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Buzzing in Berlin

Note: This article was originally published at Planet PHP on 15 June 2011.
Planet PHP

ASo I spend the last two weeks in Berlin, with a short trip in between to Italy for some frisbee. Berlin was awesome, Italy too, except for the muscle I pulled at the end of the second game, but I digress. The reason why I got to hang out in my home town was the International PHP Conference Spring Edition, where I have a talk on the Symfony CMF, and Berlin Buzzwords where I got to hear all about whats happening in the NoSQL, Search and Big Data world.

IPC was in a new location from last time I attended. Turned out have quite good attendance apparently not thanks to Berliners, who seem to be rare and far between, but the fact that everybody is always ready to use any excuse to make a trip to Berlin. The organizers mixed the PHP side of things up with the Webinale which seemed to be all about SEO and Facebook games. They also had a few single day themes like the Javascript day.

Since lately I haven't been going to that many conferences I mostly socialized with people I don't get to see that often anymore and some new faces. Specifically I finally got to chat with David ZAlke a bit, an opportunity I used to also have him review all the ideas I have for FOSRestBundle. Given that he isn't a big fan of symfony 1.x with some concerns on Symfony2 too, I am happy to report that he was able to refrain from bursts of the usual "nein, nein, nein". So while he isn't going to jump ship from Agavi any time soon, it does seem like we are on a good path.

But of course I did also attend a few talks. For example listened into Robert's Flow3 talk. Also I used the opportunity to catch up with Ilia, who did a very interesting talk on ext/memcached introducing to some of the finer details. Johannes also gave a good overview of whats lurking around the corner in PHP 5.4 and what the MySQL guys have cooking in terms of PHP specific love. Benjamin also gave a well attended talk on all the NoSQL stuff going on in the Doctrine project. My talk also seemed to have gone well and I was happy that I wasn't Rasmused by David's CouchDB intro talk.

The following week then was Berlin Buzzwords. It has quite an awesome vibe to it. The fact that its one of the coolest locations in Berlin, the Urania, just added to it. Its just nice an open; case in point the wifi was just open, no fiddling with stupid passwords. Yet the performance, just like last year, was rock solid, in a league of its own compared to other conferences. The first day was a bit too "big data" focused for my taste. Also I think the program had too many talks in parallel with related topics. For example the RabbitMQ talk by fellow Liiper Alvaro was in parallel with the Riak talk. The next day it was even worse in that regard, but with more search/nosql stuff which was great for me. But none the less I was able to meet a few new faces and some faces that I rarely get to see like Thomas Koch and Uwe Schindler.AI didn't have time to attend the hackaton the following day, but I did go by the Semantic Web one over lunch to pitch resolutionfinder.org and got lots of really interesting feedback on getting funding.

While I was in Berlin I also used the opportunity to give a visit to the Berlin PHP user group where I have a talk on Symfony2. Here I did something that I have done at one of the weekly Liip internal tech talks before, but never outside: I have a talk without any slides, just with my editor, talking free style and showing code. I ended up talking well over an hour, but I think the approach really worked well. I think I am going to do this more often from now on.

To cap things off I sat down with a couple of developers from Software&Support, who are doing interesting stuff with the Alfresco content repository. They have developed some homegrown tools to better interface Alfresco with their PHP frontend. They have done a lot of things that align quite well with PHPCR. So we agreed to look into joining forces.