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Random thoughts, bright ideas and interesting experiments. In short the ramblings of a fulltime nerd.


Another PHPUnconference is over

Jakob Westhoff

This years PHPUnconference is over. As every year before, it has been a fantastic event. The Unconference in Hamburg is one of the meet-ups, which I am happily looking forward to each year.


Having arrived on the Friday before the first conference day I enjoyed a lovely evening with some members of the PHP family. We met at a bar called Kick and Company. Some of us ordered food, which was quite delicious. After that I had some drinks and a lot of nice chats about different topics. Of course these were mostly webdevelopment oriented. Geeks by themselves ;). As time flew by I headed back to the hotel to be ready for the next day.

First Day

As I didn't sleep well I was up quite early, which gave me more time to prepare for the upcoming day. I used the time to have a great breakfast at the hotel. I arrived at about 9:20 at the Geomatikum, where the unconf was going to happen. At this point I want to say, that this building of Hamburg University seems like it has been build for unconferences. It is the perfect place. There is a central room with a big sink in it. This sink has different levels, which provide a lot of space to sit around and chat. The students have named this sink "Bathtub" ;). All lecture rooms are reachable directly from this central area.

Photo of the "Bathtub" and the Geomatikum. (Photo taken by Robert Lippert and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Photo of the "Bathtub" and the Geomatikum. (Photo taken by Robert Lippert and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

At 10:30 the voting began. Everybody who had something to say or wanted some topic to be presented was able to propose a session. Everybody willing to talk had been given a few minutes to introduce himself and his session. After that a voting took place. Each participant got four self adhesive circles (Yes these things are really called like this. I have a package of them lying around to proof it ;) to be placed on the paper sheets belonging to the sessions they wanted to hear. A time table was composed of the highest rated ones after that.

I visited Korestalk about CouchDB first. Even though I knew almost everything he talked about I was able to learn something about filtered replication. It turned out it works exactly as I expected, but I didn't know that for a fact before ;). Overall it was a very interesting talk, where Kore let the audience decide what topics they were interested in. A perfect way of presenting; the unconference way.

The second talk I joined on this Saturday was "Warum PHP sich rechnet" given by Johann Peter Hartmann. As always it was fun listening to him. If you haven't seen Johann in action and you got the chance to see him talk during any event don't miss it. He has a really vivid way of presenting, which is just fun to watch.

The third timeslot was filled with a talk of my own. "An introduction to jQuery Plugin development". I talked about a set of rules you should conform to in order to produce working and maintainable plugins. The slides I used have been a work in progress version of a talk I gave during last years FrOSCon. Even though there were some hiccups due to incorrectly ordered or incomplete slides I enjoyed the talk a lot. I think the participants did as well. At least according to the comments I received after the talk. Thanks guys, you have been a great audience!

For those of you who asked about the slides: I have uploaded them for your viewing pleasure. But be aware, that this is the work in progress version you saw at the unconference. A fully pimped and more feature complete version will be available after my WebtechCon Session on the same topic. Maybe you are there and want to join me again ;).

The fourth and last timeslot on the day was filled with another talk I participated in. I had proposed a talk about js-test-driver and unit testing in Javascript. As Martin Ruprecht proposed a session about Javascript code quality and quality assurance we thought it might be a great idea to join these two. As it turned it really was. We used some of Martins slides and explained some of the problems, which arise in the Javascript world. Moreover we mentioned some tools, which could be used to prevent these problematic situations. We had a lively discussion with the audience, who gave me some inside views on problems I didn't think of before. Thanks guys for your active participation. As I don't have the slides of this one, I am unfortunately unable to upload them. Maybe Martin will put them online somewhere and link to them in the wiki.


After the first conference day a social event, the PHPMob, was organized. Everybody interested in getting something to drink and having a chit-chat about everything under the sun was welcome. As every year it has been a great evening. I joined a group of people going to a pakistani restaurant to grab some food. After this delicious meal, we went to the targeted place for the event: "Haus 73". As foreseen by our cunning plan it was just on the other side of the road ;).

We kind of got stuck there for quite some time, during which I had some Rum Sour and beer, lots and lots of beer :). Actually there was something strange about that beer. I did only buy one. But every time my bottle was empty someone came along and shouted a bunch of new ones ;). At some point I lost the tracking of who paid for the shouts. Therefore I want to thank you guys here. (If you still remember giving me that beer ;).

Later we walked to the Reeperbahn. A lot of people followed. Some had already gone home. Actually the walk was quite nice with a lot of talking and laughing. As we approached an alternative metal club I decided not to join the group going in as it was kind of noisy. (Yeah I know clubs are a noisy place. But at that point I just didn't feel like it ;). Together with Christian Weiske and Volker Dusch we reached out to find a nice place to sit down and drink another beer, before heading back to our hotels.

Second Day

After taking a lot of Aspirin, I reached the premises around 9:40. The voting for the second day started at about 10:00, which gave me some time to propose a new livecoding session on js-test-driver and Sinon.JS. The idea for it came up during the quality assurance talk with Martin the day before. The feedback I got during the social event finally assured me to improvise a livecoding session. Thanks guys, that's the spirit of an unconference.

My session got elected and scheduled for the second timeslot, which gave me enough time for a little preparation. Unfortunately I wasn't able to visit any of the first sessions due to this.

However the outcome of the session was great. I had a lot of fun showing some of Sinon.JSs cooler features like Timer-Mocks or a mocked server implementation of the XMLHttpRequest object.I could have shown great things the whole day, but the time flew by. Nevertheless I hope the session provided you with some inside view on the presented topic.

I did not participate in any session after that one. I used the time to talk to some people not attending any session as well. However most of the time I used to catch up with my old friend and previous user groupieTobias Struckmeier, which I hadn't seen for almost two years. I really enjoyed discussing about a lot of stuff, mostly geek related though.

As the unconference came to an end, a bunch of people headed out to get diner, before going home. I accompanied them, before boarding my train to Dortmund. Thomas Weinert joined my as he took the same train home.

Thank you!

In my opinion we (the PHP community) can't thank the orga team enough for their hard work over the last years. As it can't be said enough times: Thank you!

Another big bunch of thanks goes out to all the participants, which either presented their knowledge, or came up with interested things they wanted to hear more about. This great unconference is only possible because of you: The participants. Thank you.