May 26th, 2008 by Ivo
Having returned from php|tek, I nearly forgot to post the last entry in my series of reports from the conference.
Since I had been discussing with people until 1am the night before the last conference day, I couldn't wake myself up early enough to view the first session, although I really would've like to see the session named 'Angering Database Gods' just because of the title. I did see the second session, which was done by Digg's senior developer Eli White, who did a talk on 'High Performance PHP and MySQL scaling techniques'. It was an interesting overview of scaling techniques. We're using some of them, and it's interesting to see that even though Digg operates at a much larger scale, the same scaling techniques are often used.
Next, I had a nice talk with Marco Tabini and Elizabeth Naramore, the publisher and editor of my upcoming 'Enterprise PHP' book, about its release. We're going to do some fun things for the release (hopefully around the Dutch PHP Conference), more on that when the time comes.
Then, I attended the second to last talk by Brian Shire about APC at FaceBook. The talk was a detailed overview of APC and its features, the only issue was that from the back where I was sitting, most of the slides were a little hard to read. (Brian, please add an 'about' page or at least your name somewhere to your blog, I had a hard time finding it and still rely on links on other sides to see if I got your blog url right )
At 12.15h, Terry Chay closed the conference with his 'The internet is an Ogre' keynote. Terry perfectly demonstrated why his keynotes are usually listed as 'explicit', and talked about Stability, Scalability, Speed and Security and the importance of handling those in this exact order. Terry has an open mind, and asked that if people would disagree, to post their opinion online. I agree to most of what Terry said though, but I also agree with Ed Finkler who noted that this depends a lot on the type of application you build. Not everyone builds a Tagged, a Facebook or the next Twitter (there will be a next twitter, mark my words), and for many apps, these 4 S's come in a different order. Also, I think the part on Security wasn't so much on security but about extending the application ('making it rich'). Naming this 'Security' seems a little far-fetched.
In particular I liked what he said about Rails, how it tries to solve the wrong problem for many websites: Rails saves time during the initial development, even if this is only, say, 10% of your total cost and you're really interested in scalability and speed. While it sure is fun to bash Rails (and that's one of the things we love Terry for), I think this is true for many frameworks, or even programming languages.
In any case, Terry is a great speaker and the keynote was very humorous. If you missed the presentation, he's also doing it at the Dutch PHP Conference in Amsterdam next month (arranged your flight yet Terry? )
(Oh, and it was nice to hear Terry talk about the 'kung fu' experience that most first-time ruby users have. I had that Kung Fu experience once, but while I said back then that I would start to use Ruby, 2 years later I still haven't. Which is saying something.)
And that wraps up 5 days of great fun. I agree with Ben Ramsey's post that in particular the conference was great community-wise. The way it was set up, with lots of breaks, lunches and evening socials, helped foster the community at the conference and everybody got a chance to meet many new people.
I'll make sure to attend again next year! (note to self: keep an eye on the Call For Papers before you miss it again. )
March 17th, 2008 by Ivo
Martin, one of our system architects, has written an article on our corporate blog about scalability in PHP.
He covers things like frontend generation (as opposed to request based caching), database replication, loosely coupled components to increase the scalability of the application, and he even mentions SOA (Service Oriented Architecture). We've recently had some good results with implementing SOA architectures in PHP. Traditionally SOA is associated mostly with Java, but with PHP5 it's very well doable.