Laracon 2018: Highlights from the Laravel Conference

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Since I’ve been developing web apps for about 10 years now, Laravel was one of the few frameworks that brought a shine of light back into my eyes. I remember thinking about how poorly PHP frameworks were the decade before. While they had some shortcuts and structures for backend and sites, the performance, way of declaring classes and overall community were not great.

It’s one of those cases where the framework demands the language to improve. PHP has a great mass of people using it but it fell short when other languages started to evolve and added multiple code design patterns and paradigms. Laravel, however, seemed to have understood the frustration between developers and foreseen the future of development and it’s best practices.

This preface is only to justify how excited I was to attend Laracon.

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

I’ve been working on this really cool Laravel/Vue project for the past 6 months and have struggled with different business rules and their side on code. Laracon offered a fresh look at Laravel content that helped justify or correct some of the work I’ve done.

One of my personal highlights from this conference was the range of topics covered. Not every topic was technical, which makes a lot of sense since developers need to nurture their understanding of business and work life.

My takeaways?

1. The Jason Fried Q&A – Plenty of things were discussed here. My mind retained:

a) We need to build better work environments in order to enhance productivity and quality products.

b) Offices are places where work is not at its best.

c) Communication tools (like Slack) are poorly used by teams, and they enhance instant communication, rather than asynchronous communication.

2. Ryan Holiday’s keynote about timeless products. My mind retained:

a) Focus on markets with few competitors or preferably, with no competitors at all. Create your own monopoly.

b) Base your values and core product beliefs in things that are timeless. For example, core value is “great customer service” and not “great Bitcoin support”. The latter has greater volatility and it gets affected by time and technology.


The main highlight of the conference was without a doubt Nova, the new admin panel by Taylor Otwell. I felt like I was back at WWDC, because of the excitement and level of secrecy this product held.

Aside from the feature wonders of this piece of software, I was impressed by the community at Laracon. Everyone had this sense of commitment where awesome experience matched good development practices. This gets reflected not only in Otwell’s products but also in the packages created by developers worldwide.

My last (but certainly not least) highlight of the conference was the tech talk. This is the point where a nerd like myself got all excited with how other people are developing and creating new code. I personally liked:

1. Evan You’s Vue CLI keynote. I cannot imagine how much work this guy has done, since he’s not a developer. Vue has been my personal choice for front end. The framework has got tons of attention and it’s moving fast. The CLI’s are just another tool to prove the momentum Vue has.

2. TJ Miller’s API keynote. I love creating APIs and there should definitely be more education around this. There are so many angles to consider while building this middleware for your frontend. Luckily, Miller’s keynote proved that education is in the works. There’s also a new course around APIs he’s launching soon. Make sure to subscribe.

An extra bonus! I was smiling the entire time while listening to Jocelyn Glei’s Hurrying Slowly keynote. The main key here is: No one owns somebody else’s time. Keep your calendar open and clean!

Thanks for reading. Next year, I’ll try Laracon EU or Laracon AU.


Felipe Pena is a Lead Mobile Developer who loves music, reading and spending time with his wife and daughter.
For more of his conference thoughts, check out his blog on Chain React 2018 and The Future of React Native.

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