PHP Benelux 2012 – a synopsis

We recently published a blog on how Jeremy Coates, our Managing Director, was one of the speakers at PHP Benelux 2012, an International Conference in Antwerp, Belgium on the 27th and 28th January 2012. The conference focuses on developers from around the world discovering the latest techniques, discussing PHP and internet development. Like several other PHP conferences, the organisation and planning was led by their local PHP community for their  members and the wider international community.

PHP Benelux an overview


PHP Benelux 2012 LogoThe Magma Digital team were out in force again; with Jeremy, Priscilla, Adrian and Jenny all joining the other PHP North West (PHPNW) community representatives on a plane to Brussels Charleroi (CRL). The flight had seven PHP Benelux delegates or speakers on it and included  Rowan Merewood, and Sebastian Marek who were also speakers at the conference.

The feedback about the conference in the Magma office was that the event was well organised by some lovely people, with great socials and some really interesting talks.  The Magma team enjoyed their visit to Belgium and the conference gave them some real food for thought and insight into the future direction of PHP.

So what did Jeremy say?

Jeremy’s talk, ‘An introduction to Phing the PHP build system’ provided developers with an insight into the Phing build system for PHP. The talk explained how and why developers might use the tool and positioned it in relation to other tools such as: PHPUnit, PHP Code Sniffer, PHP Mess Detector etc. Judging by the comments on Joind in, his presentation was well received, with comments stating that the talk contained ‘information that was useful and that they had learned a lot’. If you have attended Jeremy’s talk and have not yet commented, please do as all feedback is greatly appreciated to help us improve.

Zend Framework 2 Tutorial

While Jeremy made some final preparations to his talk  Adrian attended the tutorial led by Matthew Weier O’Phinny on Zend Framework 2 talk. In his talk, Matthew explored the upcoming version of Zend Framework 2. One of the most interesting topics covered within this talk, was ZF2’s adoption of what Matthew termed “Aspect Oriented Programming”. By using the new EventManager system, we can connect disparate modules in a very elegant way. Matthew let slip that he was planning to back-port the EventManager to the current stable branch of Zend Framework which should hopefully ease ZF1 developers into a new, almost javascript-like event-driven development.

Adrian of Magma Digital commented that, “Matthew’s discussion on Dependancy Injection was particularly valuable as before this tutorial, DI seemed be a solution to a problem I didn’t have. Suddenly, everything clicked into place and I finally appreciated the power of DI over a more text-book approach such as the factory pattern.”

The Socials

PHP Benelux 2012 Social BowlingThe post-conference socials were as important as the talks but in different ways. The socials enable delegates to get to network, get to know each other, discuss approaches and confer on business and community issues. The Friday night social consisted of bowling and a tasting session with some Belgian “delicacies”: fries, special meats and sauces (plus vegetarian options). In addition to these tasty morsels, there were two Xbox Kinects available for delegates and speakers to play games such as Tennis.

Then finally on the Saturday night social where after the conference had finished, an official closing party was held outdoors. The “Orchestra winter BBQ at The Club House” was a great idea and the hot soup and bar-be-que food went down a storm. The BBQ was held in a dedicated Pétanque area so anyone who wanted to could play Boules. Team Magma are always up for a challenge and jumped in and had a go at Boules (on reflection we will leave it to the pro’s!).

At busy conferences there is little time to get out and explore. Priscilla did manage to make one short trip out, when she found a patisserie and chocolate shop. She was tempted to buy but fortunately for the bank account, the suitcases would not accommodate too much. Thanks goes to the organisers for their generous speakers gifts of Belgian beers and chocolates. Priscilla; you will have just have to take a bigger suitcase next time!


We must say a huge thank you to the organisers of the conference for hosting such a fantastic conference. We really appreciated their hospitality and giving lifts to all those who flew in on our Manchester flight from a fairly distant airport!

Now that all of Magma are back at their desks post conference all we hear talk of is PHP North West 2012 and PHP Benelux 2013. The buzz has already begun!


Front Photo Courtesy of:  Josh Holmes –

%d bloggers like this: