Inaugural Laravel Live UK 2018. A Post-Conference Musing

Posted by Carl Crawley - 13th June 2018

Just sitting on the train hurtling cross country back to Wales after a very enlightening and enjoyable trip to London for the inaugural Laravel Live conference at the iconic British Library.

As a veteran conference goer, I generally know how these things go - but I've never been to a Laravel conference before plus I'm a relatively new convert to Laravel (3 years). I was unsure of what the community would be like to a newbie and having read the synopsis of the conference which promised "Deep Dives" and no "Soft" talks - I was excited about really getting into the guts of the Laravel ecosystem and equally nervous about not coming across as a total noob.

The atmosphere outside the British Library was jovial and happy enough - people milling around and greeting each other like long-lost friends of old. Very much like most of the conferences, these events bring together people who work sometimes, cross continents into one space for a short period of time. This was even true for myself having met up with a long-standing client, colleague and good friend from deepest darkest Scotland.

Doors opened, everyone bumbled in to the main concourse and fumbled around looking for their tags and then headed upstairs to get coffee, water and to review the available free swag from the sponsors - a staple at tech conferences and in this case, it didn't fail - with a great selection of useful things as giveaways.

Shortly afterwards everyone started to meander into the main auditorium and take their seats. Conference organiser Jonty took to the stage to welcome everyone and to introduce the first speaker.

Matt Stauffer (@stauffermatt)

I'd only ever heard of Matt from colleagues and friends and never observed or heard him speak, so this was a pleasure to get to listen to him talk. His talk on whether Laravel could be classed as Enterprise "ready" was extremely enlightening and the first part of his talk put forward justifications for CEOs, CTOs and stakeholders that - Yes, it is Enterprise ready and capable. The second part of his talk took a little bit of a deeper dive into why and how it's enterprise ready and what enterprise is. Everyone in the audience seemed to be hanging on his every word and his musings and points were succinct, valid and very on target. I could happily have listened to Matt's opinion on the ingredients of a cereal box at this point.

Hannes Van De Vreken (@hannesvdvreken)

Hannes talk on IOC beyond container injection was exactly what I was expecting. It was a seriously deep and meaningful dive into the guts of the Laravel Ecosystem. The talk started and I felt like I was just able to follow along and then I must have fallen off the path or taken a wrong turn because about half way through I realised I had no idea what was being discussed and from that point I struggled to regain my focus. Looking around the auditorium there was a good mixture of people deep in thought/concentration coupled with a few bewildered looks of confusion. I assumed at this point, his talk was very good, but WAY over my head and that of a few of the other conference goers, which entirely was not Hannes fault. The content clearly showed that Hannes had put a significant amount of time into preparation and I hope to download the talk slides and review it all again much slower to try to ingest more.

Barry O'Donovan (@barryo79)

Barry's talk on migrating PHP applications to Laravel was an extremely enlightening discussion on running a side-by-side migration of legacy to Laravel in such a way as to not need "Flag Day" or "Code Freeze". His soft, gentle Irish accent was extremely soothing to listen to and was a pleasure to listen to his opinions and experiences of upgrading what he considered to be beyond Enterprise and more akin to Critical Service applications.

Steve Popoola (@stpopoola)

Steve absolutely won the award for one of the funniest and relaxed talks of the entire conference. His talk on leveraging notifications in Laravel was 45 minutes of validation and vindication that I at least am doing it the right way. He demonstrated how, in Laravel he was able to take an 8-step process and pair that down into a 3 or even 1 step process by utilising notifications to push to Slack, SMS or Email. His comment mid talk "My Mouse is Independent of my Movement" will go down as the funniest statement of the day.

Alex Bilbie (@alexbilbie)

Alex talk on 12 Factor Laravel Apps was a rather contentious one. With suggestions such as "Committing your Vendor Folder to version control" and "Don't use .ENV variables" it drew a mixed responses from the audience. His talk was extremely succinct, matter of fact and drew on clearly a lot of experience in the industry. He supported each statement with a supporting argument why and touched a little on containers and docker, which was one of my biggest draws to the conference and I certainly got a lot out of the talk and spent quite some time after the conference talking to him, to which he was extremely friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating.

Franz Liedke (@franzliedke)

Franz talk on extending core libraries and customising Laravel with custom Service Providers was another talk that partly went over my head. I knew going into the talk that the subject is something I should know more about and desperately wanted to learn and understand more - but while I understood the concepts Franz discussed, I struggled to try to correlate that with how I'd implement it in my own applications. He certainly knew what he was talking about though and that showed in the slides. Franz also managed to pull off some impressive live coding, which as a tech speaker in my previous lives - I've done and it's not easy to do!

Rob Allen (@akrabat)

Final talk of the day was from Rob and centered around APIs and Lumen. Having been working with Laravel APIs every day for the past month or so on an existing project, I considered myself to be relatively "fresh" with Restful, stateless APIs - but his talk still managed to give me some food for thought while also validating some of my previous understandings. He was relaxed and delivered a great talk and for anyone wanting to get into building an API - this was excellent.

After final talk, Jonty took to the stage again and thanked everyone and the sponsors for their efforts. He then announced that across the road there would be a free bar for the conference attendees for a couple of hours "or until the money runs out" - cue lots of applause and cheers and everyone descended upon the bar for some light refreshment and networking.

All the organisers and the speakers mingled in with the crowd at the bar, engaging in deep and meaningful conversations about all aspects of tech and life. The speakers were extremely accommodating when it came to questions about their talks and helping other conference attendees on how they might apply principles to their own applications and solutions.

All in, Jonty and his team did a great job at organising this years conference. It was a great spectrum of talks from a wide range of individuals from totally different backgrounds and the atmosphere was extremely friendly and welcoming.

I look forward to seeing where this conference goes from here - but the future definitely looks bright!

Avatar of Barry O'Donovan

Barry O'Donovan

13th Jun 2018 14:27

Great write up Carl - and it was a pleasure to meet and chat with you after the conference. Really enjoyed the old stories re the Isle of White. One small request - you might fix my twitter handle above - it's @barryo79 Thanks!
Avatar of Carl Crawley

Carl Crawley

13th Jun 2018 15:21

Sorry Barry! Fixed
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