PHP Russia 2019: its “stadium” for the language of the first league

    There is no conference in our market dedicated to PHP. And this is like a football club of the first league without its own stadium. Indeed, in Russia PHP is in second place in terms of the number of vacancies for programmers (behind 1C, but ahead of Java). It has a ramified ecosystem and a gigantic army of "followers."

    Having saddened, the participants of the PHP community decided to rectify the situation, for which they cooperated with our team. By common efforts, a professional conference for PHP developers PHP Russia 2019 will be held on May 17 at the Moscow Infospace . Before the event, we talked with the head of the program committee Alexander Makarov ( SamDark ) about why the event is needed, what it is designed to change, who are waiting for it with reports and how these reports will be useful.

    - Tell us briefly about your experience - for those who do not know about you.

    - I am a member of the core team of the Yii framework. I am engaged in other projects, including Codeception and PHP-FIG. Managed to work in Skyeng,, Wrike, Siemens and several other interesting companies.

    - Where did the idea to create a separate thematic conference about PHP come from?

    - I periodically looked at the list of conferences on and was sad that we didn’t have anything like it - only individual meetings and sections at general conferences. There is no single large platform for communication. As a result, the valuable experience that PHP development teams and individual enthusiasts accumulate is poorly replicated and reproduced. In addition, the PHP community is at a stage where it is taking full swing from best practices from other languages, first of all from Java. So now it’s extremely important by common efforts to single out which borrowings will really be useful, and to avoid blind copying.

    So I thought, why not create such a site on my own. The idea had ripened for a long time, and by last October had taken a more distinct outline. Around the same time, Oleg Bunin visited a similar thought (olegbunin ). At that time, we talked with him: I was a member of the Highload ++ 2018 program committee. Oleg suggested meeting and discussing the possibility of such a conference. We crossed paths, discussed an undertaking, felt the ground and decided: we are doing it.

    - Has there really been no PHP conference in Russia so far?

    - There was PHPConf. She was comfortable with the team that now makes DevConf. But the last time PHPConf was held already in 2010. As a result, there are historically a lot of PHP on DevConf, but still not as much as we would like. It turns out that the conference focused on PHP in our country has not been nine years.

    - Why do you think?

    - Probably because in 2010 PHP of the fifth version was widely used. The decadent sentiments in his attitude were stronger than ever: here and there they insisted that PHP was dying. The Seven, which seriously improved the prospects of the language, not least due to increased productivity, was not there at that time.

    - Why, from your point of view, are the reports related to PHP that are made on the same DevConf, HighLoad ++ and BackendConf insufficient for the community?

    - Firstly, the attitude towards those who are engaged in development in PHP is undeservedly biased and is based on an outdated concept of language and platform. For communication to be as open as possible, such an attitude at the conference should not be. It is necessary that they be all their own. Secondly, the HighLoad ++ and RIT ++ agenda include, first of all, general topics that are applicable to several platforms and languages ​​at once. And specifics specific to PHP are rarely approved, though they are really important for those who work with PHP.

    “Do you have any idea why this is so?” Why are PHP reports at wider conferences rarely approved?

    - Let's be honest: initially the language itself is far from ideal.

    It has a lot of things that are not obvious: a strange naming of functions, a strange arrangement of arguments, a strange error handling.
    But PHP is fiercely hated by those who worked with it somewhere in the era of 4.x or the first versions of the "five". There was a puzzle and illogical above the roof. With the spread of the Seven, after Nikita Popov and the rest of the team started cleaning the API, things went smoothly. What was and what is is heaven and earth. But the "inertia of hatred" has persisted.

    And objectively the same Kotlin was created immediately beautiful. PHP is ugly, but as a platform is extremely good. It still has a low entry threshold, and it’s easy to find experts who write on it. Unfortunately, they are often not quite qualified, and this is also one of the reasons for dislike for the language, but also one of the main reasons for finally making a PHP conference. Many people come into PHP, and very few people rise to a high level. But we want more intelligent engineers to grow out of peychpishnikov.

    - Obviously, due to the very “inertia of hatred” the conference, as a kind of tribune of the community, will also be confined to the fight against stereotypes around PHP. Moreover, not all of them arose from scratch. What persistent beliefs about language do you most often encounter today, and which of them have a foundation?

