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I left my first ZendCon with mixed feelings. The tutorials were great, the sessions were a more mixed bag. Some really great ones made up for some that were ridiculously short, didn't deliver on their topics, and where the speaker seemed to be phoning it in.
It was also very disappointing that some of the earlier announced topics that were of high interest to me were dropped before the final schedule came out, without any warning or update beyond just noticing it was gone.
There were not enough sessions in general that were on more introductory or intermediate PHP topics as a whole, versus being very niche specific. And the few that were, seemed to be short and not quite what they sounded like from the description, with too much presumption that attendees were at a higher level than expected. Considering it was mentioned multiple times that nearly half of all PHP users are on PHP 5 still, more deep-dive sessions on some of the new PHP 7 features would have been great.
In the end, the final day ended with neither my partner or I have anything interesting to attend on the second half, so just walked around town instead.
I also found it a little aggravating to get so little updates on the exam vouchers that were offered with the conference registration. No date was given on when they would be sent, and though the conference is now over, we still haven't received them. Considering one of the pairs of tutorials was prep for the exam, one would think they'd make the vouchers available close to the conference so we could get registered and get it taken while the information on taking the test was still fresh.
The venue was tolerable. The room was clean, comfortable, and adequate, though the hotel changed my room type without notice, and the huge party at the pool on Sunday night was so insanely loud I heard it on the 9th floor! Might be good to consider starting the conference on Tuesday instead of Monday, so those who fly in the day before will miss the weekend noise. Or even reconsider the choice of venue and go with something closer to the Strip. Certainly got my walking in at least. ;-)
All that said, I don't regret going to ZendCon and my partner and I both felt we got something out of it. We will not, however, do the blind buy next year, but will instead wait until the sessions are finalized before we decide if it will be worth attending again.
Can this event next year be held on the East Coast or in the Mid West ?