2006-06-27

PHP Vikinger

The PHP Vikinger event was a great success. It was skillfully guided by Zak Greant who did such a great job orginizing it.

Since this was the first PHP event I attended and the fist unconference, I cannot really compare with "regular" conferences, but people tell me that PHP Vikinger was more relaxed and informal. I guess that was the meaning since there was no official agenda, no commercial interest behind it, etc.

First thing we did was to pick a list of topics that people would like to present or hear about. I half jokingly proposed "How to prevent Marcus Börger (a.k.a Helly) from turning PHP into Java", but decided against it. I do have a real problem with several descisions made in the last couple of months which make PHP more strict and you will probably be hearing a lot more about those if you ever decide to visit this blog again, but at the end I thougt that I express my opinion on mailing list where it belongs.

One of the topic that I found interesting was proposed by Kristian Köhntopp under the title "Things That Have No Name". I do belive that we have so many wonderful techniques in PHP that do not have name and perhaps naming them would help diminish the perception of PHP being a "toy language". Rasmus Lerdof muttered something about this session should be called "buzzword generation" but the group in general thought it was a great idea to do it.

There were also great sessions on PHP security which seems to be on anyones mind these days. Sebastian Bergmann gave an introduction of PHP Unit and about unit testing in general. I must admit that my knowlege on this topic was pretty thin so I found his talk very informative. I don't know how practical would be to implement unit testing in a company as small as mine is, but one of these I'm going to give it some more serious thought.

The second day was spent in a workshop where there was a demonstraction about the basic rules of developing a bigger project where several programmers are involved. How to determine where are the lines that devide different components, etc. Rasmus was in charge of making the presentation layer where he used the opportunity to demonstrate very good YUI javascript toolkit that allows for easy creation of dialog boxes, use of Yahoo's map API, AJAX connectivity and similar goodies. The end result of this excersise should be the creation of people.php.net which would have a registry of all individuals involved with the project, with their location information, graphical map displays and so on. Ammar Ibrahim promissed he would clean up the code and the CSS so we should be expecting the first version soon.

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