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Derick's MongoDB Tour Wrap-up

This was originally posted to Derick Rethans’ blog . Derick is a PHP evangelist at 10gen and works on the PHP driver. He is a PHP internals expert, author of Xdebug and an OpenStreetMap and mapping enthusiast. Over the past two weeks I have been on a whirlwind tour to talk about Profiling PHP Applications (at PFCongres ), but mostly about MongoDB at various (PHP) user groups in the South West of the US. 10gen_ (the makers of MongoDB_ and my employers) covered my time and flight, and provided me with some beer money. The tour concept started a few months ago when Ligaya Turmelle suggested that I should come and talk at the JaxPHP/JaxWeb , the PHP and web developers usergroup in Jacksonville, Florida. And while I was there, why not visit a few other user groups too? So after my short trip to the Netherlands to speak at PFCongres, I flew to Miami for the first stop of the MongoDB Tour. To fight off jetlag I landed a day early and together with Adam Culp from SoFloPHP we saw some of the sights there. Mostly, some wetlands and the beach. Sadly, no alligators were spotted but it was a nice quiet day before the storm. The user group meeting attracted over a dozen attendees and afterwards we had a drink with a few of us. I was slightly surprised that not (almost) all of the attendees joined us. However, it was good to catch up with Pablo from ServerGrove , even though I had met him in Utrecht the weekend before. Adam then drove me to Orlando for the hand-off with David Rogers at the Florida Mall. After doing some work, we also did the Orlando PHP user group meeting at the mall, in the Microsoft Store (conveniently located next to the Apple Store). Speaking in a store, with shopping public around was quiet a unique experience. But I am not sure if I would repeat that. Also, they don’t know what a “loo” is there :-). David then drove me to Saint Augustine for the hand-off with Ligaya. After an afternoon of sight-seeing in the oldest city of the country, Lig and I headed to the usergroup venue in the Adecco offices. The venue was a bit hard to find, and sadly we lost some attendees because of that. However, the venue was nice and besides the PHP users of JaxPHP/JaxWeb , there were also a lot of developers using alternative languages. My presentation was therefore language-agnostic. This was probably the group with the most questions asked! Ligaya didn’t want to make the 6-hour drive to Atlanta, so instead she put me on a plane. After negotiating MARTA, Kevin Roberts picked me up from the station and after a lunch and some work in the afternoon we headed to the user group venue at Strongbox. The Atlanta PHP group is traditionally quite a bit larger but the turn-out (compared to Meet-Up RSVPs) was a bit poor. Perhaps this was because the meeting was on a Friday evening though. This talk was recorded (both video and as screen capture). On Saturday Kevin and Chris Spruck joined me on my travels to Nashville. Along the way we did some sightseeing (Ruby Falls and Jack Daniel’s distilery) and I had my first encounter with Waffle House. A small party was planned for us in the evening by Jacques to visit some of the Honky Tonks in town. I remember being given many different Bourbons to taste. Cal was hosting me and together with Kathy we ended up relaxing and having lunch at Loveless’ Café. In the evening Cal had rounded up a bunch of locals (Jason Myers, Luke Stokes, Jacques Woodcock, Ben Ramsey) to have some drinks and record “ Voices of the Elephpant - It’s the Booze Talking”. The general discussion resolved around community (and user groups). We iterated over quite a few things that Kevin, Chris and I discussed on the way from Atlanta, but also lots of other things (it was the booze talking afterall). The total recording time stands at two and a half hours, so let’s see what Cal comes up with editting wise. Cal left for Code Works 2012 on Monday moring so I was being chaperoned by Luke to the Nashville PHP meeting. With free beer and pizza, the place was rather full, although about the same percentage of RSVPs actually showed up (~66%) as in Atlanta. And again, we were only four in the pub/bar afterwards to have a little more banter. This concluded the end of the tour, and I left on holiday to Seattle on Tuesday morning. Some Observations All the usergroups used Meet-Up to track attendence, and without failure, only 50-66% of RSVPs showed up at the usergroups. Probably one of the reasons is that the meetings were on non-standard dates and in some cases in non-standard locations. I have always found that keeping the same day of the month and location does wonders for keeping attendence levels. In some cases, attendees did not show up because Meet-Up showed that the meeting was full (were of course in fact, there was still about 50% space left). This is a tricky thing. In some venues you have a hard cap on the amount of people, but if people just RSVP and then not show up, they clog up places that other people could have used. At least in one occasion that meant that the attendee simply did not show up. For PHP London we also have an RSVP system on Meet-Up with a cap of (about 130 people). Even though this indicates that the meeting might be full, the idea is that you can still show up anyway on a first-come, first-served base. I do not quite like this, as it often shows that the meet-up is full, and I feel (a bit) unwelcome. I think that user groups should call out to attendees who RSVP, but then not show up in the cases where this could be a problem. Another observation that I made is that dynamics of the user groups in the US are rather different then for example the UK. In the US, almost everybody drives to the meetings, and hence there is no possibility of having a social drink before and after the meeting. This compared to London, where this is a huge part. In my opinion, socializing is almost the most important thing of a usergroup meeting. End All the slides are on the talks page and as soon as I have it, I will make available the recording from Atlanta PHP as well. Photos from the trip are on flickr . With this I conclude my wrap-up. I had an amazing time and made lots of new friends. I might be tempted to this again. Tagged with: php, derick rethans, MongoDB, mongodb tour

