Zendcon 2012 CfP Advisory Panel


Just by way of thanks, I would like to present to you panelists for the ZendCon 2012 Call for Papers advisory panel.  They will be assisting me in determining which submissions get turned into sessions.

Please thank them for the hell I will put them through.

Maurice Kherlakian (mkherlakian) – Damn good Zend consultant, but someone needs to suggest a Twitter profile pic for him.

Ralph Schindler  (ralphschindler) – Some dude who works on ZF

Joe Devon (joedevon) – Runs PHP in the land o’ Mickey Mouse

Chris Spruck (cspruck) – Has one of the nicest looking user group web pages I’ve seen

Stefan Koopmanschap (skoop) – Does work with PHP via sumphony or something like that.

I am sure they are open to being bribed.  And if you run into them at ZendCon make sure to buy them a beer.

ZendCon 2012 (or, how to get your talk accepted)

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Well, planning for ZendCon has been underway for a while and we finally got our Call for Papers out the door!  We are following a similar process as we did last year.  We aren’t having specific tracks (which I am of the opinion are basically useless in a targeted conference like this), but we have three primary themes that we are going to be looking for content in with 12 specific topics that we have most interest in.

Our topics are

  • PHP in 2012
  • Zend Framework 2
  • Development & The Cloud

PHP in 2012 is referring to any kind of new or ongoing PHP-based, or connected, functionality that is current.  If you talk about the virtues of PHP 4 OOP you will not get chosen.  However, if you want to talk about new theories on asynchronous execution you have a good shot.

Zend Framework 2 is, well, Zend Framework 2.  We are doing a HEAVY push for ZF2 this year and we want to see lots of content.  We will obviously having various ZF team members do some of the big topics, but if you are not necessarily a core developer but would still like to submit look at some  secondary topics that might be interesting.  For example, don’t bother submitting about the Event Manager or the Dependecy Injection Container.  You can, but most likely someone from the core team will speak on those.  Take a look at, as some examples, Server, Ldap, Cloud or Queue.  Or submit a case study on building a distributed event-based system or integrating ZF2 modules with Symfony 2 and vice versa.

Development and The Cloud.  Egads!  The cloud again?  No.  Well yes, but no.  We are definitely looking for cloud-based topics, but this is intended to be more general than that.  Think about the question “what can the cloud teach us about X, whether it’s in the cloud or local.”  For example, are the operations activities that could be better done using cloud-based strategies.  Are there API methodologies that have grown up in the cloud but could positively impact developers for on-premise deployments.  So, yes, we want cloud content, but we are also looking for content that will apply to a wide range of deployments.

The topic areas that we would like submissions to fit into are

  • Application and infrastructure best practices/case studies
  • Testing, debugging, profiling and QA
  • Framework-based development
  • Zend Framework 2
  • Cloud-based services and cloud-based development
  • Server and cloud-based infrastructure
  • RIA, mobile and browser
  • Databases, storage and data modeling
  • Security
  • Unsung Tools
  • Agile processes and project management
  • PHP on the IBM i

So while we would like your topic, in general, to fall under one of our three themes, these are the actual categories you will need to submit under.  One thing to consider, too.  Kenny Loggins, when the call for songs went out for Top Gun decided that he would submit for the volleyball scene instead of the theme song.  Why?  Because nobody was going to submit for the volleyball scene and so the likelihood of him getting it was pretty good.  Well, he got it and Tony Scott asked him if he wanted to take a crack at the theme song.  The point is that if you want to talk about something that a lot of people are submitting for, submit a good talk for something that a lot of people aren’t submitting for.  Here is a secret.  Conferences are always looking for ways to save money and speaker travel is a big expense.  If we can get multiple talks out of you, while not guaranteeing anything, it does make you, as a speaker, more attractive.

