SymfonyLive London 2015: Meet the speakers: Phil Leggetter

Although Phil Leggetter, Head of Evangelism at Pusher, is new to Symfony he’s been building apps with PHP for almost ten years now. Phil will join us at SymfonyLive Londonto celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Symfony framework where he will also deliver an insightful talk on ‘Real-time Web Apps & Symfony. What are your options?

We recently caught up with Phil to learn about him and his background in Symfony so far, the talks he is mostly looking forward to and his thoughts on what he sees as the biggest trends in Symfony/ PHP at the moment.

Could you give us a quick summary of your background?

I’m a software engineer who ended up in an evangelism/advocacy/developer relations role. About five years ago I realised that I loved learning new things, creating apps and demos from the things I’ve learnt and then sharing that information with others. “Learn. Create. Share” has become a motto I continue to use to this day. I’ve a strong focus on using real-time technologies to build engaging user experiences and deliver business value, software engineering and web technologies.

What do you see as the biggest trends in Symfony/PHP at the moment?

Due to my role at Pusher I dive between technologies quite a lot. I use PHP, Python, Ruby, JavaScript (front-end and back-end), .NET, Java and anything else I need to get my hands on. I’m aware of what makes other languages and frameworks popular and we all know PHP has been playing a bit of catch up. I think the general language enhancements to PHP would surprise a lot of developers who are less flattering towards PHP. PHP’s package management is now first class and frameworks like Symfony and Laravel apply some needed structure.

Which talk are you most looking forward to at SymfonyLive London 2015?

I’m interested to hear Bernhard Schussek’s talk on Puli and Matthias Noback’s talk on ‘Hexagonal architecture’ – message-oriented software design and how it sits with, and potentially enables, real-time web apps.

Do any/ all of Facebook, Twitter, Uber and other apps that use a lot of real-time data currently use Symfony?

I don’t know if those specific companies/apps use Symfony. But I do know that PHP represents one of the biggest communities of Pusher users so there’s a clear need and demand for building real-time PHP apps. One of the reasons Pusher is so popular in the PHP community is that despite frameworks like Ratchet it’s still relatively hard to build production grade real-time apps with PHP alone.

This is a great question so as part of my talk I’ll try to highlight some companies that are building real-time apps with Symfony and how they’re doing it. If anybody reads this and is doing so please ping me.

How many options are there for developing real-time features with Symfony? Can you give us a preview of one you may cover in your talk?

If you’re willing to integrate with other technologies and languages there are lots of options. If you only want to work within the Symfony framework then your options are limited. I maintain a real-time technology guide that gives an idea of just how many real-time frameworks are out there.

The main focus of the talk is more around the considerations and strategies you can take when adding real-time functionality to Symfony apps. I’ll also pick the ones I believe are the best fit for Symfony – and the best options in general – including: options for Symfony-only and polyglot apps. I’m probably going to avoid Socket.IO since it’s covered all the time and go with Faye as an example. I’ll also cover how Pusher can be used with Symfony, but highlight how the same practices are also applicable to other real-time hosted services.

What do you believe is the future of Symfony?

Since I’m relatively new to Symfony this is a tricky one. I hope one of the future developments will be easy real-time framework integration since real-time experiences are moving from being a “nice to have” to something users expect to see in their applications – without it the experience appears broken. Other than that, this is exactly why I’m looking forward to SymfonyLive – to find out what the future holds for Symfony!


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