Paypal’s Jonathan LeBlanc chats about taking chances and code beginnings

Web & PHP Conference 2013 is finally here! With our Workshops kicking off today and the free expo and conference kicking off tomorrow. We spoke to Paypal’s Principal Developer Evangelist and Web & PHP speaker Jonathan LeBlanc and got some interesting responses with our Web & PHP interview questionnaire! 

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Jonathan LeBlanc is a technology evangelist, Emmy award winning software engineer, and author of the O’Reilly book “Programming Social Applications”. Specializing in user identity concepts and data mining techniques, as well as open source initiatives around social engagement, Jonathan works on the development of emerging initiatives towards building a more user-centric web.

W&P – Describe what we can expect from your talk at Web & PHP Con in 140 characters.
JL – We’ll learn how identity and personalization are playing pivotal roles in everything we do online, and how to begin using that ourselves

W&P – How did you first get involved in coding?
JL – It’s not as exciting as most developer stories. I first started coding in high school when I took a class in Basic. Around that same time I was building websites for fun and teaching myself from the source code of other sites I liked. It wasn’t really until I left college degree paths in fine arts and classical studies, and pursued a degree in computer science that I found my passion for development.

W&P – What advice would you give aspiring web developers?
JL – Take chances and suck in as much knowledge as you can from others. The best way to grow in the field is to surround yourself with people who are much smarter than you are and listen / be involved in as much as you can until your skills are on par with their own.

W&P – Which individuals do you most admire in the tech world and why?
JL – The people that I most admire, or enjoy surrounding myself with, are those who truly see our industry as both a career and a passion, instead of a clock in and clock out job. I feel that people with this drive are those that can truly affect change, and push our industry to whole new levels.

W&P – If you could have 3 famous people round for dinner (living or dead) who would it be?
JL – Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, and Leonardo da Vinci (a big table of awesome)

W&P – Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? Explain your reasoning.
JL – Definitely a horse-sized duck. If you’re fighting 100 duck-sized horses you will eventually miscount and think you’ve won, then as you’re taking your victory lap, POW, right in the kisser.

W&P – What are you most looking forward to at Web & PHP Con?
JL – Besides seeing more of the community and getting a sense of where the collective industry is trending towards, I want to see the innovation coming from companies, startups and developers, those that are breaking the typical models of technology implementation.

“I say neigh, don’t egg them on.”

The countdown to Web & PHP Con 2013 is on! There’s less than 2 weeks to go before we descend upon San Jose Convention Centre, CA, to bring you the latest in cutting-edge practices from the industry’s top web developers. Talking of the industry’s top web developers…over the last couple of weeks we have been running short Q&A’s with our speakers in order to get to know them a little better and find out a bit more about their session.

Today is the turn of Mike Stowe.

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Mike is a professional software engineer, PHP 5.3 Zend Certified, and has over 10 years of PHP hacking experience. In those 10 years he as had the privilege of building numerous websites and applications, including applications for the medical field, law enforcement, one of the leading audio and lighting dealers, large and small non-profits, and numerous industrial companies. He has also spoken at numerous conferences, published multiple articles on PHP and security, is an active member of OWASP, and helps organize MNPHP, Twin Cities Software Engineers, and the MidwestPHP Conference. He currently work at Constant Contact as a Developer Advocate, representing developers and their needs within the company.

1. Describe what we can expect from your talk at Web & PHP Con in 140 characters.  

An introduction to Agile methodologies in the workplace and a look at some of the benefits and challenges of Agile

2. How did you first get involved in coding?

I was a sports guy who ended up having a knee injury…so instead of basketball practice I found myself on the computer creating a personal webpage using a free service called HotYellow98… but I wanted to do more, so ended up looking at this thing called HTML, and well, I was hooked.

3.What advice would you give aspiring web developers?

Get involved and go for it. There are a lot of great developers out there who are more than willing to help you out. Join a user group, join the mailing lists, and experiment with your code. It’s ok to make mistakes, you’ll learn a lot more that way. Push your skills to the edge every single day.

4. Which individuals do you most admire in the tech world and why?

This list would go on way too long… there are a lot of great people in the tech community who have really helped me out. But a big shout out to the local user group organizers and conference leaders, I don’t think people know how much work it is to put on these events and keep them going. Also a shout out to the speakers who give up their time to go out and share their knowledge with others.

