Community also means fun!

“Life is more fun if you play games.” — Roald Dahl

I often say that the PHP Community is not all about PHP and work, its about community, friends and good times. As an expat recently arrived in Amsterdam I found lots of comfort in the group and made new friends that have grown into my closest circles. I also found that when life decided to give me a hard time, these same people were there to lend a hand.

Cards Against HumanityThe is the spirit of community and is what I like to grow and care for wherever I go, its not about learning its about sharing good times and knowledge with a group of like minded people.

In keeping with this we had a wild idea one day, let’s all get together to play games! Aisha quickly volunteered to be the champion behind the idea and we started working out details. We quickly settled on Café Batavia 1920 as our first venue since they have an awesome back room that would be perfect for this.

Turns out we have loads of games so we picked a few of them and in the beginning of october got together for the first Geeks & Games meet up. And it was amazing, the back room echoed with laughter all night, the beer kept coming and we had fun all night, from 19h to 3am.

We also welcomed a few members who had never come to any meet up, even a recently arrived expat from South Africa. It was really great to off these newcomers with the same network and friendliness that i got from the group.

MunchkinBetween games of CAH, Munchkin, Mascarade and Tsuro we had a night full of healthy competition and complete and utter madness. We made new friends and we strengthened already existing friendships, at least that is how it felt to me.

So having decided this was a success, we came to the one obvious conclusion, DO IT AGAIN!

In december we will meet again (reserve the 12th/December!), and hopefully settle into a pattern every 2 months.

User Groups! This is an amazing way to strengthen the unity of your group and introduce new members into the fold, if you want to try it, feel free to get in touch with us and we can share our experience.

Companies! Do you want to associate your brand with bonding and network building? We would love to have a company sponsor drinks and snacks and be part of this unique experience. Get in touch on our website.

Wanna be a champion? Our community is built on the back of volunteers and enablers, if you have an idea you think would work for the group, come join us in making it happen, we will provide you the man-power (and women-power) and support as long as you are willing to captain the boat.

Thank you all who made this possible, see you next time!


January 2013 Meeting

MimbeeIts 2013 and this time around the topic on the table is Performance.

Our speaker will be Pascal de Vink, member of the Tweakers team. He will talk about how to optimize your website for speed and performance. This month we will be meeting at Mimbee, we have limited seating so RSVP quick and please make sure to remove your RSVP if you can’t make it.


19:00: Welcome Drinks
19:30 – 20:30: “Let’s speed it up a bit”
20:30 – 20:45: Raffle
20:45: Social, drinks and food.

Speaker: Pascal de Vink

Pascal de Vink has been a software engineer for the past ten years and is trying to focus on constantly improving both himself and others. He started working at Tweakers 1,5 years ago.

Talk: “Let’s speed it up a bit”

It is said that when asking people how a website can be optimised for speed, about 14 answers come up. For both simple HTML sites on shared hosting and advanced multi-server web applications, I’m sharing these answers as strategies to speed up your (php powered) website in this talk.

We got some awesome stuff to give away this month, so make sure you RSVP for the meetup if you’re coming and want a shot at getting it!


Wibautstraat 150
1091 GR, Amsterdam

December Meeting


WEBclusiveThis month’s meeting will be something special! We’ll be teaming up with our friends from the Amsterdam.rb user group to give you a special event that will surely spark some discussion.

The December meeting will have two talks, one selected by each group. Note that (for this time only) this meeting is on a wednesday, instead of our regular thursdays. Due to the increased content, this event will also start earlier than normal.

This event will be sponsored by our friends at WEBclusive.


18:30 – 19:00: Welcome & Drinks
19:00 – 19:45: Talk: Your code sucks, let’s fix it! – Rafael Dohms
19:45 – 20:15: Break – Pizzas!
20:15 – 21:00: Talk: Debugging with Pry – Yorick Peterse
21:00 – 21:15: Raffle
21:15 Social, drinks, snacks.


PHP Talk: Your code sucks, let’s fix it! – Rafael Dohms

How do you measure the quality of your code? Performance and testing are just one aspect of code, in order to meet deadlines and make maintenance quicker you also need your code to be readable, decoupled and generally easier to comprehend and work with. This talk will go over tips and exercises to help you identify trouble areas, refactor them and train you to write better code in future projects. Come make your code look and function better.

