Friday, February 16, 2018

A Tale of Three Computer Conferences, Two Communities

Three conferences in three weeks! FOSDEM, SunshinePHP, and PHP UK are three excellent conferences that this year are back to back to back. 

FOSDEM is to the computer world what Renaissance Fairs are to those who have their own maces and armor.  FOSDEM is held on the campus of the Free University of Brussels, there is no registration -- pre, onsite, or post -- and they attempt to guess attendees by MAC addresses on devices that connect to network.  No tickets, no badges, and no reserved seats but FOSDEM is free to attend.  Rooms are requested by various groups including my MySQL Community Team partner LeFred for the MySQL ecosystem. The MySQL and Friends Devroom was packed from early morning to evening with engaging 30 minute presentations from a number of companies.  This show in the last few years has become one of the most important technical shows on the MySQL Community Team Schedule. LeFred and the presenters did a tremendous job of putting together amazing talks for the MySQL Community.

SunshinePHP is held in Miami and organized by the amazing Adam Culp.  He and his team have an amazing knack of pulling fantastic talks together into a great show.  Be advised that this is a show where you can go from airport to hotel for the conference and then return to the airport at the end without ever leaving the venue.  I spoke on MySQL 8 and received a lot of feedback that I used to update my presentation for the next show. 

And the next show is PHP UK.  The PHP Community is very strong, supportive, and radiant in new advancements in the PHP 7 series.  As with SunshinePHP, the PHP folks are warm, supportive, and invigorated.  The organizers of the London show have also assembled a talented group of presenters and I seem to be the only carryover from the previous show with my talk on MySQL 8.

A Comparison of the Communities

The MySQL and PHP Communities are both roughly the same age.  Both are now confident twenty years olds with plenty of recent self improvement.  PHP 7 is light years ahead in speed and capabilities from the four and five series.  MySQL is about to take a giant step with MySQL 8.  Both had version sixes that never quite made it into production but the subsequent engineering have produced much stronger products.  Both face competition from newer products but still dominate what is the modern implementation of the LAMP stack.  And the two products have strong communities working hard to improve the product.

The PHP Community is much better than its counterpart in aiding novices, mentoring, stressing the basics of good style in coding.  Many members have had to add JavaScript skills of one order or another in recent years but still try to keep PHP as their core tool.  And there are many more local PHP user groups than MySQL.

Next Up

I will be talking to the San Diego PHP User Group before heading to the Southern California Linux Expo. More on those shows later.