For a while I have been wondering about the existence of a local PHP user group for the city where I live; Rotterdam. A user group is a local community of PHP developers who, through formal and informal regular meetings, share knowledge with each other, organize social events and provide a nice way to expand your network. It seemed that there wasn't one for Rotterdam, which led me to the idea to start one myself.
During the last Dutch PHP Conference, where a keynote speaker brough up the subject of user groups, I again wondered about a local group, now having decided that there probably isn't one, currently. So I proposed to start one to Ron van der Molen, who suggested we set one up together. And so we did. After some brainstorming, we decided to call it 010php, as a reference to both the Rotterdam area code and the "bits & bytes" association one has with ones and zeroes.
In july, we held a 'bootstrap'-meeting; a get-together for those who are interested in a user group and who would like to contribute. For the location, we picked Dudok, which is a thematically ideal place to start a community based in Rotterdam. The meeting didn't have a strict agenda: the goal was to get things going by going around the group and talking about ideas. We quickly agreed on a starting format: a monthly meeting with talks and some drinks, and at a later stage perhaps the additions of workshops in separate events. There were over twenty developers from around Rotterdam attending, which was more than we expected. That was a nice start!
The second monthly meeting for 010php took place on the 8th of august. We rented a space in De Machinist, near the iconic Euromast and the city center, where we could have some drinks and retreat into a screening room, where we did the first talks for the user group.
The first talk was A Crazy Little Thing Called Scrum by Ron, who is a Scrum Master and PHP developer. He explained a couple of very clear aspects of scrum and extreme programming, which seemed to spark the interest of quite some attendees. The talk was very informative and served as a good starting point for those wanting to get into agile programming.
The second half of our program was the talk Stop searching in the dark, start finding in the light by Roberto Gardenier. He has a lot of experience with the implementation of Apache's Solr family of products and gave a well balanced talk about these subjects, which again served nicely as a first step for those unfamiliar with the subject.
For our third meeting, on september 12, we're again using the facilities of De Machinist. With the user group still in the early stages, we're only doing one talk, but we're already planning new talks for the fourth monthly meeting.
If you're from around Rotterdam, or if you're interested even if you're from somewhere else, please have a look at our calendar and consider joining us at one of our meetups. We're a small community wanting to grow, and welcome everyone to attend or to come and speak about a subject.