Steve Grunwell

Open-source contributor, speaker, and electronics tinkerer

Looking out from the Smithsonian Natural Science museum on a foggy day

Reflections on php[world] 2014

I just got back last night from the inaugural php[world] conference in Washington, D.C., put on by the team at php[architect], and thought I’d share some of my thoughts and experiences:

Speakers and Keynotes

The speakers at php[world] ranged from “this is my first time talking” to “this is one stop on my world speaking tour”, but the leisurely pace of the conference (there were typically 30 minutes between sessions) meant plenty of time for conversations and/or the “hallway track.” Save for a couple of the panelists on “The Greatest Panel on Earth”, I was able to share a meal and/or drinks with every keynote speaker, plus dozens of other talented developers from all stages of their careers.

As the week unfolded, it was fantastic to see more cross-community pollination, as WordPress developers struck up conversations with Drupal devs, small agency programmers started meeting enterprise-level engineers, and Joshua Thijssen blew everyone’s minds with his talk on the SPL (which, I was unfortunately unable to attend as I was speaking at the time).

Pantomiming a head exploding

A dramatic re-enactment of Thijssen’s SPL talk, based on the reactions of people at lunch that day.


Beyond the Hallway Track and Open Spaces room, php[world] did an excellent job at arranging optional activities in the evenings. Most nights had a reception following the last session of the day, while other nights included things like game nights and hackathons. There were plenty of unofficial activities, too: several of us ventured down the street to catch Interstellar in IMAX my first night, and on Wednesday Jenny Wong, Eric Mann, and I took a stroll along the National Mall.

I’m also happy to announce that during the Hackathon Thursday night I submitted my first patch for WordPress and had the opportunity to discuss the patch in person with Nacin, so that’s something you don’t get to do every day :).

The Venue

The conference was held at the Sheraton Premiere at Tyson’s Corner, a recently-rennovated hotel and conference center just northeast of downtown. While its location isn’t nearly as historic as Capitol Hill, the newly-opened Silver Line on the Metro system made the rest of D.C. just a train ride away.


In an update to my post about swearing and Movember, I managed to not swear once during my presentations (I guess it wasn’t such a problem after all), but that still meant $20 each to the campaigns of Jason McCreary (a.k.a. “JMac”) and Acquia Open Source Evangelist JAM.

Wrapping up

Overall, I’d consider this conference to be a rousing success. Eli White, the conference chair, has stated that the php[architect] is already planning on php[world] 2015, and you can bet I’ll be one of the first speakers to apply.


Avoiding Swearing for Men’s Health


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