Steve Grunwell

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Rating: 5 of 5 
(14.Nov.2014)
A Tale of Two Test Suites - WordPress, API Mocking, and Integrations
A fantastic introduction to testing, particularly within the context of WordPress. Good explanation of the difference between unit and integration tests early on, which helped support the use cases for the WP core testing library v. WP_Mock (both useful w/ distinct purposes). Had scheduling worked out differently, this talk would have been a great intro course _before_ the "Testing as Regression Prevention" workshop(s), as this talk featured more fundamental concepts while the workshops provided a venue to apply the concepts.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(14.Nov.2014)
21 ways to make WordPress Fast
A strong talk filled with a lot of good advice, though a good portion of it was less about WordPress and more about general web performance and optimization. Perhaps the talk could be refactored to focus on web performance as a whole, expanding your target audience in the process? The "Buzzfeed List" approach works really well for a topic like this, especially when divided into the different topic headings. The recap of the most important/effective tips at the end also helped those newer to the topic prioritize, which I'm sure was appreciated.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(15.Nov.2014)
Unit Testing WordPress Plugins
Excellent introduction to unit testing, and drawing attention to the the WP-CLI scaffolding capabilities makes it easy for even the most novice plugin developer to grasp. Time permitting it could stand to include more involved tests (particularly those using mocking), but that could also be "Unit Testing WordPress Plugins 2: Test Harder." Something I meant to say in-person after (but had to go check-out of the hotel): on one of the last slides, there was something like "no reason not to test" - it might be more powerful (plus, given Cal's energetic/comedic presentation style, could be funny) would be "no excuse not to test."
Rating: 5 of 5 
(15.Nov.2014)
Testing Spaghetti
Great, practical talk with examples that were realistic while remaining easy to follow. Pragmatic in admitting that while we'd *like* to fix everything, more often than not we have to just refactor what we can in order to make things testable.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(15.Nov.2014)
Trust, Community, and Automatic Updates
Nacin's keynote acted as a great contrast to what representatives of so many other frameworks were saying about sacrificing backwards compatibility. He emphasized that the user comes first, their trust is absolutely vital, and reassured an audience of skeptics that WordPress takes getting automatic updates right *very* seriously.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(15.Nov.2014)
Drupal 8: A Story of Growing Up and Getting Off the Island
I had the pleasure of eating breakfast with @webchick just before her keynote, and she was just as relaxed and casual during lunch as she was on stage. Excellent, well-informed speaker who is clearly passionate about the Drupal community and its future. It was also refreshing to hear a representative of that community admit that there have been some missteps in the past (particularly the "not made here" mentality) and the steps that the team is taking to not only make Drupal 8 a better product but help guarantee its future through point releases and leveraging powerful third-party libraries.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(15.Nov.2014)
The Greatest Panel on Earth
The purely Q&A format can be risky (did Eli have more prompts in case nobody in the audience brought questions?), but the session went quite well. It seemed to be heavy on the WordPress/Drupal side, though Symfony and Zend had a fair amount to contribute as well. Perhaps in the future it would be beneficial to remind people during the morning announcements, orientation emails, etc. to be formulating questions in anticipation of the panel to ensure there are enough questions without Eli having to act as moderator.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(15.Nov.2014)
WordPress 4.1
Unfortunately the decision to bump the JSON REST API neutered the talk's content a bit, but Konstantin gave a great overview of what's to come with WordPress 4.1 and beyond.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(20.May.2015)
Websockets and Event-driven Programming with PHP
A packed room for a great introduction to event-driven programming. The talk that launched a million chat apps.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(20.May.2015)
Mocking Dependencies in Unit Tests with Phake
Great examples and coverage of Phake. Coming from Mockery, it was interesting seeing the similarities and differences between the stubbing tools.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(20.May.2015)
The PHP 7 Story
The PHP 7 story, right from the horse's mouth. Excellent talk with great anecdotes and history!
