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Great, great topics; it was difficult to choose which ones to attend!
Venue was all wrong though. Not enough reception space and too many stairs and odd shaped rooms.
For next time, please consider an actual conference centre (of which there are millions in Manchester city centre).
Once again an excellent conference with top speakers and great content, which made me go home with lots to think about. This was the first year where almost every single talk was a hard decision to make, so I can't be thankful enough for the videos, and it goes to show how high the calibre of talk was
There were a few venue problems as outlined by other people so I won't go into them again, but otherwise it was a brilliant weekend ran by people who did didn't stop to make sure that everything ran smoothly, and it did. Every year gets better and better, and I'll certainly be there next year, too
This was a great conference, as I've come to expect from the PHPNW events. The speakers were great, with some great topics covered. Registration was well organised, and the coffee, food and free bar were all much appreciated.
If I were to comment on things that didn't work so well, then I'd have to mention the rooms / spacing. Track 2 was very long, making it difficult to see the slides from the back and you felt a bit disassociated from the talk and the speaker. Track 3 was too small, as was the sponsor / coffee area. Lunch was also a bit crowded with many people having to stand, and it was a bit heavy on the pastry side with few vegetarian options that were not clearly marked. The retweeting from the phpnw12 account could have been a bit more considered.
Overall though it was a highly enjoyable event. The wifi held up well (I missed the hackathon) and it was great to see old friends again and make new ones. Looking forward to next year!
This was my third PHPNW conference, and it was excellent in most aspects. For the third time, I went away with new ideas and things to think about, which is one of my primary reasons for attending. The talks I attended were good, and have or will have their own feedback. As always, I had to make tough decisions about which presentations to attend. I've yet to go to the unconference track, which I think is in indication of the strength of the main tracks.
The venue itself doesn't really work well, I think. The "coffee area" isn't large enough to accommodate the number of people (the large hall at the PHPNW10 conference was more suitable), and the smaller rooms didn't really lend themselves to presentations; particularly the long room.
At lunch time, there wasn't enough room for people to eat; a lot of people ended up standing around holding plates of food and waiting for a seat to become vacant. Obviously, with the type of event it is, it's not feasible to stagger eating times, so I don't know how that could be solved.
The wifi held up though, which is good.
Venue grumps aside, the rest of the organisation was excellent, and the team did a fine job of keeping everything running smoothly.
I'll definitely be back for the next one.
Conference was up to its usual standard, IMO! Food was good, maybe a bit pastry-heavy but two hot meals is just what we need to get us through this much technical content :) Schedule was world-class, and I can't say how much I appreciate having this standard of event on my doorstep.
Couple of things I would change. All the tracks are horrible in their own ways. Track 1 has horrific lighting/projection issues and flat seating. Track 2 is a tunnel, the relay screens don't actually help that much and it's really tough for the speakers who basically can't be seen by some people. Track 3 just isn't big enough.
I was pleased to see the uncon return, Kat was doing a really excellent job making sure that everything ran smoothly up there, and I'd like to see her doing more of this in future (if she doesn't mind!). The hackathon was a nice idea but really didn't come out well in practice. Please don't make the speakers go for dinner (it was a nice speakers dinner though!) in the middle of the hackathon, those are all the major project leads and contributors :( I'd like us to hackathon again but it didn't really "catch fire" so I'd like to propose that we (PHPNW) practice more at hackathons!
As my first conference I didn't know what to expect, but after the weekend passed, I could not believe how much information I have soaked in and how much fun time I had over those few days.
The location couldn't be better, I liked both hotels and stayed at the Mercure. It was nice to be in central location of Manchester so one didn't have to travel far to go shopping etc.
The airconditioning was terribl at the smallest room and wifi was nonworking during the hackathon. Next time it would be nice if you would have made a deal with the hotel or some get a sponsor to get us real wifi.
