Tag: PHP

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 šŸ˜€ – 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 ZĆ¼lke, 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 šŸ™‚
  • 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 ā€œopen source state of mindā€ 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

Zend Framework 1.8 Workshop at the Dutch PHP Conference 09

Purpose of the entry

On Thursday June 11th 2009 I attended a workshop on the very (dare I say the most) popular PHP framework: Zend Framework (ZF).
I will share my experience in this entry and try to give you a quick overview on the tips I found most interesting.


  1. General experience
  2. Components
  3. Resources
  4. Closing notes

General experience

If you follow Matthew Weier O’phinney’s blog and career you already know he is a real authority in his field. Today it is the Zend Framework. As the project leader at Zend Technologies, he is doing development and coaching his team towards an ever expanding and more stable framework. The workshop itself was not really a workshop at all but an extended presentation lapping several hours. This means that during this presentation no real hands-on coding was done by the attendees.

Matthew gave a high level presentation on the most common (and some new) components. Whenever an attendee had a question he was more than willing to explain it to a deeper detail. This makes him very
approachable and someone who is eager to help.


Matthew discussed the new components Zend_Application and Zend_Tool. Both new in Zend Framework 1.8 and both seem to offer when understood completely an entire new user experience on how you setup your ZF projects. Zend_Application offers you a way to do bootstrapping on a more uniform way and Zend_Tool offers you tools to do the scaffolding for you. If you want more info on both of them please visit the official documentation or take a look at the presentation which I included at the end of this entry. Of course Zend_Auth and Zend_Acl were also discussed and in such a matter that it deviated from the way it was best practice in ZF 1.6 as described in the marvelous Zend Framework In Action book by Rob Allen. If you do not yet own this book hop over to Rob Allens webpage, Amazon or wherever you can get your hands on it. At the moment it is still one of the best books about ZF and offers some very valuable tips on the subject. The deviation illustrates that a framework like every other piece of code is organic and has the tendency to lead its own life. Which is actually a good thing, “grow or die” remember?

One of the main tips I got from the presentation was the use of the DAO (Data Access Object) principle.
Instead of adding your data access directly into your model you should add a DAO as a layer between your model and data resource (database, xml, csv, …). This way if you want to switch from a database to a webservice (think of scalability), you do not have to rewrite every single model but only the DAOs. If you want to know more about scalability I will be doing an entry on this based on the incredible presentation done by Eli White, PHP Community Manager & DevZone Editor-in-Chief at Zend Technologies.

Zend_Form was also covered and Matthew explained that it would be in the project it’s best interest to set the decorators in the view instead of the controllers/models. Decorators are a part of the display and thus should be handled in the view. He showed a practical example of how to style and display form elements separately in the view instead of doing the <?php echo $this->form; ?>. This is done by simply accessing the form element through the properties of the form. <?php echo $this->form->username; ?>

Of course other useful tips were shared in this presentation and I stronlgly encourage you to attend one of these whenever and wherever you have the chance to attend one. Because of the purpose of this entry I am not going any deeper into the subject. You can find Matthews presentation online .


Closing notes

I hoped you enjoyed reading this entry as much as I wrote it. I surely would recommend adopting a framework to your skills. ZF is a smart choice and the community is very very strong. In todays world if you do not know one or 2 of the major players out there like ZF or Symfony you are sure to run into trouble sooner or later regarding employment. For a more direct access to the community attend workshops like the one I just described or visit the #zftalk irc channel on irc.freenode.net

Sunny greetings from Belgium,
Nick Belhomme

phpGG Frontend Special was da bomb

Hello again,

Yesterday I attended the phpGG Frontend SpecialĀ  , phpGG first great conference and I must say it was very good organized. I had to be on the road for more than four hours but it was worth every second of it.

Like on most conferences you were welcomed with your preferable drink, for the record mine is orange juice. I saw a lot of net workers drinking milk. šŸ™‚ After some networking/ chitchattingĀ  the presentations began right on time.

The presentations were professionally introduced by Stefan Koopmanschap and Kana Yeh and were all on the topic of front end.

The first presentation was from Bram Veenhof about MS Silverlight. It was interesting but not really PHP oriented.

The second one speaker was a charismatic speaker with great humor and very much knowledge about the Adobe Flex and Air platforms, Mihai Corlan.

He was able to grab my interest with live demos and coding examples. In a matter of minutes he had a working application using Flex and PHP. Awesome. I really see this technology used in one of my next CMS projects. He explained about datagrids and how flex uses them to interact with a Mysql Database through PHP on a different or same server.

After so much interesting information it was time for a lunch break and I spoke with Mihai and he explained first hand the new technology behind the Text Layout Framework in Flex 3.2 or AIR 1.5. It looks great, I urge you to check it out if you are interested in anything Flash, Flex or Air related.

After a sandwich or two it was time to have presentations introducing some user groups.Ā  Juliette Reinders Folmer introducedĀ  PHP Women ,Ā  Sander van Lambalgen introduced Fronteers and of course the group phpGG, frontend special organizer itself, was introduced by Stefan. He even threw in some surprise gifts. Including several elephpants, ZCE study guides and even two tickets to the upcoming PHP Conference in London.

Now my favorite presentation took of. Ibuildings own Javascript evangelist Boy Baukema. He talked about of course Javascript and what made it interesting for me was the fact that he made comparisons between upcoming new features in PHP 5.3 and already existing features in Javascript like Lambda functions and Closure. I will post a link towards the presentation soon.

Robert Jan Verkade founder of Eend.nlĀ  talked about why PHP developers should be nice to frontend and visa versa. Personally I do not have any bad experiences on this subject but I can imagine a lot of developers do. He said communication is key. Isn’t this so true for all parts of life! But if communication is faulty on your work floor he spoke about some key principles what you can do to minimize conflicts.

And that is a wrap.Ā  I would like to thank all the speakers and the organization phpGG forĀ  making my Saturday a very good one. I hope to see more of these days organized in the future. If not for the great presentations, than for the wonderful networking you can do. It is always fun to see new and familiar faces.
I hope to be able to post links to the presentations somewhere this week. In the meantime you can checkout Flickr, there are some pictures definitely going to be posted there under the tag: phpggfs

Warm winter greetings from Belgium,
Nick Belhomme
Your PHP5 Zend Certified Engineer


Ok as promisedĀ  here are the slides:
* Flex and AIR for PHP programmers by Mihai Corlan

*Ā  Javascript: 8 Reasons every PHP developer should love it by Boy Baukema

* phpWomen