PHPBenelux 2015 revisited

January 26th, 2015

This year, we got off to a very good start. A very good start indeed! PHPBenelux, a first for the entire team, is an amazing conference with so much attention to detail that you feel taken care of from beginning to end.

The venue is great, with lots of room and places to hang out. The sponsors are great, with activities and games to break the ice. The organizers are great, they really take the time to talk to you and connect - even while they're running a huge conference at the same time. And obviously, the crowd is great. Thank you all for an amazing experience.

There where a lot of great talks. But the one stand stands out, the one that made the atmosphere for the entire conference, was the keynote. If I had been forced to go home immediately after the keynote, I would still consider the conference a success. It was just.that.good.

There was another high point though. I decided to participate in the uncon, with a talk about software deployments in Ansible. I gave the talk on the first day, and never gave it another thought. But there was a very special surprise and the conference closing - because they announced that they where, in fact, giving a guaranteed speaker slot at PHPBenelux 2016 to the best new speaker in the uncon track. And my name was suddenly up on the screen!

Here's a few of my favorite talks, in no particular order:

Small Uncontrolled Experiments

by Mathias Verraes

Mathias always brings the stuff of legends. He spends (or seems to spend) a lot of time on thinking about the process of building software, and isn't afraid to get off the beaten path. The takeaways from this talk where many, but the things we'll try are:

  • face the problem, not eachother
  • faster feedback cycle (2 min retrospectives after the standup)
  • focus on the bright spots. "If you spend more time doing the things that are going well, there will be less time left to do the rest".
  • always start a new story in pairs

Opening & Keynote

by Yitzchok Willroth

The keynote was such an inspiration, I can't even begin to express it. I've heard so many people state that they want to be someone who "gets it". This was the message being conveyed. That working in a community, with a mindset of always improving yourself and others, would make you see how much there is to be gained. Once you see that, you "get it".

As you can see, I wrote down so many things my head is still spinning.

Nothing in the talk is particularly related to PHP. The talk doesn't even have to be aimed at developers. This talk gives you insights and motivation beyond any specific field. The points are applicable to any part of your life.

So if you have the chance to see Coderabbi speak, do not miss it!

Hallway Track

with Richard Tuin and Frank van de Brink

Ok, so I must admit. I missed most of the tracks on the first day. After I did my uncon talk, I ran into Richard and Frank, and we took at least an hour-and-a-half discussing reality and existence. In the end, I'm still not sure I was actually there...

Higher Order Programming

by Mathias Verraes

This isn't so much a talk as it is a live coding session with black magic, perverted PHP and mind-blowing content about functional programming. I'd recommend getting into functional concepts a little bit before attending, but Lambdalicious looks so smooth you should be able to follow along just fine.

In the end...

In the end, after all this madness, my brain was fried. So fried in fact, that I managed to miss my opportunity to meet Beau Simensen. I hope to get another opportunity soon. I managed not to say hello to Igor Wiedler. I managed to sit next to Ross Tuck, and not think of anything to talk about.

So fried, in fact, that I managed to call a certain Rabbi "insane" to his face... (I deeply apologize, Yitzchok!)

...and next year? Next year I hope to get myself at least as fried again!

I hope you will all join me :-)

Ramon de la Fuente

Pointy haired boss