Speakers were awesome, really enjoyed all of them. One thing I feel bad about was missing the speed geeking and uncons as they were during the same time as very interesting tracks.
As requested by Jenny:
England are playing a World Cup qualifier on Friday October 11th, so there shouldn't be any Premier League football in Manchester that weekend. Hopefully that's not the weekend of the Super League Grand Final either.
Had a really enjoyable day, there was a reasonable selection of talks and a great crowd. Everything seemed to go off without a hitch (except for the projector at the opening keynote!) and you could see the effort that went into organising the event.
I just wish the Sunday had been scheduled for the afternoon rather than the morning, so that people nursing hangovers or attempting to buy Glastonbury tickets (like me) would have had a chance to attend. This isn't something you could have planned for though and I realise people have to get back home which may involve a flight.
The event was well organised and smooth running and there was time to get from talk to talk. Some of the talks were really in the wrong room given the attendance levels (maybe an indication of interest in each talk prior to the event would help the organisers with that). Registration worked well this year and the tea and coffee breaks and lunch were fine but the evening meal didn't seem quite as good as last year (although still hugely better than 2010!).
My biggest complaint was really concerning the talk subjects and technical level. I found many of the talks covered very similar areas to previous years and was frustrated at the low technical content of many of them. May I suggest maybe dedicating one of the tracks to specifically technical or advanced topic talks for those of us who have already covered the basics? Remember, if you want people coming back year after year you need to offer something that will build on what we learnt previously :)
Another excellent weekend well spent, thank you all for your hard work and effort in delivering an outstanding conference!
The one minor gripe I'd have is that the lighting/projector in track 1 does need tweaking, it was quite difficult to see some slides at times (though thank you for getting that wretched flickering light turned off!)
It was also great to see the hotel has put some improvements in and the wifi actually held up pretty well this year! Nice one!
See you all next year!
 9 o'clock is a bit of an early start for these kind of things. Especially on the Sunday after a free drinks night!
 (a venue problem) but the projector in room1 was way too small and the colours were screwed.
 food was not great. old fashioned stodge like mini pork pies and sausage rolls. Gave me indigestion :-(
 too much difference in room size. One massive room and two tiny rooms. Felt weird.
 no talks on PHP OO? Very odd...
 How come most of the speakers were the Benelux gang? I've nothing against them (and I've never been to the Benelux conf so can't say how well represented the UK crew are over there) but shouldn't it be more about nurturing up-and-coming new local speakers?
Well, rant over.
The only day that I attended, the Saturday, was a very good conference.
The talks were very well selected, with a satisfying variety. The talks complimented the breadth of PHP web development while still being able to cover some topics in-depth. AV issues when they occurred were solved within minutes - the day seemed to go smoothly.
Helpers were very helpful. On blatantly not listening to instructions and registering at the wrong desk, I was kindly redirected and looked after. I was also given a conference bag after I'd forgotten to pick one up.
The food was an improvement on last year. Pasties, potatoes, sausage rolls and spring rolls were warmly received. The food was convenient, filling, and not likely to put me off eating. Greater variety of selection would nevertheless be an improvement.
PHPNW is now a staple of the conference year for me, and I shall definitely be returning in the future.
Was awesome, every talk I went to was really useful, socials were fun, people were friendly and event was well organised and smooth!
Also, lost of good swag ;)
The Conference was awesome.
The Britannia was a nice change of venue but they dropped the ball in a lot of ways, though the sheer number of people and their devices were the main cause of the problem. Hopefully they will learn in the same way as the mecure did from last year.
The Mecure staff were really good this year, you could feel their presence but only when required. That they went out of their way to get me a few items so i could deal with my allergy was awesome.
I felt that the Unconference seem to be poorly managed and that the room manager/organiser seemed to not care. This was unfortunate but even with that, having the ability for speakers to give the talks that appeared is and will always be an awesome idea. I hope to see some of them speaking in a more formal slot soon.
