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Random things on PHP, Symfony and web development

Learning by doing in workshops, discussions and online interaction

I had the privilege of visiting the combined event for PHP and eZ Publish developers. The events are called PHP Summer Camp and eZ Publish Summer Camp respectively.

Both events are held in the same location and are blended together. This year the event was held in Rovinj, Croatia - the home country of the company Netgen, an active member of both Symfony and eZ Communities. And the driving force behind the Summer Camps.

The format for the Summer Camp focuses on hands on workshops and developer interaction. With participation limited to 120 people, the event is quite small. This means it is also more intimate than events with thousands of participants. You have good access to people you may know only from Twitter or Github accounts.

This year the development setup was done with Vagrant and Ansible and worked fine for most cases. Something like this is necessary when you have over a hundred developers trying to get code to run without (major ;) issues during workshop sessions. I was initially too eager to wait for file syncs between my machine and the virtual environment, but once I got used to this - it was a positive experience.

The workshops and other sessions

There was a lot of technical hands-on trainings and I was unable to attend all the workshops I would have liked. Looking back I attended (and held one) a whopping eight sessions in just three days. That is a lot to chew on in the coming weeks. Learn more about the sessions I visited on our tech blog: A recap of select topics at PHP & eZ Publish Summer Camps in 2015

In addition to the daytime sessions, there was additional programming like a meet the experts session, physical activities in the form of a triathlon, an unconference and evening get-togethers. These more freeform events gave birth to discussions about more random topics in broader web development context - making it much more of a web development conference than an event just about PHP, Symfony or eZ.

Some of these I was a part of talked in detail about PSR-7, practical uses for Erlang, Contextual Caching and Device Detection with Varnish, the importance of the Developer Experience (DX), background behind the Blackfire branding, insight into Solr vs. ElasticSearch, Web Components with Riot.js, and how marketing websites to governments in Africa works. Each of these would warrant a blog post of their own.

Reuse of presentations and aftermath

All of the workshop sessions were recorded for future reference, so everyone will have access to the programme in the future. Including participants of the event, since it was impossible to attend all of the sessions in each track.

Also there was a lot of activity on Twitter and other social media channels - this kept people busy during breaks. I found the format of the event be very good and would recommend any organisers of events to study the programmes for some tips to keep things useful and fun:

All of this made me think that we would need some kind of Winter Camp event held in the nordics. At least the weather would likely be more suited for software development indoors...

Thank you all.

Written by Jani Tarvainen on Monday August 31, 2015
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