There are always a lot of interesting talks at Codemotion Conference, and we are really excited to have Lorna Mitchell as one of our speakers.
After a long career as a freelance software consultant, specialising in PHP and APIs, project rescue, technical training and coaching for a variety of clients both near and far, Lorna served IBM as Developer Advocate, and now she is working at Nexmo, the Vonage API Platform.
She is the author of PHP Web Services and PHP Master as well as being a regular conference speaker and writer for a number of outlets.

Lorna, you gave many talks to Codemotion Events. Which has been your favourite topics you have talked about?

I submitted a talk on Code Reviews: I love this topic because I believe that all developers should be reviewing code and having their own code reviewed, so these skills are really relevant to developers at all levels and across technologies. I’m a tech lead as well as an open source maintainer so I give advice from both those angles in this session.
I also gave a talk about PHP 7 which is the newest, shiniest release of PHP and a great new addition to the revolution of modern PHP that we’re experiencing. My talk is about the new features but also includes pragmatic advice on upgrading existing PHP applications.

What is your opinion on the hottest features in PHP 7?

For me, it HAS to be the performance. There so few backwards compatibility breaks that the vast majority of businesses running an application on PHP5 can, with very little investment, run it twice as fast on PHP 7.

How important is code review during the development process?

Code review is vital. Catching bugs while the developer is still working on the code or has just completed a feature is the best possible time. If they’re not picked up until later, perhaps when the client gets around to testing or even worse after they’ve been shipped to production, then it costs a lot more in time and effort to fix the problems, but you’ve also cost yourself some trust from your client as well. Code reviews are also a great opportunity for looking for improvements in approach as well as bugs, catching security oversights, and sharing ideas for good practice around all members of a team.

Who is/are your tech heroes?

I really look up to people doing good work, but then reflecting on and sharing that good work. We’re so connected now that I’m reading content from new people every day but this week my favourites are Kathy Sierra, Laura Thompson and Lara Hogan.

What did you expect from a Codemotion Conference the first time you have attended?

I had heard that the audience and speakers are friendly and there are some good sessions on the schedule, so I expected it will be excellent!

If you could improve one thing in tech conferences, what would it be?

It’s hard to generalise about tech conferences, I get to a LOT of events and honestly they are all really different. One thing that I would change about all conferences … the lighting? It’s become very fashionable to turn the lights off completely. I find it weird to sit in the dark with lots of strangers – and I can’t see my knitting!

What’s your current music album on repeat?

Mmm, I don’t really listen to the same music over and over, but when I haven’t got the brain power to choose, then I’ve been listening to Soma FM’s Lush station, it’s good background music and I hear some new tracks there.

One tip to the youngsters interested in coding?

Just do it. Don’t read too much, don’t ask what would happen if you did a thing – just do it. Got an idea? Try to build it, and see how far you can get. Before you move on to the next project, ask “what would I do different/better next time?”

Thanks a lot Lorna, can’t wait to see you soon again at one of the next Codemotion events!