October is often the month where all PHP businesses look towards sunny California, because it's ZendCon time! This year was no exception and it was a true blast. And ZendCon means not just 4 days of PHP goodness but also 2 days and a half of Uncon power. And this year I had the honour and pleasure to be in charge of the ZendUncon sessions.
Because my involvement in those uncon sessions, I missed most of the regular tracks. But on the bright side I was able to discover new speakers and was sitting in a few awesome sessions I would like to recommend here.
Let me explain the idea behind uncon sessions first, so you at least have a good grasp of the importance of these sessions. An uncon session is different from regular conference sessions because they are not scheduled and can be given by anybody. It's a great way for conference attendees to give a talk or a round table discussion. For the first situation, people can learn how to speak in public and get their first steps in talking at conferences. It's also a solution for open-source project leads to teach and answer questions regarding their projects.
Every day of the conference a clean registration board was set up, and people could select a specific time they wanted to run an uncon session. Of course this meant that availability is a "first-come, first-serve" kind of thing. Early people were able to select the best slots, because they could compare their uncon session with the conference schedule and pick a slot when none of the regular conference sessions was of interest for the speaker.
Back to the ZendUncon sessions of ZendCon 2012. Three days of uncon goodness, making it an unforgettable event. Let me highlight a couple of remarkable talks I've seen during these three days, which I can highly recommend to have at any given PHP conference.
Stefan Koopmanschap (@skoop) with "Conference Speaking 101" where he gives a whole bunch of tips and concepts anyone could use as advice for speaking at conferences. Even the regular speakers!
First time speaker Sebastian Jerzy Wilczyński (@dj_sebastian_w) with "Unit Testing for Databases using fixtures and phpunit" where he gives a very interesting point of view for testing database interactions using fixtures without reaching the database.
Best talk was given by Lorna Mitchel (@lornajane) with "Git + Github: everything you need to know!" with a standing room and enormous positive feedback.
Elizabeth Marie Smith (@auroraeosrose) was giving a true community driven talk "Mentoring Developers (and phpmentoring.org)" where she explained why and how experienced developers could take mentorship to assist and train developers seeking mentoring (apprentices). If you're in a situation where you're looking for mentorship, please visit phpmentoring.org for more information.
If you're interested in the whole ZendUncon series, you can find all the talks and most of the slides on the joind.in page for ZendUncon.