A Look Back @ ZendCon 2006

Well, I’m back from this year’s Zend/PHP Conference & Expo out in San Jose, California and can honestly say I had a blast. I’ve talked to people in the past that have gone to other conferences and have had fun, but this experience was more than that for me. Not only did I get to listen to some great talks, but I also got to meet up with some of the people I write about every day on PHPDeveloper.org and have never gotten a chance to shake hands with – including Aaron Wormus, Chris Shiflett, Ben Ramsey, the attending #phpc gang, and various others (as I forced my t-shirts upon them).

As mentioned, the talks were great, and the conference planners did a pretty good job keeping dupes out of the schedule. There were some that overlapped a bit, but I think that just happened because of the wide range of some of the talks. Here’s some of the ones I attended:

  • Robert Richards – Advanced XML and Web Services
  • Chris Shiflett – Essential PHP Security
  • Eli White – High Volume PHP & MySQL Scaling Techniques (standing room only)
  • Chris Jones – The Experience: Faster PHP with Oracle
  • Aaron Wormus – Moving to PHP5 with Style
  • Jaisen Mathai – Efficient development Using PHP, JSON and AJAX
  • Ilia Alshanetsky – Caching Systems
  • Andrei Zmievski – Unicoding with PHP6
  • Sebastian Bergmann – Testing PHP Applications with PHPUnit
  • John Coggeshall – Create a Sophisticated Web Application in 45 minutes – Using the Zend Framework

Definitely a busy week, but all of the talks I went to were great. I even learned a few helpful hints from them. ;) Overall, though, it almost made me feel back for still being stuck in PHP4 Land where I work. There’s so much more that PHP5 has to offer, and making a move to it wouldn’t be that bad *crosses fingers*. I already had a PHP5 install on the test side to work with – now it’s just a matter of really getting in and making the changes.

My wife came along with me for the week and we managed to get out and do a few things during the day and evenings. We managed to get out to a local attraction, the Winchester Mystery House to get the tour (we’d wanted to do the flashlight tour on the 31st, but it was all sold out) and, post-conference, went up to San Francisco for what was, quite possibly, the rainiest day of the whole week. It turned out good, though, and we ate at a wonderful little place off the main strip – Scoma’s – with some of the best lobster bisque I’d ever had.

Needless, to say, it was a great week, and here’s to hoping I get to make the trip back out there next year. I’d be good to see the familiar faces again, and to get to catch up on all of the latest developments in the PHP world. Thanks to Zend for a fun week, and thanks to the DoubleTree for the nice facilities, and, most important of all, thanks to Axis Open Source for the free WiFi. There’s nothing more frustrating than a internet-related conference without an internet connection…

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