Updated Dec 3, 2015 (Originally Published Nov 15, 2015)
On November 5 to 7, 2015, I went to the True North PHP Conference in Toronto.
Superbly organized by the Greater Toronto Area PHP User Group, the venue was Microsoft Canada's Mississauga Conference Center.
My first TNPHP conference, I had a great time, learned a lot, met a lot of people. Some people I had met at the GTA PHP User Group; and, at the Laravel Toronto User Group.
Day 1: Tutorial Day
The first day was not a conference day, but was a tutorial day, with two morning, and two afternoon, tutorials. Each tutorial ran three hours. It was a shame that I could not attend all the tutorials.
Of course I was going to the Lumen tutorial. Lumen is the Laravel Framework's microframework.
I went to the Composer tutorial to solidify my knowledge of this core technology.
Before the morning's Composer tutorial started, one of the conference organizers read the riot act about the Conference's Code of Conduct. As dire as it sounded, in the three days, I did not hear of any incidents.
Actually, what I thought would happen was hearing laptops and mobile devices during the talks. Everyone had their laptops open, and had their devices on during all the talks. But it did not happen. The ring tones et al were muted, without a word being said by any speaker to mute devices.
The Composer tutorial was superb. The speaker was very prepared for the rigours of a three hour tutorial. He had a lot of slides prepared. A lot of ground was covered. I thought there would be hands-on exercises, but there were none, which turned into a good thing given the wide scope the tutorial covered. As well, the slides had a lot of code, so we saw Composer in action.
Some Laravel artisan commands launch Composer; and, the Laravel app's composer.json launches artisan commands. This tutorial helped me understand those processes better.
The Lumen tutorial was hands-on, and required some experience with the Laravel Framework. Some attendees were frustrated not having worked with Laravel before, so they walked out. Those that stayed contributed to a very interactive, lively tutorial.
The Lumen tutorial was the only Laravel specific talk of the Conference. So I think some attendees were expecting a Laravel overview first, before the deep dive into Lumen. It's great to see people show up for a hands-on introduction to Laravel. So I talked to one of the organizers about doing a Lightening Talk intro at an upcoming GTA PHP meet-up.
Conference Day One:
Incredibly, I did not take a pic on day one, so this pic is from Day Two. On Day One, I attended:
* opening keynote address
* security top ten
* job queues
* MySQL 5.7 + json
* tech writing primer
All the speakers at the Conference were hugely knowledgeable. They did a great job packing a lot of material into an hour. But an hour seemed too condensed a timeframe. The speakers were very organized, traversing a lot of technical ground.
I stayed for the Microsoft Azure hackathon, but did not touch Azure at all (the Microsoft Azure specialist did forgive me). Instead, I lounged around, and worked on a problem I discovered with LaSalle Software, because it was such a great environment to do my own little hackathon. I did follow the real-time Azure example, which was good since I did not attend the Azure talk.
Conference Day Two
I missed the keynote, due to domestic chauffeuring duties. I was there for the rest of the day:
* great API's
* API (Batman) utility belt
* simple design
* PHP5.5 promises and generators
I attended the API talks specifically for insights that will help LaSalleMart. I was not disappointed, especially about API versioning.
Confession: I've always been in awe of xdebug. That someone could create such a thing, and that they would release it for free, just blows me away. The author of xdebug gave the debug talk, and it was great. I am so glad that PhpStorm 10 has xdebug zero config.
The Simple Design talk was unique because I saw the same talk on video given at LaraConEU. Being live, I got more out of it. Of all the Day One and Two talks, this talk seemed most suited for Tutorial Day.
The PHP5.5 talk lost me. Talking to some other attendees afterwards, the general idea is that PHP is offering a facility to get info from API's "asynchronically".
I am looking forward to next year's True North PHP Conference.