February 21st, 2010
The conference is over, I’m back in Vienna since Thursday evening and life has gone back to everyday normal. The city of Paris was quite interesting, I especially liked the broad architectural scope. Unfortunately I didn’t have much time for sightseeing. But let’s get back to why I was there, the symfony Live 2010 conference!
What was not so good
Altogether I liked most talks, even the infamous Microsoft one, because each single talk provided knowledge I didn’t have before. There are some general issues I want to address though:
- Some speakers had a really bad French accent. I’m glad my English was good enough so I was able to follow all of them nevertheless, but for some listeners it must have been really hard.
- Please please please provide portable headset microphones at future conferences. Speakers having to hold a microphone in their hands just look awkward, and it limits their freedom of movement and gestures. I mean, it’s not like headset mikes were ultra-future technology… This would also fix the “speaker A is much louder than speaker B because he holds the microphone too close” issue.
- The Wi-Fi connection was really bad on the first day, but it was acceptable on the second. Looks like someone didn’t realize on time that there’d be hundreds of nerds with laptops present.
- Please provide some way to get cola at future conferences, caffeine addicts will thank you for this, especially through the afternoon sessions
- The only speaker I really disliked was the second guy from the Microsoft team. If I want to be shouted at like that, I’ll visit a boot camp and insult some drill instructor, not attend a software conference!
As said above the content of the talks was fine, although there were ups and downs of course. What was much more annoying was that some speakers seemingly didn’t know much about presenting stuff. This is of course acceptable for hacking nerds in general, but only until they have to speak at conferences. Please, guys, read some books about presentation techniques in advance before giving your next speech!
What was great
Let’s stop talking about failures and continue with things that require mentioning because they were great.
- The overall organization was cool and professional. If there were any troubles behind the scenes they were kept hidden from the audience, which is fine.
- The food was good.
- The twitter visualization on the big screen was a really cool thing to do.
- The selection of talks was OK. It addressed both symfony newcomers and experienced listeners.
- The truly outstanding speakers worth mentioning were in my opinion (in order of schedule):
- John Cleveley: this talk set the bar for the first day. Clearly audible, great presentation, interesting content!
- Jonathan Wage: obviously an experienced speaker too, with lots of detailed knowledge
- Stefan Koopmanschap: although the session didn’t provide much new information for me it was nice to listen to. He knows how to handle crowds.
- Lukas Kahwe Smith: unlike his companion (don’t remember the name) he was cool, professional and easy to understand.
- Scott Chacon: that’s what a presentation has to be like. Just like that. The reference for the second day, which was altogether definitely better than the first one.
- Fabien Potencier: Fabien knows how to savor his fame in situations like this and he has every right to do so! What he does and how he convinces people to follow his lead is just outstanding. Standing ovations for one of the most inspiring web developers nowadays!
Symfony Live 2010 was a huge gain for myself. I met lots of interesting people and collected tons of first-hand information. Since it was the first (but definitely not the last) symfony or PHP conference I attended, future events will show how it compares.
Symfony 2 and the future
Symfony 2 will be awesome. I also checked out the brand-new Symfony 2 web page, which I recommend to everyone who is interested in PHP applications or frameworks.
It looks like phpBB 4 will be built upon Symfony 2, which I personally really appreciate because phpBB was my stepladder into PHP development and the open source community around 2001. After switching to PHP5 and OOP style programming I started to disapprove of the phpBB development style. Hopefully there will be a turn around towards more best practices in the future!
Before I forget it… the user stories
On the first day Stefan Koopmanschap announced that symfony needs more people writing success stories helping others arguing in favor of symfony. Every publishable story provided until the end of the second day would win a set of symfony books. I couldn’t resist this offer and sat through the late evening in my hotel room hurting my fingers by typing on my netbook keyboard for 4 full hours. Since I had filed similar content as my speaker’s submission (which was unfortunately rejected) I knew there was enough interesting stuff to write about. It was worth the effort: I got 3 symfony books. Thanks to the symfony team!
I don’t know when my story will be published, but I’ll link it as soon as it is. The title is “Running a TV station with symfony”.
Last but not least
Toni, I really would have liked meeting you, but it seems we just weren’t able to find each other. Let’s hope it will work next time
<off-topic> why is my WordPress editor so damn slow recently? </off-topic>
Update 2010-03-17: Running a TV station with symfony was published on the symfony blog today.