Being here to this conference every year has made me appreciate how much effort everyone involved puts in and doubly so during the actual conference and as in previous years there is nothing that is not recoverable or failed miserably.
All in all, Well done to all involved and See you at #phpnw13 :)
Enjoyed my first conference ever, felt very well looked after over the weekend. Met some interesting and encouraging people at the social. Learned a truck load of new stuff (I'm going to be very busy for a long while now).
Obviously the Britannia wifi put a bit of a dampener on the hackathon, would have been more likely to get involved with the open source projects if I had have been able to get online and read up on them.
Other than that I'm looking forward to booking my PHPNW13 ticket!
I loved the idea of the hackathon, and the sponsored pizza was great, and also the fact that there was a bar in the corner, but the wifi really made it impossible for me to do anything productive, for a hackathon internet is crucial, if you can't be sure you can deliver this one: Don't have a hackathon, people will be frustrated, and they were. I don't agree with a lack of music, this is a case where I do NOT want music, because some people may not be able to code with it on, while others want it, it's best to indeed not have any.
Awesome conference! I got extremely dissapointed when one of the talks I looked forward to see was already fully booked, maybe in future try to a month before or so put up a poll on the talks? So you can see which talks are the most popular for the crowd like "which of these talks do you want to see the most?" that way you know for sure where to put which talk. It feels like if you're going to have 400 attendees again, maybe you should consider another location? The wifi actually worked this time around - Which was awesome.
I loved the sunday talks! Actually I learnt the most on the sunday, even from the free saturday bar! I felt like the keynote was really put out of place, and it was a GREAT talk, but it felt like it wasn't aimd for the entire crowd, it was more of a "business" kind of thing, and I almost felt excluded - Which is not how a keynote should feel like, try to fit in a talk that is a bit more of a "crowd pleaser" to make that general last feeling of the conference even better.
This year you did a better job than last year, and they actually knew about my allergy so thumbs up for that.
All on all: Thanks for an awesome conference and you'll definitely find me there next year too! :)
Awesome conference, just like last year. However, there are (ofcourse) some things that could be improved.
I think the hackathon was less crowded because of the wifi problems, no music and the table setup. I would definitely change that next time, having a square table setup (like the one we had on saturday evening) would make it feel more active and everybody would feel more like a part of the project.
The pizze was great by the way!
Also, it was good to have a list of projects, but it would be nice if the tables/signs were better prepared for that next time. I liked the idea of the hackathon and for my project (ProTalk) it really worked out great and created a nice buzz for the project. So I hope to see more projects and a hackathon again next year!
Last year, it didn't feel like there were 400+ people there, but this year it really felt more crowded. A bit too much if you ask me. The stands were great, but I felt kind of bad for the woman from manchester digital sitting all alone at a large table. Would love to see the o'reilly stand next year as well. The rooms were a bit too small (track 2 and 3) but I heard these were the biggest rooms that are available in the hotel.
The uncon filled up very quickly which was good, but I felt there could have been more PR around it. To persuade people more to attend the uncon. Maybe a twitter account for the uncon (like DPC has) would be a good idea? The speedgeeking didn't really work out that well, it was great to be there but the audience was about the same as the number of speakers. Maybe you should drop this next year or make it more clear to people beforehand what to expect. There seemed a lot of misunderstanding about that.
The closing was very well handled by Jenny and Rick and they had lots of prizes to give away. Unfortunately I didn't win anything, but it was good to see so much possibilities for winning something. The social was good, the free bar however closed too quickly if you ask me, but thanks to EngineYard, it was extended! I loved the informal unofficial hackathon that was going on in the quiet room, maybe the saturday night social should be a hackathon next year instead of the friday night? The food and drinks were handled very well by the hotel and it was great that there was (again) food for everyone.
