The Artisan Files / January 23, 2015

Five Minutes with Jonathan Deaves

In this weeks Artisan Files I’d like to introduce you to Jonathan Deaves, a 25 year old developer from Scotland.

Hi Jonathan, can you tell us about yourself?

Jonathan Deaves

I’m 25 years old and I live in Glasgow, Scotland with my partner and our 4 rabbits; Frodo, Gimli, Bilbo and Dandy.

I’ve always been into console games due to influences from my older brother, who also got me into PCs when he built my first ever computer out of spare parts. When I was in my early teens I found RPG Maker 2000 and was in awe of how easy it was to make my favourite genre of game, this is what got me hooked into all kinds of development.

I would sometimes make small websites for some of these games or other little bits and pieces I had done, starting with GUI website makers but later moving onto simple HTML/CSS sites. I went on to study Game Development at University, but the first year of the course was general computing and covered a variety of topics; including web development and database design.

Once I left University and moved back home I landed my first Web Development job at a local company using Classic ASP. In my free time I still played with PHP and anything else I could get my hands on, until I was finally ready to move back to the city and got my current job as a PHP Developer.

While researching different ways of starting a new project, and some of the popular choices at the time, I came across Laravel. From there I was hooked.

What type of projects do you typically use with Laravel?

I’ve used Laravel now for a variety of projects at work and at home. I’ve created my own personal site using Laravel. I’ve also created a few sites for projects I have worked on in the past. Things like Global Game Jam and a few prototypes.

At work I tend to use Laravel for stand-alone projects outside of our main system. I have re-written an existing system which previously used a custom written codebase loosely based on CI, to use Laravel. I have also written a customer portal for our companies main business system using Laravel.

We also have a number of projects in the planning phase which Laravel would be suited towards and these will most likely get developed on the Laravel 5 release once it is stable.

What was the hardest part for you picking up Laravel?

I had never used a framework before Laravel, which may be both difficult and beneficial. I may well benefit from not being stuck in the methods of another framework, so I was completely open to everything Laravel provided and could adapt easily to using it. However as it was my first framework, there was a steep learning curve going from plain PHP to a structured framework, but I do feel this has only improved my abilities and code in general.

What is your favorite Laravel feature?

I would probably say everything Database related; Migrations, Seeds and Eloquent. I just love how simple it is to setup and use a database. No more having to tell other developers about database changes when I make the smallest of tweaks, or forgetting to put one of the changes live. It has also helped to enforce a good relationship between tables.

What is your typical work day like?

On gym days; I’ll wake up around 6.50, feed the rabbits, get some breakfast, shower and then get to the gym for 8am. On non-gym days; I’ll wake up around 7.50, feed the rabbits, get some breakfast, shower and then get to the office for 9am.

Once I’m in the office I’ll usually do the rounds of email, chat, notifications. I’ll usually read some Web Development/PHP articles as small breaks between work. Then it’s just code, discuss, code, discuss until home time. Usually get home between 5 and 6 depending on traffic, watch a bit of TV to relax, usually have dinner around 7 then a bit more TV with bunnies running around.

I’ll then usually go up to the home office around 9/10 to do a bit of work or play. Then it’s off to bed, probably later than I should.

What are your must have apps?

I have very clean desktops, there are no icons on any of my desktops except the recycle bin on windows. I make good use of the windows 8.1 start menu organization and I pin the most used programs to the side bar on Ubuntu which auto-hides. Though my work computer has a rather delightful background of the Despicable Me 2 scene where the minion is getting beamed up.

JonathanDeaves-desktop

At home I have a new windows 8.1 desktop I just finished building for gaming, on this my most-used programs are probably:

  • Steam
  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Visual Studio 2013
  • PHPStorm
  • HeidiSQL
  • Paint.NET
  • VirtualBox/Vagrant
  • GitHub

At work I use a Ubuntu desktop and a Windows 8.1 desktop. So for Ubuntu I most often use:

  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Atom
  • PHPStorm
  • HeidiSQL
  • GIMP
  • Guake Terminal

My phone is an Android so my most used Apps there are:

  • Very boring, I use all built-in Google apps. I do very little with my phone other than emails.

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