A few days have passed since we arrived back in the US after almost a week in Paris, and we are still thinking about what an amazing week it was. We blogged about Symfony Live day 1 last week but day 2 was what many people were really anxious about.

The day started with Lukas Smith‘s talk about using the new Symfony components in their own custom framework Okapi. Xavier de Cock’s talk followed, where he displayed a series of good tips on how to get better performance of small sections of code where you would think there is no more room for improvement. These are really useful when your code is iterated several thousands times and beyond, like in his case, an email sender application using SwiftMailer.

Xavier de Cock

The second part of the day was also charged with very interesting talks. Kris Wallsmith talked about deploying Symfony applications to the cloud and he released a very useful plugin for Doctrine to connect to multiple master/slave replicated database servers. Alvaro Videla followed with a fascinating presentation about his experience running and debugging a large site with lots of traffic. They found several areas where Symfony needed some optimizations which now have been added to the latest release. How to make Symfony run faster is always a topic we are interested in. Opening for the main talk of the day, Dustin Whittle from Yahoo explained how they use Symfony in some of their very popular websites. One of his topics was about deploying Symfony applications, where he spoke about a plugin they developed in-house but could not release due to the many ties with their core business. He mentioned that he wants to form a group to research and develop a plugin or process that will ease the task of deploying apps, which is something we have been thinking for quite some time now, and we look forward to be part of that.

Dusting Whittle talks about the importance of caching.

For most of day 1, the Symfony core team challenged the attendees to submit use cases explaining how Symfony helped businesses and individuals improve their applications and operations. We have been developing with Symfony for a while so we have several examples which we can talk about. We decided to go with writing a use case of our Live Chat system which we use on our site and we were honored to have been selected as one of the top use cases! As we mentioned before, we plan to release this software open source, and with the release of Symfony 2.0 we want to use this opportunity to learn the new framework and showcase its power.

At this point, the conference was already a great success. The attendance surpassed any expectations (aprox 350 attendees), the quality of talks and speakers was superb, the social events around the conference brought together the community in a way I had not seen before.  Although we did not get to meet and speak with everybody, we were able to meet with many and this was the most valuable part of the conference. You can look at the slides online, you can watch videos or download code, but meeting the very same people that create, enhance and use the framework is only possible during a conference like this one. May I also add that all this was due to the excellent community growing around Symfony.

Fabien Potencier introduces symfony 2.0

The icing on the cake was when Fabien Potencier presented Symfony 2.0. His presentation was great, you can view the video online thanks to Ben Haines. What he unveiled is a state-of-the-art framework which we think will revolutionize the PHP frameworks’ world. Many of the hard to understand and learn aspects of symfony 1 have been removed or replaced with simpler concepts, “less magic” which tends to also mean “less WTF” problems to quote Jon Wage.  With the power of the dependency injection container, Symfony 2.0 can reach speeds other frameworks could only dream of, and coupled with Doctrine 2, developing PHP applications is going to be fun and easier than before.

Some other interesting notes from the conference:

  • phpBB is considering using Symfony 2.0 for the next version of this super-popular forums software. We were able to meet with Nils Adermann, the new lead developer for phpBB and it looks like he decided to make the switch for all the right reasons. Perhaps we will finally add those forums we keep talking about at ServerGrove.
  • Symfony 2.0 will use components from Zend Framework, initially Zend_Cache and Zend_Log. This makes total sense as many Symfony developers already use ZF components, it is great that the Symfony core team decided to take advantage of some of the high quality code in ZF and avoid re-invent the wheel.
  • Symfony 2.0 has a new website, http://symfony-reloaded.org/ with examples, documentation and of course, the source code of a preview release!
  • There are already plans in progress for the next Symfony conference, but in the mean time, start planning to assist SymfonyCamp in June 2010 and SymfonyDay later this year.

One closing note, as you may know, Symfony 2.0 runs only with PHP 5.3 and above. We have already been offering PHP 5.3 on our VPS accounts for many months and we can install symfony 2.0 for you if you want to test drive it, but bear in mind that like Symfony 2 our support for 2.0 is also in alpha but we hope to get up to speed soon enough. That being said, we are very interested in hearing feedback from people who have tested 2.0 on our VPS accounts.