Tag: traits

My PHP Traits talk at PHPBenelux Conference 2012

This weekend (27-28 January 2012) I spoke again at the PHPBenelux Conference and what a sweet conference this is.
An excellent line-up, great organizing and a wonderful networking opportunity. You should attend in 2013, if you are still doubting here are the reasons what made 2012 so special.

Purpose of the entry

Writing about this conference makes my heart jump and grin from ear to ear. I am obliged to write about this event just to vent all the positive feelings I have about this conference. I hope I will be able to give you just a taste of what I am feeling.


  • What is #phpbnl12?
  • My talk PHP traits, treat or threat
  • Who was attending?
  • Pros and Cons of this year
  • Conclusion

What is #phpbnl12?

The PHPBenelux Conference is a two day event organized by PHPBenelux which is a non profit PHP usergroup oranization for the Benelux. They organize meetings and conferences for PHP developers and companies using PHP. These events contain technical talks, workshops and best-practice sessions to share and improve the knowledge among developers. And that is exactly what this yearly conference is about: workshops, best-practices and sharing knowledge among developers.
This year was the third installment of many more to come and was perfectly organized by the PHPBenelux Crew (professionalism for the win).
They managed to get together an excellent schedule full with talks ranging from beginner to advanced. Found some killer sponsors which in turn threw some spectacular after socials. Ibuildings organized a Belgian beer tasting – without the spit-bucket, so you can imagine how that went 😀 – and combined that with real Belgian fries. They tasted soooooo good. You had the opportunity to play the Kinect but also could get your hands dirty on some good old Bowling. I kicked the ass of Derick Rethans, David Zülke, Stefano Oldeman and Jeroen Keppens. Unfortunately got my ass kicked by (the lucky cheating bastard ;)) Juozas Kaziukenas in the last round. That was so exciting 123 – 116. Maybe next year dear reader you can challenge me!
The other great sponsor was Engine Yard (Orchestra) and they arranged a BBQ. Those guys know how to entertain and luckily for me they also thought about the vegetarians. I scored a free Engine Yard scarf – which was needed because it was a blistering cold – and scored couple of drinks from some awesome people.
Talking about these social events is important because a conference is soo much more than learning. Hell there is tons to learn but also tons of interesting people to meet.

My talk PHP traits, treat or threat

This talk is an invitation for you to finally embrace PHP5.4. Normally you should already master all the 5.3 features. Heck it has been around for ages to play around with in production. The stable release of PHP5.4 is just around the corner so you should already have been testing all your apps against it. If you haven’t come and see this talk why. It will throw in some new PHP5.4 features / syntax but will of course mainly focus on traits.

The talk in itself was packed with information based on real world examples. This made the slidedeck sometimes spill with code, which I will filter down to a more readable and thus understanding level (got some complaints about too much code confusing it all). The reason why real world examples are chosen is simple: the attendee gets immediate feedback on how and potentially where to use it. He/She sees the possibilities of the feature instead of some academic foo bar examples, for which they can read the manual on php.net. However even if they are more into academic examples they found my slides and presentation far exceeding that. Lets be honest the manual is lacking a lot of information on what is possible with traits. For this you need to really invest in the mailing lists and talk to the PHP core team. That information is in the slides. The talk doesn’t say traits are the holy grail nor that it is evil, I let the attendee decide. I show what is possible with this new language feature without any judgement, but do focus on some best practices and pitfalls.

Some quotes:

  • I think Nick did a great job and I learnt a lot of new stuff.
  • I liked the fact that it was “real code” and not just hello world examples.
  • I really enjoyed this talk. Really looking forward to give 5.4 a try 🙂
  • This was a talk I was really looking forward to. Nick did a good job at explaining traits.
  • Very interesting talk; I learned a lot of new stuff and I’m definitely going to play around with traits a bit more

Who was attending?

Approximately 300 attendees with the “open source state of mind” at heart joined the conference. People who love to learn or lecture on everything programming related. It is about so much more than PHP. I urge you to join even if you are programming into a different language like .net or java. There is a wealth on information at this event and you feel the positive vibe of each and every attendee. The sponsors gave away some cool gifts too. ibuildings gave several tickets to DPC12 -another high rated conference- and an iPad2. Enrise raffled several Zend exam vouchers and an Apple Macbook Air (how f* awesome is that??).

Pros and cons this year


  • As always excellent venue
  • lots to learn at great lectures
  • lots of awesome people who are happy to meet you
  • sponsored conference social drinks at the hotel => FREE DRINKS for everyone.
  • the food really went up a notch this year. This year warm meals were also available and they were Yummie.


  • 2 small rooms and 1 main room doesn’t cut it anymore for this conference. At times some of the small rooms were packed. I had to stand at some presentations and during my talk people litterly sat on the floor. I do not know the proportions, but if the room at a seat capacity of 100, then at least 40 extra sat on the floor in front of the chairs.