5. If you could have 3 famous people round for dinner (living or dead) who would it be?

I would love to have done dinner with Steve Jobs… but who wouldn’t have lol. Also wouldn’t mind talking with Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.

6.Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? Explain your reasoning.

I say neigh, don’t egg them on. (hey, had to have a pun somewhere).
7. What are you most looking forward to at Web & PHP Con?

Meeting a lot of great developers and getting to learn what people are doing in the industry.

 

Mike Stowe will be down at Web & PHP Con this September 16 -18 in San Jose, CA giving his talk on ‘Agile in the Workplace’.You can attend this talk and all of our other sessions and keynotes for free! Just register on the website.

Knowing me, knowing you – A ha!

Over the last few weeks we’ve been making it our mission to get more information and gossip on our Web & PHP Con speakers. We know they’re an awesome bunch but we wanted to make sure you knew that too…and let you know what you have in store at one of their sessions!
So today is the turn of Joshua Thijssen.
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Joshua Thijssen is a freelance consultant, systems administrator and developer. His passion lies in designing and working with complex projects, working on high scalability and availability projects and helping other to achieve higher standards in both coding and thinking. He’s the author of the upcoming book “Mastering the
SPL library”, lead developer of the upcoming web language “Saffire” and is regular speaker on both web development and system administration conferences.1. Describe what we can expect from your talk at Web & PHP Con.

I’ll be talking about public key encryption. I will show you how simple
math helps keeping our world-economy afloat and how it can help you
secure your own data. Furthermore I will be talking about how we can
quickly find issues on a (production) server that is on fire (not
literally, obviously). Rumors have it that my talks might be accompanied
by big sound & light shows, a ticker-tape parade and special guest
appearances by unicorns and rainbows (not yet confirmed though).

2. How did you first get involved in coding?

When I was 5 or 6 on a C64 in Basic and very quickly later on in
assembler. With the help of dad, programming simple applications. Pretty
much stopped playing games, and started to create them myself.

3.What advice would you give aspiring web developers?

RUN AWAY!  But really: don’t focus too much on one single framework, on
just doing wordpress or just doing jquery. Focus on the WEB as a whole:
the languages (not only php), the infrastructure, the tools, the
scalability, the protocols. Know how the system you are building works
with the rest the web and eventually this will result in you writing
better and more robust applications and sites.

4. Which individuals do you most admire in the tech world and why?

Not particularly one person, but I admire everybody with a passion for tech.

 5. If you could have 3 famous people round for dinner (living or dead)
 who would it be?

Linus Torvalds (living) – Einstein (dead) – Schrodinger’s cat (living
AND dead)

6.Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?
Explain your reasoning.

100 duck-sized horses obviously. It’s easier to outrun tiny-legged horses.

7. What are you most looking forward to at Web & PHP Con?

Meeting new (and old) friends from all over the world, plus: free buffet!

Joshua will be presenting 3 sessions at Web & PHP Con:

Alice & Bob: Public key cryptography 101
(re)discovering the SPL
Don’t reboot, debug!

(And remember, you can check out all of these talks and more, absolutely FREE. Just register for your place here.)

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

And we’re back!

A new week means a new lot of speakers to introduce you to before Web & PHP Con kicks off this September! So let’s get to it. Today is the turn of Marco Emrich.

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Marco Emrich started professional software development in 1993 and has used many different languages and technologies. He holds an academic degree in computer science (German Dipl. Inform.) and did some research for the Fraunhofer IESE Institute in the area of generative programming.

Currently, he is employed by webmasters-akademie.de, a German IT training center. There, he works as author, trainer, software developer and project manager. He speaks at various IT-conferences (OOP, Seacon, Webtech, SoCraTes, …), writes articles (ObjektSpektrum, RailsWay, PHP & Web Magazine) and facilitates code retreats. He is an active member of Softwerkskammer.de, Webmasters-Europe.org and Ruby User Group Nuremberg, where he shares his insights and tries to push software development to new levels.

In his spare time he works on his pet projects, like fantasy-cards.net and plays video games with his son.

1. Describe what we can expect from your talk at Web & PHP Con in 140 characters.  

Faster-Websites has a mix of proven and emergent optimization techniques. Code Retreats are pure fun AND great learning. Don’t miss it 🙂

 2. How did you first get involved in coding?

My first encounter with a computer was in 1987 during a physics class. This particular one (a Commodore C64) went immediately to my Xmas wish list. When I teared away the gift wrapping, I found the datasette broken. A datasette was a tape drive using audio cassettes for storage – without it, there were no chance to play any of the bundled games; what a sad day for a young boy.

