PHP Brasil '08 - Trip Report
By cj on Dec 03, 2008
Last week's PHP Brasil '08 conference was held at the "UNIFIEO" University in Osasco, a region of São Paulo.
São Paulo is a large, busy center of commerce. People work hard. Everyone at the conference seemed to have multiple jobs and interests. The well stocked magazine kiosks situated wherever people frequented show there is great a thirst for information and discussion.
The conference was organized under the leadership of Er Galvão Abbott with community input, and in conjunction with a logistics team from "Tempo Real Eventos". The conference was very interesting and successful.
Todd Trichler and I attended from Oracle, courtesy of Oracle Technology Network. The other "international" speaker was Luke Crouch from SourceForge.
The conference opened up on Thursday with multiple training sessions. The main sessions were on Friday and Saturday, with up to ten parallel tracks. The talks were held in lecture theatres in the main building adjacent to the exhibition hall. It was pleasing to have "stadium seating" rather than stuffy hotel ballrooms.
The exhibition hall was arranged around a basket ball court with a life-size PHP ElePHPant dominating one end. The booths looked great - no black curtains on aluminium poles - they were stylishly designed and each had a small flower/plant arrangement. Despite it being exam time we had a number of students and many of the teaching staff come through the hall.
Having plush, soft-toy PHP ElePHPants on the Oracle booth really attracted attention. We gave a few away at my Friday keynote, and raffled off the others at the Install Fest. Sorry there weren't enough for everyone.
My keynote covered all the good stuff: why databases are important, what Oracle offers so you don't have to re-invent the wheel, how to use PHP & the OCI8 extension, and I finished with connection pooling, a feature which shows Oracle's commitment to PHP. Slides are on OTN's PHP Developer Center (Slide direct link). We had a nearly full house in the largest lecture hall - I appreciate the compliment of this.
The simultaneous translation team was very professional and a pleasure to work with. Marli, who handled my keynote solo from a little booth at the back, had googled and read up in advance on my topic. When we met, she had a list of words and phrases ready for clarification.
Luke Crouch gave the Saturday morning keynote. He had got a friend to translate his slides to Portuguese, making it flow smoothly. I caught the first part of his talk, before having to head back to the Oracle stand.
The Saturday morning break was filled by a PagSeguro-sponsored cheerleader show (do they call it a "cheer"?) and photo opp at the PagSeguro stand. The squad are apparently regulars at tech events. This brief, non-PC event was later offset by the refined culture of a caricature artist drawing sketches of attendees on PHP Brasil letterhead paper. He had a steady stream of sitters all the rest of the day.
In the afternoon, our PHP Install Fest was squashed into a couple of hours. Normally we run these in the evening and keep showing technology and feature until the last attendee staggers out. We showed Oracle Enterprise Linux, Oracle VM, (http://linux.oracle.com/ and http://www.oracle.com/technologies/linux/), Oracle Database and the PHP OCI8 extension. I didn't get time to show APEX or SQL Developer, but the pages linked to have lots of info about these useful tools.
Friday & Saturday evenings were spent in a local bar which served Chopp Brahma beer and tasty meat or cheese skewers to the throng of the conference locals. A pair of guitarists played and sang. I got to see a litttle Samba dancing, but the conference crowd, were, well, geeks, and only got roused to sing the choruses of their favorite songs. The obligatory "get the vistors to dance" session wasn't too painful, thanks to the Tempo Real ladies (you know who you are) counting the steps for us.
The hotel for the conference was a nearby Best Western. It was new, comfortable, had great internet access and served great pizza. The folk staying there were bussed down to UNIFIEO in the mornings, and we were generally chauffeured about for meals and entertainment. Taxis were efficient and cheap for quick journeys too. Thanks to Anderson and his brother for doing the bulk of chauffeuring.
Thanks to everyone who visited the Oracle stand, came to our talks, and generally networked with us - there are too many of you to name. Some of you have already exchanged emails with me. Keep in touch.
Like many conferences, people spent time chatting and making contacts. Because of the number of concurrent sessions at any time, and following the general conference trend, some sessions had just a small, hard core of attendees. This is a challenge for all future conferences: they need to evolve new methods of information exchange.
If you get a chance to attend next year's PHP Brasil conference (or conferences), go! But don't forget to take the time to visit other parts of Brazil to enjoy this varied, colorful part of the world.
I was shooting B&W film, which will take me a while to process, but the few phone-camera snaps I took are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cjbj/sets/72157610622868236/
Er Galvão was busy running around attending to details but he, too, managed to get a few pictures http://www.flickr.com/photos/25904735@N08/sets/72157610630846968/
Danielle, from the PagSeguro stand, took a lot of photos of the exhibition hall. I imagine she'll put some photos up soon at http://www.flickr.com/photos/melodani/.
If you posted any photos, send me email.