Additionally, these are sentences that we don’t want to say when checking a submission

  • Sooo… what are they talking about? (Do NOT do a generic abstract.  Use keywords, name the tools that you will talk about)
  • How does this relate to PHP?
  • Who is this person? (If you aren’t a core contributor, part of a framework team or a user group maintainer then it would be good to tell us a little about you.  You don’t need to be famous, but if you’re not or we don’t know you it is good for you to convince us that the risk will be worth it)
  • Is this a slide deck or a presentation?  (a presentation includes a slide deck but also demonstration.  Doing things live is almost always better)
  • Was this abstract run through a translator?  (English IS the dominant language at this conference and you must demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively)
  • Wasn’t this deprecated?
  • This looks kind of boring
Also, when you submit, include links to slideshare, blogs or videos of pertinent information.  MAKE OUR JOB OF ACCEPTING YOUR TALK EASY!!
Also, DON’T MAKE US SCROLL DOWN MULTIPLE PAGES TO READ YOUR ABSTRACT!  Be short, be concise, be succinct.  We don’t have time to read a novel.

So there you have it.  That is some of the inside thinking that I (we) have in mind as we will be looking through the CfP results.  Basically, submit on topic, submit multiple talks and try to be interesting or unique.  Following those guidelines will make our job of choosing you much easier.

Another thing to do… blog.  If the advisory panel does not know who you are and what your contributions have been we will look into you.  If you have a blog we will read it and it will contribute significantly to our decision.

Music from ZendCon 2011

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A couple of people have asked about the music from ZendCon.  Last year I had just written and released an independent album which you can get an Rhapsody, iTunes, CD Baby and a bunch of other places and Zend was nice enough to let me use them as the opening instrumentals.  This year I didn’t want to do the same thing and just play the tunes I had written last year so I had started working on some other tunes.  There were two pieces that I was working on but my regular job, plus ZendCon plus phpcloud.com plus getting three foster kids put a massive strain on my time (not to mention my sanity and health.  I had Swimmer’s Ear, an outer ear infection, through the course of the whole conference and I hadn’t gone swimming).  In short, I did not have time to finish anything.  One was definitely a rocker and the other was something akin to Juno Reactor’s The Matrix work, which I have, in the past year or two, become a big fan.

But still, fame persists and my loyal fan base (both of them!) have asked where they can get the playlist for the conference.  I don’t have all of the songs but here are the ones that I remember.

  1. Becoming Insane – Infected Mushroom.  I happened upon them because Rhapsody linked to them from Juno Reactor.  They are an Israeli psytrance band that I’ve grown to like and it turns out that Andi is a big fan.  Therefore it made sense.
  2. Everybody Here is a Cloud – Cloud Cult.  This was the one we played prior to the Cloud panel.  Our sound engineer, John, suggested it and I thought it was totally perfect.  Therefore, it made sense.
  3. Coronal Loop Safari – ME!  This is one of my favorite tunes from my album.  It didn’t make any sense, but we played it anyway.
  4. Rise of Eta Carinae – ME!  John, the sound engineer, suggested this one.  He says that it reminded him of the Exorcist or something like that.  It didn’t make any sense, but we played it anyway.

So there you have it.  If you would like my album (I don’t sell the others) feel free purchase it from any of the places I noted above.  Or, if you are some place where you can’t purchase from there send me $10 via PayPal (I can set up a payment request if you like) I’ll send you a DRM free zip file.

On a personal-ish note, being an independent musician is not something you do for the money.  But if you could plug my album in a blog post, Facebook posting (you could share this, for example) or Twitter (for example, by clicking this link for  iTunes, this link for Rhapsody or this link on CD Baby) I would greatly appreciate it.

ZendCon 2011 UnCon


If you were looking at the UnCon at ZendCon and wondering what, if anything, you should do, let me give you a couple of hints.  The UnCon is the place where people who either did not submit  a talk or did not get their talk accepted can sign up for a time to speak and talk on the topic of their choice.  The whole purpose of an UnCon is to let presenters decide what gets presented.  To sign up go to the signs at the bottom of the stairs (which will be up Tuesday morning) and write in your presentation at one of the times.