The machine itself, however, worked fine. Bundled with it was a well written manual. Unlike most manuals today, this one didn’t treat their readers like complete morons and even included a course in the GW-Basic programming language. So I decided to learn coding my own games till a replacement arrives. I was fascinated, in love, and just couldn’t stop coding. More than twenty years later, I still love to code.

  3.What advice would you give aspiring web developers?

Don’t follow every hype. Concentrate on the basics instead. Learn HTML+CSS+JS well – these technologies are here to stay. Also learn the principles and methods of our craft: agile methodologies, tdd/bdd, software design, clean code…

4. Which individuals do you most admire in the tech world and why?

Phew. Difficult question. Let’s check twitter  There are a many great people I follow, watch their talks, or read their books and blogs etc. Here is a random selection ‘Aaron Patterson, Adewale Oshiney, Addy Osmani, Avdi Grimm, Brendan Eich, Brian Marick, C.J. Date, Corey Haines, Chris Granger, David Chelimsky, Dan North, Dave Thomas, Douglas Crockford, Eric Evans, Gojko Adzic, Jeremy Ashkenas, J.B. Rainsberger, John Resig, Jose Valim, Kent Beck, Kevlin Henney, Markus Gärtner, Martin Fowler, Michael Feathers, Nat Pryce, Obie Fernandez, Paul Irish, Robert C. Martin, Sam Stephenson, Scott Ambler, Stefan Tilkov, Steve Klabnik, Steve Souders, Stoyan Stefanov, Yehuda Katz, Yukihiro Matsumoto’.

 5. If you could have 3 famous people round for dinner (living or dead) who would it be?

If you allow me some freedom here, I would like to meet with Robert Abbott, Michael Moorcock and Peter Molyneux. Maybe I could talk them into a common game project. I’m convinced, that this would become a masterpiece!

 6.Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? Explain your reasoning.

I would like to answer this question like any good consultant: “It depends!”. Does the horse-sized dug also wear a bigger weapon? Does a magical bonus apply? Do the horses wear duck armor or the duck wear horse armor? How angry do they look? And most importantly, what is the current moon phase at the time the fight is scheduled?

 7. What are you most looking forward to at Web & PHP Con?

Hard to say. There are so many interesting talks. I’m mostly excited, however, to meet other developers from all over the world.

Marco will be down at Web & PHP Con 2013 giving two presentations – Faster Websites and Code Retreat.

 

Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste…

Over the past week we’ve been taking a moment to get to know a little more about the speakers we have lined up for Web & PHP Con 2013. We know they’re a great bunch of people but we want you to know that too! So what better way to get to know a little bit about them, their session and what they’re most looking forward to at the event than with a short Q & A.

So, without further ado, let us introduce Stefan Priebsch.

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Stefan Priebsch unites expert knowledge with extraordinary sense when to use which tool. His specialties are object-oriented development and software architecture. As an internationally acclaimed author and speaker he thrills auditoriums and likes to share his tremendous practical experience.

1. Describe what we can expect from your talk at Web & PHP Con in 140

 characters.

I am involved in multiple talks, so do I get 140 characters each? ; – )

Valuable information, maybe a little surprise here and there, and a fair
bit of entertainment

2. How did you first get involved in coding?

I was twelve years old when my Dad bought a Sinclair ZX-80. Since I had
no clue what a computer could possibly be used for, I chose to find out.

3.What advice would you give aspiring web developers?

Keep learning, and make it a habit to question and re-evaluate your own
thought patterns and best practices on a regular basis.

4. Which individuals do you most admire in the tech world and why?

Everybody who contributes to Open Source, because they make the world a
little better every day.

5. If you could have 3 famous people round for dinner (living or dead) who would it be?

That’s a tough question. Would I have dinner with all three at the same
time, or individually? Putting, say, Richard Stallmann next to Bill
Gates might defeat the actual purpose of the dinner.

If I were to invite Alan Rickman, could I ask him to dress up as
Professor Snape? I’d also find Anthony Hopkins an interesting guest, but
since he always makes me think of Hannibal Lector, I’d be afraid of him
having me for dinner.