Rating: 5 of 5 
(30.May.2015)
Building PHP Daemons and Long Running Processes
Perhaps one of the most "oh wow, I want to build that" talks at php[tek]. Informative, well-presented, and inspiring.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(30.May.2015)
Dependency Injection, Dependency Inversion, and You
Great talk that helped put names to the practices that I was doing before I knew that it was the "right" way simply because things like Dependency Injection felt right.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(30.May.2015)
Behind the Scenes of Maintaining an Open Source Project
Well presented with a great blend of humor and information.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(30.May.2015)
The Dark Art of Debugging
Good description of the *process* of debugging, but like other attendees I would have liked to see more focus on the tools used.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(30.May.2015)
Data Structures in PHP
I feel like I would have gotten more out of this talk had it been presented after the "Practical Computer Science Concepts Simplified" talk from Joshua Silver, but Matthew is a sharp developer and fantastic speaker. The SPL has been a hot topic in the conference circuit, and Matthew is one of the most knowledgeable speakers I've seen.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(30.May.2015)
Practical Computer Science Concepts Simplified
Great high-level look at the concepts many self-taught devs (myself included) may have missed out on before. This talk provides a great starting point for those who want to learn more, yet provides just enough for others who only want/need a basic understanding of things like stacks, heaps, and queues.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(30.May.2015)
Building Offline-Enabled Apps with PouchDB
Especially interesting to me, as I was in the midst of writing an offline app using PouchDB at the time of the conference. Great information presented well!
Rating: 5 of 5 
(30.May.2015)
Wax On, Wax Off: Coder Dojo
Yitz has a habit of leaving people wanting more, and this workshop was no exception. As we worked through Conway's Game of Life in three iterations, he would offer glimmers of insight to better solutions, but wouldn't give anything away. It was much an exercise in abstract thought as it was writing code, which was a nice change of pace from writing code for clients.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(06.Feb.2016)
PCI Compliance for PHP in the Hipster Age
PCI compliance isn't the sexiest of topics, but Phillip approached it with the right blend of humor and useful information to make the information accessible without sounding like he was reading from the compliance guidelines. Great mix of anecdotal experiences, specific regulations, and avoiding common pitfalls.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(06.Feb.2016)
APIs to your brain
The best conference talks are often those that present a new concept or technology, show you some of the work going on in the field, and force you to ask "what if I could do ____". Ibis had the room captivated with the possibilities presented by low-cost neurotechnology and turned the room onto the possibilities of what can be done with the technology. Warning: if you *really* like building CRUD apps and generating reports, this talk may make you reconsider the value of every piece of software you've ever written. Sorry (not sorry).
Rating: 4 of 5 
(06.Feb.2016)
Be a Bold Coder
A great high-level overview of tools and techniques that programmers, especially those who may be in the awkward "I'm still figuring this out phase (tip: we all are, forever)", can use to build more confidence in their code. While I'm personally doing a lot of these things already, Beth makes the topic of code quality very approachable, with a strong focus (as usual for her talks) on mentorship and ongoing education.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(06.Feb.2016)
Behat: Beyond the Basics
Unit testing tends to get covered pretty well, but BDD can be one of those "okay, so it's not unit tests but a bigger picture thing, but not necessarily end-to-end integration, so...something?" areas, so it was great to see Jessica break down where BDD is most appropriate and useful and – perhaps more importantly – what it's *not* designed to do. One small recommendation on the deck: the fade transitions felt exceptionally slow and could be sped up a bit.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(06.Feb.2016)
Feature Flags are Flawed: Let's Make Them Better
It may not have been the main concept of the talk, but Stephen hit on some great points about branched logic and cyclomatic complexity in software that caught my attention more than the feature flags themselves (though Swivel looks awesome).
