Another Fantastic PHPNW Conference!

Posted by Stuart Herbert on October 8th, 2015 in #phpnw.

I’m back from this year’s PHP North West Conference, and finally have a few moments to talk about what was (yet again!) another excellent year.

I was there to present two talks – Introducing a Quality Model For MVC Applications, and Ways To Measure Your ORM’s Cost. It’s the first time since the php|cruise back in 2004 that I’ve presented twice at the same conference, and brings me up to something like 15 unique talks and workshops presented over the last 11 years.

Are you a good scout? – PHPNW15 Track 3 from phpboyscout

I want to highlight one talk in particular from this year’s conference – Matt Cockayne talking about being a good code scout. This talk got promoted from the Unconference track to a spare slot on the Sunday morning. I’ve been thinking about pitching a keynote about how we all need to be great ambassadors for PHP, and I think Matt’s message would make a great keynote for our community.

Whether I’m speaking or just attending, I always enjoy the PHP North West Conference. Their conference team always do everything that they can to make each conference the best that it can be. In my opinion, the explosion of quality, community-based PHP conferences in Europe owes much to the example set particularly by PHP North West. We’ve come a long way from when I started speaking back in 2004 🙂

I’m really grateful that conference committees here in the UK – both PHP North West and PHP UK – continue to give me opportunities to come and talk at their conferences. Whether it’s about the problems of framework lock-in, component-based architectures, Git workflows, or indeed about driving quality, I’m often talking about things years before the PHP community moves that way. My work is often about solving problems most people don’t yet realise that they have, and that can’t be an easy sell, both within the committees that select talks for conferences nor to attendees when they’re buying their tickets.

This year’s conference may be over, but there’s no rest to be had.

  • I’m already preparing another talk to deliver to the PHP Oxford user group later this month, called “Why Do We Test?” – expect plenty of ethical dilemmas in this one
  • November sees me once again volunteering at Aberystwyth University, coaching 2nd year Comp Sci (and related) students on job hunting
  • I’ll be speaking at PHP Surrey at the start of January 2016, possibly on writing a test suite for PHPFastCGI – you should come just to watch Andrew give his PHPFastCGI talk, it’s cry-out-loud funny

… and I’ve promised both Glasgow PHP and The Edinburgh PHP User Group that I’ll come up and present to them before the end of 2016.

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Here is the original blurb for this talk …

Your project has adopted an ORM such as Doctrine because it’s the quickest way to hook your code up to your database. Things are looking up, and your website is about to take off. Aaaand then the first complaints start to come in that your site isn’t coping with the new customers. You can’t find a problem in your own code. Could it be the ORM that’s the problem? How can you tell?

In this talk, Stuart will show you how you can use off-the-shelf open-source tools to work out what your ORM is doing, and whether or not it is the cause of your performance problems. He’ll show you how to measure the database itself and the ORM code, as well as providing useful strategies to reduce the cost of your ORM without having to abandon the ORM altogether. Finally, he’ll show you how you can extend these techniques to other parts of your application, so that you’re never in the dark again.

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Here’s the original blurb for this talk …

Your integration, functional and non-functional testing gives you a good idea if your code will work on Production. But how do you go about measuring the quality of code that already seems to work? How do you make that measurement repeatable? How do you share it with clients in government, finance or other large enterprises who are looking for a 3-5 year shelf-life from your code?

In this talk, Stuart will introduce you to SQuaRE, the international standard collection for software quality. He’ll give you a tour of all of the available and upcoming standards in this area, before taking a deep dive into the Product Quality Model from ISO/IEC 25010:2011. He’ll explain what a quality measurement is, how you link them to your project’s quality criteria, and how you incorporate them into code reviews, QA teams and management decisions.

You’ll leave this talk ready to start measuring and improving the quality of your product or service, with the tools you need to not only maintain quality but also to keep increasing it over time, even when faced with staff turnover.

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Last weekend saw the PHP NorthWest user group run their fifth conference. Spread over three days, it gave over 400 folks who attended great talks on a wide variety of topics from speakers both established and new. Once again, Jeremy, Rick et al ran an excellent conference, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.

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See more of my photos from the PHPNW12 conference on Flickr.

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I haven’t really talked much about my upcoming tutorial session at #phpnw12 next month before now, but I hope there’s still time to convince you to come along and learn how to use Git as your team grows in size.

