Laracon EU 2016 Conference — Day 2

Back again, 9:30am day 2 of Laracon 2016. The weather was glorious: the sun was out with a predicted high of 31 degrees; the day was set to be a scorcher.

A friendly faced volunteer welcomed me as I arrived at the venue door. I headed straight for coffee. Historically the morning of day two was always a little foggy from alcohol the night before but I’d played it safe this year and resisted the urge to head out drinking until the early hours, as was the norm for previous Laracons. This year the team had organised a social event straight after the close of the main conference. It was a common suggestion from the previous year as it removes the need to try and arrange your own social gatherings and also places any potential hangover to the morning after the event, when you don’t have to be alert and thinking.

On my way to talk 1 of the day, I bumped into Jeroen van der Gulik. I first met Jeroen back at the second Laracon EU and found him to be a great guy who always takes the time to say hello and chat both during and between conferences. Today, he was looking a little nervous about his end of day talk. I imagine it must be the worst slot if you are not a super confident speaker. Rather him than me!

Talk 1

‘Build Your Own Recommendation Engine with Neo4j’ by Christophe Willemsen was my choice. I’d been introduced to Neo4j by Michelle Sanver at a previous Laracon and saw great potential but still not had chance to use the technology. I was hoping this talk would expand my knowledge in this area with good practical examples of how to use it.

The talk ran through a good overview of a recommendation service, along with examples of how it could be implemented in PHP. I struggled a little to put the pieces of information together and would have prefered the talk to run in reverse order, starting with the full demo of implementation and then zooming out to the more general overview, but this was just a personal preference. The crowd were engaged which sparked questions after the talk relating to how you may go about moving from SQL to graph databases. I was left with a good use case for Neo4j that I could propose to my ecommerce clients.

Talk 2

Back to the blue track to see Freek Van Der Herten’s talk about Laravel backups. Like many others in the Laravel community, I too use Spatie packages on my projects and look to Freek and his team for inspiration and a first port of call to see if Spatie has a package that will save me some time. Freek pointed out that the Spatie packages are not free and will cost one postcard of your hometown sent to their offices which is a great bargain and if it helps encourage them to continue their great work, it’s a worthwhile thing to do.

The talk ran through some issues that we all face when things go wrong and you need to go to your backups. I have relied upon hosting providers to handle my backups in the past, which has proven to be a costly mistake. These days I use various methods, including the Ottomatik service which Freek also highlighted in his talk. The talk then ran through the available options and concluded with a great demo of the Spatie Laravel Backup package that is designed to be simple to setup and not only performs the backups, but also has many tools to give you the reassurance that the backups continue to work over time.

I noticed the room was around half full, which to me is a sign of a good mixture of technical levels attending this year as the concurrent talk in the red track is aimed at higher scale infrastructure.


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