ZendCon Day 1 (and how I adopt people)


I woke up earlier than I needed to for Day 1, had a leisurely "breakfast" (since when is juice, coffee and rolls breakfast) and charged my laptop. Good thing too, power was at a premium. Enygma (Chris of PHPDeveloper and "Da Man") was good enough to bring a power strip, and we were all planning to follow his lead at the next conference (daisy chain here we come).

The keynote started out with Cal and his wonderfully cheesy PHP abstract music and voice for the intro and I was literally laughing. It was great. Then it devolved into a slightly boring marketing campaign. Now I know this is Zendcon... but everyone knows the big three in "AJAX"/DHTML are Jquery, prototype/scriptaculous, and YUI. To see Dojo instead of JQuery was making the whole line of developers by me scratch their heads. Looking further down the little "chart" I see no mention of any other PHP frameworks.... at that point I internally shrugged and tuned out...well except for some twitter and zendcon heckling.

Cal looked very sleepy sitting up there, and I was falling asleep as well. The Zend CEO snapped at him to "wake up" and flip the stupid namecards...I found it rather rude and annoying. Anyway, beyond that and the "interchangeable" use of Zend and PHP I was really zoning out. The wifi didn't have enough IPs so I lost internet access as well. I was entirely tempted to lay my head on the table while the IBM guys couldn't get their demo running.

So the opening keynote was exactly what I thought it would be...

Oh, and it was Lig's birthday so I made certain to get her embarassed in front of everyone...aren't I a nice friend?

After that I went to Terry Chay's talk on "The Internet is an Ogre" - most of the stuff I agreed with except for the security last. What good is a website "that runs" if people deface it and/or steal all your data? Lawsuits tend to kind of diminish that whole "make money" aspect. Anyway... he was definitely trying to keep the swearing to a dull roar, which is sad because we were hoping to top the Atlanta count. He's a very engaging speaker.

I skipped the next set of speeches because I didn't have my Building PHP on Windows slides working yet - I'm new to the mac and keynote and so I was still playing. Also at the time PHP didn't build on MSVC 2008 - so I corralled Wez into giving me a hand (and karma) - CVS commit to fix it ahoy. And really, a great pet peeve of mine was the conference was NOT tracked appropriately. There were people there with absolutely no interest in Zend Framework, and those with lots. There should have been a "track" so you could go to eight or nine of them, and more options for people who were quite happy to avoid them altogether.

Lunch was again...not bad but not good (I don't even remember what it was honestly). But I sat with a great group of people and had fun flapping my jaw. I almost lost my voice by the end of the week. My PHPwomen T-shirt was getting lots of attention (which was intended) and I enjoyed pushing our "agenda" - help women stay in technology through support and mentorship.

After lunch my agenda was finishing the slides, getting PHP actually compiling properly on the laptop, bugging wez to finish the MSVC2008 work (I love you wez) and charging the laptop.

Finally, at 4:00, it was time. I did an unconference presentation on building PHP on Windows - something I've become something of an expert on. I was actually surprised, there were people there I didn't annoy to death who showed up. It went very well, although there's an outstanding bug in the build system with too many extensions that I really need to fix (just disabling the extra pecl stuff fixed the issue...but throwing an error during a live build at a presentation...oooh bad)

I'm told the talk was pretty good, I hope so, I'm a perfectionist.

After that we all headed to Wez Furlong's mail talk. I'd never actually sat through it, but it was interesting. The focus on "being a good mail sender" over the technical details of "how to do it in php" was appreciated. After that was the evening reception, which meant spending lots of time talking to people at the phpwomen booth and giving away great gobs of shirts. They always go over really well, although we should have had more mediums.

At some point I escaped long enough to head to the exhibition hall to grab some swag and talk to people. Ended up in a conversation with the DB2 guys about allowing the pdo driver to return an xml object directly instead of getting a string and shoving it into something. You may not gain a whole lot on speed, but it would have a nice "ease of use" factor. We'll see.

Talked a bit to the Zend CEO about phpwomen and what the group hopes to accomplish. Some of the other booths were kind of boring, but I enjoyed the Krugle search, the Microsoft Silverlight stuff, and the yahoo buttons (when you push it it yodels, I want).

After plenty of booze someone thought it would be a "great idea" to have a "meet the zend developers". Issue is really only two of the Zend guys work directly on the php core right now. Most of the PHP developers don't work for Zend....

So the discussion generally deteriorated into a slightly drunken flame war over the future of PHP6. Only some key developers (including Wez and Andrei) weren't present....

In any case, my entire purpose was to whine for an API in the extension C stuff to handle creating/managing/manipulating namespace stuff. I think my question went into the "d'oh we forgot" category. I'm hoping for something soon or maybe I'll just write something and send it to internals.... I want namespaces for my win32api extension badly.

Afterward I believe we ended back up in the bar, and I enjoyed roasting Derick alive - he kept setting himself up for jokes (at his expense...)

Bottom line? Opening keynotes are always marketing annoyances, Wez gives interesting talks although he can be a bit dry, Terry Chay needs to swear more, I can speak in public in a generally effective manner, and there are more people involved in Windows with PHP than you see on public sites.

On a side note - this was the night I adopted Spoon and Jeefy - I told them my "PHP story" from anime site to "Windows Queen" as Sara has since dubbed me... (does that make Edin the king?) and we all ended up in the bar...


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