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What I learned in 2015


So this is the last day of 2015. Time do a little recap.

A lot of things happened this year and I am glad I can say I learned a lot! Actually I would say experience is this one thing you will profit the most of. It is something that no one can take away from you and something you cannot just learn. You have to earn it while pushing yourself to the limits every day out there in our digital world. But there are also so many little things you learn which help you to become a better programmer. Today I'd like to share with you some of my learning in 2015.

PHP has never been so good

I am proud to be a PHP developer!

It was an amazing year as a PHP programmer. All over the year we heard more and more about great features of the new version. With the release of PHP7 in December the language has made a huge step forward and I am happy to be a PHP programmer these days. There were times when I had doubts about the future of PHP and when I thought about changing my main language. These days are over. PHP finally is a modern language and I am glad to work with it every day.

Find great PHP7 resources here on phpToday.

Never stop learning Git

Git is everywhere. Almost every project I came across this year used Git and this is a good thing. It is such a great piece of software and it really helps me and my team with every code we write.

While working on some bigger and more complex projects this year I had to level up my Git skills. The more you think about your Git workflow and your project's deployment, the higher is the chance that you ran into edge cases and errors. This is a good thing too, because this is how you learn the skills that you need. I covered some of my Git experiences this year here too like using the magic rerere command, recovering a deleted branch or how to clean up commits for a pull request.

Laravel 5

Another highlight in 2015 was the new major release of the Laravel PHP framework. I am following all releases and products around it very closely and it is great to see how big Laravel has become. Taylor Otwell is doing an amazing job with this framework and I enjoy using it. It helps me to be a better developer who writes good and clean code while teaching me more about PHP and applications. I wrote up an introduction post to Laravel 5 which you will find here.

I also had the pleasure to join the Laracon conference this year in Amsterdam. (thx boss) It was a brilliant event where I met new people and learned a lot of new stuff. I also find such conferences very inspiring and motivating and everybody should visit conferences! Also make sure to visit Amsterdam. It is such a beautiful city.

Laravel ♥ Angular

At work we use Angular as our main JavaScript framework. We have used it several times in combination with Laravel this year and we are really satisfied. Laravel is great in providing an easy API which Angular can use. Additionally we used Apiary for documenting the API. Your front-end team will love it =) Laravel und Angular really work great together and this why this system is our choice for 2016 too.

Testing is easy

This year I started diving into automatic testing. Since they say every good programmer is writing tests too, it sounds like an easy decision to start. I don't know who they really are, but they are right. Writings tests makes your application better and your sleep as well. The problem here is the start and I felt this too. I began writing tests with the testing framework Codeception. It's a great framework but difficult at the beginning.

This is why I wrote about how to write your first tests in Laravel. Precisely because automatic testing is so important we need a better way to teach people how to start. There will definitely be more testing posts next year.

Testing is hard

There was one project this year where I was able to write lots of tests for an application. It helped me a lot to find stupid bugs and to make me think more about every logical part of the app.

But I learned that it is hard to create really good tests. What should I test and how? What is the right amount of tests that you need. 100% test coverage? Probably not. This is something I am still figuring out. I want to write as less tests as possible to make me feel comfortable about the app. Additionally I learned that I need to refactor my tests sometimes too. Some of them got really bloated. Spaghetti tests you could say. This can become a problem when your project grows. So keep working, experimenting and learning what is the best way of testing for you! That's what I will do again in 2016.

Change how you see learning resources

I guess this is one of my biggest accomplishments this year. Jeffrey Way has this new podcast called "The Laracasts Snippet" where he talks about little topics and experiences he likes to share. One of them is called Nobody Knows What the Hell They're Doing. In this episode he is explaining why actually we are all figuring this web stuff out. Some of us have more experiences but that doesn't mean that they are "better". Inspired by these thoughts I wrote my article Stop reading blog articles like you do.

We don't need to immediately question our work and ourselves every time we read a smart article or see a great talk. It is great that we are all sharing so much stuff but we need to stop following recommendations blindly. We are all smart people and we need to believe more in our strengths.

Happy new year

I am grateful for an exciting 2015 year. I learned so many new things and I am still figuring stuff out. That's great, because that means I am still here fighting and building my place in our web. I am looking forward to the next year and I wish you all the best. Let's make the web a better place in 2016 too.

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