It’s also a chance for you to get a little practice if you have not spoken before and would like to see what it is like.  We recommend that you have either slides, examples or both.  It’s not “required” that you do, but it definitely helps and it shows that you are treating it seriously.

In addition to full talks there is the opportunity for lightning talks.  These are talks that are just 20 minutes long and are good for showing some short piece of code or talking about a smaller tool that you might be using or have built.

This year we will have several prizes.  We ask attendees to rate talks on Joind.in (follow @zenduncon on Twitter for links) and the list of prizes for top talks are:

  1. A free ticket to PHP Benelux 2012
  2. A free ticket to PHP Northwest
  3. A copy of the official Zend Framework programming guide (two volumes) which will go to the top 3 finishers

“But”,  you might be saying, “I don’t have anything to speak about.”  Bullcrap :-).  There are things that you have done that is unique to your circumstances.  Take a look at the ZendCon schedule and see what is not being talked about in the sessions.  Here’s a horribly incomplete list (in case you were wondering).

  • Chef
  • Capistrano
  • Realistic uses for NFS in production systems
  • Cool bitwise tricks
  • Continuous Integration best practices
  • etc., etc. etc.

If you think you can’t speak you’re probably right, along with most people who speak.  Just be yourself and speak honestly and you will go a long way.  And trust me, picturing people naked does NOT work.

For additional tips, check this link from Toastmasters.

[edit]If you have any questions about the UnCon feel free to contact Michelangelo (@dragonbe) or myself (@kpschrade).  Preferably Michelangelo :-). [/edit]

ZendCon 2010 Podcasts


Earlier this year I started posting the recordings from ZendCon 2010 as podcasts.  Unfortunately, as often happens, my time started to get eaten up by a bunch of other activities and I ended up stopping the posts.  It wasn’t intentional, but, you know, things happen.

What I’ve decided to do is just upload them all so that you can download them all in preparation for this year’s ZendCon.  As you listen to these paragons of PHP goodness think of how wonderful it would be for you to be there in person and talk to these founts of wisdom.  You will find several of the speakers from last year at ZendCon as well as a bunch of new ones.  While you may have missed the early registration there is still time for you to get your tickets to ZendCon 2011.

(I *think* that the ones marked UnCon are UnCon sessions and all of the titles were based off of file names so there might be some inaccuracies in the titles)

Caching On The Edge
Taming The UntestableBeast
Cloudy With A Chance Of PHP
Blending PHP MySQL with RPG
JavaScript for PHP Developers
Bad Guy For A Day – Web Security
Modeling Tips Trick And Best Practices
Do You Queue
Embracing Constraints With Couch DB
Grokking The REST Architectural Style
Building An Enterprise Level Single SignOn Platfrom In PHP
Expanding IBMi Applications To The IFS Easily With PHP
MySQL Server Performance Tuning
Dependency Injection
Developing Modern Applications With Amazon Cloud
Extending PHPBB
Anti-Spam and Anti-Gaming Tactics
Closing Keynote
Imporving QA On PHP Developement Projects
Flex and Flickr equals Fleckr
High Performance PHP
Integrating PHP With RabbitMQ
Reusable Bootstrap Resources With Zend_Application
Unit Testing After Zend Framework 1.8
A New Approach To Object Persistence In PHP
Developing And Deploying High Performance PHP Applictions
Development And Test In The Cloud
The Doctrine Project
The MySQL-DB2 For i Connection
Effective PHP Coding In Jet Brains PhpStorm
SQL Injection Myths And Fallacies
The Power Tool For PHP And JavaScript Developement
The State Of SOAP In PHP
Web Services With PHP, Zend Framework And IBMi
Advanced DateTime Handling With PHP
Technical Debt
After Lunch Keynote
Best Practices In Deploying PHP Applications
Documents, Documents, Documents
Memcached: The Better Memcache Interface
Opening Keynote
The PHP Performace Paradox
Building Intelligent Search Applications
Intro To MySQ LExplain
Magento Pays Back To Zend Framework
Welcom To The Dark Side. We Have Brownies
Zend Studio Tips And Tricks
ActionScript And Flex
Amazon Cloud Services With Zend Framework
PHP At Orange
PHP For Batch Jobs On IBMi
Unleashing the Power of Zend And VMware
PHP In A Mobile Ecosystem
Security 202
Zend Server Clusters In The Cloud
Desktop Apps With PHP And Titanium
Whats New In Zend Server
Why MVC Is Not An Application Architecture
Why Zend Framework Powers The Enterprise
XML Versus The New Kids On The Block
After Lunch Keynote
Continuous Inspection And Integration Of PHP Projects
Hidden Features Of PHP
Introducing Zend Framework 2
Meet The Team
Morning Keynote
Pragmatic Guide To Git
Rev It Up With PHP and IIS


