Last weekend I had an opportunity to attend the ScotlandPHP 2018 Conference in Edinburgh, UK. This conference is regarded as the largest and best known event for PHP developers in Scotland. I have decided to spend my Saturday in a lovely Edinburgh, broadening my knowledge of current trends and technologies in PHP world.
Starting off with the venue, the conference was held in Edinburgh International Conference Center, in the heart of the city. Getting there was super easy and convenient, whether you are taking a bus or a train. The building itself is quite big and was a great fit for that kind of conference. There was a number of larger and smaller rooms, so that a different kinds of tracks could happen in the same time.
The 2018 conference was divided in 2 separate tracks, each providing a diverse and unique topics, so that everyone could benefit from choosing one. Having a choice between two parallel talks is a great idea IMO, as you can always listen to a topic that’s just more interesting to you, without the need to worry about taking part in talks that are not your thing.
Talk 1: Starting your Serverless journey with OpenFaaS
The opening keynote by John McCabe was a great intro to OpenFaaS and the Serverless architecture as a whole. The talk showcased the strengths of such architecture and how the mentioned project can help you with vendor lock-ins in the cloud. An instance of OpenFaaS can be deployed in less then 60 seconds using Docker or Kubernetes, making this a great asset for companies thriving for latest technologies. The technology itself has gathered over 13k starts on GitHub already and is actively developed by over 100 developers. In the end that was an awesome talk and a great keynote to make people interested in cloud solutions overall.
Talk 2: We need a bigger boat – Introduction to application scaling
A second talk of the day by Liam Wiltshire explained the problems of modern software scaling and the effective ways of managing them. Liam, the speaker, is working in a company that creates software for game industry, where every second, thousands of micro transactions are happening, pushing the performance of the software and infrastructure to the limits. The talk had some examples of how to manage most popular performance bottlenecks in Laravel framework, and what to look for when designing the software from scratch. A very good talk, which opens eyes to many aspects of software engineering.
Talk 3: Get GOing with a new language
The third talk, by Kat Zien was a something unusual for a PHP conference, but turned out to be a great opportunity to see how the world looks like in other ecosystems. The talks itself concentrated on Go of course – a strongly typed programming language designed by Google. As such you can be sure it has a great support and a guarantee of further development. I liked how the talk introduced some more difficult topics like concurrency vs parallelism so that even if you are not interested in Go, there is something you can learn. Kat introduced her journey from being PHP dev, into becoming full fledged Gopher, and how to become one as well. I must say that Go looks super interesting and it might become my second language of choice in the near future.
Talk 4: Git Legit
You can’t have a conference without Git, don’t you ? 🙂 My fourth talk by Pauline Vos, was a superb guide to Git, showcasing the best practices of using it in daily workflow. The talk contained lots of details and real life experiences of using Git in a startup environment, where things happen quickly and you have to keep your code base clean, to react to them as fast as possible. Many cool and not known Git commands where shown, which after the talk, I have started use extensively. Pauline explained the pros and cons of different strategies when using Git, like to old, good rebase vs merge. Overall I have learned a lot from this talk, and improved the my Git workflow a lot.
Talk 5: Application Metrics (with Prometheus examples)
My last talk by Rafael Dohms, presented the practical guide to using Prometheus in large projects. This talks ties in greatly with a previous talk about application scaling, but extending the topics quite a bit, in SLIs, SLOs, and many more. Rafael described what Prometheus is, and how to use it to leverage the existing applications data and improve the performance and experience of it. The monitoring capabilities of Prometheus are really broad, which makes this software great addition if you want to make a serious business applications. I myself will probably not have a need to use it in my hobby projects, although in any professional environment, this is a must have if you want to know what’s happening with your application’s metrics. Overall a great talk, learned a lot and discovered even more.