DPC 2010

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Dutch PHP Conference 2010 and I had an amazing time. The event was held in Amsterdam at the RAI centre. The primary sponsor was iBuildings and the entire event was organised by the totally awesome Lornajane.

When DPC 2010 announced the call for papers I submitted both a proposal for a tutorial on PHP extensions and one for a talk on web services. Both were excepted. I had proposed both half day and full day versions of the tutorial the organisers chose the full day version. This turned out to be a lot of work. Basically I would be talking for 6 hours in four 90 minute slots.

The web services talk was to be trailed at the PHP NW group in May. Unfortunately being stuck in the US due to the Icelandic Volcano and its dust cloud didn’t give me much time to prepare for it. However by the time of the group meeting I had a basic talk. This meant I could devote the rest of the time up to DPC preparing the tutorial.

Since it is still early in my speaking career I don’t yet have the experience to accurately judge how long a talk will take. I had never done a tutorial before so I had no experience to base it on. In the end I came up with a plan where I had some ‘optional’ sections which I could add on the end if I ran short. It was scary to see how much content I required and took me several weeks to prepare in odd evenings. In the end it came in at over 100 slides together with four example extensions.

I flew to Amsterdam courtesy of KLM’s direct flight from Leeds Bradford Airport to Schipol. Since the hotel was right by Amsterdam Centraal train station it was a simple train ride from the airport and a short walk. After meeting other attendees and speakers in the hotel foyer I headed up to my room to finish preparation for the Friday. It turned out that I wasn’t by the station, my room was in a building over the station. It straddled two platforms and a set of tracks.

The following morning I got up early and Lornajane helped me, and others, get to the conference venue. I was extremely nervous. This wasn’t helped by finding out that many of iBuilding’s own staff would be in my Extensions tutorial. In the end the day went very quickly. As usual when I’m nervous I spoke to quickly. Luckily I could answer all questions and also had a chance to talk about some side projects. I finished early so I turned the last session in to a workshop to any who wanted to try their hand at writing an extension. I was very pleased at how well it had been received.

That evening a whole bunch of us were going to an Indonesian fusion restaurant. Unfortunately due to our guide getting a little lost and my impractical shoes I arrived tired with sore feet. The food was great but I wanted to get back to the hotel and sleep. As I was still nervous about the talk the following day I didn’t sleep well. I also had the dilemma of either being too warm or it being too noisy with the trains.

The following morning I woke very tired. I met with some friends and fellow conference people at breakfast and we all headed off for the first of the two days of conference talks. It was an awesome Friday keynote from Kevlin Henney. I had seen him speak before an PHP NW 2009 and he did not disappoint. Following talks were equally impressive. My slot was on after afternoon tea which is always hard work and by then I was tired out. It was not a great talk. Although fine for the PHP NW group meeting it was a little basic for an international conference. I will know for next time.

That evening was the Speakers dinner which was thoroughly enjoyable. I got to talk to Kevlin and others and since by then I had given all my content I could have a bit of a drink and not worry about having to make it the following morning although since the Saturday keynote was being given by Chris Shiflett who I had also seen before and thoroughly enjoyed I was too late to bed so that I could be there on time to see him.

Sunday provided another day of great speakers and talks. Thoroughly enjoyable. Then the conference wound down. Those of us who were staying the Saturday night headed off for pancakes. Marcus and I got completely lost in Amsterdam due to confusing instructions from Ivo (it was the wrong social he was talking about) and eventually turned up about an hour later than everyone else. However the pancakes were well worth it. It was followed by some more drinking and then bed.

Since Lornajane and I live in the same city we were on the same KLM flight back from Amsterdam so we became travel partners. Sunday was spent mostly hanging out in Amsterdam followed by an unstressed journey to the airport, a couple of beers waiting for our flight, and an uneventful flight home.

DPC 2010 was really good fun. I learnt a lot, both from the talks and giving the tutorial and the talk. I met many good friends and made lots of new ones. Too many to have a check list here. I’m now looking forward to my ‘home’ conference, PHP NW 2010 in October.

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