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php|tek, here I come

I'll be heading out for Chicago in a little while to attend php|tek, where I'll be giving my "pdo" and "mail" (a.k.a: "not pdo") talks.

I should be getting in to the hotel sometime around 7:30pm local time.

I've been really busy recently, so I haven't yet had a chance to figure out which other sessions I'll attend, but I do know that I'm really looking forward to re-sync'ing with everybody.

We're recruiting again, and I'm looking for both C and PHP folks to join my team at OmniTI/MessageSystems, so if you're going to be there and are interested, please make a point of finding me--I'd love to hear from you.

See you there :)

Soliciting questions for PHP and panel at MIX

As I mentioned previously, I'll be at MIX this year on a panel discussing ASP and PHP interoperability, along with Jesse Liberty, Bill Staples, Joe Stagner and Brian Goldfarb.

I've been told that MIX has sold out and that there is a lot of interest in our slot, so I'm sure we'll have plenty to talk about, but I'm looking for questions to break the ice and get things rolling.

If you have any questions, comments or other insights on PHP running on Windows, or on getting PHP apps working together with apps, please comment on this blog post, and I'll try to work them into the panel, and to feed back the results of the discussion here on my blog.

If for some reason your comment doesn't go through, or if you prefer email, you can also mail them to me at

I'll be at MIX'07

I've been invited to participate in a panel at Microsoft's MIX conference this year. The panel is entitled "Can't ASP.NET and PHP just get along?" and is to be a "spirited but friendly" discussion on PHP and interop.

For those folks clicking through from the MIX site, you might be wondering who I am and why I'm on the panel... I've been partly responsible for development of the PHP core and primarily responsible for a lot of the Windows specific portions of PHP. I work for OmniTI, a world respected internet technologies consultancy.

I'm looking forward to MIX, partly because I've heard that it's a lot of fun, and partly because it will a great opportunity to meet with a different crowd--the conferences that I usually attend have attendees that are largely LAMP focused, so the Windows platform focus will be an interesting change. I'm hoping to gain some insight into what people perceive as short-comings in PHP on Windows, and feeding those back into PHP.

If you see me there, stop me and say hi!

On the road to San Jose for ZendCon'06

I'm currently sitting in Atlanta airport (because it's on the way to San Jose from BWI, obviously).

I really enjoyed last years conference, so I have great expectations this year. I'll be giving the short version of my PDO talk again this year (but this time, in shiny Keynote on my shiny macbook).

I think I'll try to attend the session "Managing PHP and PHP Applications on Windows" to see what the folks at Microsoft have to say about that, and "Unlocking The Enterprise Using PHP and Messaging and Queuing" to see what IBM have planned there. Outside of the sessions, I'm going to sit down with Andrei and Sara to discuss implementing Unicode for PDO in PHP 6.

Ah, time to board. See you there if you're there!

MS Web Dev Summit

For the past couple of days I've been in (rainy|sunny) Seattle attending a web development summit hosted on the Microsoft campus in Redmond. Microsoft invited a number of "influentials" from web development communities outside of the usual MS camps; the folks attending were mostly of a PHP background, but there was one Rails guy and a couple of others with more of a .Net background.

At first you'd think that MS had set out to brainwash us all into talking about how great their new bits are. While that was true to a certain extent, they were very keen to find out what we all thought about those bits--did they suck? how could they be improved? and so on.

For me, the more interesting parts included:

Feature focus on IIS7

The IIS7 that will ship with Vista is designed to make things easier for a web developer. There are some innovations like per-directory configuration files called web.config files. These are effectively an XML equivalent to Apache .htaccess files and will make things much easier for transporting configuration from a local dev box up to a staging or even production server. The IIS guys re-engineered the core of IIS to run in a modular fashion, making it much easier to build in custom authentication or URL rewriting facilities, for example.

This may not sound like a big deal to apache users, but it's a significant stride in the right direction as far as feature parity between apache and IIS is concerned--it makes it easier to create an app that will run "the same" on IIS as it does on Apache.

Oh yes, FastCGI support is planned ship with with IIS7.


LINQ can be described as SQL integration at the programming level. But its more than that; the LINQ langugage extensions to C# allow you to structure queries across disparate data sources. If you have an array of in memory data and a SQL table, you can join and query across both those things as though they were one data source. It sounds very interesting; you can find out more at

CardSpace (formerly known as InfoCard)

CardSpace is a new identity technology that will be integrated into browsers (IE7 will ship with it, and I've been told that there is a firefox plugin). The technology uses cryptography to put you firmly in control of your personal and financial information. For instance, if you're buying something online the authorization for that transaction takes place between you and your bank/credit provider and they issue a cryptographically signed token that the seller can use as confirmation of the transfer of funds. The seller never even has an inkling of what your credit card details are, eliminating the risk of identity theft.

It's an interesting technology. If you google for "cardspace php" you can find some PHP code that accepts CardSpace data. I was talking to Rob Richards about this last week in Toronto; you can see working CardSpace/InfoCard authentication on his blog.