Closing notes

Great value for money and in general a conference you should attend, no excuses.
See you next year at The PHPBenelux Conference 2013

Thx for reading and feel free to comment,
Nick Belhomme

Opening keynote by Andrei Zmievski at DPC09 – The evolution of PHP

Purpose of the entry

On Friday June 12th 2009 the Dutch PHP Conference started with a small introduction by Cal Evans, director of PCE at Ibuildings and previous editor-in-Chief of DevZone at Zend, Inc.
Cal welcomed us all at the third edition of what will become one of the major players concerning php conferences in Europe. The conference itself is packed with great talks on various subjects regarding programming. From the novice topics like the excellent talk from Ben Ramsey on “Grokking the REST Architecture” to the more advanced like “Trees in the Database: Advanced Data Structures” by Lorenzo Alberton. The latter I could unfortunately not attend, a man has got to make choices. I was attending Ben Ramsey’s second talk on REST because the first one was really really interesting. I did not have to choose which opening keynote to attend. There is only one per day and the first day was opened by Andrei Zmievski. He is a real entertainer. He brought the evolution of PHP, the new features in PHP 5.3 and PHP 6.0. He also said what PHP 7.0 will not be.
In this entry I will give an overview on the talk given by the main guy responsible for the official PHP releases.


  1. What is PHP
  2. PHP is mature and version 5.3 will arrive shortly
  3. PHP 6.0 is coming and with it Unicode and traits
  4. PHP7.0
  5. Resources
  6. Closing notes

What is PHP

PHP or Hypertext PreProcessor is a dirty language with a very low learning curve. This has been the success of the dominating web language. It is dirty because it was build upon release upon release. Never able to clean up some errors made in the beginning when the language was starting to evolve. This resulted in some function parameter inconsistencies and design issues that could have been done a different way. Because PHP took features from other languages it is a mix of various things. PHP is a ball of nails, it is not a full breed, but more like a mutt. But you got to love the mutt. It works brilliantly and does what it needs to do. And with every release it becomes more and more mature, more and more beautiful. Mutts often are stronger than full breeds also…

PHP is mature and version 5.3 will arrive shortly

Within a couple of weeks the long awaited PHP 5.3 version will be released as stable.
Like PHP 5.1 made a huge leap with the PDO integration so will 5.3 with namespaces. Andrei made some jokes about the decision to use backslashes as the namespace symbol. He did this with mails send to the mailing list and I must say it was hilarious. The message he wants to give to the community is: Yes we have used the \, stop whining about it and start adopting it. You have no choice. Decisions have to be made and we, the PHP Core developers have made ours. Personally I am sure namespaces will change the way programmers and framework architects develop their applications. Maybe not immediately but over the years they will.
Things like lambda functions and closures are also supported and I am positive people will start to adopt to this new functionality right away. I know I will.
As I said before PHP is a mutt and it has adopted a lot of features from other languages. Java is one of them. The tradition is continuous and with the introduction of phar files I am positive a lot of deployment will change. Phar allows you to pack your entire project into a single file, pretty much like a tar or zip file. You can browse and include these files from the Phar file from within your code as if it was a normal directory on your filesystem. You can also execute your application from within the file entirely. As you can imagine this gives big benefits on deployment where some files always have to be uploaded as a single pack to ensure the sequential uploading of files to avoid the resulting breaking of the application for a period of time. Or the way libraries and common applications like phpMyAdmin are distributed.
If you want to know more about lambda, closures, phars and namespaces there are some great resources available and I will give you a list at the end of this article.

PHP 6.0 is coming and with it Unicode and traits

Traits is PHP solution on the multiple inheritance problem. There is no diamond issue here and still you can use the functionallity of multiple classes from within a class. You will still be limited to inheritance from a single parent, and this is a good thing, but you can import (dynamically copy/paste) methods from a secondary or n+ other classes. Unicode will solve the internationalization problems, problems with some string functions and even allow chinese programmers to program in chinese. Do not expect Andrei or me for that same matter to debug such applications. 🙂


PHP7.0 is coming and it will offer lots more of functionality and great stuff. What it will be nobody knows (maybe some do?), but what is known is that it will not be PHP designed from scratch. A version polished to perfection. The ultimate clean language. Such a language does not exist and if someone is eager to build it, it will not be called PHP. PHP is a powerful tool. If used in experienced hands you can develop applications with it that will astound everybody. Go and use PHP. And if you are using PHP love it, cherisch it and welcome the changes.


Closing notes

Andrei Zmievski is a wonderful speaker with lots of charisma. With his opening keynote he awoke my interest of using all the new functionalities future releases of PHP will offer. As a core PHP developer and leader of the PHP-GTK project he was not afraid to make various jokes on himself, the community and PHP. Which made the talk very lighthearted and easy to digest. One of the cool stuff was when he pointed to an ini setting called y2k_compliance in PHP3 which did nothing but made you feel safe. Like a placebo for PHP. That was so much fun!
His talk made me keen on using all the new PHP 5.3 features and made me look forward to using PHP 6.0. And with me a lot of other developers were feeling good at heart and ready to attend all the talks the dutch PHP conference had to offer. The stage was set to be one of the best content wise conferences I ever attended.

Happy coding from sunny Belgium,
Nick Belhomme