php[tek] isn’t just about the sessions during the day. The experience extends into the evenings as well so that you can get the most out of the conference! Events range from additional opportunities to continue honing your craft via coding, or a chance to relax and make connections with your fellow attendees. So far our announced events for this year are listed below:
Open Social Night
This event happens the evening after Tutorial Day for those that buy tickets for it, and for anyone else coming in for the conference a little early and wanting to get their badge early and start to get to know their fellow attendees.
There is nothing formal here, just that you can join your fellow conference attendees at the hotel bar/restaurant. We will have some tables set aside for the conference attendees, and you can grab some dinner, or a drink, and start to make friendships to last you the week long.
We started these last year and had great feedback so will be doing them again. The newcomer sessions are designed to help introduce any first time php[tek] (or first time conference ever) attendees to what the conference is all about. We realized that a lot of culture has grown up around php[tek], and to someone new showing up who hasn’t ever attended before, they don’t know all the details. Where do people go at night? How should you get to know other people? What the heck exactly is a hackathon anyway? All these questions will be answered. Those presenting the newcomer sessions will also be more than happy to help point out excellent sessions that are definitely ‘not to miss’, and make introductions to people for you. We are holding these at 3 separate times, to make sure that everyone gets a chance to actually attend one as early as possible, and we welcome any non-newcomers who want to just show up and make some new friends!
Open Source Summit
For the last few years at php[tek] we’ve held special evening summits on topics that aren’t normally covered during the technical talks at a conference. We pick a theme each year and then invite 4 different speakers to come up and give 15 minute talks each on the theme. Two years ago, the theme was ‘Mentorship’. Last year it was “Mental Health”.
This year the summit is all about Open Source. We will have leaders and community members of various open source projects all available to discuss their experiences with contributing to open source!
Oh and while you are attending the summit, we will also feed you dinner. So you don’t need to worry about rushing out to get some food and miss the event.
The hackathon that’s run at php[tek] each year is due some explanation. Why? The term “Hackathon” is applied to multiple types of events and that has caused confusion in the past. There are some hackathon’s that are highly structured activities designed around getting people into working on specific APIs. They sometimes involved specific technologies or companies that are involved. Or they become themed competitions with prizes at the end. Our hackathon at the same time none of these, and a bit of all of these.
For us, our hackathon is a simply an open time & place to get together and hack on some code for an evening, while we provide you with some dinner refreshments. Exactly what code gets worked on, completely depends upon the attendees themselves. Usually there are multiple open source projects represented there, and all very willing to help a newbie out by introducing them to the project and getting them started on contributing to it. We’ve also had entire new projects conceived, hatched, and released during the hackathon! If you are interested in showing up and writing some code, whether for yourself, or joining up with an OSS project team and giving them a hand, you’ll be welcomed!
Something we tried last year and will be repeating this year as well, is our Open Spaces area! If you aren’t familiar with the Open Spaces concept, it’s somewhat between a Birds of a Feather, and an Uncon. It’s a great way to organize the idea of getting together with like minded people to have conversations about topics that are important to you. This is organized and run completely by the attendees themselves.
Basically there will be a board, that will allow for people to sign up with topics that they would like to have a conversation about. They pick a time slot, and write in the topic that they are interested in. Then all the do is show up at the right time, and place, and see who else shows up to join them. We will provided a dedicated room for this, with circles setup for multiple conversations to be happening at the same time. The main idea with this is to spark a conversation about a topic that either you are passionate about, or would like to know more about.
Yes, we do like to let down and relax as well, and this year will be no exception. This year we will have two evening activities planned to let you mingle and get to know your fellow attendees!
The first evening (Wednesday) will begin after our Summit – and will feature Board Game Night! We will be providing numerous board games & music to let you really get to know your fellow attendees.
The second evening is our bigger night, and will get started alongside the Hackathon. We aren’t going to announce and spoil the big surprise event for that evening until you are there. Previous years have included a Space Combat Game, Rock Band, PHP Jeopardy, Xbox Gaming, board game night, a LEGO party, and more. You’ll have to come out to see what we will be doing this year…
These activities are held in the Sheraton Grand ballroom, and will each feature an open bar (for limited time).