OSCON ’07 Wrapup

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p. The echoes from the last “OSCON”:http://conferences.oreillynet.com/os2007/ parties haven’t even stopped reverberating though the halls as the next convention moves in. The vendors are all long gone and the attendees are all shoved in tiny seats on their express flight back to the real world. Let’s take a quick look over our shoulder at the party that was OSCON ’07 before answering the call of the road and heading off to the next event.

h3. Tutorials

p. !>http://farm1.static.flickr.com/82/286003017_bc1a79cde6_m.jpg! This year I was lucky, I got here early enough to attend both tutorial days. Unfortunately, my Monday started late due to conference calls but I was able to attend 2 great sessions at Ubuntu live before heading over for a great afternoon tutorial on “Asterisk”:http://www.asterisk.org/ taught by Brian Capouch.

p. Even though I enjoyed Monday, Tuesday was a bit better. I sat through the morning session “PHP and MySQL Best Practices” taught by the husband and wife team of “Luke Welling”:http://lukewelling.com/ and “Laura Thomson”:http://www.laurathomson.com/. If you’ve never seen these two in action then make sure you attend the next event they are presenting at. Whatever the conference price, it’s worth it to see these two present. Aside from being humorous in style, the presentation is very insightful. My favorite quote from the entire tutorial has to be Laura’s advice on PHP coding

bq. !>http://farm1.static.flickr.com/230/501400449_df32ac3a66_m_d.jpg! All frameworks suck.

p. I think I’ll put that on a bumper sticker and plaster it on my laptop. [Note: In response to this article, Laura has posted a clarification of her comments on her blog.]

h3. The Conference

p. This year at OSCON I didn’t get to attend nearly as many sessions as I did last year. The ones I did attend though we, for the most part, up to the high OSCON standards. Really, the only session I attended that I felt wasn’t worth my time was Wednesday’s keynote presentation. Wednesday’s presentation should be a warning to all conference coordinators on the dangers of selling keynote presentations to vendors. Instead of opening the conference off with a bang and setting the mood for an exciting few days, the keynotes were just one suit after another parading their products out to the yawns of the audience. The scripted feel of the presentations and the cardboard stiffness of the presenters only made everyone glad it was over.

p. Once that was done though, the sessions began. I attended two sessions by “Andi Gutmans”:http://andigutmans.blogspot.com/. (Disclaimer: Andi is my boss’ boss here at Zend) The funny thing is that while I’ve seen Andi present many times in the past year, this year at OSCON he presented two new and very interesting sessions. His first session was on The “Zend Framework”:http://framework.zend.com and RIA. Using code from a tutorial written by “Padrick Brady”:http://blog.astrumfutura.com/ and “published here on DevZone”:https://devzone.zend.com/article/1581-Ajax-Chat-Tutorial, Andi showed a live chat application built on Ajax and the Zend Framework. In a subtle twist on the concept, he took the log file, ran it through “Yahoo’s Term Extractor”:http://developer.yahoo.com/search/content/V1/termExtraction.html API (my personal favorite of all the APIs they publish) and mashed in “Flicker”:http://www.flickr.com to show pictures of what is being talked about. I’ll post the slides and code for that as soon as I can pry them from his hands.

p. The second session Andi presented was a refreshing look at security. Security is something every PHP developer should have on his or her mind. Andi however, took a different tack. he talked about the non-PHP things you can do to make sure your site is secure. Again, I’ll post slides as soon as they are available. This is one set of slides that you will want to review.

p. There were many other great session at this year’s OSCON. As with last year, the crew at “OmniTI”:http://omniti.com/ dominated the PHP tracks and did a great job. I think however, the highlight of the show for me was Friday’s keynote session.

p. Given Wednesday’s experience, I was hesitant to go back but figured I’d give it one more shot. The difference was night and day. These keynotes were not only informative and thought provoking, they were damn funny. It was a great experience. (Note to any vendor doing a keynote at a conference, instead of putting a suit on stage to force-feed the audience a technology, why not “hire”:http://conferences.oreillynet.com/cs/os2007/view/e_spkr/2139 “one”:http://conferences.oreillynet.com/cs/os2007/view/e_spkr/2019 “of”:http://conferences.oreillynet.com/cs/os2007/view/e_spkr/2839 “these”:http://conferences.oreillynet.com/cs/os2007/view/e_spkr/2018 “guys”:http://conferences.oreillynet.com/cs/os2007/view/e_spkr/1551 to present for you. I **guarantee** that your audience will remember the session beyond the exit door.)

p. So here I sit in the hotel lobby, waving good by to friends I’ll only see online for another year and looking back on the whole experience. OSCON is different than most of the other conferences I attend as it’s not dedicated to a specific technology. I usually attend a lot of PHP sessions but I also get to see what is going on in the rest of the open source world. For me, that’s a huge bonus. So with a hint of sadness tempered with a spark of anticipation for next year, I don my battered fedora, mount my trusty steed and taxi off into the sunset. Somewhere out there is another conference just about to start.