Rating: 4 of 5 
(06.Feb.2016)
TBA
While the talk centered around many common talking points for presentations on communication, Sharon's theories about our "in-groups" provided a fascinating "us v. them" contrast that put a new frame around a common topic. It was clear this was a very personal talk for Sharon, and I'm very pleased that she shared it with the group.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(06.Feb.2016)
TBA
Really impactful keynote about the power of communication, relationships, and generally being a part of the larger community and how it impacts both you and the room around you.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(09.Feb.2016)
What They Should Tell You About API Development
First time I've had the pleasure of hearing Phil speak live about APIs, and it's clear that it's a topic he's both knowledgeable and passionate about. He carried the audience well, didn't let the low-contract projector rattle him, and was quick to give reasonable, well-thought answers to audience questions both at the end and throughout.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(09.Feb.2016)
Extreme Team Building: Surviving an Ocean Crossing
Incredible talk about working in a team setting where the stakes actually matter (as opposed to most software, which is a playground compared to the open water). Stephanie had the audience hanging on every word yet wasn't afraid to admit when she made mistakes in the race.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(09.Feb.2016)
Adventures in Symfony2 - Building an MMO-RPG
When I first heard that Margaret was working on a MMO-RPG, I was like "yeah, that's cool." Then I heard she was doing it in Symfony, and I was like "well, that's a weird choice..." *Then* I saw she was presenting a talk on it at SunshinePHP and I was like "okay, I'm not missing that!" The talk goes through the game's humble beginnings, the hurdles Margaret had to deal with along the way, and why certain decisions were made at the time (and why she would or wouldn't make them again). Margaret herself is an captivating (if not a little too excited) speaker who's able to express her voice through the presentation.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(09.Feb.2016)
Smiling From the Wrists Down: Customer Service for Developers
A solid presentation full of great advice for dealing with customers, an area where many developers don't have much experience. Perhaps a victim of timing (the last breakout session on the last day), but the presentation seemed to start slow and struggle to pick up the audience. Fortunately, Heather seemed to get more excited as the talk went on (about the time the cats took over the slides), and by the middle of the presentation she seemed to have engaged the entire room. I would second Paul's comment regarding the slides feeling a little stock-Powerpoint, but I'm here to rate the talk, not the aesthetics of the slide deck :)
Rating: 5 of 5 
(09.Feb.2016)
Groupies, Roadies, Rockstars
Holy hell can Cal give a keynote. High energy, relatable topic, and just enough edge (at first when I heard "Groupie" I was a little nervous where it was going, but Cal made it work). A great closing to a great conference!
Rating: 5 of 5 
(12.Mar.2016)
An Introduction to React.js
There can be a lot to grok when you first start learning a new front-end framework, but Ben put it all in very simple terms. A fantastic introduction to the framework that went exactly as deep into the concepts as an introductory talk should.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(12.Mar.2016)
Containerizing WordPress
Containers can be a tricky subject to talk about: often, people end up either giving the "omg, you should use containers because they're awesome" *or* the super-technical, over-everyones-head tutorial. Paul balanced the two perfectly, providing practical examples without getting too lost in the weeds. I used to work closely with Paul, and he'd often present more complicated concepts in a 1:1 session. This presentation captured that intimate mentorship, but for a room full of interested developers.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(12.Mar.2016)
Building an Open Source Agency
In his talk, Brad revealed that he's working on another talk on this topic for a local TEDx event, and it showed in his preparedness. The story of Buckeye Interactive isn't new to me (I'm an alumnus), but it's nice to get the idealistic overview that often can get muddied in the day-to-day workings of an agency. Next time he gives a talk, Brad may want to turn on Caffeine for his computer, as the display constantly turning off was distracting ;)
Rating: 5 of 5 
(12.Mar.2016)
Javascript: Beyond jQuery
This is one of the most important talks that the modern web developer should hear: jQuery's powerful and helped us through some dark times, but it's not a magic bullet, nor does it come without cost. Developing a basic understanding of how JavaScript works is one of the first steps to take in a productive career as a developer, and Bobby's talk approaches the topic in a humorous and informative way.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(25.May.2016)
I Promise() to Teach You Asynchronous PHP
Excellent talk on the benefits and general process of moving from imperative to concurrent and parallel processing, using a simple (yet large-ish) data set. I know from experience that Eric knows a thing or two about asynchronous PHP, and I know it helped clear up a lot of areas that I wasn't particularly clear on before seeing the talk. Eric had flash drives available with the necessary components to set up (so we didn't tank the conference wifi), but making the information available over the wire *ahead* of the conference would have eased setup time (plus mitigated some of my "plugging in a foreign flash drive" anxiety).
