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My PHP Benelux 2013

I suppose this post has to be in English because the PHP Benelux Conference 2013 was an international conference with participants from 17 countries. It took place in Edegem near Antwerp last weekend. Friday and Saturday that is.

Closing Time

Day 1

After four hours on the road, I arrived at the venue on Friday shortly after noon. The keynote by The Grumpy Programmer Chris Hartjes was scheduled for 13:20 so I had enough time to register and chat to some people. Most of them were from Belgium and the Netherlands, but I also met some German and Swiss guys there. The keynote was fun and addressed some important issues concerning software quality and security.

Next up was Igor Wieder's session on Silex Anatomy and Symfony Components, and it was a solid session although the focus was not on Silex so much, but on his microframework YOLO. Like Silex, it's based on the Symfony Components, but does some things differently.

I then skipped the next session slot and checked in at my hotel. Fortunately, I made it back in time for Kris Buytaert's session 7 tools for your DevOps stack. I really think DevOps is a great movement and would love to use more tools like those he talked about. But there's definitely a learning curve ...

Sadly, I missed the so-called "Social", the social event that evening, because I felt tired and slightly ill, so I preferred to go to bed early and collect my strength for ...

Day 2

Sleeping helped, and after breakfast I attended Andrei Zmievski's session on "Small Data" Machine Learning - as opposed to Big Data everyone is talking about. Andrei's Twitter nick is @a, that's why he receives huge amounts of useless tweets and used some clever filtering algorithms to reduce clutter in his time line. Great, inspiring stuff! Some code examples would've been great, though.

The Symfony Content Management Framework (Symfony CMF) approaches building a custom CMS from the developers' perspective. David Buchmann and others are working hard on the next generation PHP CMS. There is a sandbox for those bold enough to try it out. Parts of the framework are already used in Drupal IIRC.

Juozas "Joe" Kaziukenas told us how to Process any amount of data. Any time. After he showed some of the more obvious examples, he ventured into topics of scalability and performance that you might not come across on a daily basis.

Next, it was again Igor Wiedler, who presented ReactPHP, event-driven, non-blocking I/O similar to node.js. Even if his live demo didn't work, this project was one of the things I really wanted to learn more about. I like node.js, and if we can get something like that for PHP - even better. I hope I will soon find the time to implement something using ReactPHP, it promises a lot of fun!

Hugo Hamon then introduced some Practical Design Patterns in PHP. Honestly, I would have better attended his other presentation about Useful PHP libraries. Please at least leaf through the slides. You might find just the library that you have been looking for for so long.

The final session - before the official closing session that is - was held by Matthew Weier O'Phinney and, of course, was an insightful introduction to ZF2. No more no less.



PHP Benelux 2013 was a perfectly organized conference with stellar speakers. Well, almost perfect: Constant coffee supply would have been great, but somehow I managed to survive without ;-) Will I come again? Probably. It's only a 4-hour ride from Wiesbaden, and it feels good to have attendees from so many countries there. And there is also ...


I had intended to skip the social event on Saturday and instead pay Antwerp a visit, and so I did. The weather was horrible, so I did not stroll around town as much as I had meant to do. I hacked a couple of Ingress portals, though, and some of the resonators I placed are still there as of now :-) After walking around and playing Ingress, I ended up at Brasserie Berlin where I had a delicious vegetarian lasagna and tasted different kinds of Belgian beer. Just around the corner I discovered the Patisserie Lints where I had breakfast the next day. And an awesome breakfast with very good coffee it was, highly recommended also if you want to buy cakes and pralines.

So, it was quite an exciting trip. Right now, like many others, I'm suffering from post conference flu :-( I hope it goes away soon! Thanks again to the organizers and all the attendees of #phpbnl13!

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