships
Live Coding With Derick Rethans
Derick rethans, the father of Xdebug, talked about ‘Debugging: Past, Present and Future‘. He of course walked us through using Xdebug and then PHPdpg. What I enjoyed in this talk was that Derick did a live coding (as you can see in the pic below).
It kept me curious as to what he was doing, how he was doing it and the tools he was using. I appreciate the fact he showed complete honesty and he was being natural. (Those who were there, will definitely relate to what I’m talking about).
The one thing that could be improved though, Derick should have planned his talk, because you (or at least me) could see he was improvising. I strongly believe meticulous planning and a rehearsal would have made his talk stood out as an A or A+.
Else, I interviewed Derick back in Jan 2013, so meeting him now in person was awesome!
Michelangelo van Dam’s Uncon Talk
Michelangelo van Dam, our own 7PHP Rockstar, came on the set-piece like a PRO Ninja Turtle – he was full of confidence and he talked about ‘learning how to test legacy code‘. He has some pretty effective way of making code testable. He is a methodological guy.
Overall, His talk was to the point with good advice hints. He showed us how he selected an existing legacy project from github and how he proceeds into making that codebase testable. Since it was an uncon, I would say the talk lived to expectation and I see it personally as an amazing ‘teaser to his incoming con talks – whichever place that would be‘ and thus I give him a 10/10 uncon talk.
Aside from that, if you see it as a potential conf talk, I would say Michelangelo could opt for a live coding session going meticulously through each step – that would be awesome. (As I know challenges fear him, he could probably be doing it already)
Btw, do you know what’s the difference between an Uncon & a Con? Read: What Is An UnConference (uncon) & How Is It Different From A Conference? Michelangelo van Dam Explains!
After the talk, I followed Michelangelo (not refering to twitter here) and we had a good chat. One thing I really want to bring forward to those that know him only virtually: Michelangelo is a true passionate community guy, he would do anything and everything he cans for the sake of The PHP Community. He stays true and honest to that cause.
So ALL that he preaches ONLINE, he is EXACTLY what you see in him in REAL-LIFE. It’s like ‘what you see is what you get’. And this is something that really goes beyond in oneself!
Btw a little secret, if you want to make him stop from ‘breathing+eating+sleeping’ PHP, just stop his Coffee intake; it’s actually like depriving the ninja turtle with pizza – goodluck! 😛
Last Talk for Day 1: Anthony Ferrara => Beyond Design Patterns
As goes with the french saying: ‘qui commence bien fini bien‘ (meaning what starts nicely, must finish nicely as well). So Anthony Ferrara delivered yet another awesome talk for the last one of DAY 1, this time on ‘Beyond Design Pattern’.
Enough has been said about this guy, his talk and his personality = (Wise + Smart + Expert knowledge + Inspiring + A great way of communicating his message + effective & efficient talk). Anthony is simple ‘brilliant beyond brilliance‘. I can’t see any improvement here.
Evening Meal & Social
Late afternoon I went to explore Manchester at night and to try a kebabish-meal with my wife somewhere, after which I got back to the Conference Centre. I met a couple of unknown people, I exchanged some words and then I saw everybody drinking beers and all.
I have to admit that I felt a bit awkward as I do not drink. But then I tried looking for Michelangelo (via twitter) and he came around immediately. Aaand damm we had a good time with Mr van Dam!
We had a good chat and a nice photo-booth fun (thanks to Jenny who dragged us in there) as you can see from the pic below. After that I went to have another night walk around Manchester with my wife, as it was the first time we went to UK and specially Manchester.
Sorry guys I did not stay for the evening social, and to participate in the card game – a game which I was told that Skoop aka Stefan Koopmanschap excels at!!
DAY 2 – Anthony Ferrara for High Performance PHP
The 1st talk of Day 2 started early at 08:45. But as it was my last day at Manchester, I opted to go for a day-walk with my wife to explore some other parts of Manchester. I was back in time for a 3rd talk by Anthony this time on High Performance PHP.
This talk was really very technical and seemed to be complex (and it sure was), but Anthony really presented it in a welcoming manner which captivated us. Again, Ferrara has been lethal in his talk – the level of mastery that this guy has in the Programming world, is amazing!
Closing Keynote By Volker Dusch
Volker Dusch presented ‘Your Mileage Should Vary’ and man, he made a terrific presentation. I had clapped so many times during his presentation, he blew us completely with his nice voice tone, his humour, the feelings and emotions he linked with life scenarios and above all his messages.
Wow, this guy should talk at all conferences, really!! (“The best choice, is actually to make one yourself” ~ Volker)
Improvements For #PHPNW
- One thing actually annoyed me though, it’s because the uncon talks and con talks overlapped – I identified both an uncon talk and a con talk that I really wanted to attend both, but I could not simply because they were scheduled as the same time.
- Secondly, several good conf talks were at the same time. While you can view the video afterwards, I do want to attend each as I’m already there and want to get that LIVE experience.
I’m not sure what’s the best solution here, but Organizers work on this by any means please – thank you!
