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php|tek 2011 Closing Remarks

Note: This article was originally published at Planet PHP on 13 June 2011.
Planet PHP

A few weeks ago at php|tek, I was lucky enough to deliver the Closing Remarks. Well.. it was less "lucky" and more of a "wait.. you haven't done anything this week, make yourself useful." So after a week of sessions, midnight hackathons, midnight unconference, tornados, power outages, a red carpet entrance, a family reunion, I got the final word.. Of course, this recap is not verbatim. I did the original presentation from a basic outline and have since had a few weeks to ponder it.

Disclosure: I have been one of the organizers of php|tek for the past three years and hope to continue it into the future.

For years now, php|tek has been billed as "the community conference." We don't have an exhibit hall. We pride ourselves on not setting the speakers or sponsors apart very much. There's no speaker lounge or speaker-only event organized by us. Along those lines, one of the themes is always "get involved, here's how!" but along with getting involved, we have five responsibilities that I see...

First, you have to Show Up. Everyone at tek already did that. They stepped out of their cubes or offices and actually did something. Of course, there are other ways to get involved beyond attending a conference. Almost every semi-major metro area in North America has at least one PHP or Web Developer or MySQL or Open Source group. Most have monthly meetings, some have mailing lists or forums, but all have professional peers that you should get familiar with. If none of those work, we have IRC channels like #phpc or #web2project on Freenode where you can get involved.

Next, you have to Listen and Learn. No matter who you are or what your background is, you have something to learn. Conference-wise, we have events like php|tek (every May in Chicago), ZendCon (every fall in Silicon Valley), but many groups - like Zend, php|architect, Acquia, etc - offer webcasts too. In most cases, they're free and all you have to do is sign up. It feels nice and safe starting in the PHP community, but there are numerous opportunities like BarCamps, Hackathons, and user groups outside the PHP community where you might learn.

Sometimes the best way to spark new ideas is to look at something you think you know from a completely different perspective. If you look at phpUnit, you'll see Sebastian was heavily inspired by the jUnit community. There's nothing wrong with that.. we should learn from others' mistakes and research.

Next, you have to Join Up. At php|tek we have a Hackathon where 15+ projects had team members there to help you get started. Some projects had a couple commits. Some just got some exposure. Others had entire teams of new contributors.. but there was one tweet that made my night. It was simple but incredibly powerful:

(When I read Neveo's tweet during my remarks, I asked him to stand up and asked everyone to give him a round of applause. He deserved it. Rafael Dohms was the guy who got him started on PHPT tests, so he got a big thanks too.)

He noted that "it was only one small test" and "it only took 15 minutes" but considering how very few people in the room had ever written a test and how few people were in the room compared to how many PHP developers are out there, it already puts him in the top 1% of the community.

Further, after the presentation, he came to me and noted again that it was "one small test." My response was: "how many PHP installs are out there? 100 million? 200 million? Multiply that 'one small test' by 200 million a

Truncated by Planet PHP, read more at the original (another 4118 bytes)