Amy Gebhardt and Midwest PHP 2019

As conference season enters the Spring season, early in the lineup is Midwest PHP 2019, a conference here in Minneapolis that is all about sharing best practices, ideas, and techniques to build state-of-the-art software applications. In preparation for the event, I got the chance to sit down for an interview with Amy Gebhardt, Lead Front-End Software Engineer at SportsEngine.  Check out the full conversation below, followed by notes and links on some of the high points.

Amy’s sessions at Midwest PHP

Amy will be presenting 2 talks this year, a high honor, especially with the caliber of the other speakers and topics!

For her first talk, “Building a Reusable UI Component Library with Components You'll Actually Reuse?!”, Amy is sharing her experiences building a Component Library while at SportsEngine.  She told us that this “turned out to be a daunting project” but the drive to help “other engineers use this work in the future” kept her motivated. She’ll be sharing 10 tech-agnostic strategies she wished she’d known before starting.

For her other talk, “Code Reviews: That's a Great Idea!” Amy shared that this actually came from the advice “write the abstract of the talk you wanted to attend.” That advice–and this talk–got her started presenting 4 years ago and she’s been going strong ever since. The initial driver for this talk came from a need to standardize on how code reviews were done on her team at the time. Amy will share guidance on ‘normal’ code review topics like style and technical decisions, but also emphasize the human elements of giving and receiving feedback. She has learned a lot since she first started talking on this topic and is eager to share all those lessons.  

Common Themes

Underlying both topics is the desire to make better experiences for others; both engineers and users. Amy clearly cares deeply for her (and her team’s) code as well as the people who will use what they build. Reusable components are all about making other developers more efficient and effective, all while building in best-practices (like accessibility) to that work. Similarly, code reviews are an opportunity to enable engineers both technically and as humans to do the right thing for our users.

And so much more!

Amy is just one of many great speakers at Midwest PHP. I asked her who else she was looking forward to hearing from and Amy was quick to respond with Ian Coldwater’s keynote "Rising The Tide" and the opportunity to meet her in person for the first time.

Caryn Pagel’s talk “Accessibility Every Day” is also high on Amy’s ‘must see’ list. Caryn’s talk is set to be more about being good humans and making really great software for the right reasons.

Recommended Resources  

Of course, not everyone reading this will be able to make it to Midwest PHP 2019. Towards that end, I asked Amy to share some resources that she has found useful on her topics. She provided us with the following and hopes you find them helpful as well!

On Component Libraries:

On Code Reviews:

Returning to her PHP Roots

Amy’s career started in PHP and she has a strong connection to this community. Her first technical meetup was our local PHP user group and Midwest PHP was the first event she ever attended. She is “really looking forward to reconnecting with so many great humans she knows, as well as making new friends she has not met yet.”

We at Pantheon are also very much looking forward to meeting friends old and new as well as seeing our own Andrew Taylor present “Testing Business Critical Features With Behat”. Come say hi to us at the event and share what you are looking forward to in the comments!


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