@enygma reminded me that a lot of the slide links are already published on Joind.in.


Should probably have given a license.  Basically, copy them for your own personal use.  Some words will be spoken if I hear that someone is playing them over the speakers at Grand Central Station.

ZendCon Badge WordPress plugin

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If you are speaking at, attending, sponsoring or exhibiting at ZendCon this year I invite you to download and install the ZendCon Badge WordPress plugin.  It’s fun and super easy.

  1. Download the plugin from here (it will be available in the plugin repository as soon as the kind WordPress folks give me SVN access)
  2. Upload and activate the plugin
  3. Go to Settings -> ZendCon and state how you will be contributing (Speaker, Attendee, Sponsor or Exhibitor) along with the size of image you want
  4. Go to the Appearance tab and drag the ZendCon Badge widget to any place

That’s it.


You can now install it directly via the plugin directory in your WordPress admin page

ZendCon 2011 Call for Papers is out


The ZendCon call for papers is out… at least it will be tomorrow (Friday), officially.

This year I have been placed in charge of the content portion of ZendCon.  In terms of the call for papers I have several people who I will be working with to try and weed out the gold.  Those people are Zeev Suraski (who?), Andi Gutmans (another unknown), Shahar Evron, Matthew Weier O’Phinney, Joe Devon, Ben Ramsey and Stefan Koopmanschap.  So if things go wrong I will be blaming them.

The easiest way for find gold is to know where to look for it.  And so, here are a few tips for you to help you get your talk submitted.

There are three primary themes for this conference.  Your submission does not have to fall directly into these themes, but it will greatly help your chances if it does.  The themes are, in no particular order

  • Cloud Computing
  • Mobile and User Experience
  • Enterprise and Professional PHP

Cloud Computing and Mobile/User Experience are probably self-explanatory, but Enterprise and Professional PHP may not be.  I see it as a) no noob stuff, b) connectivity with enterprise tools, c) advanced techniques (dev, management, etc.).  What does “enterprise” mean?  Well, it means everything and nothing.  While WordPress is used in the enterprise I would not characterize it as “enterprise” whereas “creating an NTLM signon mechanism” is.

Within those themes there are several individual topics for you to choose from, with an explanation of each.

