PHPers Summit 2024: Our reflections and predictions

On Friday 21 June, around 1,000 guests attended the PHPers Summit 2024 in Poznań, Poland – the biggest turnout for this event to date.

PHP, originally known as PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, is an open-source, server-side scripting language that has evolved far beyond its initial use in web development. Today, PHP plays a vital role in building modern, scalable, and secure web applications. 

At Volt, we use many programming languages in our toolset. Our engineering team consists of Golang, Java, TypeScript and PHP specialists, all essential components to solve day-to-day payment challenges. When it comes to PHP, we create sophisticated, interconnected services that support high-performance and scalable applications. Its versatility allows for the execution of complex system operations, data management, and seamless integration with other modern technologies.

We served as a platinum sponsor at this year’s PHP Summit, with our team sharing their expertise both on stage and at our an action-packed stand, where we held a competition to name an annual Volt meetup – the winner taking home a PlayStation 5.

The Volt team at PHPers Summit 2024
The Volt team at our PHPers Summit 2024 stand

Read on for our key takeaways from the event, and what predictions our experts have for this sector.

Networking and exchanging ideas keeps us growing 

This year there were 34 lectures and three workshops, including a new format called ‘Open Space’ which created more room for discussion – something our attendees were grateful for. 

“I appreciated this Open Space addition a lot as it provided a unique opportunity for networking and exchanging experiences not only on deep technology topics, but also on building organisational culture and personal career plans,“ notes our Engineering Manager, Karol Kreft, who took to the stage as part of a panel discussion on online payments, providing Volt’s perspective on such technology, the challenges and risks, and what the future could look like.

Our Technical Lead, Wojciech Opoczyński, who spoke about ‘Optimisation of a distributed system – Why performance is a lie,’ also enjoyed this fresh new approach to bring people together: “We had the opportunity to propose and talk about multiple interesting topics, from soft skills to system architecture. It was a great opportunity to exchange experience and information between speakers and other people who attended.”

Volt Technical Lead, Wojciech Opoczyński
Volt Technical Lead, Wojciech Opoczyński. Photo courtesy of PHPers Summit 2024

Meanwhile, one of our Senior PHP Software Engineers, Jacek Polański, believes his learnings are valuable in helping keep Volt at the forefront of technological advancements.

“My key takeaways are the advanced techniques and tools for data processing and system integration,” he explains. “The presentations provided deep insights into handling large data sets and optimising data manipulation, which are crucial for enhancing efficiency and scalability. For Volt, this knowledge can improve our data processing workflows and streamline system interoperability, leading to better performance, improved user experiences, and a stronger technological foundation.”

Innovation and iteration is the key to success

When looking at competition, our team acknowledges that being a younger company gives Volt the benefit of building using newer versions of PHP (versions  8+). However, for those newer players looking to make a real impact with their technology, a tried and tested approach is vital to success. 

“On one hand, our younger codebase can be seen as an advantage, but on the other hand, it requires significant attention during decision-making and designing new additions,” Karol says. “It’s crucial for us to keep the complexity as low as possible, practise regular refactoring, and pay off technical debt just in time.” 

Volt Engineering Manager, Karol Kreft as part of the online payments panel
Volt Engineering Manager, Karol Kreft (middle), as part of the online payments panel. Photo courtesy of PHPers Summit 2024

More importantly, to make a strong impression with PHP, it’s the application that matters, as Bartosz Głuszczak, Senior Software Engineer, explains: “We stand out in our use of PHP by thoroughly researching and evaluating tools before implementation, ensuring informed and strategic decisions. This meticulous approach allows us to leverage the latest PHP advancements effectively, delivering robust, scalable, and cutting-edge applications.”

Bartosz is familiar with complexities that can come with working in this field, as he covered during his own talk: ‘Event streaming on Symfony and Kafka – A love/hate relationship.’ He dived into the limitations and challenges of integrating Apache Kafta, a distributed data store created for ingesting and processing streaming data in real-time, with Symfony Messenger, a component of PHP framework Symfony that helps apps send and receive messages.

“By highlighting these limitations, I aimed to provide a comprehensive view of the integration process, enabling developers to make informed decisions when implementing Kafka with Symfony Messenger,” he adds.

Bartosz Głuszczak, Volt Senior Software Engineer
Volt Senior Software Engineer, Bartosz Głuszczak. Photo courtesy of PHPers Summit 2024

PHP may have stabilised, but advancements are on the horizon

PHP launched almost 30 years ago in 1995, with the latest version 8.3 released in November 2023. According to W3Techs, PHP powers over 76% of websites in 2024. While its advancements may have slowed down slightly more recently, that’s not to say there isn’t room for further growth, and PHP’s enduring popularity is a testament to its robustness and adaptability.

“With so many opportunities available, it’s up to software engineers to decide whether to work on legacy systems, build modern products, or create tools leveraging the latest AI capabilities,” Karol shares. “This is a good moment to reflect on personal aspirations and goals.”

Another of Volt’s Senior PHP Software Engineers, Paweł Piórkowski, echoes Karol, confident that – while not as dynamically as in previous years – PHP will grow and evolve, bringing with it increased capabilities and a demand for experienced engineers.

The Volt team at their PHPers Summit stand
The Volt stand. Photo courtesy of PHPers Summit 2024

Bartosz believes PHP will remain prominent, given its broad and practical use cases: “The adoption of PHP frameworks like Symfony will remain strong, fostering rapid development and robust applications. With a focus on security and scalability, PHP will continue to be a popular choice for web development. Additionally, the integration of PHP with modern DevOps (a set of practices and tools that enhance a company’s ability to deliver applications and services) and cloud services will enhance its relevance in the evolving tech landscape.”

At Volt we’re on a mission to disrupt legacy payments, building agile, innovative solutions for our merchants and their customers. Want to join us on this journey? Take a look at our open positions.