2007 Round Up

2007 was a very exciting year for me, a year where I achieved my personal goals, made new friends and took on new challenges.

April 2007: I started working as a PHP consultant for AUSY Belgium where I became part of an elite team of PHP developers. Since our customers are the top-50 enterprises in Belgium, PHP development is only a small part of the job. Writing Technical Analysis and Installation guides, taking care of time, project and release management and provide proven test cases to the customers makes up the rest of the job.
Also as a member of an internal PHP Competence Center, you need to share knowledge among your team members so that the whole team can achieve the highest level of professionalism.

June 2007: Attending the Dutch PHP Conference 2007 was my first opportunity to meet other PHP developers from all over the world. With very cool sessions given by Cal Evans, Derrick Rethans and many more top-notch speakers, I knew that I had made a wise decision changing from Perl to PHP. I also met a few members of, who's ATK framework is now part of the new Zend website.

September 2007: Becoming 31 and succeeding my PHP 5 Certification. I also started contributing to the Zend Framework on the Zend_Ldap component and Zend_Auth_Eid, but because of a very heavy workload I had to point my attention towards my work. But when I finish my duties, I will find time to finish what I've started.

October 2007: ZendCon07 was probably the highlight of my year. A 4-day conference in San Francisco (LA) where I not only got in touch with the people behind PHP, but got a lot of information regarding best practices, Zend Framework, Test-Driven Development and much more.
ZendCon07 was also the place where I found out I would become a father, which was actually the best news I had this year. My wife and I expect our little one to enter this world at the end of May or beginning of June 2008.

December 2007: The 5th annual FeWeb Conference was a nice ending for this year. As PHP 5 Pioneer I met other php developers and managers of businesses who work with PHP. There's a very high need for information about Zend licencing, products, services and trainings, and hopefully I can arrange something next year to take on this challenge.

I conclude this year's round up by thanking everyone who have made this year a year to never forget. I especially want to thank Cal Evans, Derrick Rethans, Darby Felton, Ligaya Turmelle, Matthew Weier O'Phinney and Ivo Jansch who have shown me how to do my job better.

Also a lot of gratitude goes out to my dear PHP colleagues David Iachetta, Vincent Dupont, Patrick Allaert, Davide Mendolia, Jeroen Serpieters and Hans Stevens with whom I've spend the last half year at the Belgian Railways. It was fun !

A special thanks goes out to my darling wife Friedel who stood by me in all those long days and short nights. I love you !

I wish everyone a very happy New Year and that all your dreams may come true in 2008.


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ElePHPants in Belgium

Elephpants in Belgium
Elephpants in Belgium,
originally uploaded by DragonBe.
This morning at 10am the doorbel rang. "Yes sir, we have a package for you". I was curious what it was, because I ordered x-mas gifts online, so I was actually thinking it was the stuff that I ordered.

But no, 1 big and 15 little blue elePHPants were packed inside a little box. Ofcourse I let them out immediately, resulting in a cute gathering of these fluffy creatures.

Many thanks and gratitude to Damien Seguy over at Nexen Services who made all this possible.


5th annual FeWeb Conference wrap-up

Time flies when you're having fun, and it was fun at the 5th annual FeWeb conference in Antwerp.

I learned that accessibility is a matter of everyone (I agree to that) and by putting a little effort in developing sites with accessibility in mind, you can increase the user experience of a whole lot of physical and/or visually impaired people. Now you can become a certified AnySurfer developer, a title to show the world you deploy accessibility as a standard.

I also learned that branding is not about repeating your name a dozen of times, but to find a balance between name, colors and consistently employing these choices on all media.

There's now also a qualification certification to become a validated reseller who respects Belgian privacy and commercial laws. A bit of information was given by Ivan Vandermeersch (Managing Director BDMA).

Lastly there was the closing keynote by William Visterin (Smart Business Strategies) about Internettrends in 2008. It started with user generated comments on a particular hotel in Antwerp, showing the movement of applications towards the internet (e.g. online marketplaces and social networks), user generated content and self-service companies. Although William is an Editor in Chief, he can compete with Seinfeld or Chris Rock. I believe if he adds a video podcast to his columns, he'll probably be viewed more then our local soap-series "familie".

Running around in my Zend php shirt (yes Cal, I show my colors) got me in contact with other php developers and companies from who I learned that there's still not much know about what Zend has to offer them and that they could become certified. Looks like we do a bit of promotion about it here in Belgium, specially for those small web development agencies and self-employed developers.

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Dec 12, 2007: 5th FeWeb Conference at Ter Elst

Tonight it is already the 5th Conference held here in Belgium by FeWeb, a Belgian federation for webdevelopers, where people can attend workshops, interesting sessions about web development in general and a posibility to network.

Of all sessions I'm more interested in the "AnySurfer Certification for web developers" talk by Roel Van Gils, since I believe accessibility is a goal all developers should keep in mind when developing applications.

Another good session (I hope) is the talk by Stef Verbeeck (twizted) about reputation and image on the web.

For FeWeb members the entrance is free, for non-members the entrance fee is 95 EUR (please register by e-mail,

Maybe I'll see you there. If not, I will post here a follow up in the next coming days.

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