Finding Value in a PHP Conference

Elizabeth Smith’s keynote at Midwest PHP brought me into the PHP community. Cal Evans reinforced the idea with ways to participate and give back to the community.

“PHP Conference” and “PHP Community” are not the same. But, in my mind, they’re closely tied together because it’s at the conferences that I experience the best parts of our community. It’s at the conferences that I see we are a community.

The Value of Conferences

Each PHP conference that I’ve attended has directly impacted my work projects.

Last March, I attended Midwest PHP 2016.

Mike Stowe gave a talk, Services in the Enterprise: How Not to Fail. Part way through the talk I realized this might be a good approach to solving our problem of the moment. In that talk, he mentioned the book Building Microservices by Sam Newman.

Two more speakers brought my possible solution into focus. Samantha Quiñones shared Building Real-time Data Pipelines and Manage Your Content with Elasticsearch. Mathew Beane caught my eye with Serious Log Crunching and Intelligence Gathering so I sat in on ELK: Ruminating on Logs. He kept things creative with his diagrams of stacked ELK and log runs!

A few months later I was able to share my solution via php[architect] magazine as The Strangler Pattern. I can’t speak highly enough of the unexpected collisions of ideas which happen at our conferences. they can be our PHP community at its best.

Outgrowing Beanstalk

A similar situation happened whilst attending php[tek] 2016. Our Beanstalk server had been “tipping over” from time to time, making a mess of our production work flow. We were not able to get much help with our issues, except to see other sites seem to have had similar problems in recent years. We found no indication Beanstalk is actively supported, by anyone. We noted Redis and RabbitMQ, by contrast, offer Enterprise-level support.

With these difficulties in mind, I attended Matthew Turland’s talk Effective Redis for PHP Developers. After the talk I explained we were considering moving from Beanstalk to either RabbitMQ or Redis as our queueing system. He suggested I talk to Gary Hockin at the PhpStorm table. Gary knows Beanstalk.

I described our situation to Gary, and he said “you have outgrown Beanstalk” and RabbitMQ is the correct answer for us. Gary walked me over and introduced me to James Titcumb, how happily answered questions for me.

Again, I can’t recommend the PHP developer conferences highly enough!

Note: My experiences above are excerpted from The Strangler Pattern in October 2016 php[architect].