Sunday, February 7, 2016

SunshinePHP 2016 Conference

I had the opportunity this weekend to attend the SunshinePHP conference in Miami. What an amazing group of people who are passionate about what they do. The theme for the weekend centered on collaboration and supporting the open source community, something that is near and dear to the heart of many Yii developers. It was a wonderful thing to meet so many people from around the world who believe in supporting community. A special shout out to Josh Holmes and Michelangelo van Dam who were extremely outgoing, encouraging, and full of tidbits of wisdom which they were willing to share.

I wanted to take a few minutes and share some of my hot takeaways from the weekend.

  • Docker - If you don’t know what it is yet, you need to go check it out. Docker is "an open platform for distributed applications for developers and sysadmins." Docker enables you to quickly compartmentalize processes on your server, while leaving them with access to the same base OS. Through port forwarding, shared folders and other means (built in and easily configurable), you can enable those processes to communicate. This is useful when you want to test a single application installation against multiple versions of PHP or multiple versions of MySQL. It’s also useful when you are trying to standardize a development platform or delivery system. In fact, there are so many potential uses for this technology in streamlining and standardization that I can’t even begin to recount them all. Long story short - if you haven’t looked at it yet, do so. If it still doesn’t make sense after reading about it, ask ;)
  • Swivel - Ok, this is pretty cool - the guys over at Zumba fitness have come up with a slick library for strategy driven, segmented feature toggles. These allow you to release new features in Canary Releases, perform A/B testing, and implement the features in a way that keeps the traditional feature flag system’s potential complexity from overloading your codebase and leading to a lot of technical debt. Swivel is currently limited to a 10 cohort (or buckets as they call it) system, which you evenly split your users into, giving you 10% user base segments for whatever feature you’re going to test or release. They currently have a CakePHP plugin for it, and I’m looking forward to working on a Yii extension for it.
  • Team City - Who knew?? JetBrains has a CI product. I guess I’ve kept the blinders on PHPStorm for so long (which I love and don’t know how I lived without), that I missed the news on this one. I haven’t looked into the details yet, but the PHPStorm developers that were at the conference said they couldn’t make PHPStorm without it, and that’s enough of a recommendation for me!
There’s so much more, I could go on for hours about Graph Databases and RUM, Performance Monitoring and PHP Pipelines, just to name a few. If it’s been awhile since you’ve been to a conference, I highly recommend that you go. Find a conference or a user group nearby, or take a leap of faith and visit one that changes not just your routine, but your whole perspective ;)