Rating: 4 of 5 
(25.May.2016)
I'm Just Here for the ElePHPants
A veteran speaker, Jeremy's great in front of a crowd of people, and this was a great first foray into keynote talks. As someone who's been to php[architect] conferences in the past, I've at least run into a lot of the people who were name-checked, but I could see it being kind of exclusive from the perspective of someone who's newer to the community.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(25.May.2016)
Machine Learning with PHP
I've attended machine learning talks focused on .NET and the Azure cloud before, so I was familiar with some of the principles but the technology was lost on me. Damien finally made machine learning approachable for me, and (as I told him after the talk) he's probably started me down a long path of trying to teach machines to do cool things.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(25.May.2016)
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Web Apps
Heads up: if you're "just" building websites, this talk will make you feel like you're years behind the game. Fantastic overview of current and emerging AR and VR technologies, along with suggested applications for the web.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(26.May.2016)
The New Revolution
This is the kind of talk that makes you and your personal technical accomplishments seem like mere drops in the ocean of progress that the world has made since 1969. Masterfully presented, poignant, and super inspirational.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(26.May.2016)
Shipping Responsive Images to 25% of the Web
Joe hit a great balance of the (platform-agnostic) responsive image problem and solutions, then proceeded to explain *how* he and others addressed this within WordPress core. This ensured the talk was accessible to both WordPress and non-WordPress developers alike, and Joe's narrative style invited those who *haven't* spent the last few years trying to solve responsive media problems to understand the challenges and solutions available.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(26.May.2016)
JavaScript for PHP Developers
This talk should be required learning for any PHP developer dipping their toes into JavaScript-heavy applications. Eric was able to re-frame JavaScript from "it makes the icon bounce" by putting it in terms a PHP developer would understand, while showing off the power of this ubiquitous language.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(26.May.2016)
Angular or Backbone: Go Mobile!
The talk was very much what it said on the box: a comparison of Angular and Backbone. The content felt rather dry, focusing on comparison charts rather than compelling reasons to adopt either framework. The Cordova component – one of the main draws for the talk – felt rushed by the end. Splitting this into two talks might be more appropriate: one to determine which framework is right for different use cases, while the other would be something like "let's build a simple S.P.A. using X framework, then wrap it up in a Cordova application."
Rating: 5 of 5 
(26.May.2016)
Effective Redis for PHP Developers
Fantastic talk that showed the room that Redis can be used for so much more than just a "dumb" key-value store. Matt's a knowledgeable, sharp speaker and his examples were simple yet relatable for the audience.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(27.May.2016)
Uncle Cal's Career Advice
As usual, Cal knocked it out of the park. His career experiences uniquely qualify him to give this kind of talk, and his passion and charisma shines through.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(27.May.2016)
phpdbg for Fun and Profit
Formal debugging tools have always been a weak-point of mine, but Adam's talk made phpdbg extremely accessible and easy to understand. His presentation style was both relaxed and engaging, and I caught even the most experienced devs in the room nodding approvingly at the advice being shared.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(04.Aug.2016)
Dockerizing Development
Maybe it's because I know Eric well, but his talks always force me to question my existing assumptions and challenge me to find better solutions. Containerized environments is clearly a subject that he's passionate about, and his passion has infected at least a few others in the room (myself included).
