It is one of the perks of my job that I get to attend several PHP conferences every year. None of them are more fun - and exhausting - for me than the Dutch PHP Conference. This year’s DPC can be summed up in the most used word in the twitter feed last week, “awesome”. From the beginning of the tutorials on Thursday to the final good byes on Saturday, you could feel the excitement in the air as developers from across Europe and around the world gathered to share ideas at the fastest growing PHP conference in the world.
Thursday – Day 0
Thursday was tutorial day at DPC. We had 4 great, day-long tutorials. Tutorial day is the lightest attended day for any conference so it gives us, the conference organizers, a chance to shake out the kinks in things like the wi-fi and other things. Still, we had close to 250 people in attendance on tutorial day and while not everything went as smoothly as planned, everyone I talked to had a great time and learned a lot. (and that was the real point, right?)
Friday – Day 1
Friday kicked off with a cute video and then a great keynote from Digg’s Opensource Fellow, and the Release Manager for PHP 6, Andrei Zmievski. Andrei gave a great overview of what is in PHP 5.3, what is scheduled to be in PHP 6.0. Beyond that, he also discussed why PHP is still the best answer to solving problems on the web.
Since I was the host of this conference, I didn’t actually get to attend any of the sessions so it’s hard for me to list my favorite sessions. Since I helped select them, it’s safe to say I liked them all. Luckily you don't have to take my word for it. Between comments on joind.in, tweets and blog posts, it's easy to get a feel for the excitement that was in the air. You can get a list of all the sessions and their average joind.in scores on the DPC Sessions and Slides post.
Friday evening came all too soon for me. After the conference schedule was complete for the day, the speakers adjourned to Strand Zuid for dinner and drinks. These speakers’ dinners are, by themselves, worth the effort it takes to put together a presentation. Getting direct access to some of the best minds in our industry and having the opportunity to discuss issues with them is invaluable. (Hint, I’m building it up so you’ll want to submit to the Call for Papers for DPC10) We discusses the issues facing PHP and developers in general for two hours before joining the attendee’s social across the way. The entire evening was a rousing success and a good time was had by all.
Saturday – Day 2
Saturday morning came a bit too early for some that had moved the party down into the city for the night. Even so, by the time Owen Byrne of Travelpod completed his keynote presentation, “Digg: The first two years”, most attendees were up, moving, and preparing for another day of PHP. Owen took the audience on a journey back in time via The Wayback machine and showed some of the early success and failures at Digg.
As with its predecessor, Saturday was a day packed full of great sessions. If I were start to pick the ones I really wanted to see, I would end up just listing the schedule, so I’ll leave it to you to read about them on blogs like this one, and this one, and this one, and oh yeah, this one.
Congratulations to the following people for their award winning applications:
3rd place – Rob Allen
2nd place - Timmy Kokke
1st Place - Juozas Kaziukenas
The closing keynote was I, Ivo, Andrei, Lorna Mitchell and Paul Reinheimmer on stage talking about different things related to PHP. The session itself was interesting but the real star of the show was a slide show of the tweets and photos from the conference. Several times during the questing, we had to stop so that the speakers could turn around, read the screen, and see why everyone was laughing.
The Wi-Fi report
No PHP conference is complete without a wi-fi report. The wi-fi at DPC09 was stable for the most part. On Thursday we had a DNS server outage but that was quickly remedied and since some people in each room had twitter on their cell phones, the fix quickly spread.
Friday morning, someone was running an ad-hoc network with the same name as our conference network and it caused confusion and blocked a lot of users for a while. However, by lunch, everything was cleared up and from them on, the network was rock solid. We even had a weak signal over at Strand Zuid for the parties.
Judging from the feedback we’ve received on joind.in and the tweets that happened during the conference, I think most attendees had a great time. As I said at the start, I get to go to a lot of conferences but none of them are as fun for me as DPC. For 3 days I’m surrounded by people who are eager to learn, love having fun and enjoy the fact that at DPC, you can combine the two.
The countdown clock has already started ticking for DPC10. Make sure you keep an eye on the DPC website because late this year, we will announce the details.
To all the attendees, speakers and especially my Ibuildings co-workers, thank you for making DPC09 a great time for all!
See you all next year.