The sunday started a bit too early. I liked the late start last year better. The talks were very good and the keynote was a nice ending of the conference. Since this year the sunday was included in the ticket, which was great, but I didn't get the feeling there were as much peoplet here as on the saturday. It might a third of the people that were there. Maybe that is something to take into account next year. I like the way the conference is set up now, but maybe the sunday is a bit too much for some people? You could also choose to have a sort of uncon/barcamp sunday morning instead of the scheduled talks. Just an idea.
Overall, the conference was awesome and thanks for all the PR for ProTalk as well! I look forward to next year!
Overall a great event. Great speakers, great talks and all very well organised. The Wifi was vastly improved over 2012.
I do have a few points that could help make it better again in 2013:
* Please stop holding it the same weekend as the Super League Grand Final - it makes it very hard to find reasonably priced hotels (prices seem to be ~50% higher in 2011 and 2012 compared to 2010)
* The projector in Track 1 was terrible all weekend, which make it very hard to see content on the slides.
* The projector in Track 3 also seemed to have issues at various times.
* When I started attending PHPNW in 2010, it was known as a conference that encouraged new speakers, but this seems to have significantly reduced now. Obviously PHPNW is a much bigger conference now, capable of attracting big names, but it would be nice see new speakers more actively encouraged and represented on the schedule.
All that being said, it really has got better and better every year, and it was great to start with :)
Really awesome event! Great crew, good fun, good food, great content and very awesome sponsors. I really enjoyed the sponsor area and the way the event flowed all weekend. I felt right at home and very welcomed for my first appearance at PHPNW.
I loved the hackathon space and setup, but the one thing that threw a wrench in it, the internet. Same space, same setup but with awesome Wifi will make this a hackathon to beat down any other i have been to. Also, most of the speakers are project leaders, taking them out for dinner during the hackathon is counter-productive.
I agree with some above comments on room and beamer sizes, room 3 was a bit small and the big room only worked for big font presentations.
Overall all positive, loads of fun! Thanks to the whole crew.
Yet again a fantastic conference! I've been to a number of PHPNW.conferences, and this weekend was better than ever before. The only minor let down was the size of the track 3 room. A couple of times it was full or standing room only which was a shame. But everything else was awesome! Great Job!
once again a great conference, with some really interesting talks and great conversations with people.
like GizzmoAsus said above, the only criticism I can give would be room sizes. I was unfortunately turned away from one track 3 talk due to it being full, and I was 10 mins early, also with the track 2 room, code examples were hard to see when at the back and not near one of the tv screens.
Big thank you again to everyone involved, looking forward to next year already.
As mentioned in the final closing speech, this conference just keeps getting better and better.
The only downside for me was the fact there so many great topics being presented at the same time which made choosing which ones to attend that much harder (thankfully they were recorded :) ).
The venue again managed to live up to the expectations we are becoming accustomed to and even better this year, the WiFi held out despite there being over 400+ people present. That said, maybe next year we could acquire a slightly larger room for track three as many of the sessions held there were having people turned away due to the lack of space.
Thanks again to all the sponsors, volunteers, speakers and other guests who have, for the 5th year running, made this a superb conference for everyone :)
Excellent first conference for me and I loved every moment of it. I have taken away so many new ideas to work on and truely cannot wait for the blind bird tickets to go up!
On the downside, track 3 at times needed more seating or swapped onto another track. Maybe send a poll out so rough numbers can be put together for the talks?
First time ever visiting Manchester and the PHPNW conference! Very well prepared and organised. All speakers and attendees seem to be very satisfied.
I have to agree with Mark Baker... the only downside I saw was the beamer in the UKFast room. The quality of the beamer gave problems for almost every speaker.
Keep it up and hope to back next year!
An excellent conference, as always from the PHPNW organisers, with a good range of talks and the added bonus of the unconference (with its "wildcard" selection of topics)
Only disappointment was that the screen in thetrack #1 room wasn't large enough to be easily readable from the back of the room when smaller fonts were used on slides.
Joind.in - how can I give the event the 5-star rating that it deserves?