Feature focus on IE7

I don't have too much to say about this except that, like IIS 7, a lot of the visible changes are primarily playing catch-up to opensource alternatives. Again, it's definitely a step in the right direction, but feels a bit like "so what?" right now. The IE7 guys made a point of saying that they are committed to making IE a better browser and that they are aware of its current shortcomings. IE7 will ship in Q4 2006 and they already have a roadmap for the next two versions of IE. Again, good news.

Expression Web

You can think of this as being something like Microsofts equivalent to dreamweaver. (disclaimer: I haven't really touched DW for some time, and barely scratched the surface, so I could be a bit off-base here). Expression Web is part of a suite of tools aimed at designers rather than coders. It looks like a very nice tool for editing HTML and CSS, and the folks behind it stressed repeatedly that a fundamental principle behind the tool is to generate standards compliant xhtml and css.

Expression has a nice natural editor that intelligently creates and re-uses style classes according to your preferences, generating good, clean markup. One particuarly nice feature was visualization of the box model; it's possible to drag and change padding and margins for elements in the page.

Summing up

Looks like Microsoft have some interesting bits heading our way in the near future. More importantly, this event helped to underscore an attitude shift within Microsoft that has been taking place over the last couple of years. People like Brian Goldfarb and Joe Stagner have played an important role in sending the message that Microsoft are genuinely interested in making the Windows platform more appealing for non-Microsoft technologies like PHP, python and ruby.

php|works 2006 - slides online

Another php|works is done. As always, Marco puts together a good conference. An interesting mix of speakers and attendees, a good selection of talks and some fun activities--the PHP trivia quiz was fun to watch (speakers were not allowed to compete) with some tough questions and a great prize (a brand new macbook!).

The extending PHP session I was covering for Sara seemed to go ok; in my experience there's typically only 1 or 2 people that are seriously following the content in these sessions, with the rest either snoozing or feeling overwhelmed. It is a tough topic to cover, even in 3 hours. I used Sara's slides, but the pacing was a bit aggressive, so we wound up spending a bit more time doing some real time extension hacking instead of following the slides too closely.

The PDO talk was the same as usual, and my new talk, on best mailing practices (affectionately known as "not PDO" by the rest of the speakers) had a decent turn-out with people actually scribbling down notes.

I think I only managed to attend two other talks; Sebastians AOP talk (although I had to cut out pretty early to make a phone call) and Zak's talk on licensing, which very clearly explained things like copyright and licensing that every developer should know.

On my return journey, I had the pleasure of meeting Eli White (PHP Hacker @ Digg, author of "PHP 5 in Practice") at the gate for the flight back home. By a strange quirk of fate I hadn't seen Eli at all at the conference, but with ample time at the gate, and on the plane (another quirk of fate had us sitting next to each other), we made up for that.

You can find my PDO and Mail talks up at the OmniTI talks page: and you can find the extending PHP slides up at furlong-golemon-extending-php.pdf.

me @ php|works and zendcon06

The rumours of me being very busy are entirely accurate. However, I haven't forgotten PHP. I've even written some PHP code in the last month (shock! horror!). Next week I'll be attending php|works and presenting on three topics:

  • Extending PHP. (3 hour workshop)
  • PDO
  • Best Practices for Sending Mail with PHP (a new talk!)

For the extending PHP workshop, I'll be pretending to be Sara Golemon, author of the book "Extending and Embedding PHP", who unfortunately couldn't make it in person. I have a copy of her book and have given my own version of this workshop a couple of times in the past, so it'll be almost as good as the real thing :-)

I think I've mentioned the new php-mail-best-practices talk briefly before; a lot of sites send out email, whether its directly triggered from a web interaction, or whether its a scheduled update. For instance, sends mail in response to mailing list subscriptions, bug report submissions, regular assigned bug reminders and so on. In this talk I'll be touching on some good approaches to crafting the email, sending the email and doing both of those things "responsibly" and "managably" (if that's even a word). These last two are particularly important in a world drowning in spam, but don't tend be high on the priority list for people putting together a web site.

I'm also going to be at the Zend Conference this year, giving my PDO talk again. Despite my initial concerns that the conference would be a bit too "biz" oriented last year, it turned out to be very good, so I'm really looking forward to this years edition.

As always, I try to make myself available to the attendees when I'm at a conference; if you have questions that you think I can answer, please don't be afraid to approach and ask me.

I'll see you there if you're there :-)

PHP, the trading card game!

Cal Evans of Zend's DevZone accidentally revealed his php community who's who flash cards (so that he can put faces to names at the conference)--and it looks just like a trading card game.

Luckily for you, Terry Chay was on hand to document them:

You can see more of these on Terry's flickr stream.

The flip side of the cards has each PHP community members bio on the back (I don't think Terry managed to capture that).

It appears that Cal's print run had a glitch, as you can see from this pic:

Looks like Zak has yet another lookalike. At OSCON 2005, there were three Zaks: