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Stellar’s Midwest PHP 2017 Recap

posted on March 22, 2017
Crew & Community Development

Lead programmer and all-around good guy, Tim Wilson, attended the 2017 Midwest PHP Conference in Minneapolis, MN. Tim spent two days attending seminars and breakouts ranging from testing to apps to redevelopment. Being that Stellar Blue is a PHP programming shop, this conference is right in our wheelhouse. Below are some of the notes that Tim shared with our team albeit notes that have been ‘decoded’ for your reading pleasure. 

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It was a pleasure to head back to Minneapolis for this conference. From good keynotes and in-depth sessions, there was a lot to take in. The sessions I attended included:

  • Using Open Source for Fun and Profit
  • Principles of Unit Testing
  • Bringing Old Legacy Apps To PHP 7 and Beyond
  • Software Management Lessons from the 1960s
  • TypeScript in Action
  • The Mindful Developer: Being Less Busy & More Productive
  • DevOps For Small Teams
  • Practical PHP Deployment with Jenkins
  • Kickass Development Environments with Docker
  • Status Change: Now Using Event Sourcing
  • WordPress as a 12 Factor app
  • Using our Superpowers for Good
I have around 50 lines of notes per every session, and the ‘WP’ specific one has over 100 lines. The range of topics varied greatly, including specific WordPress sessions to the newest PHP 7.1 overview, to TypeScript (superset of JavaScript), to server topics, to testing, to software management and even self-improvement tips on reducing stress to become more productive.

So not only did it include the cutting edges of PHP versions and programming languages, it went as far back as management lessons learned from the 1960s of Brooks experiences at IBM and based off of his book, “The Mythical Man-Month” written in 1975 that many ideas and lessons still apply to today’s programming teams – a quote I liked from it includes Brooks’s Law of “adding manpower to a late software project makes it later”; summed up as that it takes more time to bring new people up to speed on the project as they need to get caught up on all the programming done before them to even become productive to the project.

Lessons learned from being less busy and more productive include taking 26 minutes a day to meditate, and incremental 5 minute breaks based off of the “Pomodoro Technique”. Some sessions were higher level than our day-to-day needs at Stellar Blue but still offered alternatives for us to consider.
I was interested in the server topics as that’s a hot topic here at Stellar as we continue to expand our hosting and security offerings. There were even server topics that myself and fellow programmer Erik have been working on.
The WordPress session covering on the 12 Factor app was extremely beneficial, but still need to digest everything as the 12 factors are an entire software manifesto covered generally at http://www.clearlytech.com/2014/01/04/12-factor-apps-plain-english/ and specifically for WordPress at https://roots.io/twelve-factor-wordpress/ so there are plenty of good take aways behind the manifesto.
All-in-all, it was a good turnout for the conference and it’s already been a full week at Stellar sharing with the team all the notes!
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Part of Stellar Blue’s career path development for each employee is the opportunity to seek out and participate in educational seminars, conferences, and certifications. 

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