In late May I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at php[tek], PHP’s homecoming conference, held in St Louis, Missouri.

And what a homecoming.

It felt like a less-awkward school reunion, where friends from all corners of the world came together for a little holiday retreat in a hotel resort in the outskirts of St Louis. In between catching up with old friends, trips to the pub and themed events, there were occasionally technical talks.

I jest of course. php[tek] was a conference, not a holiday. Although it was possibly one of the least stressful conferences I’ve been to. I had already gotten into the local timezone by the time I arrived in St Louis, so jetlag wasn’t a problem, and since the entire event was held on site, with speakers accomodations a moment’s walk from the event rooms, it was a great setup.

And the half-hour breaks between sessions were brilliant. By having such a large changeover time, speakers could take questions, get a soda, chill out, and get to the next session with plenty of time to spare.

Eli and Heather run an amazing conference. The themed Casino night was a nice fun night, and the community night was also enjoyable.

Scattered within php[tek] were a myriad of other events, podcasts, and outings that I’d heard legends of, but to be able to participate was an incredible experience. JeoPHPardy was amazing, Cal Evans invited a bunch of the speakers to partake in Voices of the ElePHPant, PHP Karaoke was entertaining (and surprisingly receptive to Weird Al covers of country classics), and WurstCon. OMG WurstCon. A sausage-fest, all things being told, but it really cut the mustard.

Oh yeah, there were some talks as well.

For now, since the vidoes aren’t available, here are some of the samplings of what stood out for me.

“Same as you shouldn’t ship a product without debugging it, you shouldn’t ship an application without unit testing it” - Ana Filina

“All great things in computer science start with failure” - Samantha Quiñones

“Your API should be a first class product. It doesn’t make money directly, but it makes your other products better.” - Kirsten Hunter

“A monad is an ADT that when the methods are called they return instances of the same monanic type” - Christopher Pitt

“Little Bobby Tables, I mean @developerjack, has taught us that custom SQL queries are bad, and SQL injection is a thing” - Adam Harvey

My entire tweet stream from #phptek