I can hear large parts of the internet laughing at the joyous irony. Gary Hockin, the vocal proponent of mocking Laravel, is going to sit down and learn the framework. Not just play around with it, not just read the manual, but build something extensive and meaningful from beginning, to end. For real.
My history of gently (or not so gently) mocking Laravel is rich and varied, and it would be a little naughty of me not to recount it here. At the risk of attracting the wrath of the Laravel Mafia (Larafia??), I’ll admit that I haven’t always been the nicest person to Laravel and it’s community. I’ve always found the “artisan” self-labelling cringeworthy, and it’s been the butt of many of my jokes both on Twitter and in my talks. More importantly, I’ve always had a problem with what I’ve thought to be the untestable way that facades were encouraged, to make life easy for developers in the short term. My (admittedly largely ignorant) view is that Laravel has traded application maintainability and testability for a gentle learning curve. As a developer who’s consulted in The Enterprise (whatever that is) for the last few years, this has never fit well with me.
So why is a self-confessed Laravel doubter making a public commitment to learning this framework? The are two main reasons, and let’s get the most contentious out of the way first. My job at JetBrains is a Developer Advocate for PhpStorm, and that involves understanding and interacting with the PHP community as a whole, and it’s many sub-communities. While I find it relatively easy to interact with the larger community, and can easily understand and empathise with some of the sub-communities, my knowledge of some products is sorely lacking. Laravel is one of those communities, and it would be remiss of me not to develop at least a cursory understanding of Laravel and the challenges it’s developers face when coding on a daily basis.
Secondly, I really, really fancy it. I’ve said many times that I’m a lazy developer, and after seeing Matt Stauffer‘s talk on From Idea to Prototype in 50 Minutes with Laravel, I was intrigued to know if I’m missing out on a simpler way to code that can be rapid to develop and maintainable.
From a self-serving point of view, I’d also like to be able to attend more wide-ranging events on behalf of JetBrains, and knowing more about one of the most popular frameworks in all of PHP can only help me to submit talks in areas that I’d previously ignored. Also, I’m trying to become an artisan.
So yes, in a truly spectacular bout of hypocrisy, I’m going to attempt to learn Laravel, and I’m going to blog about it semi-regularly. Bring on the Larafia.