by Pablo Godel

Just over week ago I travelled to Castellón, Spain (just North of Valencia) to participate in the 2011 Jornadas Symfony, a conference for spanish speaking developers, which in this edition focused on Symfony2 topics. I was honored to be selected to give two talks, and as we also sponsored the conference we had plenty of good reasons to be there.

The conference sold out several weeks in advance and was organized by David Castelló, Javier Eguiluz, Javier López, Nacho Martín, Marcos Labad and Albert Jessurum. The organization was superb in every aspect and the many months they spent preparing the event, the material, and every single detail showed.

Upon arrival, I met several of the organizers, including Javier Eguiluz, creator and maintainer of and the symfony blog weekly updates. David took us to tour the venue at the Universitat Jaume I. The main room was really nice, with very confortable seats, big projection screen, clear audio and fully set up for video recording (all the talks were recorded and will be available to everybody very soon).

On Friday, everybody arrived and the workshops got under way and the participants were introduced to Symfony2 by building an application. They covered the installation and first steps, Doctrine models, Twig views, forms and security , backend, Assetic and more. Soon after lunch was served, which was incredible, there was the option to have paella (look at the picture!) and black rice (rice with squid) – man these Spaniards know how to eat! I opted for the second option and did not regret it, it was amazing! The last talk of the day was an introduction to Mandango by Pablo Diez.

The day did not finish there. After the talks, everybody made a quick stop by the hotel and shortly after a big group got together and went for dinner. We went to a restaurant that served tapas and all sort of spanish food. The quality and abundance of the food was incredible and the atmosphere and talks too (did I mention the food was fantastic again?).

On Saturday, Javier Eguiluz started the day by going deeper into Twig, followed by “Symfony 1” by José Antonio Pío, “Silex micro-framework” by Nacho Martín and a “performance talk” by Asier Marqués. Then it was time to eat again! Lunch was served in a special room where they served Fideguá, which was delicious. After everybody was done, it was my turn to present “Creating mobile apps with Symfony2” where I gave an introduction to building mobile apps with Symfony2, and showcased the deSymfony app adapted for mobile devices (source code is available on Github), and demoed the mobile version of our Control Panel. The talk was very well received and I hope to give it again in some other conference, maybe in English.  After my talk Alvaro Videla presented RabbitMQ, followed by Jordi Llonch from Ofertix who shared tips and knowledge gained from running a site with almost 3 million registered users. The final talk of the day was by Albert Jessurum and was about Symfony2 bundles.

The quality of all the talks was really good, very much at the same level of bigger conferences like Zendcon or Symfony Live but at a very affordable price.

On Saturday night, we headed for the port area of Castellón to eat some more! We ended up in a restaurant where we ate several fish plates prepared in a traditional Spanish manner and talked about PHP, Symfony and our other favorite geeky technologies. Om nom nom nom! It was delicious!

The third and final day of the conference had the unconference talks and workshops which included my second talk “Setting up a productive development environment” where I shared tips on things that I learned over the years and helped me be more productive. The conference ended with a roundtable discussion of Symfony2′s present and future, where several speakers shared ideas on how to improve the conference and Symfony Spanish community. It was a great way of closing up the conference.

In summary, the conference was top-notch. The atmosphere and community around it was really warm and friendly. I was able to meet and talk in person with several Symfony developers, plenty of ServerGrove customers, which is a big plus of going to these events, and the food was out of this world. I can’t wait for next year edition , which may include a couple of English talks. It will be hard for the organizers to do it better but I am sure they will do their best! And hopefully we will be there, how about you?