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Overall a fantastic conference that was well organized and a great learning experience. I attended as a speaker so I'll break down this review into 2 parts - as an attendee and as a speaker.
As an attendee I appreciated the notifications leading up to the conference. It was easy to read about who would be speaking and about the topics being presented. The venue had wide open halls and a large common area with tables and chairs, making it easy to get to and from sessions, lunch, and the vendor booths. The lunches provided were tasty, especially the taco day, and the pizza afterwards one night was a great way to socialize with other attendees. I liked the table layout during meals that made it easy to walk up to any table and join in a conversation and meet people. The after party, while unfortunately somewhat sparsely attended, was a fun time playing JeoPHPardy, and I enjoyed going to the joind.in hackathon. The sessions I attended were all very well prepared and well presented. I learned about design patterns, how to improve my coding techniques, ventured into different languages, and inspired to improve the community. It was easy to find event organizers at the registration booth and around the venue to answer questions, and I appreciated that the organizers made time to help in any way they could. I found that the organizers took the extra effort to help everyone feel welcomed and included, which I love about the PHP community as a whole. There was a teleprompter in the main room, various food options for dietary choices and restrictions, keynotes promoting a welcoming community, and an overall welcoming feel, all of which I loved. It was good to have an uncon track as well to provide another alternative talk subject to choose from. The tweets about the conference helped me plan out my days and get ideas of upcoming subjects. I liked the slack channel available for communications. The WiFi was reliable and fast enough to be able to do what I needed to do during the conference. I thought the color scheme change to purple to align with the PHP color was a nice touch, and I really liked the notebook and pen provided.
As a speaker I felt the organizers did a great job with communications and logistics. So much thought went into the talk subjects, speakers, transportation, and room setup, that it helped me focus on my tutorial and not being concerned about logistics. It was easy to get to and from the airport and the hotel, and between the hotel to and from the conference venue. I loved that leaving speaker feedback was encouraged with the sponsor bingo to generate more reviews. The projectors having HDMI hookup made things easy, and I liked having a desk up front. The podium in the Stadium room was quite a ways off-centered so I just had to make use of the space better. I did like the whiteboards available to use during my tutorial. I gave an uncon and I liked how that room was smaller and I was able to make my talk more of a discussion instead of a presentation.
There weren't many cons to the conference. There were limited power outlets to plug into, but that was somewhat expected given the classrooms and venue type. There weren't a lot of food options immediately surrounding the venue, but I felt that was okay since food was provided and there were food options near the hotel, including a grocery store which was very convenient. Sometimes I come home with too many shirts, but I only picked up one vendor shirt this time, which is okay since some conferences I rarely wear the shirt afterwards, so it probably helped keep the cost lower. The lone restroom between all the talks became backed up a bit during peak times, but I quickly learned to walk a bit further to the other restrooms which were much quieter.
The hotel for the conference had an amazing breakfast, even Texas shaped waffles and breakfast burritos. There were plenty of food options there. The exercise room was good and the rooms were comfortable and had a mini-fridge, extra bonus! It was nice to be able to socialize in the lobby area and chat with attendees and speakers staying at the hotel. There were plenty of stores and restaurants within walking distance, which you don't always get, so that was a big plus.
The vendors were all good to talk with. I stopped by each booth and chatted with the reps, and learned something new about each one, and was able to pass on job openings to people I knew were looking for employment. I liked the PHP quiz and I even got the answer right. I dove into the Twilio Quest from Margaret for the first time and racked up 2,200 points and learned so much about their API and collected some fun toys to take home to my kids so that was awesome! It was fun to just chat with Brett with Foxy.io. It was fun to catch up with Dave with Oracle. All of the vendors were friendly and personable to talk with and I appreciate their sponsorship.
I'd highly recommend attending this conference in the future. You can expect a well-organized conference where you can learn and meet great people and feel welcomed.
A big thank you Ian, Jessica, Daniel, Hunter, Logan, Eric, and all the other volunteers and helpers for making LonghornPHP a great experience this year!
The organizers and volunteers have yet again put on a great conference. The facilities and recommended hotel have both been great. The transportation to the event vial hotel shuttle and metro buses have been convenient. All of the speakers have been great to listen to and have enjoyed meeting many of the attendees.