Event Recap of PHP UK in London

Event Recap of PHP UK in London

Event Recap of PHP London
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Thought byTassos Koutlas
February 26, 2019

It's the 14th year in a row for PHP UK, and FFW's Tassos Koutlas is attending. Below are some of his thoughts from the event.

It was great to see some familiar faces and quite a few new ones at PHP UK 2019. I really like how the UK's local PHP community is constantly growing and attracting new talent. It was also obvious from the sponsors that quite a few interesting apps are using PHP as their platform of choice.

The conference started with an amazing keynote talk by Thijs Freyn about controlling the variables. Which variables would those be, you might ask? The variables for personal success: feeling happy and fulfilled. 

The case that Thijs is making is that our success and ambition is controlled by us as much as by the circumstances we come across. The talk underscored how it's vital for us to be open to new opportunities, and that it's also important to have fun and enjoy the process of putting in the hard work for what we believe in. Everything good that comes out of that is success, not a means to a (successful) end. It was an inspirational start to the day, and I enjoyed the talk very much.

In more technical talks, Demin Yin talked about the story of Design Home, a highly successful iOS and Android game. The Design Home API is implemented in PHP and the game has more than 1 million active users, 1 billion designs and 40 million votes-- all coming up from 100,000 calls to the code per minute

Demin talked about how he and his team optimised the stack at the infrastructure layer, the HTTP layer, the data storage layer and the code architecture. The results have been impressive with API calls being served in under 60 msecs. I spoke with him after the talk about the best way to approach optimisations for digital teams. His advice was start at the bottom and move up: infrastructure, data layer, HTTP and finally architecture. The more we move intro microservices and headless CMS configurations, the better: it gives us more control on scaling and extend our applications.

Next, Neal Brookes presented a simple PHP application being served by a serverless environment with AWS Lambda functions. It seemed like a new, interesting technique for PHP applications. For those interested in learning more, check out Bref.sh as a way to encapsulate PHP applications for deployment with serverless functions in AWS.

The day closed with Paul Veerbek-Mast talking about what inclusivity really entails and how we can and should start building truly inclusive communities and companies. He started with the remarkable history of women in tech and how their contributions have been completely erased from the 80s and 90s. In fact, he talked a lot about how the cultured shifted and how certain stereotypes got targets which alienated many women from participating in tech.

I found particularly interesting his top advice on creating a inclusive, friendly culture and how each of us can be an awesome co-worker:

  1. Reach out to other colleagues, especially to new ones
  2. When someone is new, assign an onboard buddy to guide them
  3. Pay attention to team dynamics: things change, so be prepared
  4. Don't assume, ask people
  5. Use inclusive language
  6. Be humble! Other people need to voice their opinions and want to be listened to


I have found my self many times in breach of those principles and I am certainly looking at this with a new light moving forwards.

PHP UK 2019 was a great event, and I walked away with some really provoking thoughts and knowledge of new and interesting technologies.

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