That’s what I’m teaching: a strategy, plus supporting tools for Git called HubFlow, that will help you stay sane – and more importantly help you keep delivering – as your team starts to collaborate on your product.

It isn’t my strategy: the credit must go to Vincent Driessen, who first blogged about GitFlow at the start of 2010. And they aren’t my tools: again, they originally come from Vincent. All I’ve done is adapt them for working against GitHub – hence the name “HubFlow”; but if BitBucket is more to your taste (or wallet) then rest assured that both tools and strategy work can be adapted for there too.

Maybe you don’t need this strategy. If you’re working on one-off consulting gigs for clients, where you can get in quick and get out quick, then HubFlow might not be necessary. But if you’re working on any sort of product or service, either commercially or open-source, then I can strongly recommend HubFlow to you – even if you’re just at the one-man startup stage. And the benefits of adopting HubFlow only increase as your team grows in size.

I’ve already put a lot of effort into documenting HubFlow, and if you’ve previously read the docs, you might be feeling confident enough to adopt it by yourself. If you do, I think that’s awesome, and you should go for it without delay. Please do email me if I can help in any way. I’m passionate about everyone adopting the fundamentals of software engineering, and few things are more fundamental than good source control.

But if you’re still reading at this point, I hope that I can convince you to buy one of the remaining tickets for my tutorial session at #phpnw12. I don’t personally profit by it – all of us teaching at #phpnw12 are volunteers – but maybe you will.

What I’m teaching is the approach that I’ve introduced to DataSift. You might not have heard of us yet; we provide a platform for filtering social data in real time, handling terabytes of data a day at full firehose-scale, and many thousands of incoming data every second. And every piece of that data goes through code written in PHP.

Although we’re a young startup, we’ve already grown beyond 20 developers, and with that many people collaborating to build that platform, with every team working at their own pace, we needed to adopt a common way of working together with Git and GitHub so that the company continued to scale well.

  • It had to be a way that allowed every developer to take full advantage of Git, especially when it comes to committing their work early and often.
  • It had to allow developers to form ad-hoc teams that worked at their own pace.
  • Remote working is a fact of life these days, and it had to work just as well whether everyone is in the office or working from somewhere else.
  • It also had to ensure that only work that had been finished made its way into any of our releases.
  • We wanted to make sure that there was an opportunity to review every change before it went into a release. Code reviews play an important part in delivering high-quality work time after time after time.
  • We didn’t want pending releases to hold up new development, ever.
  • And if something did screw up in production, we needed a way to go back to our last known good version, fix it, and release *that* – all without disrupting any pending releases or existing ad-hoc teams.
  • Finally, it had to be easy to teach to people who are new to Git and GitHub, preferably by wrapping complicated Git operations up inside a single command each time.

Those are the benefits that HubFlow gives us. And at #phpnw12, I’ll be teaching everyone who attends my tutorial session how to get those benefits too.

What makes me qualified to teach this topic? And what makes me qualified to be teaching at all?

I’ve got 18 years of experience setting up and/or running software configuration management, taking in systems as diverse as RCS, CVS, Perforce, Continuus, Clearcase, Subversion, Mercurial, and Git. I’ve done this with, and for, organisations as small as a one-man team all the way through to large international corporates. I’ve even built a version control system for one company in the past. (Git is much better! 🙂 And I was around long enough to see (and learn from) the failures as well as the successes. (I’m a big believer that success teaches you a bit, but failure teaches you more). Plus, I’m the author of the HubFlow strategy, and the maintainer of the HubFlow extension for Git.

It simply isn’t possible for me to distill all of that rich and lengthy experience down into the documentation that I’ve written for HubFlow. I think the documentation is good – I wouldn’t have put my name to it otherwise – but I think you can learn even more from me in person.

I’m a qualified teacher of adults. I’m trained how to teach, and I’ve had a lot of practice doing so. My first PHP conference appearance was back in 2004 on Marco’s php|cruise, and since then I’ve spoken at the PHP NorthWest and PHP UK conferences several times. I co-wrote the Zend Certification Study Guide for PHP4. Once a year, I teach at the University of Aberystwyth, helping their Comp Sci students prepare for applying for jobs for their year in industry. Plus I’ve done a substantial amount of teaching and mentoring as part of my job and open-source work over many years. And away from computers, I’ve been teaching martial arts for over 12 years.

