I'm not sure if I visited every PHP Benelux conference or if I missed the first. What I am sure of however is that each and everyone of them was a blast. Afforable, well organised, good speakers, great socials and insane closing ceremonies. This year was no different, these are reviews of all the talks I visited.
Things started out very spiritually. This years keynote was given by @coderabbi and he did a very great job. Linking ancient wisdoms from the talmud to something as contemporary as software development without getting religious the conference got of to an inspiring start. His message in a nutshell: Go teach, go learn!
Task Based UI's
The second talk of the day was the first of a couple I've seen that dealt with DDD or concepts related to it. I think @stijnvnh was a bit nervous to start or needed to get a feel for the talk but as the talk progressed so did the quality of the presentation improve. He specifically mentioned he was not going to show too much UI but the few times he did helped support the message very well. I'd say do more of the explanation in UI's.
Scaling applications with RabbitMQ
This talk was about a tool. Im usually not overly fond of those. More often than not they are some sort of manual walk trough or a big commercial.This was not really the case, but I was hoping for more reasons why we should use RabbitMQ. Apart from that, Alwaro Wiedela obviously was having a lot of fun and felt comfortable. Good, natural and funny presentation mainly because of that
This presentation by Josh Butts mostly was a funny talk of watching things go bad. Funny because you know you have done this yourself. It was not extremely informative but having a laugh once in a while is important as well.
A series of Fortunate events.
Now this is the kind of talk I love. Take a small but real-life example and improve on it bit by bit. I have nothing more to say than that is was very good. Thanks Matthias Noback!
Shipping code faster with kanban
I have very mixed feelings about this talk. On the one hand I'm a very big fan of almost any form of agile and I like Kanban a lot. On the other hand Josh promoted Kanban by comparing it to scrum. My problem with that is that he took the most horrible, hideous and obviously incorrect implementation one could ever come up with and led us to believe that this was “the scrum way”.
I'm certainly convinced there will be lot of people doing what Josh said and are calling it scrum. But it simply isn't. Terms like scrumbut and waterscum exist with reason. Full disclosure: at Procurios we do scrum for all our client projects. For any internal process or internal product development we use kanban however. Both have very good reasons for fitting in certain situations. All in all I feel Josh sold Kanban short by putting it up against an unfairly pictured opponent. Kanban doesn't need this, it is very much good enough on its own merits.
Small uncontrolled experiments
Next up was Mathias Verraes with a very interesting topic that boils down to one thing:
Experiments > Opinions.
He urged us to stop trying to think of reasons for why experiments will fail and simply start experimenting. Eliminate the waste of opinions, minimise risk and review after a reasonable period if the experiment was a succes or not. Basically do not look for maximum profit but look for minumum loss and unknown maximum profit. Keep improvements to whatever you want to improve small and worst case your losses are very small and short-lived.
I like that PHPBNL included an unconference again. It gives people an opportunity to try out speaking or enables already present speakers to try out stuff. I saw a very enthusiastic talk from someone who absolutely loved lists and could speak about them passionately.
The second talk “art of programming” by Erika Heidi was keynote material. Nice anecdotes, sprinkles of wisdom and a bit of history.
The Future of PHP
Although I was really interested in the Ubuqitous language talk I was tired and opted to go to Sara Golemon's talk and have a laugh. She delivered on the laughing expected although it was a bit of a hack commercial. Still someone that talks with so much pleasure on any topic is worth my time.
As you can see the conference offered great talks in a wide variety of interesting topics. If you've never been to one I 110% recommend going to one. If you're in the "greater benelux area" I recommend going to PHP Benelux specifically. Great value for money!
If you've attended and haven't rated on joind.in yet, please do so! I had great fun and totally plan to go again next year. As always the conference was very well organised and equal parts fun and informative. PHP Benelux 2015 team: a very sincere thank you very much!