Ruby Talk: Debugging with Pry – Yorick Peterse

I aim to talk about what Pry does, what makes it cool (features, ease of use, etc) and why people should use it to debug code instead of relying on clunky tools such as IRB or Kernel#puts. Examples range from simple ones such as defining code to more complex ones such as inserting “breakpoints”, listing variables and retrieving documentation.


As usual, we’ve got some awesome stuff to give away. Software licenses, books, and a ticket to one of the best (if not the best) PHP conference in Europe.

For more info and updates, be sure to check out Meetup.

September Meeting


Better late than never, so we have locked down the details of our September meeting. In our September meeting, the topic is now “Quality Assurance”.

Our speaker will be Willem Stuursma, he will give us a inside look at how Continuous Integration happens inside of Mollie with all of their PHP projects.

This month we are once again back with our good friends at True, so if you were there for our first meeting you know they are wonderful hosts. It will all go down on the 20th of September, you can see details on the meetup page

We also managed to secure a few O’Reilly books to raffle them off, so stick around until the end of the talk, and make sure you have RSVP’d on Meetup!


19h: Welcome Drinks
19h30 – 20h30: Continuous Integration at Mollie”
20h30: Social, drinks, food and raffles!.

Speaker: Willem Stuursma

Willem works as a developer at Mollie and has worked at Hyves in Amsterdam and at iWink in Groningen. He likes back-end development, as well as developing for mobile devices and equally loves product and programming.

Talk: “Continuous Integration at Mollie”

In this talk, I will discuss our experiences at Mollie with setting up the Jenkins Continuous Integration server for all our PHP projects. The talk will be aimed at developers with little or no experience with CI.

We look forwardto seeing you again this month! We are looking for our October hosts and speaker, if you are interested, get in touch with us!


True Office (find on Google Maps)
Coöperatiehof 16
1073 JR Amsterdam

New Sponsor and August Meeting

I’m thrilled to announce our new Sponsor: The Next Web and Kings of Code. Well known in Amsterdam and globally especially for the Kings of Code conference it is great to have them on board and a great addition to our team.

TNW will kickoff by hosting our August meeting at their offices. This month we will have Joshua Thijssen, renown PHP Speaker and upcoming author of “A guide to PHP Standard Library”, bringing up a very important topic: Security. In his talk “A history on security and how to win the battle”, Joshua will make us rethink how we design our applications and make sure security is in the from the beginning.

Last month we had a full house, so make sure to secure your spot by RSVPing on our meetup page. As usual our schedule is as follows:

  • 19h: Welcome Drinks
  • 19h30 to 20h30: A history on security and how to win the battle” by Joshua Thijssen
  • 20h30 onwards: Social, drinks and food, mingle and get to know new people

Additional information

Speaker: Joshua Thijssen

Joshua Thijssen is a freelance consultant, systems administrator anddeveloper. His passion lies in designing and working with complexprojects, working on high scalability and availability projects andhelping other to achieve higher standards in both coding and thinking.
He’s the author of the upcoming book “A guide to PHP Standard Library” and is regular speaker on both webdevelopment and system administration conferences. He is currently certified as a Zend PHP5, PHP5.3, Zend Framework, LPIC2, Ubuntu, MySQL DBE & MySQL DBA and has a wide range of programming skills. You can find his technical blogs on

Talk: “A history on security and how to win the battle”

Keeping our systems secure is a thing that already starts at the lowest levels of your CPUs. Security measurement after security measurement must be passed before your software or webapp is actually allowed to run or your data is allowed to be processed. And yet every day we keep hearing more and more stories about security leaks and data breaches.
Why is this happening? Are we such bad programmers? Are we not capable enough to write “secure web applications”? We are loosing this battle if we don’t change our security model and the way we deal with security radically. Here’s how…

Venue: The Next Web

The Next Web is one of the world’s largest online technology publications and organiser of events like The Next Web Conference and Kings of Code. At their Amsterdam HQ theyalso run other (PHP) projects like Twitter Counter, Paydro and Qwitter.
Nieuwe Achtergracht 17
1018XV, Amsterdam

July Meeting at WEBclusive

We are all ready for our next meetup, this time in July the 19th. This month we wil have the renown author of phpDocumentor 2 (previous DocBlox), Mike van Riel, come teach us about Responsive Design for Developers and why we need to worry about this, even not being front end developers.

