MidwestPHPLast weekend, Pablo Godel and I flew to the beautiful -and not as cold as I expected- state of Minnesota to attend the first edition of the MidwestPHP Conference. Once again, ServerGrove was highly involved in the PHP community, being one of the sponsors and sending two talks: “Symfony2 and MongoDB” and “Symfony2 Internals”. We had two days of top-notch talks, excellent food and great networking.

The event took place at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education Conference Center. There were four different rooms to place more than 200 attendees, mostly from Minnesota and neighboring states. The speakers came basically from USA, but some of us came from Europe

Keynote

The conference started with Joel Clermont, presenting his keynote. For an eternal learner like me, I found it really interesting, as I saw most of the errors I’ve made in the last few years while trying to learn new stuff. Joel introduced some useful techniques to improve our learning experience, like pair programming, keeping a positive attitude and setting time-boxed goals. According to Joel, your ability to learn is the most important skill in order to succeed.

My favorite talks

Having 4 tracks ensured we always found an interesting talk. The difficult part was having to miss so many great talks… :) If I had to choose only three, these would be:

  • “Don’t be STUPID, Grasp SOLID”
    Anthony Ferrara is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, and if you join this with passion and good speaking skills the result is fantastic. Anthony explained all the concepts using descriptive -and sometimes hilarious- images. He ended the talk with the “Principle of Good Enough”, good remainder after seeing so many best practices, which means that at the end of the day, a good finished job can be better than perfect but non-working solutions. [ slides ]
  • “Beyond PHP : it’s not (just) about the code!”
    Wim Godden did one of these talks that are sometimes difficult to find in conferences: practical and with real life examples. Wim focused on that small things you change in your code that make a huge difference.
  • “Enterprise PHP Architecture through Design Patterns and Modularization”
    Aaron Saray, author of “Professional PHP Design Patterns”, is a very talented speaker and talked about Data Models, Domain Logic Models, Mappers and Services. It was very interesting to know some of the basics of something we are so used to like Doctrine. [ slides ]

Our talks

The first day Pablo talked about “Symfony2 and MongoDB”, two of the main technologies used in our VPS control panel. He introduced MongoDB, Symfony2 and then explained how to integrate them together through an ODM. [ slides ]

The second day was my turn and I talked about “Symfony2 Internals”. If I am honest, I was a little bit scared as it was my first talk in English, but according to the reviews and ratings, people found it quite interesting! Symfony2 is not widely used in the US but there were lots of Drupal developers eager to learn about the Symfony2 components that will be used in Drupal 8, so I tried to accommodate my talk to their needs with a live-code demo. [ slides ]

Lightning talk

The conference closed with lots of gifts to attendees and the firm intention of the organizers to make MidwestPHP 2014. And when looked like it was going to end, Jeremy Mikola surprised all of us giving an awesome lightning talk about… lightnings! You can see the video here. Stop reading right now and go watch it!

Special thanks

We would like to thank Jonathan Sundquist, Mike Stowe and all the volunteers for their great job. Looked like it wasn’t the first conference at all! Hope to see you next year.

Of course they had to sneak in  some hockey slides... a great talk by Anthony Ferrara:  Don't be STUPID, Grasp SOLID

Of course they had to sneak in some hockey slides… a great talk by Anthony Ferrara: Don’t be STUPID, Grasp SOLID

Dave Stokes talking about MySQL replication.

Dave Stokes talking about MySQL replication.

Josh Broton talked about Responsive Design, he really knows this stuff!

Josh Broton talked about Responsive Design. The dude really knows this stuff!

We met some of our amazing clients like Robert Speer.

We met some of our amazing clients like Robert Speer.

Joel Clermont, gave an inspiring keynote.

Joel Clermont, gave an inspiring keynote.

@mikegstowe nobody hugged us but we were not disappointed.

@mikegstowe nobody hugged us but we were not disappointed.

Our own Raul Fraile

Our own Raul Fraile

Adam Culp travelled to get some cold weather. He should have worn a hat outside.

Adam Culp travelled to get some cold weather. He should have worn a hat outside.