We have a lot of experience with technologies such as Zend Framework, WordPress and Drupal, and we are always keen to explore other systems. Symfony is a PHP framework for building web applications which is growing in popularity, and promises unlimited flexibility and ease of use. I had very little experience with Symfony, so to kick-start my learning Magma Digital encouraged me to attend the Symfony Live London 2012 conference. What better way to start than meeting up with 200 like-minded people. Located in the City of London, the Brewery was an elegant venue for the first Symfony Live conference in the UK.
Drupal founder Dries Buytaert delivered the opening keynote on the subject of building and participating in open source communities. He gave us a brief history of Drupal, from the early days of the infamous 2005 server meltdown through to development of the latest release. Dries explained the reasons behind the decision to build Drupal 8 using Symfony2 components, and highlighted the benefits that this would bring to both the Drupal and Symfony communities.
The most lively talk of the day was from Marcello Duarte and Konstantin Kudryashov on the subject of BDD (Behavior Driven Development). They kept the audience informed and entertained in equal measure with half of the talk dedicated to a live BDD coding session. The passion they have for their work was evident and left me wanting to learn more about BDD, Behat and PHPSpec2.
In his closing keynote, Symfony founder Fabien Potencier gave a fascinating insight into the running of an open source project, outlining his goals for the future of Symfony. In the process he announced a new release cycle, with a new release every 6 months.
During the conference I took the opportunity to speak with a number of Symfony users and it was great to learn from their experiences. By all accounts Symfony is very flexible and easy to use, offering good performance. In particular I was impressed with the ever growing number of community contributed bundles, making Symfony an extremely powerful platform for rapid web application development.
Overall the conference was thoroughly enjoyable, I learned a great deal and I am looking forward to using Symfony in future projects. Thanks to Sensio Labs and Lorna Jane for organising a great event, hopefully the first of many more Symfony Live events to come in the UK.