2017 ZendCon Denim ElePHPant

ZendCon 2017 has come and gone. I know it was months ago at the time of writing this but.. Better late then never! It was an amazing event to be able to speak at and attend. With how many days the conference is, it really almost is almost like a vacation haha. However, I’m a Vegas local so most of the people I met were from all over the world. I also seen a few familiar faces from the PHP Vegas Users Group which is always great to see peoples careers get to this point. Being selected for a tutorial and two talks was a surreal experience. Since I run the local PHP user group, I’ve got a decent idea of what I could speak about that could fill these time slots. I submitted a few more that didn’t get accepted but thats totally normal. That is the whole idea though, if you submit all your good content; the speaker selectors will cherry pick what fits for them into their lineup. The beauty of being a speaker is a free ticket to the conference and networking with the giants.

Strange Demo too…

The first day at ZendCon is always typically tutorial day. These formats are those 3 hour workshop style talks where the speaker will work with the audience on something. The one that I was pretty sure was going to get accepted was my tutorial about Continuous Delivery with Jenkins, Terraform, AWS, and Docker. I gave a free talk here in town at the Ironyard (when it was called that anyway) and did a pre-run of it there. However, no one at the event was able to get an AWS account setup at my pre-run. When I started having the crowd go through the example scripts, it started going a little rocky due to an unknown I ran into with s3 bucket name restrictions (can’t create buckets with the same name). I was able to walk everyone who followed along on how to change that terraform variable but it was a pain and a bit confusing for the AWS newbies. I’m going to write a whole blog post and do a video on that tutorial so stay tuned for that. That should clear up a ton of confusing crap with that and I’ll fix the s3 issue before then. PRs welcome haha.

The conference talks were outstanding on Tuesday, a couple of my favs were How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Regular Expressions by Jordi(Composer Lead) and The Red Team is Coming! by Adam Englander (cryptography & security). Both are great speakers and community contributors in their own ways. One of the best talks I seen this year was The New Revolution Keynote by Samantha Quiñones which went through the history of the internet and some amazing historical stories. The responsibilities we developers hold now is greater than ever. An unseen layer of trust is put into everything we write, just remember that every time you put in a bad security hack/hole/fix…

Hump day started with O’Phinney banging on his Middleware drum. With the ramp up in PSR approvals and adoptions in many major PHP frameworks, the middleware game is here to stay. I fully expect middlewares to grow and lists like this become more popular in the future. The Open Source mantra was also pushed pretty hard the last few years. There is no mistake with moves like Microsoft opening its platforms to Linux and open sourcing projects thought before to stay in the walls of Microsoft. I did have a talk this day too titled Create Your Own Dependencies! which is one of my newer ones but it was a bit thin still. After speaking awhile, you kind of know what talks to slow down on and which to speed things up based on slide count and content. I had to stretch it a bit but it all worked out with questions and such. If you want to get to know PHP, then you should get to know composer also as most modern examples you’ll run into this anyway. My main goal of this talk is to show why copy pasta of code is bad and shared logic in shared libraries is ideal for complex integrated projects. 

Dave Stokes with MySQL!

On the last day, things started off an hour earlier compared to day one and lucky me had the first slot of the day. At 8am I gave a talk titled Becoming a Bug Exterminator! which has been compiled from my other talks on XDebug and debugging. Colin O’Dell was nice enough to attend my talk who is a pillar of the PHP community who is apart of The League and a core contributor esp in for the PHP docker images I think. It’s awesome cause I got a lot of inspiration from seeing his and other great debugging talks before. Cal Evans has a great talk called Building a Culture of Respect: How to Find, Hire, and Retain Developers that I found very useful as a manager. You’ve gotta treat developers like people, not “resources”…

The booths were cool and I scored a ton of free shirts, pens, stickers, fidget spinners, food, drinks, and just swag in general. Leaving the event with a bag full of ElePHPants for the User Group to give away (of which I have 1 left) was also great. I just gave out one tonight to a lucky winner at the local users group! We sell a decent amount of tickets for ZendCon so getting a couple of these are sweet as give aways to our members and a cool way to pay it forward to the community. I also got to sit with the legend Cal Evans and do a Voices of the ElePHPant podcast! It was fun to be on the show and a huge honor to joint he ranks of so many sharp developers. If you want to hear me ramble on about the conference, my talks, the people, etc. then check it out here ▶


The speakers dinner was amazing and great to speak to some of the people presenting. You can tell some of the newer speakers are a bit nervous even though they seem hella smart and probably have nothing to be nervous over. I can’t tell you how many times I see new speakers create all this paranoia in their head. You are here to teach people, not to stump people. Just remember that, it isn’t about wether you were right, just that you did you’re due diligence. haha…

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">At the speaker dinner for <a href="https://twitter.com/zendcon?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ZendCon</a>. The organizer <a href="https://twitter.com/adamculp?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@adamculp</a> gives us his amazing mini speech. The best part is “enjoy the buffet!” Lol <a href="https://t.co/FUkgz6RmyF">pic.twitter.com/FUkgz6RmyF</a></p>— Tessa Mero (@TessaMero) <a href="https://twitter.com/TessaMero/status/922646420150149120?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 24, 2017</a></blockquote><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] -->

Did you miss ZendCon and wanted to catch the slides?

Want access to the slides of some of these talks?

A few things to try:

  1. Goto the ZendCon 2017 Joind.in page to find all the talks and see if the speaker uploaded their slides.
  2. Goto twitter and hunt the speaker down by searching their name. See if they posted it with the #zendcon or the #zendcon2017 hashtag. Don’t DM them quite yet…
  3. Goto SlideShare.net and look the author up there. If they didn’t upload it there, then you can DM them.

My ZendCon Badge!

It was a fun conference and I hope to be able to attend again here in 2018! If you are looking for other conferences to attend, in sunshiny Florida on February 8th-10th is the SunshinePHP Conference organized by Adam Culp. That conference is sponsored by Rouge Wave Zend who also organizes ZendCon. It will be smaller but more tight knit with less visitors and more core community members. If you want to find other conferences in the PHP space, just check out php.net which has a whole page dedicated to this.

Follow me on twitter or my blog for more posts about PHP and tech!