The dust has settled, the impressions have been made, everybody packed their bags and went home. That is why we think it’s time to revisit Rovinj a bit and give a report on everything that happened during the 4 days we’ve spent at the 2014 PHP and eZ Publish Summer Camps.
Netgen has organized this conference for 2 years before, but under a slightly different name: eZ Publish Summer Camp. This year, we thought it would be wise to change the format, and make a double, hybrid (pun intended :) ) event which would bring two important communities a bit closer: the eZ Community and the Symfony community.
The venue also changed, which went along with the format change, so instead of Bol on the island of Brač, we decided for beautiful Rovinj and its hotel Park. We were not mistaken. Just look at the place!
The whole conference was less than formal, and so were the attires. Which meant less suits, more trunks and T-Shirts.
We also managed to bring speakers (or should we say, presenters) from both sides of the spectrum. Some of the readers may recognize these names, some may not, but that doesn’t mean they’re not as equally important as the rest.
For the eZ Publish Summer Camp, the speakers were: Roland Benedetti (@rolandbenedetti), André Rømcke (@andrerom), Jérôme Vieilledent (@jvieilledent), Bertrand Dunogier (@bdunogier), Ekkehard Dörre (@ekkeD), Donat Fritschy (@webmanufaktur), Till Kubelke (@agilewithstyle) and our own Ivo Lukač (@ilukac).
The Symfony roster was: Ryan Weaver (@weaverryan), Derick Rethans (@derickr), Bernhard Schussek (@webmozart), PaweŁ Jędrzejewski (@pjedrzejewski), Saša Stamenković (@umpirsky), Daniel Leech (@dantleech), Willem-Jan Zijderveld (@willemjanz), Antonio Perić Mažar (@antonioperic), Davor Plehati (@dplehati) and Gilles Guirand (@gandbox).
All of these speakers enriched our conference immensely and we thank them for that from the bottom of our hearts.
The workshops went from an interactive deep dive into eZ Product Backlog to eZ Publish 5 from a Symfony perspective (on the eZ side of the conference), and from Symfony basics to building a schematic CMS using only PHPCR (on the PHP side of the conference). Check out the Programmes on each of the official sites for the complete list of all the workshops (the programme for eZ Publish Summer Camp is here, and for PHP Summer Camp is here).
Since the whole conference was workshop-oriented (we have always preferred to grease our elbows and get into the thick of things than theorize) all of the attendees were required to bring their own laptops (as if they wouldn’t do that anyway :) ) and to install a virtual machine designed especially for this conference. It was expected from them to do some of the heavy-lifting also. That way, they got a first-hand experience of the technology presented and, we also hope, got interested enough to use it.
We also set up a live voting system for the attendees to grade the speakers after each workshop, so that they could anonymously express their opinion on the quality of the workshops.
Each day after the workshops, the fun could start. We conceived the conference with two things in mind, bringing knowledge closer to the community, and bringing the community (or in this case, communities) closer together. That is why we came up with a lot of chances for people to connect outside of just work-related stuff.
The first day was closed with two events. There was the PLUS Challenge, where people got the chance to show off some project they thought was cool enough to share with others (one team won a 4GB VPS year package, courtesy of one of our Bronze Sponsors, Plus Hosting), and a cocktail party afterwards, courtesy of one of our Silver sponsors, ETECTURE. That way people got to share knowledge, and also got to know each other better.
The second day was closed with the Celebrity Debate, which was a secret that can be let out of the box now. It was a series of challenges between two celebrities attending the conference regarding important issues bugging developers from the dawn of time, such as tabs vs. spaces, or Star Wars vs. Star Trek. The audience got to decide who won, and it was something for everybody to enjoy.
The third day after-program activity was reserved for a series of speed-dating like round-table sessions where speakers could share knowledge with the attendees, or take suggestions for improving experience in their respective fields.
There was a chance for additional networking each day courtesy of the official conference restaurant, Maestral, which was a couple of minutes of walk from the Park hotel, with a Mexican dinner at the La Concha restaurant the third day.
The results of live voting were also revealed on the third day, with Ryan Weaver taking the first spot and automatically being out of competition from the voting next year should he come back as a speaker. Yes, he turned out to be THAT good.
After three days, it was time for a bit of exploration. What kind of a host would we be if we didn’t give the attendees a chance to glimpse at the nature surrounding them, and showed them a bit of fun. The fourth day was all about the boat trip. The boat trip is kind of like a tradition for the Summer Camp, since it was held each year. So, everybody got a chance to see the Lim channel and its mussel farms, also we got to dock to a nearby restaurant for some lunch, and afterwards went for a swim in the channel itself.
For more photos from the event, visit our Facebook pages: eZSummerCamp and PHPSummerCamp. Also, if you would like to read about how the attendees and lecturers viewed this conference, check out the reviews by Sitepoint's Bruno Škvorc, eZ Systems' Bertrand Dunogier and KNP Labs' Ryan Weaver.
All in all, we hope everybody had a lot of fun, and we also hope to see each other next year for the 2015 Summer Camp!