ZendCon 2009 Review
Now that I’m back from ZendCon and recovered from the jetlag (and the partying), I’m ready to share my impressions of ZendCon 2009. The conference took place in San Jose, California, on October 19th – 22nd.
There were a number of interesting sessions, such as the security tutorial by Arne Blankerts and project management by Rob Allen. The optimization session by Ilia Alshanetsky also caught my attention.
Of course, we should not forget some great UnCon sessions that Keith Casey organized. I had the privilege of presenting two of those, which had lots of positive feedback: Motivating Developers and Role of a PHP user group. I believe that these UnCon sessions were as important, if not more important, than the official sessions.
I met a lot of wonderful people, as well as old friends. As with all conferences, a lot of it is happening in the hallways and I was glad to have taken a few sessions off for that. I met leaders of other User Groups with whom I intend to stay in touch.
Everybody was very friendly and it was quite easy to gather a group of over a dozen people to go out for dinner, although some days I intentionally went with a smaller group to relax a bit. With all the dinner->bar->bar->yet another bar, I got quite exhausted. Josh Holmes from Microsoft was kind enough to help me out with a bill in a bar when some people from our group left without paying.
On Wednesday, I went to Microsoft’s Bing Party at Ruby Skye with a group of about 30 people and had a lot of fun. We got a party bus to get all these people to San Francisco and back.
I really enjoyed walking around the expo hall and talking with all the companies. Freebies tend to help that. I did learn a lot about new products. I actually was so excited about Adobe’s products (for many years now), that they should have hired me to run their booth – according to Kevin Hoyt.
I discovered the joys of cloud computing, which was the word of the day.
The last session was a framework shootout, which was a lot of fun. It started very “kumbaya” but got a bit more tense after some time. The Nerf guns helped a bit. I actually tweeted a nice picture of Matthew Weier O’Phinney aiming one at the audience. I took one of these guns home for my kid, who enjoys it a lot.
It seems that there is no better framework out there. You should choose one that best fits your needs. Some offer more flexibility, others do everything for you.
I definitely enjoyed this conference. I hope to come back next year if my budget allows. I understand that I could save quite some money if I fly to San Francisco instead of San Jose, at the same time avoiding connecting flights. I definitely recommend this conference.
I posted all the pictures on Flickr.