On Community

This week, Laravel became the most popular PHP project on Github.

I released Laravel two and a half years ago, while living in a small apartment with my wife and newborn son. I built the initial version of the framework on a plastic, $300 laptop from Best Buy with a dim screen and horrible keyboard. I doubted anyone would use it, and it received a mixed reception on Reddit. I bragged to my wife that it received 100 downloads in the first 24 hours of its release.

On the first version of the Laravel website, there were four questions to help you determine if the Laravel framework was “right for you”. One of them, and the most important of the lot, was: “you love friendly, vibrant communities of people committed to helping one another.”¬†Maybe it was the most important because it’s what I wanted the most for myself? Maybe I didn’t write Laravel for technical reasons, but for personal reasons? Maybe I wrote it in hopes of just being a part of something bigger than Arkansas could offer?

Regardless, the Laravel forum soon had a dozen regular members. People who were excited and passionate about building great applications. People who wanted to be web “artisans”. We weren’t there, but we wanted to be. It was a blast, and we were all part of something new and exciting. I bragged to my wife when Laravel got a re-tweet from someone with 500 followers.

The type of community Laravel has is something to be guarded. When you join this community, you join in the responsibility to preserve it. Everyone is at a different point in their journey as a programmer. Some are just beginning, while others have adventured for years. But, everyone belongs. Help them where they are.

When Laravel took the top spot on Github this week, I bragged to my wife. She smiled and gave me a high five. In that moment, I didn’t think about all the cool Eloquent features. I didn’t think about when I first wrote Blade. I didn’t think about any Composer packages. I just thought about the community that made this journey with me.

Someday Laravel will be over and we’ll all be doing bigger and better things. When that day comes, I’ll never reminiscence about the patterns. I’ll only remember the people.

A lot of fresh, aspiring Artisans will join us this year. Let’s help them on their journey.

Looking Forward: Laravel 4.2

With the release of Laravel 4.1 a few weeks ago, I’m already looking ahead to the 4.2 release. Laravel 4.x continues to be a wonderful, well-tested architectural foundation and continues to offer the best foundation for rapidly building modern PHP web applications. Thankfully, I don’t think any sweeping architecture changes will be needed for a long time (years). So, where do we go from here?

Laravel 4.1 introduced a handful of great new features, including automatic read / write database handling, a slick new SSH component, StackPHP middlewares, Eloquent improvements, Redis queues, and more. But, with Laravel 4.2, I want to look outside of the “core”.

Of course, Laravel 4.2 will have the usual slew of improvements and additions to the framework core, but is there more we can do? With the release of Laravel 4.1, most of the core components we need are in place. The core of the framework should include only the components most web applications need. But, what about the stuff a lot of us need?

There are some amazing packages I want to build in the next 5 months, and I think they will add some of the most amazing Laravel features yet! They will be officially maintained, officially documented components of Laravel, and you decide which ones you want in your project. I’m calling them Laravel expansions, and I already have one of them written!

These premium, opt-in features of Laravel will allow us to continue to build amazing features, while maintaining the focus of the framework core. I can’t wait to show them off to you.