OSCON 2006 Redux

02 Aug 2006

Several of my colleagues at OmniTI and I just returned from our trip to Portland for this year's OSCON. It's difficult to summarize such a conference in a single blog post, so I'll probably be blogging quite a bit over the next couple of weeks in an attempt to catch up as well as expand on a few things.

On Monday morning, Theo presented Scalable Internet Architectures, one of the best-selling tutorials at OSCON (and ApacheCon) each year. Theo's book on the topic debuted at the conference, but it sold out quickly, so I only saw the cover.

Geoff and I presented Power PHP Testing that afternoon. We have received mostly positive reviews, some of which have been very complimentary. Cal seems to think we don't like PHPUnit, so perhaps our attempt at humor was perceived as being a bit too snarky. :-)

George presented High Performance PHP on Tuesday morning, but I was busy tweaking my slides, so I missed it. (Cal has a brief review of the tutorial.) I gave Essential PHP Security that afternoon. Unfortunately, this caused me to miss Andrew's Secure Your Web Apps: OWASP Top 10 2007 and Luke and Laura's Building an Asynchronous Multiuser Web App for Fun and Maybe Profit, two other tutorials being given at the same time. The nice side-effect of this scheduling conflict was that I had a slightly smaller audience than in years past, and the feedback I've received has been stellar, so maybe the more intimate environment was valuable.

Wednesday morning, Theo presented Big Bad PostgreSQL: A Case Study, but I went to see Handling Cross-Domain XMLHttpRequests. This is a topic that I'll blog more about soon, because there is a lot of hype and misinformation surrounding the various techniques and security implications. Adam presented Dirty Secrets of PHP 5's Ext/SOAP Extension, which was a practical walkthrough of the new SOAP extension based on his extensive experience with it at eBay. The PHP Lightning Talks followed, so I missed Luke's Measuring Open Source Popularity talk and Andrew's The Madness of Ajax talk. The PHP Lightning Talks were a lot of fun, and I'm sure I'll blog more about them soon.

I missed Andrei's PHP 6 and Unicode: The Tower of Babel, Next Generation talk, because I was giving The Truth about XSS. This is a new talk that gives some real-world examples of XSS as well as attacks that combine XSS with CSRF and Ajax techniques. (I'll be giving a refined version of this talk at php|works in September.)

Wez gave his PDO: PHP Data Objects talk as Brian Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman were giving How Open Source Projects Survive Poisonous People (And You Can Too). Ted Leung had this to say about the latter:

The best talk of the entire conference was Brian Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman's talk How Open Source Projects Survive Poisonous People (And You Can Too). This was a hugely practical talk on dealing with difficult people. Part of the reason that their talk was so practical is their opinion that a strong community is the best defense when dealing with difficult people.

Thursday morning, I was busy with slides, so I missed Rasmus presenting PHP and Web 2.0 (which he calls Getting Rich with PHP 5). You can read reviews by Niall Kennedy and Cal Evans, and you can also listen to the talk. I also missed David presenting I'm 200; You're 200: Codependency in the Age of the Mash-Up, a talk that is presumably based on his experiences at Ning.

I gave PHP Security Testing (my fourth and final talk) at the same time Michael gave Hacking Apache HTTP Server at Yahoo.

The PHP track continued with Laura's Writing Maintainable Code with PHP and John's Understanding ZFramework, a talk about the Zend Framework. (This was the first time I had heard it called ZFramework.)

Terry ended the day with one of the most entertaining talks of the conference. The Underpants Gnomes Strategy Guide: An eCards Case Study was a hilarious talk that showcased Terry's outlandish personality and unparalleled Keynote skills as much as it did the technology behind eCards.

On Friday, I woke up in time to catch George's Practical PHP Patterns talk, then it was time for the annual beer festival, capping off another excellent conference from the folks at O'Reilly.