Last Sunday (April 28th 2013) was IMHO a crucial day for PHP community in Belgrade (& Serbia too), a first PHP meetup was organized by PHP Srbija developer community. With gathering of more then 250 developers this proved to be a much needed event there and congratulations to organizers for doing it. As a organizer of similar (but much smaller) PHP community in Zagreb I was in constant contact with organizers and was very happy when we were invited to join them on this occasion, especially when they approved my proposal to talk about Laravel4 there.
Above anybody’s expectations, as local media picked up story about first PHP meetup in Belgrade, organizers were forced to find a much larger venue in the last moment: Dom omladine. Hall located in heart of Belgrade (2 minute walk from Terazije) already hosted some great events in the past and it is one of few places in city center that can host event of this size. Yes there were some problems about air-conditioning/ventilation but those problems we’re not organizers fault. Organizers actually did a great job, finding a larger venue at last moment is no easy task especially taking in consideration that they were organizing their first event of any kind. Great job gals & guys!
As a president of PHP Srbija organization, Nemanja Čedomirović started with a short introduction giving place to Milan Popović. He was telling us more about PHP Srbija organization and presenting results of questionnaire launched this year. Idea of questionnaire was to gather information on state of PHP and PHP developers in Serbia, some results were expected, some of them surprised me but IMHO some of numbers gathered were very very wrong. For instance results of questionnaire suggested that 17% of developers use TDD (Test Driven Development) on daily bases and I beleive this number to be vastly exaggerated. I would be really happy if this was true, probably question was a bit wrongly written or understood, no malice from either side intended.
After that Goran Rakić talked about good practices on building independent component like libraries. It was a good talk, maybe a bit too theoretical since there were no practical examples (Goran did confess that due to some personal circumstances wasn’t able to prepare that part of presentation). Hopefully he will get another chance to cover this part (maybe even on the next meetup, organizers? ).
As I was a lead developer for years on a similar size platform, Miodrag Stefanović ‘s talk about Limundo/Kupindo architecture was most interesting talk to me. As there is really small number of web applications of this size in region (10.000.000 pageviews per day), being able to hear how they organized their product was really great. Great talk and respect to Miodrag for sharing this valuable information and experience with us! I had so many questions for him but as I was too nervous preparing for my talk I decided to postpone them. Unfortunately I have postponed them for next meetup so now I have an excuse to visit Belgrade again .
Next session was Predrag Cujanović ‘s talk about web security, I missed great part of it as I needed to prepare myself for my talk so I am not able to say much here. Sorry Predrag, nothing personal!
Last but hopefully not least, was my talk about Laravel4. As I am still a novice talker, till that moment I only talked few times and at best in front of 30 people, going on stage in front of such a large crowd was a nerve-wracking moment. Crowd seemed already tired due to almost tropical temperature and humidity inside, as my talk was highly interactive this scared me. Fortunately after only few minutes audience proved me wrong and I was able to comfortably continue my talk (thank you all for that!). As Laravel4 is still in beta, I based my talk on what it has to offer and a list of pros and cons as I see them. I would be too subjective to write about quality of my talk, so if you were in Belgrade on this occasion feel free to leave comments here. Any feedback is greatly appreciated and will help me get better.
After talks have finished audience moved into foyer, enjoying pizzas and beer provided by meetup’s organizers and sponsors, giving us opportunity to discuss & talk in more leisure atmosphere. Though my Q&A part of session was unexpectedly long, a lot of people at that time approached me to ask more direct questions. I must admit I was a bit overwhelmed, positively overwhelmed! Since I had laravel4 talk in Zagreb two weeks prior, I haven’t anticipated so much interest as we continued to talk for an hour (maybe even more, really not sure). As Dom Omladine had to close (it was rather late) we moved into one of local pubs and continued drinking & talking some more (until early morning hours).
I would take this opportunity to thank whole PHP Srbija organization committee for inviting us & once again congratulate them on bringing such a large community together.