Other Awesome People that I Met At #PHPNW14
The Coates’ Family
I was really honored to meet the Coate’s family – an awesome family and I was honored to have had a few word exchanges with them, I would like to convey my humble thanks and gratitude to the Coates’ family: Jeremy, Priscilla, Emma & Sir Ian Coates. You all rock!
PS: I’m sorry about the quality of this image, it’s unfortunately blurry 🙁
Stefan Koopmanschap aka Skoop
I’ve finally met Stefan, he is one of those guys that I was looking forward to shake hand with. Stefan you are awesome dude! Was honored & very happy to meet you!
Also Stefan is the owner at Ingewikkeld and he gives his staff and ‘4 + 1’ day scheme where 1 day per week the team spends entirely on open source projects – that is an amazing thing to do! I just wished every company that PHP, would implement such a humble deed!
PS: I interviewed Stefan back in Jan 2012 and meeting him in person now is an amazing feeling.
Jordi Boggiano & Derick Rethans
I had the priviledge to meet two awesome creators: Jordi Boggiano the Composer guy and Derick the Xdebug guy whom I interviewed back in Jan 2013.
Michelle Sanver – PHPwomen Co-President
I was also delighted to meet the co-president of PHPwomen, Michelle Sanver – whom I interviewed back in Oct 2013. I find her to be too cool of a person and very good at heart.
When I saw her and presented myself, there was nothing to be said as “the community-fellowship and passion of our cause was there” – she instantly gave me a PHP-Hug. Michelle you were fantastic!
Paul Dragoonis – The PPI Framework Guy!
I was very happy to meet Paul Dragoonis whom I have interviewed twice back in Jan 2013. Something that really touched me, was that Paul came to look out for me. Suddenly I saw him in front me handing his hand for a shake and presenting himself and saying it was his pleasure to meet me.
He extended so much good thoughts and support to me. *I was humbled*. Paul you are an awesome and very welcoming guy, I really appreciate all your kind words and support!
James Titcumb – One of the Organisers Of The PHP Hampshire User Group
I interviewed @Asgrim aka James Titcumb twice back in June 2013 and when I saw him I can just say: he’s a rocking guy! I like his personality, very confident, having his own voice and very gentlemen. James I was really happy to meet you!
Mike van Riel – The Rockstar behind PHPdocumentor
Yes, I met Mike van Riel: the lead of PHPdocumentor a project which he re-ignited from the dead! He’s someone that I was (and am) looking forward to interview. Very happy to meet him in person. Mike is a gentleman, he seems very meticulous and a jovial guy.
Lorna Jane Mitchell – The Project Lead Of Joind.in
I still remember I was sitting at the almost empty room of #phpnw after the final talk on that Saturday afternoon, I was having a lot of emotions going on in myself as I was still not believing I was there. Oops then just suddenly I saw two female faces in front smiling happily, they were Emma and Lorna. I believe Emma told Lorna I was 7PHP.
Then I walked towards them and I was really humbled to see Lorna reaching out so welcomingly and happily. I almost *blushed* at that time. I still remember that moment. Next to them was Rob Allen who was next them as well..
PS: I interviewed Lorna – twice in 2012 & 2013
Rob Allen – Author Of the book ‘Zend Framework in Action’
Really delighted to meet Rob Allen, who I was honored to interview back in Nov 2012. After he heard 7PHP, he was very enthusiastic to shake hand with me – I’m really humble and thankful, you rock Mr Rob Allen!
Mark Baker – Awesome Creator of The PHPOffice library suite
I was enthusiastic to meet Mr Mark Baker, the awesome guy behind one of the most amazing open source projects: the PHPOffice library suite. I have been using PHPExcel so much last year, it saved my arse so many times and generating microsoft excel files perfectly and as I wanted.
I was just sad I could not take a picture with him although we had a small intro/chat, thanks to Lorna & Rob who took me over to Mark in the lobby. But hopefully I somehow took a picture of him without realising (at that time) ..
The Omnipresent Cal Evans
Cal Evans was unfortunately not there at PHPNW, but he made his presence felt to me. He awesomely sent some cool NomadPHP and Pantheon (the generous & awesome sponsors of 7PHP.COM’s web hosting) Stickers to me via Mike van Riel. That was sooo coool from him! Thank you very Cal and looking forward to finally meet you *soonish*!!
I had a really really fantastic time. All those moments, I will cherish for a life-time. I was so sad to leave on that final day! I would like to thank each and everyone of you who contributed in my happy ‘trip’ there, you all are lovely people – I love you all! I do sincerely hope I can be back next year *being positive*.
Overall, PHP Nort West Conference was AWESOME! The way this conference was planned, is remarkable. And the entire crew was so friendly, supportive, attentive and jovial. There was a true family-togetherness in there. I guess that’s what we term as #CommunityIsFamily.
Viewing All Talks At PHPNW14
You can view all the talks and some slides on joind.in here!
Brett The Camera Guy
Also, I want to give props to the camera guy, Brett – man you did a great job with the videos, you rock! I was very honored to know you, I do hope we meet again! I find you very friendly and very helpful – wish you plenty of success ahead!
*hats-off to you dear PHP Community*
//Khayrattee aka 7PHP