PFCongres 2011 – a quick recap

Last Saturday, 17th of September 2011 was the day when the PFCongres took place. For those who don’t know – it’s a web development conference in the Netherlands which has been gathering web enthusiasts for the sixth year in a row. This year’s edition was split into two simultaneous tracks and hosted fourteen, well known speakers such as:

Zeev Suraski – an Israeli programmer, PHP developer and co-founder of Zend Technologies. With help of Andi Gutmans he wrote PHP3 in 1997 and the Zend Engine in 1999.

Derick Rethans – author of the mcrypy, input_filter, dbus and date/time extensions in PHP. He takes care about the well-known PHP profiler – Xdebug and is contributor to the Apache Zeta Components.

Juozas Kaziukenas – founder and CEO of Web Species Ltd, speaker on web technologies’ conferences, blogger.

Joshua Thijssen – senior software engineer at Enrise/4Worx and owner of the privately held company NoxLogic.

Unfortunately we could only follow sessions on the English track, but there were a lot of interesting topics there:

– Mastering Namespaces in PHP
– The new era of PHP frameworks
– PHP Extensions, why and what?
– SPL Data Structures and their Complexity
– 15 Pro tips for MySQL users

Three of them became really valuable to me, as a PHP developer:

The greatest speech in my opinion was prepared by Joshua Thijssen, MySQL specialist, who in simple and concise form presented several tips that can speed up our database queries. I think the best description of what he did would be the presentation placed here: [slideshare] Remember – don’t trust varchars! 🙂

Another amazing speech was given by Jurriën Stutterheim who, in a very easy way went through the algorithmic complexity stuff to really interesting data structures part present in PHP. It was great pleasure listening that except common PHP arrays, we can choose from more sophisticated structures like: SplDoublyLinkedList, SplStack, SplQueue, SplHeap, SplMaxHeap, SplMinHeap, SplPriorityQueue, SplFixedArray and SplObjectStorage. Link to presentation can be found here: [slideshare]– even if that is just the tip of the iceberg, it really encourages to take a closer look into this topic.

I’d like to mention the session by Nick Belhomme here as well, he described a new functionality of PHP called namespaces which are abstract containers created to hold a logical grouping of unique identifiers. His presentation can be found here: [slideshare]. Like the previous one, this session was truly educational, providing additionally lots of great code examples.

Last but not least, I’d like to mention a pretty interesting speech which was given by Juozas Kaziukėnas. He was trying to depict what has changed in the last six years in the PHP framework world. And I must admit that he did it very well – impressive knowledge, objective look as well as plenty of accurate observations proves his expertise and skills in that topic.

He pointed out several frameworks, including: Symfony2, Zend Framework, Lithium, Alloy, Fuel, Fat-free framework and Flow3. Among them the most admired became the Symfony2 framework. Mostly for its bundles, dependency injecton, community driven development (GIT), interoperability and of course speed. He also really awaited the stable release of ZF2 which can probably take place in one year time? Or maybe even sooner? If we wanted to try something else during that time, there is always an option for trying out the micro frameworks. Although they are prepared for small projects, it should be interesting and for sure worth attention – one of them is Silex.

To sum it up, I’m really cheerful that could be one of the PFCongres attendants. I’ve learned lots of useful stuff and met a few interesting people. Hope to be there next year again, and if you are a PHP enthousiast, you should be there too!


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