After Laracon US in Louisville, Kentucky, a few weeks ago it was time for Laracon EU this week. For the third time in a row this great
conference happened in Amsterdam. Last year I went to the conference and gave a talk at the community day on the day before the main event.
This year I secured a speaker slot at the main event. It’s my first appearance for 450 people so I was quite nervous.

The speaker line-up was very strong again this year. Some speakers like Adam Wathan, Matt Stauffer, Ben Corlett, Jeffrey Way and Taylor Otwell
even gave a talk at both Laracon US and Laracon EU.

A couple of things changed compared to last year’s conference: the conference didn’t have a community day with more talks by community members.
The topics of the main event were also more focussed on developers as humans rather than developers as code monkeys.
Some people expressed their desire on the interwebs for more technical and Laravel focussed talks, but we certainly enjoyed the softer topics.

At madewithlove we use Laravel a lot, so a couple of us (Maxime, Bram and me) went to Amsterdam
to take part in this event and mingle with the community.


I didn’t attend a workshop, though they all looked interesting.
I only headed to Amsterdam in the afternoon because speakers were invited for an activity starting at 7pm.
There was a boat tour on Amsterdam’s canals and delicious food afterwards.
No clue how the organisers pulled this off but we got spoiled with an awesome double rainbow.

Aah… The double rainbow on the speakers and sponsors diner was amazing #laracon

— Jeroen Gerits (@JeroenGerits) 27 augustus 2015

Tuesday (day 1)

Matt Stauffer‘s keynote was an inspiring talk on having empathy for whoever you’re communicating with.
Empathy is actually listening to someone else’s story and shutting off your inner voice.
He’s one of the most friendly persons I know, so I value his tips to show more empathy yourself.
Empathy gives you superpowers, you know? Go checkout his slides.

Dries Vints gave his first full conference talk as well, and he executed it very well.
He talked about the full Laravel ecosystem of products and the community that keeps making it better.
It reminded me of this blog post
and presentation by Tony Messias
Dries also paid respect to a bunch of community members, including our colleague Maxime Fabre.

Ben Corlett gave a talk on how to survive when you’re starting to freelance.
One life lesson he passed on was “All you need is enough money to do what you like”.
I agree with that. Next to work, you should have just enough money to pay for your other passions that don’t earn you money.

“All you need is enough money to do what you like” – @ben_corlett #laracon #laraconeu

— Hannes Van De Vreken (@hannesvdvreken) 25 augustus 2015

Frank de Jonge‘s talk was on ReactJS and application architecture with Flux. We had a few good laughs during his presentation.
I knew about React for a while now, but now I finally have a good view of how to use it. Thanks for that!
Respect, by the way, because he grew a beard for five weeks to look like a JS hipster. He actually shaved it immediately after the conference :-)!

.@frankdejonge is talking about his weird friendship with JavaScript!

— Laracon EU (@laraconeu) 25 augustus 2015

Adam Wathan‘s talk was more hands on with live coding and TDD practise.
He showed how clean code can be by having Single Responsible classes, functions with only one level of indentation
and Null objects to fill in object dependencies with default behavior. Even more advanced would it have been if he’d
introduced interfaces, decorators and compound objects. Good talk nonetheless.

Last on stage was Taylor Otwell, creator of Laravel. He showcased the close to release “Laravel Spark”.
It’s a base application built with Laravel that provides you with a landing page, signup functionality,
billing plans, billing with Stripe, 2 step authorization via SMS, teams, invitations and much more.

Wednesday (day 2)

First on stage was Jessica Rose. She talked about “Imposter syndrome”. As it turns out, if you feel like a fraud because
you think you’re not good enough: you’re actually very valuable. At least you know you can improve. A sentence she mentioned from a paper:
Fat people don’t know they’re fat. Read: real frauds aren’t smart enough to realise their skills aren’t good enough.
A good way to deal with those is to use the feedback sandwich technique, or the “shit sandwich”. First start off with a compliment,
then tell to do it better, and finish of with another compliment.

The creator of, Lorna Jane Mitchell, came up next, giving us a masterclass in git.
The talk title was “advanced git for developers”. What she delivered totally met all my expectations.
Here’s a list of all tips I noted and started to use since:

After the first break Esther Kok, professor at the university of Nijmegen,
talked about law for hackers. She explained how to keep your criminal record clean when you stumble upon a breach in security. A quick recap:

  • Don’t tell anyone
  • Document how it can be reproduced
  • Contact the people responsible for the leak

Konstantin Kudryashov, better known as @everzet, talked about software costs.
Cost of introduction, cost of change, cost of ownership.
His slides can tell you more than I can, because I was getting into my zone because I was up next.

My talk was about Package Development. I talked about both beginner steps and advanced techniques for novice package developers.
Two great resources for my talk were PHP Package Checklist and Principles of Package Design.
The full slide deck is on speakerdeck.

I’ll also include the video once it’s available.

After my talk there was only one more by Jeffrey Way. His voice sounded very familiar to everyone at the conference,
because he’s the creator of Laracasts and the majority of screencasts on it. He talked on stage about Laravel’s philosophy,
how developer experience is more important than doing things according to best practices and scalability.

The day was concluded with an audio-visual performance with a Kinekt, and a closing reception.

I met loads of people, had tons of conversations and learned a lot! Hope to be back in Amsterdam next year for Laracon.