I got back from the Zend Conference a few days ago and thought it worth a mention (the conference, not my returning!). I got to attend quite a few session. Rob Richards gave an excellent XML and Web service tutorial. The Amazon and Google presentations were also very interesting. I particularly enjoyed Adam Trachtenberg's pitch on eBay and how to build a business using their API. The example he used was, "Dude, Where's My Used Car" (http://www.dudewheresmyusedcar.com/), a site that he wrote for fun, which mashes eBay Motor listings and Google maps. I'd like to give this a try with SCA, to see whether, a) it works! and b) whether it's any easier. Look out for http://www.excusemesirbutcouldyoupleasetellmewheremyusedmotorvehicleis.co.uk (the thoroughly British subsidiary ;-) ).
Of the main sessions, I found Chris Anderson's Long Tail pitch very interesting and I'm looking forward to reading his book. As ever, Robert "r0ml" Lefkowitz gave an entertaining and thought provoking pitch comparing the evolution of language and literacy over the centuries to the evolution of programming languages and programming literacy. Using this analogy, it appears programming is currently somewhere around the 10th century and programmers are the equivalent of scribes; being paid to read and write for someone else. Another nugget which I believe was attributed to Donald E Knuth's Literate Programming, was the idea of writing programs for humans (the fact that it runs on a computer is incidental). This is something I think we should all do to ensure what we create can be maintained, embraced and furthered by others.
All in all a very good conference, very well organized. A big pat on the back goes to the Zend folks...