Why You Should Attend Laracon

Published 08/02/2024 | 1057 views

There are many reasons to attend Laracon, but one stands out head and shoulders above the rest. Let me explain…

The Pest PHP team at Laracon 2024.

I'm just back from Laracon EU '24. What an event! The organisation was outstanding, the speakers were sublime and the audience was electric. I always come back from Laracon with a renewed sense of passion for development and so many ideas flooding my brain.

The talks are, of course, incredibly valuable. Whether it's Jess Archer talking about efficiently grouping buckets of data together in SQL using rounding techniques, Joe Dixon showing how simple websockets can be thanks to Laravel Reverb or Tobias Petry spilling absolute gold on database scaling techniques, I always learn so much.

The truly priceless element of Laracon are the conversations you have before, during and after each day with like-minded developers.

However, the truly priceless element of Laracon are the conversations you have before, during and after each day with like-minded developers. Every conversation gets you excited about coding and gives you perspective on exactly how extensive this community is.

Story time. When I worked at Worksome (say that 3 times fast), I headed up a bluesky project to execute the test suite in AWS Lambda - mass parallelisation. The end goal was to be able to execute our test suite in record time, because we would essentially be able to have as many parallel processes as we wanted!

There were… challenges. First of all, AWS didn't have a Lambda PHP runtime. Laravel Vapor and Bref had already tackled this challenge, so after much research and trial and error, we managed to get PHP working. Our next challenge was running tests against the database. A scalable database service seems like the obvious solution, but the cost and delay caused by the network alongside 300 connections hitting the database at the same time make this a no-go. So, the best approach is to bundle the database in with the Lambda. If you know anything much about Lambda, you know that such a task is anything but simple.

Anyway, this crazy project lasted around 3 months. We managed to create a reasonable PoC, but ultimately decided that the time savings (which didn't end up being that much faster than a powerful M-Series Mac) didn't warrant the cost of running on such a crazy infrastructure.

Why am I telling you this? Because in my mind, nobody else was crazy enough to actually try this for real. I hadn't even published much information on the subject because as far as I was concerned, it was a dead end.

So imagine my surprise when Matthieu Napoli approached at Laracon to talk to me about a testing idea he'd been hacking on. Any guesses? You got it: mass parallelisation in AWS Lambda! My mind starting racing. All of the fun I had with that project came flooding back, and we spent the next 20 minutes going back and forward on the pros and cons. Turns out, Matthieu had been able to overcome some of the challenges that I'd faced (he was wearing an AWS hoodie, go figure) and was making great progress.

Whether his project will be realised, who knows? I really hope so. Whatever the case, this was my favourite moment at Laracon EU '24. I left that conversation burning with excitement and enthusiasm. From that one conversation, I came up with half a dozen ideas for new Laracasts videos. I spent the entire evening with a smile on my face thinking about it.

Therein lies the reason you should attend Laracon. The talks are great. The food and swag (just ask Yves 😉) are exciting. But the conversation - the conversation is the pinnacle of the experience, and it's worth every penny you'll spend getting there.

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