In the past month and a half I had the pleasure of attending not one, but two developer conferences in Croatia's capital Zagreb. Both conferences are community organized, by people who apparently know what they are doing, as I only have words of praise for them.
ZgPHP was the first conference, held on September 14th. It started out as a regular meetup of the PHP community in Zagreb, but it soon grew out into something bigger. It might not have been an international conference, but it surely was a regional one, as it included speakers and visitors from Croatia and Serbia.
The conference was a milestone for the PHP community in Zagreb - this was their 2nd year of getting together every month and teaching fellow developers, or just having a drink and a chat. To the organizers Ivan, Luka, and Miro I extend my congratutalions and thanks for all they're doing for the community, not just in Croatia, but in the entire South-Eastern Europe. Thanks guys, you rock!
It was community organized, backed by more than a dozen of sponsors, allowing for an entry fee free event. Thus, my thanks go out to the sponsors as well!
The topics ranged from designing and developing high scalability applications, using Travis CI to test open source projects, to using Redis with PHP and how, and more importantly why, should developers start using Vagrant for their day-to-day development. We also had the chance to hear about first hand experiences of being a woman in the IT industry, that sparked an interesting and important conversation. Minus the few bellends that thought that interrupting the speaker with "jokes" was funny, or even appropriate. I hope that they learned for the next time to not do that, or that they'll stay home.
Enough coffee, soda, and pizza was provided for everyone during the day. After the conference was over the unofficial part of it moved a near by coffee shop were the conversations continued into the wee hours.
This anniversary ZgPHP conference is very important for the local community as there is still a lot of developers that for some reason or other can't go to a PHP conference outside of Croatia. I believe around 100 attendees had the oppurtunity to hear 10 talks, which is great!
The second conference was WebCamp Zagreb, held on October 26th. With 24 talks in two tracks, over 600! attendees the second, now annual WebCamp (last year was the first) covered a whole range of topics. You're interested in front-end stuff like HTML5, CSS, developing mobile applications? You got it. Oh, you like the back-end more? They got it covered with stress testing web applications, how to use Erlang to develop high availabilty systems, concurrency, and more.
Same as with ZgPHP, the conference costs were covered by sponsors, making it free for people to attend.
I cannot point out a single problem with the entire event, it was that well organized and thought out. The things passionate people can create when they get together is astonishing.
The unofficial part of the conference continued in a local pub on a Github sponsored drinkup, that even included karaoke singing at one point. Fun times.
Keep an eye out
If you're looking for new conferences to speak at, or attend, keep an eye out on the conferences in Croatia, great things will happen here in the future. There's a lot of smart and passionate people here.