Developing Artisans: Portable’s experience at Laracon AU 2023

Hear from Technology Lead Kath Young as she reflects on the recent trip to Sydney for Laracon AU 2023

When I first started at Portable, I was hired in the role of 'Senior Laravel Developer'. Really, this should tell you everything you need to know about the extensive history and experience that our organisation has using this framework but I'll provide a some background and context, just to be sure.

Since first releasing in 2011, Portable has used the Laravel framework to build and deliver a range of digital applications in partnership with organisations from across both the public and private sector, including leaders from areas such as health and wellbeing, data and analytics, and mental health services. 

Laracon AU is an annual event which aims to bring together like-minded developers from across the nation for two-days of learning, growing and mingling with the Laravel community. So, when Laracon AU was announced for 2023 after a 4-year hiatus (thanks covid!), we were not only keen to attend but pumped to put our name down as a key sponsor.

For me, Laracon AU wasn't just about technology; it was a chance to bridge the gap between innovation and impact.

Our history with Laravel in crafting solutions for mental health, justice, and the public sector made Laracon AU a crucial opportunity to delve deeper into the discussions, connect with the community, contribute to the framework's evolution and keep up-to-date on the emerging technologies and industry best practices, ensuring that the learnings are leveraged in a way that supports our continued journey toward delivering a positive impact and transformational change alongside our clients.

A brief look at the Laracon AU experience

The two-day event unfolded with a rich tapestry of sessions, from the intricacies of "What's new in Pest?" and "Accessibility on the Backend" to the softer side in sessions like "Designing with Friction" and "Tapping into the Power of Junior Developers."

Laracon AU wasn't just about Laravel; it was a holistic exploration of the tech landscape, with talks such as “Th1nk Lik3 A H4cker” from Stephen Rees-Carter encouraging us to consider security in all aspects of the development lifecycle to Greg Skerman’s “7 Habits of a high performing team”, which gave us some practical tools for reducing friction and increasing efficiency in our development workflows.

A pivotal moment was the unveiling of Laravel Pulse by Jess Archer, showcasing the framework's continual growth with a first party tool for rich application monitoring and performance insights.

Beyond the conference halls, "After Dark" at Strike Darling Harbour added a social touch, allowing for networking and a bit of friendly competition in activities like ten-pin bowling, darts, karaoke, and escape rooms.  It’s a great point of difference to me that this event was included in the conference tickets, really driving home the feeling of Laravel as a global community and the dual emphasis of the conference on not just knowledge dissemination in a theatre, but networking and relationship building.

Unpacking the takeaways

Laracon AU felt like the best possible nerd bootcamp - a two-day immersion into development excellence, with a distinctly Laravel flavour. It wasn't just about refining Laravel projects; it was about gaining insights applicable to a broader technical and design spectrum, as you consider the whole journey of application development use. Reflecting on this journey, I am eager to infuse the newfound knowledge and inspiration into our projects at Portable.

The themes explored at Laracon AU have broadened our horizons, offering avenues to enhance our impact-driven work in mental health, justice, and beyond.

For me personally, meeting members of the Laravel Core team was a standout experience, sparking discussions on potential contributions to the framework, and once again, solidifying that feeling that this is more than just a tech framework.  It’s a global community of people looking to deliver technical excellence.

Looking ahead

As Laracon AU 2023 draws to a close, my anticipation for the next edition is already building. The hunger for learning, connecting, and contributing to the Laravel community has been rekindled.

Until the next Laracon adventure, I'm excited to channel the knowledge and energy gained at this incredible event into our projects at Portable.

Until then...

For those looking to continue the PHP journey, join us at PHP Adelaide—a meetup for PHP developers hosted at Portable's offices in Base 64, Kent Town.

It's more than a meetup; it's a space to share insights, network with fellow developers, and continue the vibrant discussions sparked at events like Laracon AU. Keep the conversation alive, and let's navigate the tech landscape together.

In conclusion, Laracon AU 2023 wasn't just a conference for me; it was a reaffirmation of our commitment to excellence, innovation, and positive impact through design and technology.

Until the next chapter, I'm geared up to navigate the tech landscape with the lessons learned and connections made at this remarkable event.

About the Author: Kath Young

As a Technology Lead at Portable, Kath is responsible for for utilising industry best practices to architect and deliver solutions to meet client needs now and into the future.

Having worked in web based software development for over 20 years across SaaS and eCommerce products as well as custom built digital solutions, she has a particular passion for workflow optimisations and releasing technical solutions which support greater efficiencies within organisations.

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