For 6 years in a row now, the PHPBenelux-team organized their annual conference in Antwerp. And yes, madewithlove was present! Dieter and Jonas attended the conference and joined some interesting yet diverse talks.

Now I am not going to cover every talk we joined in detail. But I’d love to review some talks and other stuff that caught my attention at this year’s conference. Needless to say, we’re the first in a row to join the talks:

PHP Conference Brasil 2016

Keynote – Talmudic Maxims to Maximize Your Growth as a Software Developer

First off, the keynote by Yitzchok Willroth, aka coderabbi. And I’m sure when seeing his avatar, a couple of light bulbs came on above the heads of some readers. Yitzchok did a keynote on how to maximize your growth as a software developer. Where he covered things like:

  • The importance of PHP mentoring.
  • The benefits of pair programming.
  • Benefits of being active on side projects.
  • The code chain basically comes down to planning your coding days and how important this is to do this day by day. And also planning a break in between.
  • How whiteboarding can really help you see things differently and how it can be a solution if you get stuck.
  • The way how a commit message should and shouldn’t look like. The conclusion was that they should be self-explanatory.
  • That repetition is key!
  • Explained the importance of “Code Katas”

During his talk, he also referenced some quotes which he thought were very important.
One of the quotes that really stuck with me was, “The timid do not learn”. This comes down to: “Dare to ask because all
beginnings are difficult”.

PHP Performance for Ludicrous Speed

Another talk I thought was pretty interesting was the talk by Davey Shafik. In his talk, he talked about slowdowns and how it usually isn’t caused by code but are more likely by other resources like APIs, etc.
In the extent of these slowdowns, he covered a performance loop where profiling, benchmarking, and making changes are key to finding and solving them.

“Premature optimization is a waste of time.”

Another thing he covered was the XHProf and Xhgui profiling tools. With these tools, he was able to create some great performance improvement (~20%) in a simple standard WordPress installation.

How Not Using PHP Can Make You Better At PHP

Next up Daniel Cousineau taught us how not using PHP makes us better at PHP. The key subject I held on to was by how you can improve your code skills by learning different languages.

“The languages you speak determine/influence the way you think “

The story behind this is that you’ll be able to understand coding concepts easier and that you’ll start to truly understand them.

The future of PHP

Finally, the talk by Sara Golemon was pretty eye- and mind-opening. Probably because I wasn’t
fully aware or wasn’t even expecting anything big on this subject. But when she started talking about ‘Hack’ and the improved performance we’ll see in future PHP versions, she caught the audience’s attention.


A PHPBenelux wouldn’t be a real conference if there wasn’t some high-tech stuff to try out! This is Jonas trying out the Oculus Rift.