Skip to main content

There's no PHP user group here!

PHP User Group PHPBenelux

When going to conferences you always hear "join a local user group, and if there's none in your area you're the person who needs to start one". But then what? Where do you get started? How do you organise a PHP user group? Basically, you're left in the dark and you're missing out of all the great stuff everyone else can enjoy.

So how do you get started?

You've attended a conference or visited a remote user group and you're completely pumped up to start a local community in your area. But how do you organise a user group meetup? How do you let people in your area know, you've started something for developers to meet each other, learn from each other and have a good time?
There's no one-size-fits-all solution to these questions though, most of it depends where you're located and what the penetration level is of PHP developers.

Meetup.com

Meetup.com
The easiest way to let everyone know you're organising a PHP meetup, is using Meetup.com where you can announce your meetups, create a user group profile and more. You can even use meetup as your user group webpage if you don't want to invest in setting up a seperate web page.
Everyone who's already a member of Meetup will receive a mail informing them there's a new meetup in their area: yours!
Meetup costs about $ 2.00 per month

Facebook.com

Facebook.com
If you don't want to invest money in setting up a user group, you can use also Facebook and create a group for your user group. It doesn't inform members there's a new user group in their area likeMeetup.com does, but via facebook sharing you might get some traction throug your peers.

Linkedin.com

Linkedin.com
As a professional, most likely you have a Linkedin profile. If not, I can highly recommend it as it is your professional network hub which you want to use anyways when networking during user group meetups.
Another benefit of Linkedin is you can search for PHP in your area and get to see companies and people currently doing "something" with PHP in your area.
I love Linkedin as it allows me to connect with local businesses and fellow PHP developers in my area. Through their social network services, I can keep in touch with my peers and follow up on their interests.
One of the nice features of Linkedin is searching people and businesses in a particular area with keywords. So if you would like to know which businesses are doing PHP in your area, you can filter on "php" in your area. This will give you a list of companies in your area who you can contact to see if they want to host a meetup or want to sponsor for drinks or pizza.
Search for PHP in Antwerp Area, Belgium

PHP.net

The PHP UG section on PHP.net
The main resource for PHP developers is still php.net and thanks to the efforts of Ben Ramsey there's a whole page dedicated to PHP user groups. Find it at php.net/ug. Here you can search for a local user group or register a new user group.

First meetup

The first meetup is going to be really exciting as you have high hopes many people will come and will congratulate you for taking the initiative.
If this is the case, you're in luck. Most of the time you get only a few people just checking out what it's all about or none at all. But don't despair, keep the faith and continue with planning meetups. As an example: our first meeting had just 2 visitors. Now we're between 50 and 80 attendees.
I think Michelle Sanver said it the best:
I knew no PHP developers in Groningen managed to get a venue and just holding my thumbs someone would turn up the first meetup. In the end the first meetup was just a "How do we do this?" meetup and I had 3 attendees, which was awesome. The next meetup we were 15 people and since then a steady stream of between 10 - 20 people depending on topic and interest, most of them have never been anywhere in the community before, so if there is no community people - Make them.

Community support

Know you're not alone out there. There's a network of PHP user group leaders available that will help you getting the word out and mentor you to grow your community.

User Group Wiki

Over on php.net there's a whole wiki created for user groups with access to the mailing list and user group handbook. Don't forget to join us on irc in channel #phpgroups where you can find further assistance in getting your community of the ground.

Cal Evans

Don't forget to inform the Godfather of the PHP Community Cal Evans that you started a PHP user group and provide the twitter handle to him, he keeps a list of user groups on his twitter account.

PHP|Architect

Did you know there's a genuine PHP magazine out there? It's PHP|Architect. Send a mail tobeth@phparch.com and notify her about the user group you created.
Whenever you have a big event or something, you can ask to have them to include it in their newsletter and if necessary have a community article or ad about it in the magazine.

Zend

Zend Technologies, Inc. is the company behind PHP and are offering professional services to businesses and governments. And they too have a newsletter. You might want to inform them about your newly created user group so they put it on their website as well and announce news reports from your community.

Closing remarks

Thanks for stepping up and start becoming a community leader. I can't say it's a simple task, but if you keep believing in it you will succeed and become the go-to community leader for your area. Remember, we've got your back on this!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PHP 7 and Apache on macOS Sierra

I posted several talks about compiling PHP from source, but everyone was trying to convince me that a package manager like Homebrew was a more convenient way to install. The purpose of Homebrew is simple: a package manager for macOS that will allow you to set up and install common packages easily and allows you to update frequently using simple commands. I used a clean installation of macOS Sierra to ensure all steps could be recorded and tested. In most cases you already have done work on your Mac, so chances are you can skip a few steps in this tutorial. APACHE AND PHP WITH HOMEBREW I’ve made this according to the installation instructions given on GetGrav. The installation procedures These installation procedures will set up your macOS Sierra with PHP 7.1 and Apache 2.4. Install Xcode command line tools (if not done yet)xcode-select --install Install Homebrew/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)" Set up for in…

Speeding up database calls with PDO and iterators

When you review lots of code, you often wonder why things were written the way they were. Especially when making expensive calls to a database, I still see things that could and should be improved.
No framework development When working with a framework, mostly these database calls are optimized for the developer and abstract the complex logic to improve and optimize the retrieval and usage of data. But then developers need to build something without a framework and end up using the basics of PHP in a sub-optimal way.

$pdo = new \PDO( $config['db']['dsn'], $config['db']['username'], $config['db']['password'] ); $sql = 'SELECT * FROM `gen_contact` ORDER BY `contact_modified` DESC'; $stmt = $pdo->prepare($sql); $stmt->execute(); $data = $stmt->fetchAll(\PDO::FETCH_OBJ); echo 'Getting the contacts that changed the last 3 months' . PHP_EOL; foreach ($data as $row) { $dt = new \DateTime('2015-04-…

Sessions in PHP 7.1 and Redis

In case you have missed it, PHP 7.1.0 has been released recently. Now you can’t wait to upgrade your servers to the latest and greatest PHP version ever. But hold that thought a second… With PHP 7 lots of things have changed underneath the hood. But these changed features can also put unexpected challenges on your path. Our challenge One of these challenges that we faced was getting PHP 7.1 to play nice storing sessions in our Redis storage. In order to store sessions in Redis, we needed to install the Redis PHP extension that not only provides PHP functions for Redis, but also installs the PHP session handler for Redis. Because we upgraded our servers to PHP 7.1, we were looking to use the latest provided version for this Redis extension: redis-3.1.0. Once installed, we bumped against a nasty problem. Warning: session_start(): Failed to read session data: redis (path: tcp://127.0.0.1:6379) Searching the internet for this error, we didn’t got many hits that could point us into a dire…