I would also find somebody like Alexander the Great an interesting
guest, but I’m not really sure if we would be able to overcome the
language barrier. So that basically puts many really interesting people
from former times out of perspective, including everybody not speaking
English or German.

Putting all this into perspective, my pick would be my wife and my two
children. They are famous for making my life so much more interesting.

6.Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?
Explain your reasoning.

I am a friendly person, and since neither horses nor ducks have ever
been aggressive to me, I see no reason to put up a fight. I would rather
choose to walk away in peace.

7. What are you most looking forward to at Web & PHP Con?

That’s hard to say, because there is so much. I love being in Silicon
Valley, and Software & Support runs great conferences. The conference
schedule alreadly looks very promising, and the hallway track and
networking opportunities are always great at conferences.

Sitting pretty on the podium

And sitting pretty on the podium at 1st place is Joshua Thijssen with his session on ‘(re)discovering the SPL’. It was a really close race but in the end you decided (with 33.3% of the vote) that it was Joshua’s session you most wanted to see at the event.

So what exactly does it have in store for us? Well here’s a small summary of it.

The Standard PHP Library (SPL) might be one of the most powerful, yet the most unused part of PHP, but you are one of those lucky developers who have discovered it! But now what? The lack of documentation about SPL makes it that a lot users don’t really harvest the power that SPL brings. During this presentation I will dive into the numerous iterators, data-structures and interfaces that SPL defines and when & how to implement them in your own projects, but we will talk about the edge-cases as well, as in SPL land things don’t always are what they seem…

If you want to come along this September 16-18th in San Jose, CA and see this session you can, and it won’t even cost you a single cent (or penny)! Just register for your place at the FREE Web & PHP Con on the website.

Knowing me, knowing you, ah-ha!

So, as we said yesterday, we thought it was about time that we gave your a proper introduction to the speakers that will be attending Web & PHP Con. We know they’re a awesome group of people but we want to make sure you know that too (and maybe get to know a little more about them and what their session has in store for you at the conference). So we sent out a short Q & A to all of our speakers to dig a little deeper…

Second up in our series is Jeremy Lindblom.

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Jeremy is a PHP software engineer at Amazon Web Services in Seattle, Washington, where he works on the AWS SDK for PHP and strives to make it easier for PHP developers to work with “the cloud”. Outside of work, he often spends time working on personal and open source PHP projects, and is a co-organizer of the Seattle PHP Meetup Group. Before moving to Seattle, Jeremy was the lead web app developer at Synapse Studios in Tempe, Arizona, and frequently promoted PHP development at his alma mater, Arizona State University. In his spare time, he likes to be at home with his family, make funny faces, watch movies, and make and eat yummy food.

1. Describe what we can expect from your talk at Web & PHP Con in 140 characters.
Git educated about #git — including the basic commands and workflows — through a combination of slides, demos, and music!
Learn about AWS, the cloud, and the new AWS SDK for PHP. See how #AWS can enrich your #PHP apps and help you scale.
2. How did you first get involved in coding?
Enabled by the evolving Internet and inspired by Super Mario, all roads eventually led to programming. Whether it was tinkering with Hypercard, making simple games with Visual Basic, making hoardes of hobbyist websites, or programming my TI-83 Plus calculator to do my math homework for me, everything contributed to my choice of entering the Computer Science program in college and getting involved with PHP to make my websites actually DO things.
3. What advice would you give aspiring web developers?
There is an endless amount of information to learn about web development. Never stop learning. Find a mentor. You will need to both simultaneously expand the breadth of your knowledge while acquiring deep, practical knowledge of a handful skills in order to be employable.
4. Which individuals do you most admire in the tech world and why?
It’s hard to say. There are so many smart people that are innovating all over the world. Many of them do not even have a public presence. I’ve met so many incredible people within AWS that are completely anonymous outside of the office.
5. If you could have 3 famous people round for dinner (living or dead) who would it be?
I’m not sure I could choose just 3 of the Muppets.
6. Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? Explain your reasoning.
One horse-sized duck, or Chocobo, as they are referred to by some. I believe that after you defeat it you can summon at will to come to your aid. It would also be an effective form of transportation around the Seattle area where there is much water.
7. What are you most looking forward to at Web & PHP Con?
I love meeting people, matching real faces with Twitter avatars, and having discussions about code.