php|tek 2006 is over, and has been a great conference. Read on for a brief personal recap of the last few days in Orlando, Florida!
I arrived in Orlando late on Tuesday, so I missed the tutorials (I was asked to do one, but had to decline due to scheduling conflicts, this month had been really busy). On Wednesday, however, I got up in time to see Rasmus' keynote on how to get rich with PHP; of course he meant rich internet applications. So his talk featured some really nice AJAX examples that obviously motivated people to go to my AJAX talk that was scheduled right after the keynote. So room was packed with people, quite a few of them had to sit on the floor (or were as bright as Rasmus who came late but found a box he could use to sit upon). So when I was starting to setup my laptop, I found one important ingredient missing: a long cable connecting it with the beamer (there was only a really short one, way too far away from the desk. Well, the organizers somehow overlooked that and tried to find one, but after some minutes I just setup the laptop in the middle of the room. It was quite ackward presenting from there, but I think it went ok. After some time, the desired cable arrived, so I went back to the desk and could continue the presentation as originally planned I think it went quite well, although I wish I have had the ten minutes I lost at the beginning.
Afterwards, Andrei complained because I rasmussed him (his talk on Unicode was at the same time as mine), I apologized , and then I spent a couple of minutes in Sara's session on extending PHP (which at least started really good, and attendees told me she continued as strong), but then had to leave the conference for the rest of a day due to another appointment (which generated some rumors about what I actually did that day ).
So the next day I was finally able to see some talks. I skipped the two (!) keynotes (IBM and Zend) in favor of breakfast, but then went through the rooms. Among the things I saw were John's talk on the Zend Framework, once again a bit of Derick's talk on the date extension, and once again Sara, this time with "How PHP Ticks". Then, it was time for my talk again, this time the security trends one (as one of the attendees told me: the title is so good, it gets copied; that's strange because though I have used this title a couple of times, the talks are always very different, so maybe this was just a mixup). Once again the room was packed, so I am afraid it wasn't me drawing a huge audience, but just the rooms being too small for the conference audience. This time, Rasmus did not find a box to sit upon, so he stood next to the speaking desk and started a couple of discussions during the talk, as did Chris. We really had a great time, and I think the audience, too. Finally, there was a panel discussion comparing frameworks (including eZComponents, PEAR, the Zend Framework, and Symphony). It was quite interesting seeing all these different approaches, including lessons learnt and future plans. Still the session left people confused which framework to use: they all have great features, great potential, and some disadvantages.
Finally, it was time for the conference party. After some drinks and food courtesy of the conference, we hit some bars. Unfortunately, somewhere between the hotel and the first or second bar, the group I was out with was split in half, so I unfortunately missed when some scores were settled. On the other hand, I would probably have had no chance against any of the others.
For some strange reason, many of the attendees were looking quite tired in the next morning, but Derick got them awake with his "Ranting Hour", where first he and then some others started to rant on various annoying aspects of PHP. I especially liked the hubbub in the audience when the topic "GOTO in PHP 6" was discussed
Next up I had to speak again, this time on web services. Very interesting how many people are still using PHP 4, by the way. I am curious how this will change in the next few months, when the work on PHP 6 will gain full speed.
The next session was already the last one; php|arch's conferences obviously always end at lunchtime on the last day. So I came a little late to Johannes Schlüter's talk on the reflection API. He both suffered from the hung-overtired audience and the beamer quality, but finished right on time for the final keynote. And that was already it! I drove with Ilia, Marcus, and Lukas to the airport (just read that the latter almost missed the flight), and then Derick and Johannes joined us for a dinner with a lot of great jokes (I still crack on "bonga bonga"). So whereas the others left, I am staying in Orlando till Monday, so I was able to meet up with Marcus Baker last night when we attended a record release party somewhere in Orlando (and even had some organic food — one week of only fried stuff took its toll). So that's it, the caravan moves on, but I'll see most of these guys again later this year on variousoccasions.
Generally, I found php|tek an excellent conference. The audience was just the right size and really seemed to enjoy it a lot. Organization was excellent, I just wished there were softdrinks during the breaks, and larger rooms. But I doubt that it will be in the same hotel next time anyway. It has not been decided yet where the next installment will be, but later this year, php|works will take place in Toronto. This year seems to have more PHP-related conferences than ever, so the future for the language may really be bright, as Ben speculated.