Rating: 5 of 5 
(04.Aug.2016)
DRIVING TECHNICAL CHANGE
The first "soft-skills" talk I've attended at this conference, Terrence presented the very real obstacles that passionate engineers must overcome to bring forth positive change in an organization. Covering everything from the archetypes of the people who need convincing to the approaches that work best for each kind, this talk is full of invaluable knowledge for any person – technologist or otherwise – hoping to influence the technical direction of his/her organization.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(04.Aug.2016)
Caching on the Bleeding Edge
Samantha covered the broad topic of caching in a way that was somehow both high-level and with an extraordinary amount of detail. From the first hardware caches down to all the various caching layers involved with a modern web stack, Samantha has proven again why she's an extremely popular conference speaker.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(04.Aug.2016)
PHP7 AND BEYOND
Fantastic keynote on the history, current state, and future of the PHP project. Anthony's involvement in the community makes him highly qualified to give this kind of talk, and his stage presence helped captivate the audience and get the conference started off on the right foot.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(04.Aug.2016)
Effectively Monitoring Client-Side Web Performance
Andrew hit on a lot of great points and tools, but one piece he kept harping on (because it *can't* be overstated) is that data means nothing if it's not meaningful; we need to collect, store, and analyze it if we have any hopes of improving from it.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(05.Aug.2016)
The Websockets Awaken: Using websockets in your PHP application
Great, interesting topic with a real-world implementation (as opposed to the classic websockets demo: the chatroom). Jeff was visibly nervous (totally normal for the first time speaking in ~15 years), but seemed the most comfortable at the beginning. He may be more comfortable using speaker notes to organize his thoughts while relying less on slides overflowing with information. The talk could also benefit from a demonstration, perhaps showing the server activity on a local copy of the application as it runs (or similar). I'm excited to see how this talk will evolve, and hope that Jeff continues to speak at conferences.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(05.Aug.2016)
Graphs are Everywhere
A fantastic look at the fundamentals of graph data structures, their applications, and the logic needed to bend graphs to your will.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(08.Aug.2016)
The API Toolbox
Tim is one of my favorite speakers, and I certainly appreciated his emphasis on giving us real, "you can use these today" examples. Even the Live Demo Gods approved! I *should* take off a star for him forgetting to mute his notifications, but he gets it back for encouraging us to spam his open port (and not getting mad when we did).
Rating: 5 of 5 
(08.Aug.2016)
Going Pro
As usual, Cal knocked it out of the park with one of his famous (infamous?) keynotes. Great insight into the career path of a professional developer, which dovetailed into the professional development from some Ohioan :cough: just before it.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(16.Nov.2016)
Phone Calls and SMS From PHP
Since David's talk, I've been spending all day thinking about the great things I could build using services Twillio and Nexmo. While his talk ran into some technical difficulties, it was definitely one of those "holy crap, I never considered doing that!" experiences.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(16.Nov.2016)
No Modes - The Future of All Web Applications
It took a good 15-20min to really start explaining what modes really were, but the payoff from the prolonged setup was well worth it; great, practical examples of patterns we can use to remove modes from our user experiences.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(16.Nov.2016)
Open Source for a Successful Business
While the talk may not have introduced any groundbreaking concepts, it was still a great call-to-arms for businesses looking to leverage open-source software in their business.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(16.Nov.2016)
A Beginner's Guide to Deployments
At the beginning, Michael asked the room how many people were – or have in the past – coded on the server. FTP? Deployment tools? The room laughed as many of us have moved through these phases of deployment management, and Michael brought great insight as to what our goals for deployment should be, regardless of the method we use.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(18.Nov.2016)
WordPress as a 12 Factor APP
Just a few weeks ago, a colleague of mine introduced me to the concept of the 12-factor authentication. He showed off some of the things he was doing to get WordPress up-and-running with the 12-factor principles, but some areas were less-than-obvious to me. Enter Michael, who *of course* has an answer for everything. Extremely enlightening talk that outlines the benefits of the 12-factor methodology without preaching "12-factor or GTFO"
Rating: 5 of 5 
(18.Nov.2016)
Tech for the People: Using our Superpowers for Good
A few months ago, I got a chance to see Eric Meyer speak, where he recounted Facebook's "Year in Review". It was an incredibly powerful talk, and Erin's talk dovetails into it perfectly. She speaks with a great cadence and a balance of humor and seriousness. Fantastic talk, important topic, and outstanding speaker.

Events They'll Be At

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Events They Were At

php[world] 2016 Nov 14, 2016
Northeast PHP 2016 Aug 03, 2016
php[tek] 2016 May 23, 2016
Dayton WordCamp 2016 Mar 04, 2016
SunshinePHP 2016 Feb 04, 2016
php[tek] 2015 May 18, 2015
php[world] Nov 10, 2014
Lone Star PHP 2017 Apr 22, 2017
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