After attending my very first PHP conference in October (php|appalachia), this past week I attended my first "has the open bar switched to cash bar yet"-level conference, php|works... what a great experience it was.
With the huge lineup of sessions available, I found myself torn between choices more than once. I enjoyed a nice mix of new concepts (traits, map-filter-reduce), improvement strategies (caching, scaling), and introductions to items I was aware of but hadn't yet explored (PHPT, SQLite, CodeIgniter). I even managed to involve myself a little in Helgi's PEAR2 talk. Although I ended up sticking with PHP-specific sessions overall, the reviews I've seen on joind.in show that other PHPers enjoyed the Web-general and Python sessions that they drifted into.
Of course, the most moving experience of the conference was participating in all the #works activity on twitter, rather than watching it from afar as I did with |tek.
All kidding aside, I greatly enjoyed meeting so many folks that I'd only known online before now. I'd met quite of few of them at |appalachia, and it was cool to see them again (and have most of them remember me ;-P ), but |works allowed me to meet more, particularly all the folks from across the pond. I see that php|tek is already slated for Chicago this summer (which is out of my sphere of traveling), so I'll have to hope that php|works 2009 comes back to Atlanta in order to meet everyone again (outside of #phpc I mean). Until then, only php|appalachia 2009 looks promising for me, unless some unforeseen conference finds itself in Atlanta, Nashville, or Birmingham...