    - First of all, it’s like PHP in 2019 is good for nothing and it’s wiser to start all new projects on Kotlin, Python and others like them. Of course, this is not so:
    PHP is fully functional both as a platform and as a language for modern development, you can do cool things on it.

    Many of these cool things we will show in PHP Russia.

    It is also widely believed that by default, peichpishniks have low qualifications. No, not at all. But again, the entry threshold for PHP is really low. Therefore, there are more bad developers in it than in other popular languages. And since highly qualified developers by no means can make up the majority of the community, we have such an unsightly picture, as a first approximation. Because of her, it’s a little disappointing, but if you look closely, here you will see a wonderful environment for business. You can always find enough qualified guys for routine tasks for modest money. Or look amazingly skilled. Or take not very qualified and educate professionals. It depends on the employer’s requests and projects. So, in my opinion, this is probably not a minus, but a plus of the PHP ecosystem.

    Finally, as a mature language, PHP has a flip side: due to the abundance of frameworks and other tools, it is not always easy for beginners (and not only them) to decide what to master. In many languages ​​with a “starter kit”, things are simpler: in Ruby, the base is Ruby on Rails, in Python, Django. Whereas in PHP there are only 4-5 pieces of top-end frameworks. In a sense, this is the ecosystem’s weak point: community expertise is “smeared”. At the same time, this is a virtue: when there is lively competition between solutions, when developers are not doing the same thing, their eyes are not blurred. In addition, adherents of different frameworks enrich each other with their experience. More often it is possible to move away from standard solutions, more it turns out to experiment. So in the end, the ecosystem is progressing.

    - Back to PHP Russia. Were there any overseas events on the topic of PHP that you and your associates inspired?

    - Of course. First of all, Kiev Framework Days, in the framework of which PHP fwdays are held . The guys who deal with them are great fellows: the conference is extremely strong. Seen to the west, PHPBenelux is unconditionally worthy of attention . Of course, we are not trying to make one to one as there. We simply adopt useful experience.

    - What will PHP Russia have in common with other conferences held by Oleg Bunin's team?

    - Oleg’s team deals with almost everything except the program itself, so there will be enough common. At a minimum, excellent equipment, high-quality video broadcasts and recordings, interesting stands, transcripts of reports on Habré and much that is inherent in HighLoad ++ and RIT ++.

    - Who is included in the program committee of PHP Russia? Who are these people and what are they cool?

    - In addition to me, there are eight people in the program committee. This is either representatives of large companies using PHP, or prominent experts from the PHP community, and someone combines both aspects.

    Roman Pronsky , JetBrains. Many know him for PHP digests on Habré and the latest news about PhpStorm.

    Kirill Nesmeyanov , Rambler & Co. Representative of Laravel Framework Russian Community, GraphQL Evangelist and developer of The Railt GraphQL Framework.

    Pavel Agaletsky , systems architect on the Lamoda order delivery systems development team.

    Alexander Krasheninnikov , head of data engineering at Badoo. He made his way from a full-stack developer to a big data specialist and has not lost faith in PHP.

    Alexey Akulovich , senior backend developer at VKontakte. Over the course of twelve years, the web has gone from riveting small sites on home-grown CMS to designing and developing VKontakte infrastructure.

    Alexander Lisachenko , Head of Web Development and Architecture at Alpari. The author and lead developer of the aspect-oriented framework Go! Aop. Speaker at international conferences on PHP. Co-organizer of Symfoniacs.

    Igor Somov, tech cluster leader in Avito. Manages development in the Operations cluster, which includes the units Moderation Systems, Automated Moderation, Data Science SWAT, Support Systems and Internal Projects.

    Konstantin Burkalev , a systems architect with 15 years of experience in IT, author and host of several development podcasts (SDCast & RadioJS), organizer of meetings and conferences, including Symfoniacs. He is engaged in the design and development of distributed integrated security systems.

    We make all decisions collectively.

    - What audience is the conference designed for in the first place? For example, is it suitable for juniors?

    - I am sure that anyone who deals with PHP will find something for himself at the conference. Middleam and seniors will have something to borrow for their projects, they will be able to learn about trends in the development of the platform, exchange experience with each other.

    We’re not preparing content with a focus on juniors.

    However, beginners to visit PHP Russia will be useful. At least to find out where to grow. It’s good to grow somewhere. The situation is much better than ten years ago. There are “roadmaps” for beginners, in particular PHP The Right Way , which clearly demonstrate how to “prepare” PHP correctly: how to work with databases in a normal way and not through outdated APIs, how to handle dependency injection, as is common today to deploy code to the server.

