Went to a cyber dojo last night at SyncNorwich run by Jon Jagger who had come all the way from Somerset. Its quite an interesting idea you pair up on tasks and just practise. You can give it a go on Jons site here. We paired up on java exercise which was a laugh as Chris and I had no experience in java at all, so we spent quite a lot of the time working out the syntax.

Jon was more focused on the how and why of the process, not writing more code than you need, working together. He summed up and you could see in the review at the end different peoples approaches and stuff like the number of tests each pair had written. Their patterns of test fail/passes and each pairs process step by step.

Jon was saying that some companies had used as part of an interview process pairing there regular developers with candidates and rotating partners gave the candidates a good idea of the company and the people. On the other side the company gets a good idea of how the candidates think and how they are to work with.

Jon started off by asking who used to code when they were kids was it fun – lots of hands. Of those of you who code for money now when was the last time you wrote coded for fun? not many hands. Bit sad really, hopefully cyber-dojo could bring back peoples Joy in Code.

Going to PHP UK Conference 2012

Went to the PHP UK Conference 2012 last week. It was very neat, I was a volunteer so I missed out on some sessions and got a random choice of talks depending on which track I was assigned to at any one time. Lucky dip was fine saves you making decisions. Its also nice to talk to other developers when you usually work on your own. You can reassure yourself that your somewhere on the right level and heading in the right direction. Here are some of the sessions I was in the room for.

Rasmus gave his perspective on PHP development and left me thinking that simple is better.

Davey Shafik gave a talk about the new bits of PHP 5.4 its more than just [1,2,3] instead of array(1,2,3). slides

Nikolay Bachiyski from automattic spoke about how they organise to account for multiple data centres and 35million ish users. 100 commits a day on average from 50 different users. slides

Derick Rethans did a session on tools for profiling your PHP applications performance. slides

Hugh Williams from Ebay gave the opening keynote on the second day, I’ve never really got on with ebay I just find it irritating but its interesting to see the scale of what they do: HUGE, and also learning about the consolidation of their numerous api’s at

Andy “Bob” Brockhurst talked about how they organise stuff at the BBC, varnish, caching, standardisation on the ZEND Framework. Was surprised by how few servers they actually use 40ish. I imagined a lot more. slides

Went to a session on MongoDb which I had not played with but was pretty interesting gave me an idea of the kind of projects it would be well suited for. slides

Bert Van Hauwert talked about powering your site using real time data using XMPP and why you would use XMPP rather than web sockets. He also gave pretty good instructions on how to the server up and running. We overran a bit because my watch was running slowly, but he did very well to get his hour long talk in over just 45 minutes. slides

Thanks to all the organisers for all their hard work getting the conference together. Many were looking exhausted by the end.