Tuesday, December 14, 2010

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance!

Usually, I try to write about education in September. I missed that point so now it’s time to make up some ground and look back at 2010 and forward to 2011…

The title of this piece is probably one of my favorite bumper stickers. I have a soft spot for people learning a new technology. I for one know it is not easy as I had to battle my own complacency and really dig in to Linux based solutions this year. I still have a way to go but gaining ground! As a young veteran in the IT industry I found it hard to prioritize and focus. there is no forgiveness in the number of distractions we must contend with today. I have the unbelievable privilege of working with some of the smartest people on the planet and their patience has been a blessing. But this experience makes me realize every day the value proposition of PHP in the IBM i space and would not trade this job for the world!

2010 was a wonderful year. I have been VERY privileged and honored to present several PHP sessions at user groups across the country and even in Europe! But I also had the chance to present a bunch of sessions at both COMMON events, too. I’m going to take a brief look at where we all went in 2010 and try to prognosticate on where 2011 is headed.

The year started off well with the beta announcement of Zend Server for IBM i followed by the GA release in April and a West coast tour of user groups including PMSA, Cascade and Power SURG. Spring gave way to the annual COMMON Meeting and Expo in Orlando, a WAM East Coast tour (after a snow delay) and the traditional trek to the WMCPA conference. With the summer trip to MITEC and Irvine for the OCEAN conference under my belt I got caught up on LPAR’s and updates as I prepared for the fall events in San Antonio for COMMON, Omni and a trip to Ireland & England. I made some wonderful new friends at the Manchester event for Penton and at IBM’s South Bank in London. The highlight of the trip, however, was meeting the UK arm of the Zend Sales team who work in an office space leased inside the Guinness Brewery. What a hoot! Last week I saw the fine folks in St. Louis and talked PHP all day with hardly anyone running out of the room!

In my spare time I have tried to keep up with my family and the most aggressive schedule imaginable. My wife is the most awesome quarterback keeping us all moving the ball forward and I would be lost without her! But also I managed to teach a couple of classes in PHP at Moraine Valley Community College and for SystemiNetwork. Two things I plan to carry forward in 2011.
But then there is 2011.

What could be in the plans for Zend? Well, we have not completely baked it yet but there are some AWESOME product announcements coming. Kent Mitchell out Director of product Management gave a preview of Zend Server 6 at ZendCon with features like application activation that turns your PHP cluster into an iTunes like environment. But clusters are not available for IBM i, you say? Well how about an alternate PHP toolkit that gives full access to the OS with 100% Open Source code? In the words of the immortal Mark Shearer, Watch this space!

Events for 2011 you can certainly bank on are COMMON in Minneapolis in the Spring and St. Petersburg in the fall. I have just been accepted for a full day pre-conference workshop on PHP for the Spring COMMON and look forward to about 5-6 sessions too. I am cutting back on sessions as we are seeing real traction from community members like Alan Seiden, Brian May and Jeff Olen. These guys are not only PHP literate; they are in the trenches doing PHP every day! I challenge everyone to get out to some event or do some offline training or even consider presenting a session at your local user group. Pick something interesting, something fun. Challenge yourself. I don’t think you will be disappointed! Watch out for other in the community to offer ways to learn PHP on IBM i. The folks at iDevCloud are on the job and rocking out some really great opportunities.

2010 saw the birth and rebirth of iManifest. Jen Halverson has done an AWESOME job of helping “herd the cats” and her passion is immeasurable. I am glad she decided to join our team and offer HUGE assistance to a very necessary agenda.

We will continue to see product announcements and fixes and updates and more. PHP is not going away and neither am I! But some of my roles in the community will change as I need to focus on other things. More on that later.

I want to offer a hearty “thank you” to all of the folks who have welcomed me to their user groups. The IBM i community is a VERY special crowd and many of you have made me feel very much at home whether I travel near or far. It truly is a privilege meeting and speaking to the folks who love the IBM i as much as I do. And I look forward to meeting even more new friends in 2011.

In the spirit of the Holiday’s, I offer you all one wish: