TEK-X – What I’m excited about

This year wil be my first time going to TEK-X and I will be attending as a member of the press.  Therefore, I need to write press-like things.  Lucky for you, I really don't know how to.  Instead, I will be talking for the next week about experiences, observations and such.  But since I'm writing this from my office and not Chicago it is clear that I am not there.  So what I wanted to do was write about some of the features that I am excited to see. 

First of all the tutorials.  Thankfully the tutorials I most want to see are not going to be overlapped.  In the morning is Bad Guy For a Day: A Websecurity hands-on tutorial.  While I know a lot about the best practices on security (I am usually pretty good about finding back ways into protected functionality), I wouldn't necessarily call myself great at it.  So I want to brush up on that.  The next tutorial is PHP Best Practices.  Again, I'm pretty good at it, but I know that Matthew's better and I'm looking forward to hearing Lorna Jane.  Putting my reporter hat on for a second, did anyone else notice that it's the only talk with two people with three names?  Weird.

From there I'm actually quite interested in hearing Josh Holmes' talk The Lost Art of Simplicity.  I, for one, think that modern software is often too complicated.  I've reverse engineered several Java applications (and PHP applications for that matter) where I've asked myself "why in the world did they do that?"  So I think that hearing Josh's take on it will be interesting.

The list of talks can be found on the TEK website.  There are a few talks that I will be particularly interested in attending.  Hopefully there are no conflicts.

Anti-spam and anti-gaming

This one, by Eli White (former colleague of mine), interests me because e_schrade is a massively popular web site and I have the same problems.  Well, no.  Actually, when people are gaming a site they are often trying to trick the site into posting their information, usually in a scripted manner.  So what this really is about is combatting rudimentary AI via Turing tests. I hold no ill-will against robots, as a rule.  However, they must be stopped!

Domain NoSQL: Next Generation Play-Doh

I'm not really a buzz-word kind of guy, but if Matthew's talking about it, I want to hear it.  Also, with the amount of data being stored increasing exponentially traditional relational storage mechanisms are not going to be sufficient.  In fact, they only work when you know what the relationship is.  Jeff Jonas, who is one of those guys who is so smart you feel smarter just by being in the same room, often talks about data finding relationships to other data, instead of the developer defining the relationship. Managing and storing that data will likely not be done in a traditional RDBMS.

Graphs, Edges & Nodes: Untangling the Social Web

Graph Theory is something that has recently become interesting.  This is for the same reason that NoSQL is becoming interesting. This is all about finding relationships.  While the talk will be using an RDBMS example I am hoping that it can be applied to very large storage structures as well.

Building Real-Time Applications with XMPP

Messaging, and not a bigger DB, is key to building highly scalable applications.  Massive scalability is something that really interests me because it is an easy problem to solve, but a very difficult problem to manage. While this is going to be talking about real time messaging I am pretty sure that this talk will, due to the relationship to scalable computing, be pertinent to that.

The Art of Message Queues

Going back to the XMPP talk, messaging queues are something that PHP developers do not do well.  However, as scalablity requires increase and integration with larger systems increases, PHP developers will need to get much better at queuing parts of their application.  I've written several blog posts on the topic of the Zend Server Job Queue.  Message queues are a little different but a different part of the same puzzle.

Data Visualization: Turning Numbers into Stories

One of the reasons I will be going here is because I do a fair amount of work with Ryan Stewart of Adobe and the guy knows his stuff. PHP developers often work in the realm of "boring HTML".  Flash/Flex does some really, really cool things and I want to see more of them.


Those are the ones I want to see.  Make sure to Like us on Facebook because I should be doing blog posts each day, maybe even several each day, and you can easily find them there.

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