This past weekend our crew visited a second edition of a Bulgaria PHP Conference. If you followed #bgphp16 hashtag on social networks, you're aware how amazing it was. Indeed, it has been a wonderful experience for us, and with this short briefing I'll try to convey only the part of the thrill.
Trip leader was our member Milan Popović, who organized a transportation by a minibus. Early in the Friday morning crowded vehicle started the long journey of 400 km from Belgrade to Sofia.
After six hours of strenuous travel, we arrived at the destination, and settled into a cozy hotel for a rest, to be fresh for the tomorrow's conference.
Rested and excited, we headed to the venue - beautiful Sofia Event Center, on the top floor of the huge Paradise Mall.
The first thing that catches the eye is that conference had a theme. It was all up in retro gaming, the venue was full of original arcade machines and old PCs, while crew were all dressed as Super Mario. Very cool!
Host Mihail Irintchev had a nice opening address, where among other things he pointed out some impressive statistics about the conference. Afterwards, Jeremy Mikola stole the show with his inspiring keynote talk where he told us a brief history of the PHP community and reminded us about some of prominent people in it.
We scattered between two tracks to attend talks about machine learning, rewriting legacy code, deployment with Jenkins, scaling, MongoDB, held by well known members of the community such as Anna Filina, Adam Culp, Michelangelo van Dam, but also some other, more or less known, smart people and experts.
Series of quality talks continued the second day: using PHP generators, Dockerizing unit tests, API development, asynchronous programming, regular expressions tips & tricks, and much, much more. Again, famous community members such as Mark Baker, Phil Sturgeon, Jordi Boggiano and Samantha Quiñones generously shared their knowledge with us.
Cal Evans was the star of the evening with his motivating, energetic closing note focused on getting involved with the community and open-source.
Full speaker line-up and the list of covered topics is available on this page of the conference website. Videos will be published on YouTube and by watching them you can experience the part of a great atmosphere.
There is now a meme for @CalEvans as well. #bgphp16 pic.twitter.com/6qmIZBLGXq— Anna Filina (@afilina) October 9, 2016
And just as we were preparing to go back home, sitting at the awards ceremony hoping that we'll get lucky, totally unprepared, already mentioned Milan Popović gets called out for a plentiful swag bag! Ok, it's not a PS4, but it's still an award. But what's more amazing is that it preceded award given by our user group, which were two tickets for our "PHP Serbia Conference 2017". Surprises didn't end there, so one of the tickets goes to no one else but Jordi Boggiano! I mean really, should speakers be allowed to participate in the contest? :)
Full of impressions, late in the evening, we headed back home towards Belgrade.
This year's Bulgaria PHP Conference has been carried out perfectly - from the opening keynote to the closing words. Flawless organization, awesome speakers line-up, positive vibe throughout the conference.
Our colleagues from Bulgaria did a fantastic job, they took conference organization to a next level, and I really envy them on carrying out this big project. Kudos to them!
Instead of crafting up some "must visit" sentence of my own, I'll end my report with few didactic tweets:
If you missed #bgphp16 - read this so you don't make the same mistake ever again https://t.co/5G0xLa54Ps— Elena Kolevska (@elena_kolevska) October 11, 2016
I think I should do a talk about #bgphp16 and #phpsrb16 on the next local PHP meetup. let everybody know how cool it was.— Gabi Udrescu (@GabiUdrescu) October 13, 2016