Year In Review

Being the first day of 2010, I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at 2009…

Burlington, VT PHP Users Group

2009 was the second full year of the Burlington, VT PHP Users Group. We had some fun meetings and presentations including:

Jason Pelletier gave a presentation on CSS for Developers.
Aaron Carlino demonstrated SilverStripe, an open source CMS/framework built in PHP.
Special guest Paul Reinheimer gave a presentation called “Easy Problems are the Hard Problems” taking an in-depth look at the easy/hard parts of building web applications.
Rob Riggen gave a talk on website performance optimization.
Rene Churchill gave a presentation on MySQL database optimization.
Matthew Weier O’Phinney gave his Play-Doh: Modelling Your Objects presentation.
Matthew Weier O’Phinney presented again in August, this time giving a hands-on unit testing crash course [ODP].
September’s meeting was a casual get-together instead of a formal meeting and presentation—a change of pace from the typical meeting format.
I gave a talk geared towards PHP beginners.
November’s meeting fell on one of Zend Framework’s Bug Hunt Days. Held monthly, Bug Hunt Days are designed to encourage the community to help triage and resolve issues in the framework. Matthew Weier O’Phinney guided us through effective bug reporting and taught us how to contribute patches. As part of Bug Hunt Days, my first Zend Framework patch was accepted, a small addition to the documentation.
December marked the second birthday of our local PHP Users Group and that month’s meeting turned out to be a fun social event.

Our users group also won a free pass to ZendCon ’09, and Jase Roberts was the lucky recipient. He joined fellow Vermonters Matthew Weier O’Phinney, John Valance, and me at the annual PHP conference.

The Browser

Jonathan Butler started a program on our local community radio station called The Browser. It’s “a show about the people who bring the world wide web to [Burlington, VT].” Jason and I were on the show twice—once in February and again in August.

Town Meeting Day Vermont, ACM-NE, and Tagnabit

The first Tuesday of March was Town Meeting Day here in Vermont. Citizens throughout Vermont gathered together to elect local officers and vote on budgets. As an experiment we put together a website,, to aggregate content from social media sites around Town Meeting Day Vermont ’09. If you used the appropriate tags in your tweets, Flickr uploads, blog posts (if indexed by Technorati), YouTube uploads, and bookmarks on Delicious, then your content showed up on the website. I wrote a post recapping some things we learned from the experiment.

As a result of that project, Bill Simmon and Seth Mobley from Vermont Community Access Media (VCAM) approached us about doing something similar for the Alliance for Community Media Northeast Region (ACM-NE) conference they were organizing here in Burlington, VT. We built for the conference and it was a big hit. I spoke on a social media panel (which Liz Schlegel moderated) and helped with a social media workshop at the conference. Colin Rhinesmith, who was on the panel with me and also helped with the workshop, posted a good summary of the conference on his blog.

We then took the idea from Town Meeting Day Vermont and ACM-NE a step further, creating Tagnabit—aggregating tweets, photos, blog posts, videos, and bookmarks for any arbitrary tag. Bill Simmon wrote a good blog post on how Tagnabit could be used.


I was excited to see Jen Mincar open up a coworking space, Office Squared (o²), here in Burlington, VT in 2009. I think it will help bring more cohesiveness to the local technology community since many of her customers work in technology-related industries. As a precursor to its opening, we hosted a Jelly at Found Line in July, inviting entrepreneurs and freelancers to work in our studio for an afternoon. Here are some photos from the Jelly and another one at the Burlington Free Press.

Vermont Code Camp

September saw the first ever Vermont Code Camp, bringing together people from local technology communities around .NET, PHP, Ruby, and Python. The event was a huge success with 85 attendees and 19 sessions. I had a small part in organizing the event but the real credit goes to Rob Hale, Julie Lerman, and everyone else who organized, volunteered, and presented. I also gave a presentation on Resource-Oriented Web Services as part of the code camp.


ZendCon is the biggest conference of the PHP community, and this year’s event was my second ZendCon. What can I say? The talks were excellent. The people were even better. I ended up co-presenting at the UnCon with Michelangelo van Dam and Anna Filina on the role of a PHP user group.

Moving On

2009 seemed to be the year for people in the PHP community to change jobs. Following that trend, I made the move to Found Line full time last month, leaving Vermont Oxford Network. As I said before I’m very happy to have more time to focus on our clients’ projects and to work with free/open source software and open standards full time.


2009 was a busy year. Some of the work included:

Phew—a lot to say! I hope you had a good 2009, and have an even better 2010.