A conference like PHPNW 2014 can be hard to sum up as it's very programming language specific but if you work with PHP (as I do) then the combination of talks and talking shop with other people using the same tool set is invaluable.
There were a few common themes across the weekend:
Tools, Best Practices and Design Patterns
There was a great set of talks addressing a cross section of topics around developer tools and methodologies and these are always the most interesting of any event as they highlight aspects of developers workflows that are harder to get across in less personal format like an article or blog post.
PHP Internals and Performance
I'm not 100% sure how useful the sessions delving deep into PHP internals were, they were all very well presented and informative on the topic directly and if I do ever find myself needing dig that deep they'll serve me well. But they were all a bit abstract and perhaps missed a bit of link to how they were relevant to day to day work. On the other hand, also a topic that's pretty difficult to know where to start when you do need to dig into it,
Several of the talks spoke about the importance of the community and perhaps one of the most interesting observations was how some dialects of PHP such as WordPress and Magento often get segregated whereas they should be welcomed without prejudice as it strengthens the larger community.