Recently two of us have joined around six hundred other developers, enthusiasts and community members representing over thirty countries during the SymfonyCon which took place in the heart of Warsaw, Poland.
The SymfonyCon 2013, an historical conference
The conference was historical for number of reasons :
- It was the first official international event in the Symfony ecosystem (other than the SymfonyLive ones).
- It was the first Symfony event that had been completely sold out.
- It has been the second time to organize Symfony Awards, but the first time to do that during a live event. And there might have been more.
The whole event was a great organizational success. The two conference days were packed with sessions, lightning talks and other community-oriented events, with very little room to avoid opportunities to meet the community. And naturally with a party night in between 🙂
The introduction keynote
The event was opened with a keynote by Fabien Potencier, the founder of Symfony framework, in which he revealed some details on how things are done and automated in the development process of the framework. He also stressed the growing role of the growing Symfony community and introduced a recently employed community manager.
After the keynote, the sessions were divided into two conference tracks. The presentations were mostly technically oriented, with few exceptions. Many of the talks concentrated directly on the framework, its components, extensions (bundles in Symfony world) or practices of its use. Some of the presentations covered some more general concepts or solutions around application development, including automatization, understanding and applying selected design patterns and practices or application monitoring. Couple of inspirational talks touched less technical aspects, such as selling Symfony to the clients or open source community building.
- I started my first day with Grégoire Pineau, who shared his experiences regarding infrastructure and deployment automatization, with a short overview of available solutions with Chef as the one chosen by SensioLabs. Grzegorz started his day meeting Matthias Noback, who gave a presentation on extensibility of Twig templating engine, which should allow more customized and dedicated view layer design and optimization.
- Lukas Kahwe Smith and William Durand shared the stage to present the possibilities of creating REST APIs using Symfony2 framework. They pointed to a number of interesting existing solutions and frameworks for API creation and documentation as well as reminded the very foundations of real REST-like communication. In the same time, Piotr Pasich shared in his presentation the benefits of using and customizing annotations and the power of improving the code organization by doing so.
- After the lunch, Gediminas Morkevicius focused on how to increase productivity and make the best out of Symfony’s default ORM, Doctrine2 to be precise. In the meantime, John La, the Director of Technology at Funny Garbage, gave one of not many less-technically-oriented presentations. He shared his and his company’s experiences regarding the process of pitching Symfony 2 framework to the customers.
- David Buchmann presented the Symfony 2 based Content Management Framework solution, which went stable last summer and which provides SF2 users with the ability to add content management capabilities to their projects. He presented most important features and gave a short introduction on how to start using the CMF bundle collection.
- Kris Wallsmith gathered crowds (as the matter of fact, a switch of auditoriums was required to fit all the interested listeners) to share his practices, choices, routines and standards when it comes to working on Symfony-based projects. A funny, yet interesting and inspirational talk.
- After another coffee break, Ryan Weaver gave an inspirational presentation on various tools for better, modern, efficient and effective frontend design and development, including solutions such as Grunt, RequireJS, Bower and other. After that, he shared his experiences in plugging that into Symfony2 framework. At the same time, Cathy Theys gave another rare non-technical speech, in which she shared her experiences with building and maintaining communities of software contributors. She mostly concentrated on mentoring role in the process, mentioned good and bad practices, strategies, planning, risks.
- The last two presentations concluded the official day one’s tracks. After a short break, we listened to the lightning talks session and live-audienced a Symfony2-oriented Jeopardy game. Cocktail party begun shortly afterwards and opened a very long night. 🙂
Second conference day
- It started with a report by Bernhard Schussek on of the most important components of Symfony2 framwork, that is the Form component. In his presentation, Bernard, the author of the component, summarized how SF2 forms had evolved, where they were presently, and where they were going in the future. A number of interesting and important issues were addressed, including the backwards compatibility approach to be expected in the coming versions of the component and Symfony 2 framework.
- At the same time, Grzegorz joined Jeremy Mikola who shared his experiences with using React PHP library as a core for event-driven programing. Later, he joined Marie Minasyan, who discussed the concept of voters as an alternative to ACE in Symfony 2 and its security-related solutions.
- And I decided to meet Marco Pivetta, who gave a very interesting presentation on the proxy pattern in PHP, explaining many possible proxy-related design approaches, including remote, virtual and protection proxies, smart references as well as pointed to many advantages and disadvantages of various types of fake objects.
- In some presentation that followed, Joseph Rouff focused his listeners on the Symfony 2 Security component’s authentication mechanism, introducing the fundamental concepts around that area.
- In the meantime, Jakub Zalas in his presentation gave a general introduction to several Symfony components, reminding their possible use as reusable components outside of Symfony 2 framework context. The last block of the official presentations followed after the lunch break.
- Dave Marshall talked about the lightweight Silex framework, shared his experiences and his common projects decisions that make it possible or at least easier to manage growth in Silex-based projects. Benjamin Eberlei gave an inspirational and interesting presentation about design patterns focused on allowing decoupling of Symfony 2 applications, with the domain event design pattern as an interesting alternative to the default application architecture.
- In the conferences final speech, Daniel Gomes made an introduction to and shared his experiences and practices with using Symfony 2 Console components to create command-line tools and applications, discovering some of the most recent additions to the component. After a short break, another lightning talk session took place, preceeding the Symfony Community and Business Awards Ceremony.
The next SymfonyCon will be taking place in Madrid.