The Artisan Files: Mathias Hansen
The Artisan Files / updated: January 22, 2015

The Artisan Files: Mathias Hansen

This week I’m happy to introduce you to Mathias Hansen. Mathias is a developer, maker, and runs the Capital Laravel group.

Can you tell us about yourself?

I am 24 years old and am originally from Denmark. I now live in the suburbs of Washington DC with my lovely wife and 15 month old daughter.

Day-to-day I work as the Engineering Director for a digital agency called Engage and at night I work on a couple of side projects with my wife, primarily

My interest in web development started when I was playing around with Microsoft Frontpage on my parents’ dial-up Internet connection in the late 90’s.

I was allowed to browse the internet for 30 minutes every evening (this was back when you had to pay per minute) and I spent literally every single minute downloading tutorials on sites such as (which surprisingly still exists) so I could read them offline. This got me started with HTML and figuring out how to actually write code instead of using the WYSIWYG functionality of Frontpage.

Fast forward a few years and I started using free webhosts that supported PHP. This was around the time when hosts started to slowly transition from PHP 3 to PHP 4. I ended up diving into PHP like I did HTML — using tutorials.

I built a ton of things during the subsequent years. Everything from my own custom CMS to a MySQL-based crawler/search engine (that was supposed to crawl the entire Internet from my parents’ ADSL connection), a web-based system to configure and control Ventrilo and Counter-Strike servers, and things like that. Most of the projects were full of security vulnerabilities and were incredibly buggy too, but at least I learned a lot from all of it.

You run the Capital Laravel group, can you tell us about it?

Running the meetup is a ton of fun as I often get to meet new interesting people that do cool stuff

Capital Laravel Meetup
Capital Laravel Meetup

Capital Laravel Group has existed for a little more than a year now and has featured talks in topics such as Laravel & Angular, BDD/Behat, regression testing with Selenium, using Vagrant with Laravel and more.

We usually average about 10 attendees each meetup and have about 100 total members. It’s a great group that actively contributes talks, questions, and ideas.

Running the meetup is a ton of fun as I often get to meet new interesting people that do cool stuff with (or without) Laravel.

What made you decide to start it?

The idea of starting a local Laravel meetup came to me after attending the first Laracon in 2013 on a last-minute ticket (thanks, Jessica!). Laracon was a lot of fun and I learned so much in just a few days, so the idea of having just a little bit of the Laracon spirit and atmosphere once a month really excited me.

I started the meetup group with a couple of coworkers at our office, and we have since moved the meetup to the WeWork co-working space in downtown DC which provides a great place for us to meet every month.

What are some of your favorite apps?

I have a couple of apps that I just wouldn’t be able to live without:

iTerm 2 (with oh-my-zsh)

I love this Terminal replacement. One of my favorite features is the “split pane” functionality that allows me to have several terminal instances visible in one window. Pairing that with input broadcasting is really handy since what you type gets inputted into all terminal instances at once.

iTerm 2 split panes with input broadcasting
iTerm 2 split panes with input broadcasting

Sublime Text 3

I like that Sublime Text is super lightweight, yet very customizable. Though I try to keep my plugins at a minimum, my favorite ones are Git and GitGutter as well as “Random Text” for generating passwords on the fly. I’m currently using the Cobalt 2 theme.

Sublime Text 3
Sublime Text 3

Sequel Pro

There’s not a day when I don’t use Sequel Pro. It is hands down the best MySQL client that I’ve ever used. One of my favorite features is the import/export CSV feature — it’s awesome if I quickly want to import some data from another source or export some stuff to hand it over to someone who prefers to work with spreadsheet software.

I’m also a huge Vagrant fan. For work we built a custom base box that’s mirrored with our staging/production environment and for personal projects I’m mostly using Vagrant LAMP stack or Scotch Box.

What is your typically day like?

I’m lucky that even though I work at an agency, I’m mostly able to work a regular 9-5. That gives me as much time with my family as possible.

I’m usually woken up around 7am by my daughter jumping and giggling in her crib. We all start to get ready, and around 8am I drive her to daycare. By the time I get back, my wife has usually taken our dog for a morning stroll and we head to work together. Depending on the weather forecast we either ride our bikes or drive to work. Until recently we worked at the same company, which made commuting especially easy.

At work I’m mostly focused on custom web apps and product development. I spend most of my time working on Proximity and juggle the rest between client projects and making sure that our development pipeline is running smooth. But mostly, I just code.

I usually leave work around 5:30pm, just enough time to pick up our daughter before the daycare closes. Eating a home cooked meal is super important for both of us, so we usually start right away as soon as we get home. One of us cooks while the other one plays with our daughter and dog.

After we’ve had some family time and our daughter goes to bed, I either catch up on remaining things from the work day or try to get a little bit of time in on Geocodio or reading a good (technical) book. By the time the clock hits 10pm, I’m usually pretty exhausted and ready to call it a day.

If you never found programming what do you think you would be doing?

I’ve always been quite DIY person and I always like building stuff, so I could probably picture myself as a carpenter or something along those lines.

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