The bustling hall at Laracon EU 2017

7 Laracon EU 2017 talks and the people I met

The awesome talks and the amazing people made Laracon EU 2017 an experience to remember

My favourite talks

I’ll split this up into a few sections to talk about the non-technical and the technical talks. I found myself enjoying the non-technical talks slightly more than the technical this year.

My 3 favourite non-technical talks

By non-technical I mean not involving reams of code.

Bruce Lee Driven Development was an interesting title for a talk and it did not disappoint. Jeroen van der Gulik introduced us to the philosophies of Bruce Lee who enjoyed learning as many styles of Kung Fu. Then explained how, as software developers, we could benefit from absorbing as many different development styles as possible and only using those pieces we find most useful.

Eryn O’Neil gave a superb talk about tackling problems in the development process, the talk was titled Project Triage: What to Do When Everything Hits the Fan. Eryn shared her experiences in a couple of situations and dove deeply into the steps taken to resolve the issues. The basis of the talk was to remind us that we’re dealing with people, sometimes that’s other people, sometimes that’s ourselves. We should empathise with people and remember not to react to situations, instead we should be prepared and make plans before acting.

Laura Elizabeth’s talk was awesome. My phone photography was not.

Design is something that most developers struggle with, this is something that has not gone unnoticed by Laura Elizabeth. Laura’s talk Debugging Design: 5 simple design principles to make your UI “not look terrible” took a developer’s site and transformed the site from average looking into a clear, eye-catching, site. The steps were well explained, simple and could be followed by anyone willing to take the time to follow them.

My 3 favourite technical talks

The technical talks were of a very high standard and it was hard to pick three favourites.

The conference opened with a talk by Marcel Pociot From zero to multi-platform Chatbot with BotMan. As you might imagine it focussed on his awesome Laravel based package called Botman. Marcel walked us through the steps required to setup a simple chatbot and then further explained the steps you might want to take to make the chatbot more complex. The slick style of the presentation was a perfect opener to the conference.

Freek is well known for his love of pointing, here you can see three Freek’s pointing (N.B. not a true fact)

There are few people in the Laravel community who haven’t heard of Spatie (roughly pronounced spa-sea) and their champion Freek Van der Herten who spends a lot of time speaking to and helping developers around the world. Freek’s talk, titled Building a realtime dashboard with Laravel, Vue and Pusher, ran us through the open source dashboard that Spatie have created and how all the pieces click together. Most of the people I spoke to afterwards were thinking of creating their own dashboards after seeing how well the package works.

The final talk of the conference was given by Evan You the author of VueJS. Inside Vue Components showed how the component system worked on VueJS, he explained the logic of why they are single files and all of the processing magic that happens behind the scenes. There were a lot of very tired developers in the room but all of the people I spoke to enjoyed it a lot.

One rising star

During one of the talk slots I felt like I wanted to listen to something different so I went along to an unconference talk by a confident young lad called Alfie Carlisle. His talk Agile Development in Education explained how the students at his school develop some of the internal systems used to communicate between parents, teachers and students. The complexity of the systems was impressive and the design looked as good as most commercial products. Alfie is one to watch in the future.

The people

During the whole of Laracon EU I met lots of interesting and friendly people. Everyone was willing to have a chat if you struck up conversation. The speakers were readily accessible, every time I saw a speaker they were in a conversation with someone and looking like they were enjoying it.


Earlier in 2017 the Slack channel for LaravelUK was set up after the Laracon Online conference.

A bunch of super cool guys enjoying very different choices of food

Fast forward to Laracon EU 2017 and a bunch of us managed to meet up in person. Putting faces to Slack handles was the best experience of the conference.

Thanks everyone for making a great Laracon EU 2017… I’m going home to sleep.

Photo taken on the night before the conference