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PHPCamp 2010 – My view

PHPCamp, India’s largest un-conference on PHP, was held on 9th January, 2010 in Pune. Scheduled in October 2009 initially, it was postponed due Swine Flu. Nearly 2000 including PHP professionals, newbie and students registered for the event. The numbers were really overwhelming for the (un)conference entering only its second year.

This year I got a chance to attend the event and deliver talks on what SANIsoft is best known for – CakePHP and writing secure PHP apps. I went there with a message Go and ROCK and I think I  succeeded in that to a big extent.

The venue for PHPCamp, Symbiosis Center for Distance Learning (SCDL) was very impressive. All the halls were well equiped with everything one needs for talks. The only problem was the size of halls for intermediate and advance level talks. They were too small to accommodate all the campers eager to learn the new stuff.

The event started after some delay which was acceptable, the organisers were really quick in finishing the welcome speech and hand over the mike for keynote speeches to the sponsors, Microsoft and Adobe. Being an un-conference, the talk schedules were not fixed by organisers. A wiki was opened soon after the first keynote and those interested were asked to book slots for themselves. I booked the first slot from advance section for my CakePHP talk. I was later told by Gautam that he deliberately kept his CakePHP Vs. RoR session after mine to make things easier for him, smart tactic I would say. The hall was totally packed and the talk was well received by the audience. After CakePHP talk  was the much awaited presentation on CakePHP Vs. Ruby on Rails by Gautam Rege. There weren’t any fireworks nor were any shoes thrown by PHP lovers ;) In fact there was more of a furor about this talk in the Twitterverse with phpNut himself stepping in. I personally couldn’t feel a need for a PHP programmer to switch over to Ruby on Rails despite Gautam’s fervent appeals.

There were few other talks like Flex and PHP from Adobe, Silverlight with PHP by Microsoft and Productivity Tools for PHP Developers, but coming from a strong Free and Community oriented background I avoided them. Then there was also an interesting talk on how to earn $2000/month by doing freelance PHP which did not really turn out what I expected it to be.

My second talk “ABC of security in PHP application” once again attracted a full house. I received a lot of compliments for the talk and the demos that I presented. There was lot of interest in audience to see how exactly SQL injections, session fixation, XSS  works. Almost everyone was nodding while I was pointing out the basic mistakes every programmer while coding. I also stressed on the fact that PHP itself is not insecure but its the programmer who writes insecure code. PHP has provided us with all the functions to make your code secure which everyone should know and use without fail. PHP community has also provided a nice manual with explanations of every function. The online PHP manual also has some precious comments from users/developers all over the world which are of great help.

A major agenda in any (un)conference is meeting people and putting faces to names. I met a lot of interesting people like Shardual Mohite, Gautam, Tushar to name a few. I also had an opportunity to talk to Murtaja and Ajikumar from null, The open security community. And of course Amit Singh and Priyank Kapadia, the organisers of the event. It was nice to see all the young geeks were managing such a huge event.

In all, the event was a great experience for me and hope everyone present there got to learn something new. There were some refrains that the event was unorganised! But folks, it was an un-conference, so those who say that the event was not organised are actually giving a compliment to the organisers. That said, I am sure there are a few things which can be done better for the next year and I am willing to pitch in – Amit, Priyank – buzz me if you are up to getting help from the community!

Finally, I have made my presentations and code available to download for all. Click here for the list of files.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter and share your thoughts by adding your comments below.

P.S. Thanks to SANIsoft for making it possible for me to attend the event.

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