SkiPHP Wrap Up

The last weekend was the first year for another regional PHP conference called SkiPHP. Similar in many ways to other regional conference that I've attended (Lone Star PHP and Midwest PHP), SkiPHP was a fantastic opportunity for people local to the Salt Lake City area to attend a conference without having to miss (much) time from work for travel.

The speakers were typical for such an event, with a few new speakers sprinkled in among a subset of the typical PHP speakers. People from the PHP community looking to make the jump from speaking at user groups have a very good opportunity to speak at conferences such as these, and I encourage all of them to submit proposals. See what conferences have open CFPs at callingallpapers.com/.

The Venue

The conference was held at a college. This came with both some good points and some bad points. First, the rooms were all equipped with AV equipment that worked just fine. I didn't hear about any problems with the equipment, with the lone exception of a static-prone wireless mic.

The three smaller rooms had plenty of seats and tables. They were classrooms after all. Depending on the time of day, one of the rooms did have a problem with the sun causing glare on the screen, but the speaker and attendees were able to soldier through that without too much problem. They also didn't have much in the way of power outlets. My fancy power outlet came in very useful several times throughout the day.

The larger room was a lecture hall. I'm really glad I didn't have to speak in that room. It was set up for a professor to stand behind a podium and lecture, which none of the speakers that I watched in that room had any interest in doing. All of them wanted to get out from behind that thing, which I applaud. There really wasn't anywhere else that speakers could put their laptops and still interact with them for speaker notes and advancing slides.

The Talks

All of the talks I saw were fantastic. I made it a point to see some speakers that I had never seen before, and checked out some talks that were on subjects that I was very unfamiliar with. The only exception was the keynote, which was an updated version of the talk that Laura gave at Lone Star PHP 2013.

Unfortunately, looking through the joind.in pages for the talks, some of the speakers, especially the new ones, haven't claimed their talks, which makes me think that they're missing out on some of the feedback that people gave them. That's really important!

The Atmosphere

Overall, it was a much more focused conference. Many of the conferences that I've been to in the past were about making connections with other geeks and feeding off the combined energy of a room full of geeks to recharge your developer batteries first, and learning new things was cool too. Very few of the people that I talked to in the halls or at lunch seemed at all interested in connecting outside or after the conference. Perhaps I was just to brash for the average SkiPHP attendee.

Overall Impression

SkiPHP was a very well-run conference that I would recommend to anyone from the area. If I can fit it into my company's new stricter conference attendance policies, I will definitely try to return next year and hopefully hit the slopes while I'm there.

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