I failed at writing this post last year, so let’s hope this one sees the light of day! 2012 was a great year both personally and professionally. I won’t go into the former, but there were some extremely happy memories from many points throughout the year so that’s a success in my book. With the latter, I got to attend a number of conferences on various different topics, I experienced the awesomeness that is the PHP community and worked on some exciting new projects at work.
As a result of all the above, I’ve formulated a rough list of things I want to do (or do more of) in 2013. We will see how I get on with them…
I’m still planning to attend whatever I can this year. Last year’s particular highlights were php|tek in Chicago, and Symfony Live in London, as well as obviously the conferences we put on at work – jQuery UK and All Your Base. Last year I had an ambition to speak at a conference, and got as far as submitting a couple of papers to PFCongres which sadly weren’t accepted. This year I’m planning to make more of an effort in this area and submit more than 2 papers! It’s also been great to meet a number of the more active members of the PHP community on a regular basis at the various conferences in 2012.
On a related note, I kicked off BrightonPHP back in October 2012, as a result of a couple of talks at tek’12, and with the help of the group members I’m aiming to make this a great user group for developers and people interested in PHP in the Brighton area.
Open source contribution
I’ve been blown away by the open source community this year, both as a maintainer of some projects, contributing to and also watching from the sidelines on others. The Symfony community is particularly inspirational for me – the amount of work that goes into producing a great framework, and the willingness with which the core devs liaise with other contributors and users is superb. I’ve released a number of Symfony2 bundles this year, and even without publicising them it’s very humbling to see people find and fork the repository on Github, and submit back patches/features to make it a better bundle as a result. Thank you to all those who have done so :-) I’m also planning to contribute back more to projects in a similar fashion – if others can take the time to produce and release something for free, then it feels like my duty to help improve it for others if I’m able to.
Develop my skills in other languages
My primary development language is PHP – it’s the language in which I feel most comfortable developing and the one in which I know the most. However, as with all languages, it has its flaws and niggles, and I’m keen to experiment with other languages on which I have a vague knowledge or in which I like to dabble occasionally. My Java skills are becoming less rusty as I’ve been playing with native Android app development in the past few months, so I’m keen to develop that more along with Objective-C for native iOS apps. I also really want to take time to learn Python properly – a friend has been hassling me for years to do it, and he did the same with Linux-on-the-desktop (which I finally switched to 4 years ago and haven’t looked back), so I suspect I will cave into this in 2013! IMHO it’s important to step back from your primary language, accept that not everything can be done in it, and utilise the right tool for the job. If that is a different language, then use it, and don’t try and shoehorn everything into your primary language.
This last point feels like a separate post to be honest; I’ve had a lot of thoughts about this recently in conjunction with a few projects I’ve worked on, and it probably warrants further discussion.
I also have a number of personal resolutions, but I won’t share these in detail here. Mundane things such as household finances, fitness and the like. Riveting stuff!
Anyway, fingers crossed for 2013. 2012 was a great year, and I’m hoping 2013 won’t disappoint :-)
I’ve already announced this over on the work blog when I wrote up my experience and trip to php|tek ’12 in Chicago, earlier in the year. But I thought it was probably also worth a more personal writeup here too…
So yes, my plan is to kick off a Brighton PHP user group. Since moving to the south coast last summer, I’ve been keen to meet other fellow PHP developers in much the same way as I did when I was living up in the north, by attending Leeds PHP. As I work remotely from the office in Oxford, it can get pretty lonely as a developer when you can’t discuss things in the same room, or go to the pub after work and talk shop etc (cause we all do that!). This was particularly an issue for me last year when I was working at home, to make sure I made it out of the house at least 1 day in the month!
Now I work at a co-working space, it’s much better socially, but I still feel a lack of developer contact on occasion. There were many talks and discussions at tek12 about how the PHP community feels like a big family, and that it’s good to give back. I came back from the conference feeling inspired and motivated to start something in Brighton that would be geared to PHP generally, and not restricted to a framework, CMS or similar.
Hence the creation of BrightonPHP :-) I was nervous about putting out feelers oddly enough; I’m not sure what I was expecting but Brighton is pretty hip and current in terms of development so I felt there may have been a “ooh, PHP, how quaint” reaction. How wrong I was! The feedback was pretty good, and there’s been a lot of positive noises from developers who have said they’ll be coming along. Which is pretty cool :-)
As I write this, the first meeting will be two weeks tonight on 15th October, at a friendly venue in Brighton. The idea is to have a chat and discussion about what people want to see from the group in terms of talks or similar – I’m keen to keep it as open and friendly as possible. Speaking to Lorna Jane at Symfony Live in London the other week, she gave me some great advice about having things like lightning sessions and similar to keep it different and also to avoid the “eek, I always need a speaker!” feeling.
I’m really hoping this takes off and that it’s a benefit to the PHP community in Brighton and the surrounding areas. If you’re reading this and you’re free to come down, I’d love to see you there :-)