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International PHP Conference and Web Tech Conference 2012

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Coding Kata Keynote illustrated with Karate KataOne of the largest gathering of the PHP and Web Community in Europe took place last week in Mainz, Germany. The event began with one workshop day on Sunday and continued 3 days packed with conference programm, featuring 7 parallel tracks.
Theme of the conference was PHP in general, other Web languages, like Java Script or Ruby, as well as Web Standards and related technologies like protocols or databases.

There was a suprising amount of MySQL related content this year, and even an exclusive MySQL day. Although many project start using NoSQL databases these days, many realize that they have still relational data that should go into a relational database. Additionally the concepts of Continuous Integration and Delivery were promoted in most sessions and especially promoting the usage of Puppet. The third main theme of the conference were new protocols, like WebSockets and SPDY. These protocols open up another level of performance and allow implementing features which were so far not easy to realize.

The three keynotes featured distinct topics. On Monday, Lukas Kahwe Smith and Henri Bergius presented "The Internet is your Application Blue Print", which was highlighting the importance of structuring own applications as systems like the internet. After criticising the time wasting efforts of the PHP Standards Working Group on defining coding standards, rather than solving interoperability issues, they went on describing how Service Oriented Architectures should look like today. A web application developed today can reuse many existing services already: Login (usign any oAuth provider), Feeds, Comments (like disqus), hosting video streaming (YouTube) and analytics (Google Analytics). By making own services using and providing well defined protocols, they can be serving as service provider for externals as well. A good example of that are web sites that use microformats and google search uses them to display pictures and metadata next to the search result.

On Tuesday, Marko Schulz, Bernd Schiffer and Sebastian Sanitz gave an introduction into Katas. They introduced them by explaining that the concept of repitition is vital for many arts and crafts. Because Katas originate from Karate, they had the fifth dan Benno Schöfl demonstrate a Kata from Karate in Perfection. After that they followed up with a live demonstration of the roman numbers kata. Eventhough this keynote did not contain a large amount of techincal information, it was percieved as the best of the three by the participants, due to its entertaining and inspiring nature.

On Wednesday, the keynote was a panel discussion by Tobias Schlitt, Stefan Priebsch, Johann-Peter Hartmann and Ilia Alshanetsky. Unfortunately, this panel did not really work well, as there was not much controversy or interesting debates.

Other noteworthy sessions:

A traditional highlight of the IPC is the PHPopstars event, where well known speakers compete against each other like normal people do in the typica TV casting show format. Carola Köhntopp, who came up with that idea, explains that she wants to encourage more people to present their knowledge, and by doing this casting show format, the experienced speakers and the jury can highlight and show what makes an interesting talk.

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