Some of their past meetings covered topics like API’s, Q&A with Taylor Otwel, 15 hidden Laravel gems, and more. I had the pleasure of interviewing Franz to find out more about their group and how to get started creating a user group in your city.
Hi Franz, can you tell us a little about you and your meetup group?
I discovered Laravel some time before the release of version 3. Before even using it productively, I got involved sending a whole lot of pull requests. At that time, I was a student, so I didn’t have a lot of time for many side projects. But when I could, I often chose Laravel. Now, I’m involved in the Flarum forum project, and we’re using some of the Illuminate components to build it.
I must say, the discovery of Laravel has helped me grow tremendously as a developer. The development the framework itself took has taught me a lot, and it also took along a whole community. It felt like we were all going through these topics together: from modern OO principles, dependency injection to repositories and Domain-Driven Design.
Our meetup is hosted by Fortrabbit (how fitting, they don’t only host websites), right next to their office in Berlin-Kreuzberg. We meet on average every other month.
What made you decide to start a Laravel meetup?
I think I was inspired by other active members of the world-wide community, and after getting in touch with the folks from Fortrabbit, I had a co-organizer and willing host.
Our very first meetup was a one-time thing. I enjoyed the chance to give a talk about Laravel for the first time. Almost a year later, a developer from the Symfony community started to get into Laravel, and wanted to start a meetup group. We got in touch, and it became a regular thing.
How has the turnout been?
We have seen a slow, but steady growth. We have around 20 developers attending each time. I hope we need a new room soon. :-)
Do you focus on beginners, intermediate, or advanced topics? Or something different?
I find choosing the right balance between easy and more complex topics one of the biggest challenges in running this meetup. Having introductory topics all over won’t be interesting to our regular attendees, but we also don’t want to overwhelm new guests with all the advanced stuff – after all, they often attend because they’ve heard great things about Laravel and are interested in learning more.
Therefore, we aim to have one intro-level talk together with a presentation on a more advanced topic for each meetup. That sometimes works well, and sometimes doesn’t. It is harder to find presenters than I would have thought.
Any advice for those wanting to start their own group?
Most importantly, get a motivated team on board, so that you can distribute the workload. I will be spending the next half year in Seoul, Korea (gladly they have a Laravel meetup, too), and I want to make sure other people can run the meetup while I’m gone.
Also, while we’re primarily meeting because we all like Laravel, most learning about the framework happens somewhere else. It’s also a social thing, where we go to network, exchange ideas and simply hang out with nice folks. Don’t underestimate that factor, and leave room for such things.
And finally, get as many people from the audience as possible interested in giving a talk themselves. (Which is something I haven’t yet managed to my own satisfaction.) They all have unique perspectives, and I’m sure they are using Laravel in interesting ways.
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