Laracon Online is a distributed online conference where the talks are streamed live. Video recordings are also available shortly afterwards. This has proven very useful for me this year, because I could not watch the entire live broadcast. Since I finally managed to catch up on the talks I missed, here is what I got out of this 2nd edition of Laracon Online!
Advanced Vue.js component design, by Adam Wathan
I have been looking at front-end frameworks like Vue or Angular for some time, but I haven’t used them in a project. It’s very interesting to see how to use these tools in different contexts and it helps improve my overall understanding of them. This talk described how to design reusable and easily stylable components. Although I might not need to do this at the moment, the code example helped to grasp the concepts.
The little details of UI design, by Steve Schoger
I really loved this talk, because as programmers we often struggle to design beautiful user interfaces. Steve is known for his 🔥design tips and this talk was an awesome practical example of applying simple changes to greatly improve our UIs. He refactored the UI of a LinkedIn clone by explaining his techniques along the way. If you want to taste a part of his wisdom, his talk’s slides contains a lot of information.
Laravel 5.6 and Spark 6, by Taylor Otwell
A conference on Laravel wouldn’t be the same without its creator showing up for a talk. Taylor presented some improvements of Laravel 5.6 and a major update to Laravel Spark. The latter really sparked my interest and if I ever want to build some kind of SaaS or online product which needs billing-related functionality, I will definitely consider using this! This allows to spend time on the product which matters the most and not waste time building yet another payment processing toolkit.
Scaling Laravel, by Chris Fidao
Managing a server can be quite a daunting task. It’s a major responsibility because you app can’t live without it AND it has major performance/security implications. Chris has a series of courses, Servers for Hackers, aimed precisely at developers to demystify the myths and challenges of server administration. This talk was specifically about scaling tips when using Laravel, but could certainly be transposed to another framework. It was interesting to see how some simple tips could greatly improve an app’s performance.
Advanced querying with Eloquent, by Jonathan Reinink
Jonathan’s talk was a great complement to Chris’s presentation about server administration. The server configurations(software and hardware) do improve the performance of your app, but at the heart of it, your code can make a huge difference in the experience the users get. Querying, then processing, the data from the database in your app is definitely a bottleneck in many projects. The talk presented some tips to offload data processing from the PHP app to the database engine, leveraging the capabilities of theses tools(with Laravel’s subSelect and rawQueries) specialized in handling big datasets.
You are insufficiently persuasive, by Sandi Metz
Software development is usually a team effort, even if you work in solo, you certainly interact with some kind of stakeholder for your project(client, project manager, etc.). Those interpersonal interactions can be one of the hardest parts of the job. Sandi presented some resources to help us be happier at work, and at home. First, she talked about the book Influence: The psychology of persuasion. She really didn’t like it as it presented 6 weapons of persuasion, which has a more negative tone. Instead, she proposed another publication: How to win friends and influence people which looks like an all-time classic, published in 1937 for the first time. This book is pretty interesting because it suggests changing your behaviour to shape the way others interact with you. Sandi’s friend summarize it in one sentence : Act as if others are interesting, you will eventually find them so. So, making genuine effort towards others will make the relationship more enjoyable for everybody, which seems like a pretty nice way to be happy in life. Persuasion can help us become better at collaborating. But not only do we need to improve our persuasion skills, we must also become better a getting influenced. So, to build the best team, each member must commit to be the best version of itself.
Laravel for fun (and profit?), by Matt Stauffer
This talk was very interesting, and Matt got really good storytelling skills. He explained his process when building apps: Notice a problem, Build the minimum viable solution, Ship it! I find it inspiring that he brings up that we don’t need to always build the perfect way. Sometimes, the right way is the one who works, which solves the initial problem. Laravel has a great ecosystem, with a lot of complementary tools/libraries to help us build our apps faster and solve problems more easily. Building faster allows you to ship faster, thus enabling you to build AND learn even more!. Always keep in mind your original goal when you build an app. Do not overthink or overengineer before you solved the problem. Once the need for your solution is clearly established, then bring it to the next level(scaleability, monetization, etc.), if that’s what you want.
As software developers, it’s important to take some time and ask ourselves why we build apps. It’s even more important regarding side projects we do in our free time. Time is a limited resource and we must use it wisely. So, why do we build apps? Some do it for money or fame. Others for fun or to help a friend/family member. At the heart of it, I think I do it because I can. I can make money, I can build notoriety, I can help other people, but above all, I love it! As programmers, we have a real power to change other people’s lives, let’s have fun doing it!
In conclusion, I would like to thank everybody in the Laracon Online organization and the speakers. I really loved the event, it’s awesome to be able to catch up on the videos shortly after. The online aspect makes the conference very accessible and affordable. The content had a nice balance of technical and less technical talks, with a wide variety of subjects, bringing value even for someone like me who’s not using Laravel every day.
Kudos to everybody that made this event possible and see you next year! 🤓