  • Architecture & Best Practices
    • This to me would be things like “how to build an architecture for a PHP application” or “what are the characteristics of a good architecture”.  Another one could be “How do I build a good physical architecture?” or “how do I determine the number of cloud instances I need?”  This can also include things like “what not to do in PHP” and things like that.
  • Testing, Debugging, Profiling and QA
    • I see this as anything and everything before staging.
  • Zend Framework 1&2
    • I am expecting that we will be having more Zend Framework 1 slots open than ZF 2.  If you have a great ZF 2 talk, please submit it, but there are a LOT of existing ZF 1 applications that will continue on for several years.  Bear that in mind.
  • Cloud Infrastructure, Management and Application Services
    • Think “I used to do X with pizza boxes, how do I do it now when the pizza box looks like a Tron set piece?”  In other words, what are some things you can do with things that you do not own?  This could be cloud, API’s, etc. etc.
  • Server & Operations
    • I come with an administrative background and I am convinced that too many PHP developers don’t know enough about the actual maintenance of their application in a production environment.
  • Rich Internet Apps and Mobile/Tablet – Flash /Flex/HTML 5/CSS3/Ajax
    • There could be a whole conference on this.  In fact, there are several.  Gimme some real in-depth stuff on cool things you can do on multi-platform or mobile applications.  Personally, I would love to see “getting started with ActionScript” or “getting started with ObjectiveC” or “building layouts for multiple devices” or “Cool things you can do with CSS 3”.  Go wild.
  • NoSQL and Big Data
    • Ummm… yeah.  NoSQL and Big Data.  Self-explanatory, methinks.
  • Standards Compliance
    • PCI, ISO, HIPPA, COPPA.  We live in a world where laws govern a lot of what we do.  We may want to focus on writing code, but these are realities of our world.  Help your fellow developer navigate that world.
  • Unsung Tools
    • Think SMTP, LDAP, log files.  Things that are not sexy.  There may be new problems that people have but there are a lot of old solutions that can be used to solve them.  Could LDAP be the new noSQL?  😉
  • Agile Processes and Project Management
    • Who wants to be managed?  Not a lot of people.  But software development takes resources.  If you have insights on how to make that resource utilization more efficient, submit away!
  • Real World Case Studies, Designs and Data Models
    • You want to do some bragging?  I want to let you.
  • PHP on the IBM i
    • If mid-range to you is a server, and not a jet built by Bombardier, then you know what I’m talking about here.

Above all, be creative.  Matthew and I were toying around with topics and one of them was “How many X could I show you in an hour?”  X could be public data sources, or JavaScript API’s or whatever.  Obviously, that’s a hard topic to publicize and harder to evaluate, but I think using it as an example  helps to illustrate what makes for a good talk.  Not another “PHP and MySQL” talk, but “building  Angry Birds using using JavaScript, PHP and MySQL”.  Submit topics that you wish OTHER people would talk about.  One of the best ways to learn something is to have to teach it.  So, submit something that you would be interested in learning and start working on it.

And if you have a cool talk that doesn’t fit one of these categories, select “Other”.  I would LOVE an huge list of “Other” talks.

Also, if you have a topic that you would like to give but have your doubts on whether or not it will be accepted we will be having an UnCon again this year, and it will be headed up again by  Michelangelo van Dam.  So, submit it (or better yet submit it AND another talk more likely to get accepted) and still show up.  You will have a chance to present it at the UnCon even if we don’t accept it as an “official” talk.

Additionally, if there’s a topic here that we have missed (such as other frameworks) submit your talk under the “Other” category.  ALL talks, regardless of the category, will be reviewed.

If you have any questions you can either email me at [email protected] or you can post a comment.

Good luck, y’all!

Planning is underway for ZendCon


… and has been for a bit now. This year I get the distinct honor (???? 🙂 ) of being in charge of the content for ZendCon. And for those who are wondering, no I’m not in charge of the date or the location.

The primary responsibility I have, as being in charge of content is making sure that, well, we have good content.  I already have a good list of topics that I would like to see papers submitted for but I’m not arrogant enough to think that I know best.  Close, but not quite enough.

While ZendCon may have the Zend name in it, it is the conference attendees who determine its success.  It is whether or not you, as an attendee, are satisfied which determines my success in determining content.  That said, I would like your input on what types of topics YOU would like to see.  So if you have an opinion on what would make ZendCon compelling for you please leave a comment.  The more detail you can give on what and why the more help it will be.  In other words, instead of saying “Databases” say “Relational database performance when working with multiple database vendors” or something along those lines.

I look forward to hearing from you (remember to put it in the comments instead of contacting me directly).