October 2, 2012

Derick's MongoDB and PHP American Road Trip

This was originally posted on Derick Rethans’ personal blog Some time ago, my friend Ligaya Turmelle suggested that I should come and talk at the JaxPHP/JaxWeb , the PHP and web developers usergroup in Jacksonville, Florida. And while I was there, why not visit a few other user groups too? At all the meetups, 10gen (my employer) has kindly provided some swag - and rumours go that I get to buy you guys and girls a drink as well. In the end, after discussing with other web/PHP usergroups in the Southeast of the US, we came to the following schedule: Boca Raton, Florida - SoFloPHP - Tuesday, September 18 The first stop is the South Florida group (SoFloPHP) in Boca Raton. On the evening of the 18th, I will introduce MongoDB for PHP developers: This talk introduces MongoDB for developers who aren’t familiar with it with a detailed introduction of how to work with MongoDB from PHP. The talk will cover the basics from installing the PHP driver and connecting to mongoDB to creating, inserting, querying for, and updating documents. We will also briefly touch on aggregation, geospatial indexes, GridFS and running database commands. I will focus on schema design and indexes, although I will also quickly cover the basics. Orlando, Florida - The Orlando PHP User Group - Wednesday, September 19 After South Florida I will be making a stop at the Orlando PHP User Group . The abstract: This talk introduces MongoDB for developers who aren’t familiar with it through a detailed introduction of how to work with MongoDB from PHP. Derick will cover the basics: from installing the PHP driver and connecting to a MongoDB server to creating, inserting, querying, and updating documents. He’ll also cover some accepted best practices in schema design and indexing. There is also a related MongoDB event in Orlando, on September 6th there is an `evening with MongoDB’ . Jacksonville, Floria - JaxPHP/JaxWeb - Thursday, September 20 http://mongodb-jax.eventbrite.com/, JaxPHP/JaxWeb As other user groups are invited as well, I will keep my presentation as language agnostic as possible, and focus on schema design and indexing. Atlanta, Georgia - Atlanta PHP User Group - Friday, September 21 I then leave Florida and head to Atlanta to talk at the Atlanta PHP User Group . In Atlanta, I will give a similar presentation as at the other user groups. Nashville, Tennessee - Nashville PHP User Group - Monday, September 24 In Nashville, I will speak after the weekend at the Nashville PHP User Group . In this location, my talk focusses on: An introductory presentation covering the do’s and don’ts, best practices and design schemas for MongoDB. Holiday! After the five user group appearences, I head to the North West of the USA for some R&R - after three weeks on the road (I speak at PFCongres before traveling to the USA) - I think I will need one! Best of luck to Derick on his travels! Stay tuned for photos and updates throughout Derick’s trip Tagged with: tech, php, nashville, atlanta, derick rethans, php user group, jacksonville, orlando, mongodb, open source, community, php community

September 5, 2012