If you need the benefits that HubFlow brings, then I’d love to teach you in person. You can buy a ticket for my tutorial day on the #phpnw12 website. I hope to see you there.

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I don’t need the ticket that I bought for the PHP NorthWest 2012 conference, as I’m doing one of the tutorial sessions on the Friday. So I’m going to be giving my ticket away to one lucky reader. The ticket is for both the Saturday and the Sunday sessions, and if memory serves covers all the socials too. You’ll have to pay for your own transport and hotels tho, so please don’t enter unless you’re definitely able to travel to the conference if you win.

To win my ticket, leave an interesting PHP or software development-related question in the comments below. The winner will be the question that I think would be the most interesting to answer, and I’ll answer it for you over either lunch or dinner at the PHPNW12 conference. You must leave your comment by 9am BST on Monday 10th September, and I’ll announce the winner on my blog later that day.

So get asking away 🙂

(Please note: comments on my blog are moderated, so if you leave a comment and it doesn’t show up straight away, that’s why).

UPDATE: we have a winner, who I’m currently trying to get in touch with

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The PHP North West User Group ran it’s 4th (and largest yet!) PHP conference – PHPNW11 in Manchester last weekend.

My last set of photos from PHP North West 2011 are the odd ones out, the ones that didn’t really fit into any of the other sets.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my photos from the conference, and maybe – just maybe – they’ve made you think about going to a PHP conference somewhere near you in the near future.

Rob Allen

Derick Rethans

Jeremy Coates

So You Want To Be A Rockstar?

On The Way To The PHPNW11 Conference

Picadilly Gardens, Manchester

The Mothership Hovers

Opening The Call For Papers For PHPUK12

Cups of Tea

All Hail Our New Wifi Overlords!

Rick, Kerry, and Jenny Admire The Many Poses Of Jeremy Coates

Jeremy Coates - Magma Digital - PHPNW11 Organiser And Platinum Sponsor

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The PHP North West User Group ran it’s 4th (and largest yet!) PHP conference – PHPNW11 in Manchester last weekend.

No conference – especially one as well-run as PHP North West – can happen without the small army of folks who give up their time to organise and staff the conference. I’m afraid that I didn’t manage to photograph everyone involved on the day (sorry!) but here’s to everyone who made PHP North West 2011 possible.

Jenny Wong

PHPNW11 Conference Organisers

PHPNW11 Conference Organisers

PHPNW11 Conference Organisers

PHPNW11 Conference Organisers

Jeremy Coates - Magma Digital - PHPNW11 Organiser And Platinum Sponsor

Lorna Jane and Jeremy Coates - PHPNW11 Conference Organisers

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The PHP North West User Group ran it’s 4th (and largest yet!) PHP conference – PHPNW11 in Manchester last weekend.

This year, many of the sponsors were here not to drum up new business, but to hire new talent, continuing a trend from PHPUK11 earlier in the year. Sponsoring a conference is cheaper than paying traditional recruiters, with no shortage of motivated attendees to talk to.

Community tech conferences like PHP North West simply could not happen without the funds raised from the organisations who sponsor each conference. This short set of photos is my way, as a conference speaker, of saying thank you to every organisation who sponsored this year’s PHPNW conference.

PHPNW11 Conference Sponsors: Namesco

PHPNW11 Conference Sponsors: O'Reilly

PHPNW11 Conference Sponsors: ibuildings

PHPNW11 Conference Sponsors List

PHPNW11 Conference Sponsors List

PHPNW11 Conference Sponsors List

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The PHP North West User Group ran it’s 4th (and largest yet!) PHP conference – PHPNW11 in Manchester last weekend.

The audience is a key part of any conference, and each year the PHP North West conference manages to attract more and more people back as it establishes its reputation for being one of the very best PHP conferences (and indeed, one of the very best UK tech conferences) around.

If you’ve never been to any PHP conference anywhere before, I hope these photos manage to show you just a little bit of the cracking atmosphere you’re missing out on 🙂

PHPNW11 Audience

PHPNW11 Audience

PHPNW11 Audience

PHPNW11 Audience

PHPNW11 Audience

PHPNW11 Audience

PHPNW11 Audience

PHPNW11 Audience

PHPNW11 Audience

PHPNW11 Audience

PHPNW11 Audience

PHPNW11 Audience

If you like these photos, please do let me know – leave a comment on my blog, or click through each photo to Flickr and leave a comment there. Thanks!

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