Looking forward to the future…

This year’s edition of php[tek] has come to a close. We’ve gotten some great feedback and it was the largest php[tek] ever!  Thanks to everyone who helped make this conference happen, to all of our amazing attendees, and to our sponsors to making it possible.

We are already working on planning php[tek] 2015 – So stay tuned for more information about that this fall.  Also, check out our latest conference we’ve announced:  php[world] in Washington, DC on November 10-14, 2014.

Just one week away!

Well it’s that time and php[tek] is almost upon us. This time next week we will be in full swing. From the way the numbers are laying, this is going to be the biggest php[tek] ever and one of the best.

From all of us here at php[architect], we look forward to seeing everyone in Chicago.

Collectibles at php[tek] 2014

php[tek] Collectible PinsIf you’ve attended php[tek] in the past few years, you know that we’ve been doing a program of providing collectible swag that you can get either by seeing some of the sponsors, or by participating in some of the activities that we do.

Two years ago, it was velcro ‘achievement’ patches.  Last year it was custom lego bricks.  This year?  We’ve created custom metal pins that you can collect and trade.  We are really excited about these, and the photo doesn’t really do them justice (Click here for a higher resolution image)

Make sure that you buy your tickets to the conference soon.  Especially make sure to make your hotel reservations as soon as possible, as the hotel is rapidly approaching full.  This is going to be the best php[tek] ever!  See you in Chicago in a few weeks.

Board Game Night

We wanted to let everyone know that we are bringing back one of the most loved evenings from a previous php[tek] event – Board Game Night!

This will take place at the Wednesday Evening Reception.  We will be providing numerous modern and classic board games, as well as card games as well for anyone to play.

It’s also a pretty good assumption that a number of people will bring their own games as well.  (Last year random games of Fluxx, and Magic the Gathering broke out throughout the conference).

Don’t worry if you aren’t interested in playing any of the board games yourself.  There will be music playing, plenty of people to talk to, and we’ll make sure to have some other activities ready at hand as well.

Looking forward to seeing everyone next month in Chicago!

Mobile Apps Released for php[tek] 2014

Just like we did last year, we’ve created mobile apps (both for Android and iOS) to help you stay on top of the latest information about php[tek] 2014.

These apps will work offline (so that you have a schedule with you at the conference, even if the internet is spotty), and allow you to make your own schedule – even setting alerts for you to remember what classes you wanted to attend.  Plus they get live updates if there are any changes to the schedule.

Go download the free apps now:

Announcing our Keynotes

We are excited today to announce the keynotes for php[tek] 2014!  We have two great keynotes on very different topics.  We will be opening up our event with an exciting keynote from Terry Chay, Director of Features Engineering for Wikimedia Foundation, about the technology challenges faced by Wikipedia.  We then follow this up with Larry Ullman, a support engineer for Stripe, who is here to tell you an inspiring story about how to get where you want to be in your career. Read on to get more details on these two keynotes, and don’t forget to check the full schedule and speaker list to see all the other great talks that we are providing for you.

Inside the Tech Challenges of Wikimedia Engineering

Wikipedia is the 5th largest website on the Internet, and there a number of factors that make it a veritable challenge for the engineering team: working with existing legacy infrastructure, leveraging innovative new technologies without pissing off the community, and doing it all without taking the site down or sacrificing performance. In this keynote, Wikimedia Director of Features Engineering Terry Chay will pull back the curtain on how Wikipedia tackles its technical hurdles, demonstrating how to apply creative approaches to sticky situations when managing and growing large-scale websites.

Bio: Terry Chay is Director of Features Engineering at the Wikimedia Foundation. In previous lives, he worked at Automattic (WordPress), grew, architected, and sustained the third largest social network in the U.S., and developed the largest revenue-generating product for Plaxo (later purchased by Comcast) as their first web engineer.

How to Get There

I work for Stripe, a major startup player, and I’m a successful developer, writer, instructor, and speaker, but way back when, I was just a graduate holding an English Literature degree with a minor in Philosophy and Religion. How in the world did I get from there to here? Reflecting upon the path I’ve taken, I’ve come to the conclusion that success and achievement aren’t just about learning X or Y technologies. You have to have the right attitudes and behaviors to succeed. Whether you want to be a developer, the founder of a startup, a writer, or whatever, in this presentation, I’ll explain what you need to know and do to get to where you want to be.

Bio: Larry Ullman is a bestselling writer of more than 20 books, published in over 20 languages around the world. Larry has been an active web developer since 1999 with an emphasis on PHP and MySQL (although he’s flirted with other languages and technologies). Over the past 15 years, Larry has also written numerous articles, taught PHP web development online for the University of California at Berkeley, spoken at multiple conferences, and performed in-house training for divisions of the US government. As of 2013, Larry is a Support Engineer at Stripe.

Winners of the User Group Contest

Well if you didn’t know, each year we reach out to every possible PHP, Drupal, WordPress, Framework, or other related User Group that exists out there, and offer them to enter a drawing to win one of 2 free tickets to php[tek]. It’s our way of giving back to the communities that we love.

If you didn’t know about the contest this year, and would like to make sure you are on the list to be contacted about it next year, drop us a line and we’ll make sure you are on the list.

This year the two winning groups were the Bellingham Drupal Users’ Group in Bellingham, WA and Refactor::Chicago (obviously based in Chicago, IL).

We’ve asked each group to come up with a ‘unique/fun’ way to determine how they decide which of their members gets to use the free ticket and to let us know.  Once we’ve heard back we will be sure to share that information with you.

Mental Health Summit

We are excited today to announce that, in conjunction with Engine Yard’s Prompt initiative we are going to be hosting a mental health summit at php[tek] 2014.  Similar to the Mentorship Summit that we hosted last year, this will be an evening event that we will be hosting for conference attendees featuring four speakers. Each speaker will talk about 15 minutes on a central topic.  We will provide dinner just before and during the summit, and an open social time afterwards so that the conversation can continue.

Mental health concerns are serious issues that affect a large percentage of the population which includes our community.  It’s important that we become aware of the issues that are faced, bring light to the problems that plague so many, and to perhaps even help those near us who are suffering quietly, whether they realize it yet or not.  May is actually Mental Health Awareness Month and so it only seemed fitting that we choose Mental Health as the focus of this year’s summit.

The following four speakers will be presenting their own experiences and insights on this topic:

Again we want to thank Engine Yard and their Prompt initiative for helping spark this important conversation.

The Schedule is now Published

It was a very hard process whittling 525 talk submissions into filling only 54 spaces.  Far too many rejection letters had to go out.  We could have easily put on four conferences the size of php[tek] and still had amazing talks in every slot.

But we finally managed to pull it together into a schedule to share with you.  We are all extremely excited here about both the breadth and depth of the talk submissions we received and therefore the schedule we were able to put together.  You can also check out the speakers page, to see at a glance who it is that is going to be making php[tek] shine.

Call for Papers Smashed Records

Our Call for Papers has ended and we completely smashed all previous records.  The response that we got was amazing!

We ended up with 525 submissions this year, from 154 different speakers!  That’s on average 3.43 talks per speaker.  We had two speakers tie for the ‘most submissions’ each at twelve.

We want to thank everyone for the great response we got to this year’s CfP.  Now the problem is that we are left with the need to pair this down to fill only 40 sessions, 8 short sessions, and 6 tutorials to fill the schedule.   That means that only about 1 in every 10 submissions is going to be able to be accepted.  And from the looks of it we have some amazing submissions.