Last week we participated in deSymfony, the Spanish Symfony conference. It was really amazing to see how in a few years this conference has grown to become the largest Symfony conference of the year with over 400 attendees. There were twenty three excellent talks, a workshop, and an unconference.

Pablo Godel and Raul Fraile in deSymfony

A bit of history

deSymfony was started in 2010 by David Castelló and Javier López. The first conference had 92 attendees and was a huge success in part because it focused on a single framework. Since then Symfony has become really popular in Spain, in part thanks to deSymfony. Unlike previous years, this years conference was in Madrid instead of Castellon, where it was previously held. The venue was the Escuela Universitaria de Informática de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.

Our support

Having sponsored deSymfony since year one, we were once again on the sponsor list. We love supporting such initiatives, and even more with deSymfony, whose organizers have become good friends.

Two of the talks were given by ServerGrove team members: “Building Web Apps from a New Angle with AngularJS”, by Pablo Godel, and I gave a talk about “Refactoring PHP/Symfony2 apps”. Pablo introduced AngularJS, a JavaScript framework we use in our control panel giving tips on how to integrate it with Symfony2 and Twig. My talk was to motivate people to refactor as a continuous process and not only when things go bad; always looking for perfection based on best practices. You can find all the slides in Spanish here, but I also made available an english version.

My opinion

Most of the talks I attended were interesting and I learnt at least one thing in all of them but if I had to choose the three talks to highlight they would be:

  • “Scalability and high performance with Symfony2” – Ricard Clau
    Brilliant talk. Ricard is one of these people that always has something interesting to share. I specially liked when he spoke about the dark science of benchmarking. If you are interested, his blog post “APC vs Zend Optimizer+ Benchmarks with Symfony2” is a great resource.
  • “Silex to the limit” – Javier Eguiluz
    Javier is a top-notch speaker. I especially liked his tips about performance and optimizations, both for Silex and PHP. If you follow me on twitter, I have “admitted” several times that I love micro-optimizations. Yes, I know the performance gain is small for typical sites, but can be a huge improvement when your software is used by thousands of people every day. Also, it’s a way to get intimate with your code, as well as the particularities of the language.
  • “Testing applied in Symfony2” – Marcos Quesada
    Marcos introduced us to the “green world” of testing. As the pace of the talk was quite high I recommend you to take a look at his slides, they are pure gold! One of the things I liked most is that Marcos has a practical approach to testing. He knows that in reality it’s hard to have a 100% code coverage or that testing private methods with “reflection” is not a big deal.


The conference started with Fabien Potencier, he always has something interesting to say at deSymfony. Even though most of the talk was about SensioLabs Insight -a new SensioLabs service to monitor the quality of your PHP projects and warn you about potencial troubles-, Fabien also spoke about the analysis tools we have in the PHP world. To quote Fabien referring to SensioLabs Insight:

“All the quality analysis tools we have for PHP have been created by German people. Let’s add some French style” – Fabien Potencier

The future

deSymfony has become a reference both in Spain and Latin America where the event is followed with great interest. It’s not easy to organize an event for 400 people and requires lots of work. Special thanks to the organization for all they have achieved. See you in 2014!

[Edit July 2nd: 8:54AM EST: Title changed from “…biggest Symfony conference of the year” to “…biggest Symfony conference so far this year” ]