UK PHP Conference 2007

Yesterday, I attended the UK PHP Conference 2007, organised by the guys at PHP London; it was held at Keyworth Centre, a part of South Bank University, near Elephant and Castle Tube.

The first talk was on mashups by Cal Evans, an interesting account of how he created a PHP/AJAX UPS parcel tracker for a client. He went through various iterations of the tool’s development including refactoring for different approaches: Synchronous and asynchronous, JSON and XML. I came away from his talk determined to look at the Simple XML functions that support XPath, a technology I used many moons ago with success for a client-side project.

Then, Simon Laws gave the most interesting talk of the day. It was entitled Web Services – drop it into Apache, and away you go! It turns out this wasn’t a dry talk on some new Apache module (they could do with re-working that title). Rather, it was a relevant and fascinating introduction to the SOA PHP project. The blurb on the project’s homepage states:

The aim of the SOA PHP project is to create, as a community, an infrastructure that simplifies the development of PHP applications in a service oriented architecture environment (SOA).

This project is based on independent technologies that support this goal:

  • Service Component Architecture (SCA) provides a very easy way to create and access services
  • Service Data Object (SDO) provides a uniform interface for handling different forms of data and provides a mechanism for tracking changes in data

If you’ve got an application to build that has components on different machines (who doesn’t in this asynchronous web 2.0 world), then the faffing around sorting out the communication between the various components is completely abstracted by this tool. Very cool.

There were a few understandable grumblings from the audience relating to its usage of PHP Documenter comments to define the various services – a relevant concern as it could makes ones code rather ‘magic’ – but as I say a well delivered and extremely interesting topic that I will certainly be doing some more investigations into.

Straight after lunch (which was good and included), there was a talk by Kevlin Henney called “Objects of Desire”, where he mingled the history of Object orientation development with a sort of (prepared) question-and-answer session relating to PHP’s OO-support. It was a bad slot for him to get on what could have been a very dry and sleep-inducing subject, but it was interesting; he delivered it with style and got large and deserved applause at the end; he’s a natural speaker.

Then Rasmus Lerdorf dropped in. There was a comedy of errors for about 5 minutes where Kelvin (who was finishing up) was told that he couldn’t answer questions, and instead, the audience got to watch Rasmus fiddle with his laptop up and try – and fail – to get his wifi set-up. Rasmus seemed to be in a belligerent mood – maybe he’s like that all the time – and didn’t seem too impressed with the broken network access. That said, his talk was interesting and revolved around how one can massively improve a script’s performance by looking at what it’s doing under the hood. He used a tool called Callgrind to see at a low level what was going on and then used this information to re-factor the script to perform better. He ended his talk with a general What’s New with PHP 5.2 round-up and then answered 5 mins of questions.

The last talk was called Designing for the Curious Home by Bill Gaver; however, I skipped it and went to the pub instead.

It was a great success, and I’ll definitely be going next year. The PHP London guys should be very proud of themselves.


2 responses to “UK PHP Conference 2007”

  1. Kylie Koc Avatar
    Kylie Koc

    I am so thankful for finding your website!

  2. Katelyn Riotta Avatar
    Katelyn Riotta

    Thank you!

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