This month we are going to meet in the WEBclusive offices in the famous Rozengracht.

Rozengracht 133-3hg
1016LV Amsterdam

Get more information and RSVP over on meetup


19h00 – 19h30: Welcome Drinks
19h30 – 20h30: “Going Responsive for Developers” by Mike van Riel
20h30 – ??: Socializing, beer and food


“Going Responsive for Developers”

Designing and creating a website that is suitable for both the desktop and mobile is a unique kind of challenge. In the past years we have seen the rise of Responsive Design; a methodology and mindset on how to make a website suitable for both platforms.

During this talk we’ll design a new website using Responsive Design and show what considerations and design decisions are to be encountered along the way.

About Mike van Riel

Mike van Riel is a Senior Software Developer at Unet B.V., an ISP for the corporate segment based in the Netherlands. In his spare time he is also Lead Developer of phpDocumentor, an API Documentation Generator for PHP.

With a passion for industry standards and Quality Assurance he loves nothing more than to discuss methods to improve code and ways to ‘Do-It-Better’™ in general.

PHP TestFest with PFZ

PHP needs contributions, and you can help. Writing tests for PHP is very simple and all you need to know is PHP, and what to test. This is where the PHP TestFest comes in.

This month we will be giving the PFZ group our support and helping them organize, in our backyard, a June PHP TestFest. Its very simple, if you wish to come, let them know bu registering here (in dutch, but quick and easy), bring you own laptop and come willing to learn and help. Three mentors will be available to help: Derick Rethans, Rafael Dohms and  Felix de Vliegher. They will help people get started and guide them towards finding areas to test and getting tests written.

This is a great way to give back and a great learning experience, so join us at the WEBclusive office (Rozengracht 133-3hg) on the 23rd of June at 10 am.

Speaker and Gifts on our June Meeting

After a long wait, we are finally able to announce who will be speaking at our first meeting in June!

Our good friend Michelangelo van Dam has graciously offered to come up all the way from Belgium to give his talk “Community Works!” on how awesome and easy it is to become part of the PHP community.

And if that wasn’t enough already, thanks to our friends at php|architect, we are able to give away a free one year subscription to all attendees. So be sure to be there!

Sign up on Meetup now or check out the original post for more details.

We hope to see you on June 21st!

Meeting at True on June 21st

It’s almost time for our monthly meetup, and it promises to be a blast!

For our first meetup on June 21st, our good friends at True have graciously invited us to their office in De Pijp in Amsterdam.

We will have our friend Michelangelo van Dam talking about community, an evening filled with talking shop with our peers, and we’ll close up by watching the Euro 2012 quarter final match!

Thanks to php|architect, we are also able to give away a free one year subscription to all attendees!


  • 19:00 – 19:30 Welcome and Introductions
  • 19:30 – 20:30 “Community Works!” by Michelangelo van Dam
  • 20:30 – ??:?? Drinks, socializing, and the Euro 2012 Quarter Final


About Michelangelo:

Michelangelo is a community animal who devotes much of his time to PHPBenelux (a PHP user group in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), the international PHP community at large, contributing to PHP projects, and speaking about PHP at user group meetings and conferences. He also works as an independent contractor for major companies and governments in Europe and teaches PHP and Zend Framework to corporate development teams. In his spare time, he’s a devoted husband and loving father of two sons.

About the talk:

The power behind the PHP community, why everyone is saying it’s so great and how easy it is to become part of this wonderful community. Yes, there’s something different with the PHP community. It has power, passion and bright minds to share knowledge and get everyone involved in all kinds of cool things. Get to know the PHP community and experience yourself that being different is not a bad thing. Community Works!


True Office (find on Google Maps)
Coöperatiehof 16
1073 JR Amsterdam

Thanks to True, snacks and drinks are on the house, and joining the meeting will of course be free of charge! We’d really like you to come, but don’t forget to sign up on meetup so we know how many people to expect.

Feel free to spread the word! We hope to see you guys there soon!

Kickoff Meeting

Tonight marks our first meeting and its going to be all about the group and its future. The main goal tonight is to do a think tank and brainstorm ideas for what we can do with the User Group.

If you can’t make it but have an awesome idea i want to be up in the mix, the leave a comment below, send us an email, post on facebook, just get your idea somewhere and we will bring it up. To know more about the meeting: visit meetup.