This year I spent more time replying “I don’t know yet” to people who were asking if I was going to PHPNW12 then I did submitting to conferences. I think 75% of all the prominent members of the European Community told me at one point or another that i simply could not miss this conference. After stalling everyone for a while until I sorted out other problems i finally decided (yes, on the week before the conference) that I should go and got budget approval from my employers.
The Conference crew showed just how awesome they are right there, after me doing the “I suck at reading text” dance, they were more then prestative to reach out to me and point to me that I had actually failed to get a conference ticket and had only gotten a tutorials ticket so that I could fix the situation. That is called pro-activity and taking care of our own. They also helped me sort this out as I continued to cause trouble. After we got everything sorted out, with the help of the #php_bnl channel crew also, I got my flights sorted and aligned so that I would fly in with @skoop and geekie. Out little airport adventure I can tell you personally sometime, but lets say I finally heard my name being said in the airport speakers.
After being received at the airport by the awesome @miss_jwo, and having the chance to “pilot” the BBQ at her place at night I got ready for tutorials and the conference. Over the next three days followed an incredible amount of laughs, learning, meeting new people and just general conference awesomeness. The talks were all great, from tutorials to regular sessions and I even got a chance to throw out my “Composer for Busy Developers” talk in the UnCon, great times. The conference also provided multiple opportunities to contribute to projects in official and ad-hoc Hackathons, and I finally got started with some contributions to ProTalk.
The socials and in general the time I spent talking to old friends, new people and PHP developers in general were all great. Community conferences are usually great at this, giving us space to talk, hack, discuss, plan and just generally have fun. PHPNW was a great example of this and the space was very well used for it. Sure there were hiccups, some room size issues and a complete crash of the internet during the hackathon, but those are small close to the passion and dedication shown by the crew and volunteers.
I need to stop and mention these people, they are a key part of this. The PHPNW crew were simply awesome at their job, taking care of problems, reacting fast to them and fixing them whenever possible. When you can say one of your volunteers spent 14 hours in a car picking up speakers from the airport, you can say that you took care of you speakers, really well. I was not a speaker, but I didn’t feel that for a second, I was very well treated by everyone, and especially @miss_jwo and Andy who had me over for BBQ. Congratulations to everyone, you make this conference have the reputation it has.
If you want to know how the technical content was, go check Joind.in, its full of thumbs up. I was particularly impressed by a few talks: The keynote, making us think about our “developer” users when designing our APIs (code and web), Ian Barber‘s great talk on Building a Firehose, it just blew my mind and how BBC built their new Responsive Website. My list of talks I still need to see is huge, and since they will all be out in video, i will be watching them.
So if you are anywhere near the UK and want to learn, grow, meet great developers, have fun and be a better developer, then PHPNW is the place to be in the first weeks of October, trust me, keep an eye out for PHPNW13.