Learn hard, play hard #PHPBenelux2015

Conferences

Learn hard, play hard #PHPBenelux2015

Jonas De Hovre

For 6 years in a row now, the PHPBenelux-team organised their annual conference
in Antwerp. And yes, madewithlove was present! Dieter and Jonas attended the conference and joined some interesting
yet diverse talks.

Now I am not going to cover every talk we joined in detail. But I’d love to go over some talks and other stuff that
really caught my attention at this year’s conference.

Needless to say we we’re first in row to join the talks:

Dieter in empty conference room

Keynote – Talmudic Maxims to Maximize Your Growth as a Software Developer

First off, the keynote by Yitzchok Willroth aka coderabbi. And I’m sure when seeing his
avatar a couple of light bulbs came on above the heads of some readers. Yitzchok did a keynote on how to maximize your
growth as a software developer. Where he covered things like:

  • The importance of PHP mentoring.
  • The benefits of pair programming.
  • Benefits of being active on side projects.
  • The code-chain, which basically comes down to planning your coding days and how important this is doing this day by day. And also planning in a break in between.
  • How white-boarding can really help you see things different and how it can be a solution if you get stuck.
  • The way how a commit message should and shouldn’t look like. Conclusion was that they should be self explanatory.
  • That repetition is key!
  • Explained the importance of “Code Katas”

During his talk he also referenced some quotes, which he thought were very important.
One of the quotes that really stuck with me was “The timid does not learn”. This comes down to: “Dare to ask because all
beginnings are difficult”.

PHP Performance for Ludicrous Speed

Another talk I thought was pretty interesting, was the talk by Davey Shafik. In his talk
he talked about slowdowns and how it usually isn’t caused by code but more likely by other resources like API’s etc.
In extend of these slowdowns he covered a performance loop where profiling, benchmarking and making changes are key to
finding and solving them.

“Premature optimization is a waste of time.”

Another thing he covered was the XHProf and Xhgui
profiling tool. With these tools he was able to create some great performance improvement (~20%) in a simple standard WordPress
installation.

How Not Using PHP Can Make You Better At PHP

Next up Daniel Cousineau taught us how not using PHP makes us better at PHP. The key
subject I held on to was by how you can improve your code skills by learning different languages.

“The languages you speak determine/influence the way you think “

The story behind this is that you’ll be able to understand coding concepts easier and that you’ll start to truly understand them.

The future of PHP

Finally the talk by Sara Golemon was pretty eye- and mind-opening. Probably because I wasn’t
fully aware or wasn’t even expecting anything big on this subject. But when she started talking about ‘Hack’ and the
improved performance we’ll see in future PHP versions she caught the audience’s attention.

Jonas trying the Oculus Rift

A PHPBenelux wouldn’t be a real conference if there wasn’t some high tech stuff to try out!
This is Jonas trying out the Oculus Rift.