17 September 2008

Wednesday at ZendCon

ZendCon started with a really interesting keynote today (I'm usually not big on keynotes). The first speaker was a Zend Framework developer named Wil Sinclair, and he talked about how PHP applications have evolved over time. He introduced the CEO and CTO of Varien, and then talked about their company's development of Magento. Magento looks really cool. It's an open-source e-commerce built on Zend Framework. It appears to be as full-featured as big commercial e-commerce sites like amazon.com. They apparently wrote the whole thing in a matter of months. Impressive. I'll definitely try it if I ever need to make an online store.

Then I checked out "Architecting for PHP5..." with Elizabeth Smith. She covered some of the features new to PHP5 and again encouraged us to use extensions whenever possible ("C is faster than PHP"). Looks like I need to read more about the SPL and the filter extension.

Stefan Esser gave a really good talk called "Lesser Known Security Problems in PHP Applications." Some of it was kind of scary. We even got to hear him announce a 0-day vulnerability with the ZipArchive extension (along with a more obscure problem with HTTP response splitting affecting users of older Netscape proxies).

After lunch was another keynote: "The State of AJAX" with Ben Galbraith. Not a lot of technical information, so not too interesting to me. It was mostly a survey of lots of shiny-looking, bleeding-edge stuff (which may or may not be around in six months). He speculated that HTML5 and (google) gears will be important to the future of AJAX. I was hoping he'd tell me which AJAX framework to use, and he did address this point. He said that it's sort of a toss-up between Dojo, Prototype/script.aculo.us, and jQuery, because they're all small, powerful, extensible (with community support) frameworks. So pick one. *sigh* Thanks.

In his "Phar Scape" talk, Marcus Boerger showed us some neat tricks to do with phar, a deployment tool modeled after Java's JAR.

I went to another talk by Sebastian Bergmann, this one called "phpUnderControl: A Quick Start to Continuous Integration." I'm pretty much the only PHP programmer where I work, so I don't really have to integrate my work with a team. But phpUnderControl looks cool enough that I'd like to try it. Besides, it makes nice pictures that could distract managers. (And Sebastian says that he likes doxygen more than phpDocumentor, so I'll give that a try, too.)

I finished out the day with an UnCon session called "Subversion Tips and Tricks" with Lorna Mitchell and Matthew Weier O'Phinney. It turned out to be mostly introductory in nature, but I still picked up a few things. It was very informal, and it was fun.

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