Day 1 at ZendCon

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Been an eventful day, to say the least, at the first non-tutorial day of Zend’s annual gathering of a couple of hundred PHP developers and vendors. Not in terms of announcements, necessarily, though Zend did unveil both a hosted solution called ZendBox (solid idea) as well as a volume oriented partnership deal with Microsoft. But more on Microsoft’s newfound – relatively speaking – affection for dynamic languages later; the short version is that PHP and Windows are both volume markets, and partnering is more or less a no-brainer for each.

The real action, however, was in the logistics; we’ve seen the network collapse multiple times as at the Office 2.0 show throwing a wrench in presentations – PHP is, after all, primarily a web oriented platform. My own presentation was not without its own share of technical difficulties, which I’ll get to shortly.

First, the keynote State of PHP address given by Andi Gutmans, Mark De Visser and an under-the-weather Zeev Suraski discussed progress and traction within PHP as well as progress for its internationalized evolution, PHP 6. Not too much surprising here, though the Zend folks stole a bit of my thunder by discussing the Ohloh findings (you’re right, Jason, that LOC is not a perfect metric – certainly not as a comparative measure – but it is interesting nonetheless). We also were treated to cameos from the likes of Microsoft’s Bill Hilf (for the aforementioned Microsoft partnership news), MySQL’s Marten Mickos (who reiterated MySQL’s affection for the market opportunity that PHP presents), and others.

Bill Hilf, incidentally, was joined on stage by his colleague Bill Staples, who demoed the the newly delivered FastCGI component for PHP and IIS. The demo was good, but the better news is that he’s provided just about everything you need to duplicate it in his blog here. Kudos to BillS for that. It’s also worth mentioning that his Vista build got a lot of oooohs and aaaaahs as he was flipping transparent windows around all over the place. I don’t think it’s that much more impressive than AIGLX/Xgl & Compiz, but it certainly beats the hell out of XP or the standard Linux desktops.

Following the keynote, I got the opportunity to moderate a panel populated by the aforementioned Bill and Marten, along w/ Anant Jhingran (IBM), Mike Olson (Oracle) and Tim Bray (Sun). Despite a relatively quiet audience, the panel ended up being lively because the participants were great. I’d sum it up for you, but John Bafford’s already done an excellent job for you: see here.

Later, I gave a talk on the do’s and don’t’s (sort of) of PHP w/in the enterprise, entitled “is your enterprise addicted to PHP? the 12 step program.” One amusing side effect of my choice of title (though I butchered the anecdote while opening my session): when explaining to a friend of mine that I was giving a talk on PHP and describing it in terms of addiction, she responded, “I thought you were in technology – why are you giving a presentation on Angel Dust?” Still not sure if she was serious or not.

But anyway, as mentioned above, this talk almost didn’t happen b/c of a series of errors on my part. Long story short, Linux won’t work w/ projectors and I didn’t have OO.o on my Windows partition, so I ended up having to copy both my deck and OO.o over to an USB key. Only problem was that the OO.o .exe file is almost a hundred MBs and all I had was a 64 MB USB key. Fortunately, one of the audience members – a very kind gentleman by the name of Aaron – bailed me out by loaning me his 2 GB key and we got rolling only a minute or two late. Thanks much, Aaron – really appreciate it.

As always, the slides from the talk are available – get them in OO.o here or Powerpoint here. It’s a little more bullet-ish than is my typical deck, but maybe you’ll get something out of it. Got some great questions from the audience, and caught up with a couple of attendees afterwards (one of whom had very. So that’s all good.

Now it’s time to catch up on email. Tomorrow is day 2 here and then a quick hop over to Mountain View in preparation for Startup Camp. May be visiting w/ a couple of different folks tomorrow afternoon and evening, but if those don’t work out and you’re in the Bay Area drop me a line – we might be able to meet up.


  1. Linux will work with projectors, but getting it to work _well_ is a WIP if your BIOS doesn’t support a simple hotkey to clone to the video out (Fn+F8 or F7, often).

    There’s a lot of hotplugging work going on right now, you may have heard about some of Keith Packard’s demos of the new Intel driver stuff.

  2. Donnie: that’s what i thought as well, but my model seems to have a problem (despite having the mentioned hotkey combo):


  3. glad you enjoyed the demo! great job moderating the panel, i enjoyed it very much!

  4. glad to hear it, bill. keep blogging your progress – it’s appreciated.

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