#PHPUK15: Innovation is alive and well within the PHP community

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DreamFactory recently participated in the excellent PHP UK Conference in London. The conference was attended by 750 developers who stayed very busy over two days of simultaneous talk tracks given by excellent speakers from all over the world. With a strong emphasis on back-end development and scripting, we were eager to engage with PHP developers and better understand how the DreamFactory Services Platform could help them leverage back-end services such as MySQL databases and other data stores. And we stayed extremely busy at our booth!


Since it is one of the oldest programming languages for the web, and has to some extent been eclipsed by front-end languages like JavaScript, it was great to see that PHP developers are very much on the cutting edge of coding methodology and application design/delivery. It was clear that RESTful APIs are all the rage these days in the PHP community, partly driven by how PHP applications are evolving to include mobile scenarios and even IoT integration. There were a number of talk tracks about best practices for building your own REST APIs, including demos of several API authoring tools. A recurring theme in our conversations at the show was that many PHP developers are quite happy developing their own APIs to connect PHP applications with back-end services. In fact, building REST APIs by hand is the de facto default for developers today.

Once developers better understood how DreamFactory eliminates REST API design and coding by automatically generating a comprehensive REST API for pretty much every popular database, and wraps the API with user management, authentication, and access control on backend data they were keen to know more.

The key theme that resonated the most is that front-end developers, in particular, just want to focus on building apps, not on building APIs and security from scratch. And back-end developers are curious about new tools and techniques to help them speed up API creation, including automated API generation if the API structure that gets generated does meet their requirements. Some other recurring themes:

  1. Having a ready-to-use REST API is awesome because you can just start developing your app.
  2. Building security is not what most developers like to do. It’s tedious and also hard to do right. So having a non-coding approach to security through a UI (particularly a full-blown “user management system” with access control) is highly desirable.
  3. Flexible server-side scripting is a must-have feature. Most developers are fine with using JavaScript since it’s pretty ubiquitous these days, but others would like to see support in DreamFactory for more languages, particularly PHP. Duly noted!

I’m glad to say it wasn’t all business; we hosted a social to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the PHP Conference. After a long day of talking code, it was great to unwind and turn our attention from APIs to IPAs — and authentic American ten-pin bowling!


We’re eager to learn more from PHP developers in Europe. We’re getting more involved this year with the European PHP community at meetup events and conferences, including sponsoring and speaking at the International PHP Conference in Berlin in June. We hope to see you there.

And lastly, if you haven’t tried DreamFactory yet, sign up for a free developer account on our website or install the open source package!