Last weekend took place the second edition of SunshinePHP and was fantastic, we could not have hoped for a better PHP conference, and we did not even have to travel. For those of you that don’t know, SunshinePHP is hosted by the South Florida PHP User Group, our home base. The event was organised by the tireless Adam Culp, with the help of Pablo Godel, Adrian Cardenas, Diana Espino, and Melissa Billias who became the elephpant model. It was a world class PHP conference and needless to say, we are very proud of it.
The speaker list read like a who’s who of the PHP world and they all brought something new to the conference. Beth Tucker Long, Ryan Weaver, Anthony Ferrara, Keith Casey, Brandon Savage, Michelangelo Van Dam, Evan Coury, Lukas Kahwe Smith, John Coggeshall, Anthony Ferrara, Josh Broton, Chris Hartjes, Ilia Alshanetsky, Paul Jones, Davey Shafik, Jordan Kasper, Jonathan Klein, Jeremy Lindblom, Rowan Merewood, Jeff Carouth, Elizabeth Naramore, Ben Ramsey, Chris Tankersley, Derick Rethans, Alvaro Videla, Jeremy Mikola, Thijs Feryn, Eli White, Ricard Clau and Beau Simensen. So yeah, who would not want to come to the sunny Miami in February to see these people speak? The quality of the talks were top-notch.
But it gets better, the conference had 4 keynotes. Mark Brown and Cal Evans were in charge of opening and closing the conference, while Rasmus Lerdorf, Larry Garfield and Matthew Weier O’Phinney dove into more technical stuff talking about PHP, open source and APIs.
It was great to hear Rasmus’ keynote, where he started giving an overview of new features in PHP, gave some great tips on deploying PHP atomically, and switched to inspire the audience to work on things and projects that make a difference in people’s lives.
The talks were well balanced, not only on skill level, but there was was a good variety of talks, even some excellent non-php talks to help us broaden our horizons. For example, Elizabeth Naramore gave an excellent talk about how Github organises itself using their product and how organisations can do the same. It got us thinking how we organise our company since we also use Github as a communication tool here at ServerGrove.
Elizabeth also gave example of how other people use Github. One that stuck was how Evan Coury used the issue tracker to track his relationship with Alissa. Alas, thanks to Elizabeth, we fear that he might be better known for his relationship tracker than his contributions to Zend Framework.
Other great non-PHP talk were given by Josh Broton on responsive design and Rowan Merewood on being better developers. I must admit, I really hated Josh talk – and Josh itself- for that matter. It made me realize I need to rip apart the front-end of our new control panel and start from scratch. In the other hand, Rowan’s talk was qualified by many attendees as one of the best of the whole conference. He was really entertaining and provided great tips to become a better developer, something we all want and getting to this conferences is just the first step in a long – but satisfying – journey.
On the PHP track, there were also some amazing talks. Anthony Ferrara, as always, did a great job explaining concepts such as cyclomatic complexity and NPath. This last concept is especially interesting as it gives you the minimum number of tests required to completely test a routine. The talk was really funny when Anthony calculated the size needed to test some functions with a high NPath complexity… long story short, to fully test the compose_pm function of phpBB3 at 1 line of code per test, you would require 15,000,000 Milky Way’s of MicroSDs worth of tests. So, keep you NPath complexity low!
It is worth to mention the other talk of Rowan Merewood about sorting and search algorithms. Some members of our team were really happy to see these kind of concepts in PHP conferences.
The conference was well organised and there was plenty of time to meet the speakers, hang out and network. Mostly hang out. People were relaxed, the vibe was friendly and attendees were eager to share their opinions on code. Any conference veteran will tell you that the “hallway track” is one of the best things of any conference. Given the list of speakers hanging out in the hallway or sponsors room, the “hallway track” at SunshinePHP was amazing! With many speakers saying that next year they would like to have more meals with attendees, everyone should take the time to approach the speakers. A simple “hi, my name is ___ and I really appreciate the work you’ve done on ____. May I ask you about…” goes a long way to get the conversation started. So don’t be shy!
I love that the biggest problems coming out of #ssphp14 are “should I keynote again” and “make sure you eat with attendees”.
— Brandon Savage (@brandonsavage) February 10, 2014
There was a lot of mentoring going on, something that seems to have been added by design by Adam Culp.
PHPWomen were out in force too. It was inspiring to see such a presence at SunshinePHP.
See you next year!
We look forward to SunshinePHP 2015.