Tomorrow’s technology, our Laracon adventure.

Intro

In early February, JuriBlox’s development team had a trip to a tech conference in the heart of Amsterdam. The conference (Laracon) was at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ and attracted around seven hundred developers and some 20 speakers.

What is Laracon?

Laracon is a conference where developers come together to share their ideas and solutions. Laracon is all about the Laravel Framework. Laravel is the foundation for projects developed in the PHP programming language (which JuriBlox was created with). It has been around since 2011 and is the world’s most popular and fastest framework to develop in. During Laracon, we will discuss how the framework continues to be developed and how we at JuriBlox can apply it in our daily work. There are also notable speakers who talk not so much about the framework, but also about the development process. Topics include; “How to handle big data migrations”, “How to test a complex application” and “How to work efficiently as a team”.

Impressive

The conference had one large room where there was room for all visitors to listen to the speakers together. Each speaker was given about 30 minutes, which was enough to take in the subject matter. The time was divided into three parts: a short introduction about the speaker, followed by the topic, and at the end of each talk, there was a moment for visitors to ask questions to the speaker to get some more information or a richer picture on the topic.

The conference also had a catered lunch with some tasty snacks and some moments to socialise with other developers, thus interesting discussions ensued. One of the discussions was with a developer of Sentry (a software monitoring tool) about implementing Sentry in different PHP frameworks and how Laravel was the best for it. The speakers and hosts walked around among the visitors to create a more informal atmosphere where you could speak to them. There were also catered drinks at the end of each day.

What did we learn

In recent years, JuriBlox has had many different developers developing on the application with the main priority of developing new functionalities. This was incredibly efficient for the application and organisation because the organisation could focus on the product. The external experts focused mainly on the technical elaboration. Over the past two years, we have invested in setting up an internal development team, and said goodbye to the external service provider. This way, we now have the full knowledge in-house, which combined with the knowledge of the market is a perfect combination. This has been a great step for JuriBlox as an organisation, but certainly also the JuriBlox application. As a result, we can move faster when developing new functionalities, and there is the opportunity for developers to collaborate on solutions at the same time.

The developers have also continued to develop JuriBlox, resulting in new links, for example with “Contractify“, functionalities such as templates with multiple documents, new question forms/types, and more. Meanwhile, we have arrived at the next chapter where we take the time to improve the speed and stability of the application.

At Laracon, there were many speakers who encountered the same bottlenecks in their work, where they had to perform maintenance on the application following previous decisions. These decisions then came from both technology and organisation due to time or budget constraints. The highlights and/or noteworthy speakers for me were: “Christoph Rumpel” on automatic application testing on a large scale and how running the tests went from an hour to a few minutes. “Daniel Coulbourne” on safely running old and new code side by side to ensure that the transition went as smoothly as possible through “event sourcing”. “Taylor Otwell” (Creator and developer of Laravel) who spoke about the upcoming updates in the Laravel framework and supporting tools that improve the user experience.

The further development of JuriBlox

Currently, we are working with the development team to maintain the application which will allow Laracon’s techniques and ideas to be applied immediately. We are currently doing a major migration of the underlying database system for which we are also critically looking at parts where speed can be gained. Because this migration has an impact across the entire application, it is also incredibly important to test everything thoroughly, setting up the right processes. This will also benefit you (the user), the application will become tens of percent faster in some areas and it will also become more stable.

It also strengthens the core of the application, allowing us to add new beautiful functionalities faster, easier and with more certainty in the future that we as a team and you as users will enjoy!

About Mike

Mike van Diepen is an energetic developer at JuriBlox who works on developing new features, he has added some great features over the past year; including repeating questions (at multiple levels) and reusing answers in other questions. He finds speed and stability of the application very important and has already started setting up procedures and working methods to better integrate this.

Reading time: ~4-5 min


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