I was lucky enough to hit the Atlanta stop of the 2009 CodeWorks conference tour earlier this week. It was great seeing faces I'd not seen since php|works nearly a year ago, and I greatly enjoyed the sessions I was able to attend. In particular, I've learned about several PHPUnit features that I was unaware of which will come in handy with the varied continuous integration work I'm involved in at work and at PEAR.
I managed a bit of catching up on Sunday evening after I first arrived, but given my (historically typical) inability to socialize during the evenings I'm on location, I had to skip a couple of session slots on Day #2 in order to have some catching-up talk time with a few other folks before driving home that evening. All in all, I'm looking forward to php|appalachia in the spring to have some better social time with everyone.
The touring format, from a one-city attendee's perspective, felt really rushed. Like others have noticed, the "hallway track" was very slim, as there isn't really anyone there with "time to kill". Many of the Day Two folks are arriving during Day One's afternoon session, and many of the Day One folks are heading out during Day two's first session... the evening of Day One is just about it as far as socializing goes. Also, I could see how tiring the whole tour had to be to everyone doing so much traveling, despite how much they were obviously enjoying it all.
I anticipate the tour ultimately being considered a success, and probably being a permanent replacement for its php|works predecessor. For its stated purpose of a "less costly event that's closer to home" for attendees, I believe it'll serve its target audience well each year. For those who prefer (and can get to) a larger, longer, and more leisurely conference, php|tek will probably be the better option. I think tek will be the format I'll prefer... now to just get myself all the way to Chicago next summer ;-)
As for CodeWorks, they're finishing up Miami today, and have stops in DC and New York still to come. If you're close enough to either / both and are still on the fence about going, I'd recommend it... look at the talk schedules... for talks that have been in previous cities, check the feedback on those talks over at joind.in to see how good they were. The topics are varied enough to have something for everyone.
Only two cities left... don't miss out!