So what goes on at a PHP User Group meetup anyway?
Today PHP Hampshire held its second conference style event. Thirty or so tickets had been reserved on eventbrite before the event and typically these sort of events get about 60% attendance on the day. Today was no exception, with 16 people present for the whole afternoon. We were joined by two representatives from our new sponsors Spectrum IT for the last hour too.
After a few minutes of rearranging furniture, the first twenty minutes was spent chatting and provided a chance for people who only get together online, to meet in person.
The rest of the afternoon was structured around two presentations of about an hour each.
As Derick is an experienced speaker the talk was brilliant and very well received. There were many questions from the audience from backups to how to design schemas. It was very interesting and having seen this talk before at BrightonPHP I felt this was more interactive at PHP Hampshire. It may be due to this being in the afternoon as opposed to an evening event, or that there was just more interest.
The atmosphere was relaxed and informal and during the interval people chatted over a drink as opposed to hunching over phones.
StoryPlayer was released as open source software in May and Stuart took the opportunity to announce version 1.3 at PHP Hampshire today.
It felt to me that the talk went by quickly. There were examples of simple uses and also real life tests used at DataSift that demonstrated what StoryPlayer can be used for. From seeing this presentation I am very interested in StoryPlayer. My immediate thoughts were in extending it to test for XSS and SQL injection vulnerabilites in applications.
Despite the reputation for PHP developers to either not do testing or have no interest in it, I was not the only one keen on finding out more and the questions kept on coming.
At the end of the last presentation, there were prize draws for an Amazon gift voucher and for several copies of "Concrete5 Beginners Guide, Second Edition" kindly provided by Packt Publishing.
The winners were announced on twitter and on the PHP Hampshire mailing list.
Once proceedings were wrapped up, and with the arrival of Nicole and Tom from Spectrum IT, things moved back to the bar where most conversations centered around testing, working conditions and personal projects. Whilst PHP Hampshire is intended to be a technical rather than a social event, the atmosphere felt welcoming and relaxed.
With new sponsorship set to reduce the issues involved in putting on an event like this for free, I am optimistic that PHP Hampshire will go from strength to strength.
If you want to know more and get involved, please follow @phphants and join the mailing list. Details can be found on the PHP Hampshire website.