    So the joons have guidelines even without a conference; to learn them from scratch is not our urgent task. But beginners should look at trends: where and by whose forces PHP is moving, is there any reason to study it in principle, what interesting projects companies are building in our market, where to go to work.

    In addition, a good conference is traditionally not only reports, but also communication, primarily on the sidelines. Juniors have every chance of catching one of the most experienced PHP developers and asking him questions. There is no reason to be afraid to seem stupid or annoying: almost all speakers are ready to answer questions from beginners, for example, to share how they taught PHP themselves and what difficulties they encountered. Such insights are very valuable for those who are just starting their careers.

    - PHP Russia is designed more for back-end or full-stack?

    - We do not plan to pay increased attention to the client side of applications, so the conference will only close half the needs of a full-stack developer. The rest will be more than satisfied with AppsConf and Frontend Conf .

    - How is the PHP Russia program built?

    - Initially, we had two flows planned. In one - all about tools, in the other - about experience and interesting cases. But you probably have to change the flows to "English" and "Russian". We received a lot of interesting applications for reports from foreign speakers. Workshops are not planned yet, but do not exclude them. There will almost certainly be mitaps: the Infospace platform is flexibly configured, so we can easily make room for such meetings in a chamber format. If someone who is reading us now is ready to propose the topic of mitap and moderate it, feel free to write.

    - Reports on which topics you are particularly welcome, on which do you want to focus on?

    - On the future of PHP, asynchronous programming, architecture, best practices of the platform, PHP under load and its combination with other languages. Of course, we probed the ground and found out what attracts people the most in the community. After deducting the aforementioned, this is the practice of using various tools, the experience of changing them, deploy, platform internals, serverless PHP. And, of course, the experience of large, prominent projects.

    - And which ones are you personally interested in?

    - PHP standards and standardization in it are absolutely accurate. I'd like to substantively discuss the ways of PHP development. I would like to hear reports on Open Source solutions. Most likely, I myself will either make a report or collect mitaps.

    - Is there something that PHP Russia might not be talking about?

    - About tabs and spaces ( smiles ). But seriously, no restrictions. The main thing is that the report directly affects PHP and is efficient.

    - Is it too late to apply for a report? If a PHP developer is considering offering you a topic, what criteria should he rely on to see if his topic is relevant to the PHP Russia concept?

    - It's time! Do not puzzle over the criteria - submit reports. Better a few. Relevant or not, the program committee will think and give you feedback.

    - But what about the well-known fact that at the conferences of Oleg Bunin there are always high requirements for reports?

    - Of course, we have set internal quality standards for reports. The program committee of PHP Russia brought together very experienced and demanding experts. But this is not a reason to give up - on the contrary: the conference is being held for the first time, we are groping for the optimal format for it and are open to dialogue. Yes, frankly strange or badly structured reports certainly will not work. However, this does not mean that you should not submit an application if you are in doubt whether there is any sense in it. If we see that the speaker is talented, or that the content of the report does not reach the desired level, we will try to make candy with the existing material.

    The formal requirements are minimal: the presence of intelligible abstracts. To make it clear what the report is about. We also readily review topics related to PHP development. Say, if you have a curious case that shows how to make PHP with Golang on the backend, it will probably fit into our agenda.

    - What reports and speakers that you managed to include in the PHP Russia program are you really proud of with your program committee colleagues? Spoiler something?

    - We continue to collect applications and compose the program. The reports will be finalized a month before the day of the conference. But something can already boast .
    Many applications have been submitted from members of the English-speaking PHP community, including Marco Pivetta.

    And, of course, Nikita Popov and Dmitry Stogov, contributors to the core of PHP itself. These are those who need to be thankful for a ton of improvements in PHP 7.
    Kirill Smelov from JetBrains will delve into the nuances of PhpStorm. In particular, it will affect the use of PHP in the development of PhpStorm and how the components of its IDE that work on PHP code are arranged.

    Onliner’s Anton Shabovta will speak on the topic of asynchronous PHP, including highlighting modern approaches to cooperative multitasking in it. At the same time, we will discuss what awaits us in ext-async, AMPHP 3 and PHP 8.

    The conference grid is constantly updated with new reports, so stay tuned in our Telegram channel and website .

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