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    September 13, 2007

php|works Atlanta 2007 Thursday Wrap Up

Christopher Jones
Senior Principal Product Manager

Andrei's morning keynote covered PHP 6 with an emphasis on his speciality, the Unicode work that will bring PHP in line with the modern needs of Web applications.  Many people at the conference are PHP consumers, building serious site but not involved with the creation of PHP.  Those I spoke to appreciated hearing where PHP is heading.

Maggie Nelson's talk You Don't Need a DBA went very well.  There was no way to have known it was her very first talk ever.  Constraints, stored procedures, normalization.  She touched on caching and on optimization, which she will cover tomorrow. A plug for Tom Kyte's asktom.oracle.com website which answers an amazing volume of Oracle questions with great clarity.

Along the way she pointed out the old-school examples use an "orders" table.  Now it is a "social network profile".  Times change!

My talk today followed, and was well received if I may say so myself. In "Scalable Doesn't Just Mean Huge" I talked a lot about making the most of the OCI8 extension and gave some tools that can help tune SQL and Databases.

Lunch.  Yes! Some green food to make up for Tuesday's buffalo wings and last night's hamburger.

I started writing this blog entry in the afternoon keynote from Chris Shifflet - "PHP 4 is Dead!". No need to say more.  When Chris finished I got talking to Terry Chay from the popular social network site Tagged.  [His Leica M8, Nikon D200, and iPhone are prominent.  I might have to play with the M8 a bit more].  His company is effectively an Oracle/PHP/Java shop, and in the familiar mad web rush to add features, re-factor code, scale up, and battle with hackers.  We discussed social-network analysis.  Current recommendation-based sites like Digg (geek news) or Pandora (music) are only just the early leaders, doing some statistical analysis.  At the least, in future, I'm looking forward to getting better penetration into the hidden gems of the long tail, for example, to get more interesting music recommendations.

Next I saw Luca Nealan's Facebook Performance Caching.  Lightning knocked out the power for a second but the projector reset didn't phase him.  He discussed Facebook's architecture (yes, 3000 Apache servers today), PHP internals, how caching is handled to make it easy, and spoke about areas they have further optimized, for example they wrote a memcached PHP extension, which gives 10% over the current PHP extension.

Now I have to make the hard choice between hearing Eli White from Digg, or checking out a specialized topic - Microsoft IIS.  The latter won't affect me day-to-day, but I feel a professional duty to know about it....

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