I’m at ZendCon in Santa Clara, California, and so far the conference is going really well – even the wifi works! In common with quite a few conferences, the day before the main conference begins is tutorial day here. With 4 parallel tracks (at least) right throughout the conference, there is plenty to choose from. There was a crash certification course, and there are exams available to take during the event – they are wildly oversubscribed which I think indicates how popular this is! I attended the Best Practices session followed by the SQL Query Tuning session – both were really informative and well-paced (critical if anyone is going to stay awake in a 3 hour session!) although I definitely started to lose my way during the second session.
Since I’m ZCE I was also able to attend the evening event for ZCEs and speakers, which was very good – I spend a lot of time in various IRC channels and so I was able to meet a lot of people in real life whom I “know” already. There was also some drinking later in the evening …
Today is the first day of the main conference. There are 5 tracks plus the unconference and the exhibition space so really there is way too much to fit into one day! I’ve been to sessions on search, PECL, extensions, and more. This morning Juliette Reinders-Folmer had a session in the unconference entitled “Women in IT”, which was an opportunity for interested parties to get together and discuss the issues around this topic. We think we have the audio recorded from this session – in which case we hope to be able to publish it here. Both genders were equally represented in the session and there were some interesting debates. I came away from it ready to support the cause of women in IT some more.
The social side of the conference is a big factor – there are parties every night and I’m learning as much from the conversations I have at these events as I am in the official sessions! I think it helps that I already have online relationships with quite a few people – but I’ve also met other attendees who aren’t part of that community and had some really great experiences. Tonight there is an exhibitor reception – there are some good booths here, I wandered round earlier and picked up the usual collection of freebies, and had really good chats with the people at the sugarcrm and oracle booths particularly.
So far, its a good experience and I have stacks of notes I’ve taken in the sessions of things to try out or look into in more depth when I get some time. There’s two more days to go and lots more fun to be had. I’ll leave you with a pic of a few of the PHPWomen:
(left to right: Juliette Reinders-Folmer, Lorna Mitchell and Elizabeth Smith)