Impressions from SymfonyCon Warsaw 2013

By Edi Modrić -

Last week I attended the first official Symfony conference (dubbed SymfonyCon) organized by SensioLabs. The conference was held in the Westin Hotel in Warsaw, Poland with 600 people from all around the globe attending.

 The conference spanned five days, from Tuesday to Saturday. The first two days were reserved for workshops and trainings held by SensioLabs trainers and various members of Symfony community. The conference itself was held on Thursday and Friday, while Saturday was chosen to be a hacking day. Due to scheduling conflicts and flight dates, I only attended the conference itself on Thursday and Friday. Nevertheless, both of those days were fully packed and completely consumed my time.

 Fabien Potencier opened the conference with his keynote speech on the current state of Symfony community. The rest of the conference was held in two parallel tracks, with the exception of lightning talks (short talks no more than 7 minutes long) that were held at the end of each day.

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On the first day, Grégoire Pineau, showed how SensioLabs uses Chef to manage their machines and deploy their Symfony applications, as an alternative to Capifony for example. Following Grégoire, William Durand and Lukas Kahwe Smith talked about building REST APIs with Symfony and showed the world many bundles (like FOSRestBundle, JMSSerializerBundle and some I didn't even know existed like BazingaHateoasBundle, TemplatedUriBundle) that help you do just that.

 Following them, Gediminas Morkevicius demonstrated his own project, DoctrineExtensions, a powerful set of Doctrine tools that can help you implement some often used patterns like soft deletes, translations and entity trees in your persistent storage. Both of these talks were very interesting to me because they introduced the features I will need in some of the future projects in Netgen.

Kris Wallsmith showed us how he builds his Symfony applications. His talk later won Best 2013 Symfony Talk award. Finally, at the end of the first day, couple of lightning talks were held showcasing Sylius, PayumBundle, eZ Publish 5, Symfony Console component and more.

After the regular part of the conference, Jeremy Mikola held a traditional and fun Symfony/PHP version of Jeopardy with questions ranging from PHP history to Symfony community memes and jokes. SensioLabsInsight team held a cocktail party (with wine and beer instead of cocktails) for all conference attendees.

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The second day of the conference started with Bernhard Schussek talking about the Symfony Forms component, the current features available in Symfony 2.4 as well as the upcoming features. Bernhard finally had a chance to answer to some of the criticism by Javier Eguiluz in his blog post.

Marie Minasyan and Joseph Rouff talked about the Symfony Security component in two very interesting and somewhat related talks. Marie talked about the voters functionality of the component, discussing how it is perfectly capable of replacing ACE/ACL, while Joseph demystified the Security component by basically reimplementing it from scratch in a simple way. And indeed, Joseph's talk was a real eye opener for me as I was definitely one of the people that considered Symfony's Security component as overly complicated and too mystic.

Jordi Boggiano's wish finally came true as he held a talk which is not about Composer :) He showed a new application monitoring platform called Heka, developed by Mozilla Foundation. He showed what it can do in realtime, running on his website packagist.org. And last but not least, Benjamin Eberlei, talked about decoupling domain logic from Symfony event handlers and controllers which is, judging by his words, something people often do, thus making it harder to develop and support their own code in the long run.

In the second round of lightning talks, Leaphly E-commerce solution for Symfony was presented as well as Zend Server and its capabilities when it comes to deploying Symfony apps on your servers. Finally, Jeremy Mikola held a funny and lightning fast lightning talk about lightning.

As a closing ceremony for the conference, Business and Community awards were held, rewarding and recognizing all the members of the Symfony open source and business communities for their contributions to the ecosystem.

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All in all, I'm very pleased with the conference! I learned so much, I've met some great new people, had so much fun and tried a couple of new beers, Polish of course. Warsaw was an excellent choice for the first SymfonyCon. The city is absolutely beautiful and the Christmas spirit was already all around us as you can see below. I can't wait for the next installment of SymfonyCon in Madrid.

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