Thought I’d give a few overall impressions from CodeWorks DC while they’re fresh in my mind.
What really impressed me was just how great the PHP community is. There were some Big Names there, but everybody was really approachable and happy to share what they knew and ready to listen to others. They were really friendly, and I had some great conversations in the hall and after hours, both with other attendees and with speakers and staff. Get a sense of this over at Dawn Casey’s blog.
I had expected the tutorials to be somewhat interesting, but otherwise expected the meat to be on the second day with the more traditional talks.
The code review I attended in the morning was very educational, and Keith Casey was quite sporting about letting his project be dissected by ze Germans, as they came to be known. Best line: “Well, think of how many people are in this room, multiply it by our billing rate, and see how much it cost us just to figure out what the hell this piece of code does.” But the Advanced OO Design talk was really valuable. The lower crowd size coupled with the length of the presentation made it very easy to ask substantive questions and get serious responses. It helped me get over a number of mental blocks I’d been having with the implementation of MVC in web apps and better ways to do Dependency Injection.
None of this takes away from the second day’s talks. I’ll highlight some of them in coming blog posts. But the tutorials were an unexpected gem.
Microsoft appears to be making a really big effort to reach out to the PHP community, and I appreciate it. They were a big sponsor of the event, including an open bar the second night. I also appreciate what they’ve been doing to improve PHP’s performance on IIS. I hope they follow this effort up by taking steps to make themselves really interoperable with other systems, so it doesn’t feel like going Microsoft is an all-or-nothing choice.
Even though it was small enough to handle informally, CodeWorks felt very well-run. Despite a truly grueling schedule (two teams leapfrogging across the country, one day on, one day off), everybody seemed in good spirits and there was comparatively little confusion. When a mixup or a technical glitch occurred, they were able to adapt quickly, even ready to get a speaker to throw in an extra talk.
If they decide to to this again, I highly recommend this conference. If they’re in town again, I’m going to lobby to get the whole Forum One team there–it was really that good.