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Tech insights: Jeffrey Way Tells the Story of Laracasts
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Jeffrey Way Tells the Story of Laracasts

13 September 2022, by Anne Gonschorek

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Here, Laracasts creator Jeffrey Way tells the story behind the creation of Laracasts as well as the impact Laracasts has had on Laravel’s popularity.


It sort of feels like you’re trick or treating for knowledge and that programmers know what I mean here. You’re you’re trying to learn something and you’re opening up 50 different tabs trying to figure out one thing. And the problem is the solution is not in a single tab.

It’s like you get a little bit of it in this tab and then you keep searching and then you find something here where it kind of helps. But it’s in a different language and it’s in a different framework.

And so you’re kind of having trouble parsing it, but there’s something there and then you open another – again: Programmers know exactly what I’m talking about. When you want to learn something, it requires googling the entire web and finding 100 different tabs, each of which is like a little puzzle piece that solves the problem for you.

And I’ve done this over and over in my career. In each tab is like a little aha moment where you’re like, OK, this explains that definition better than anywhere else I’ve seen. So that helps. And this has an actual code example that I can use and see if it works.

And then you kind of combine them all, and that’s how you learn things. But it does get a little bit frustrating because you’re you’re searching. You don’t know where to find the next little piece of knowledge, you know?

All you have is a Google search, so Laracasts was kind of built in a way to scratch my own itch to kind of create the educational platform that I wish had been available to me when I was first getting started.

If I could have a single location that had all the answers to my questions for one specific tool or framework or package, I would have appreciated that so much because at the time, obviously there’s other sites very much like Laracasts, but at the time usually programming education sites were trying to service all programmers, which is kind of cool in that if I’m a web designer, I can go here and I can learn about, CSS. And if I am like a Python backend developer, I can go to the same site and learn it and you can pick up anything you want.

But the only downside to that is it’s great for the business because they make more money, they bring people from all different areas. But the only downside is it is. It’s not for one specific developer, so that means 90% of what that platform provides is not for you because we’re not learning everything, we’re all learning a little piece of the programming world. He might be learning these few things, but you’re not learning everything else. You couldn’t do it. There’s not enough hours in a lifetime to learn all of this stuff. So what’s nice about Laracasts is it is for one type of developer.

If you use Laravel, if you use PHP, if you’re kind of a full stack developer where you, you need to reach for CSS every once in a while. It is for them. It’s not for Python developers, it’s not for Ruby developers.

They might get something out of it if they if they join the site, but it’s not targeted at them. And that is maybe to our financial deficit. But I still think it’s worth it. I think it’s a good idea. It’s it’s nice to have a community for one type of developer. And when you join everyone else, there is just like you.

I’m sure Laracasts has just had a nice impact on Laravel’s popularity, but it would be nothing without Laravel. So Laravel success is due exclusively to to Taylor and the team that works on it.

But I think where Laracasts has has helped is again in the sense that it is a place for people to go to instantly get up and running with Laravel, and many frameworks don’t have that. They would like to, but they simply don’t that the community isn’t large enough.

Jeffrey Way Tells the Story of Laracasts

We’ve gotten to a point now where this originally started with the Rails World, where you had sites like RailsCasts that were dedicated to Ruby on Rails, Laracasts is dedicated to Laravel. It’s very much inspired from the Tuby world, and these days it’s actually very popular.

You see it across communities. But years ago, when I launched Laracasts, that wasn’t necessarily the thing. It wasn’t considered an overlay. I’ll tell you why. When I originally launched Laracasts, I got a lot of pushback because people would say to me, “Why are you creating Laracasts? Why not create PHPCasts, which is the language Laravel is built on?” And they would kind of do it with like a suspicion, like, “What are you doing here? Like why? Why are you creating silos?” Which is what a lot of people will often say. Why don’t you service the entire wider general community instead of focusing on this small group here? And my answer to that has always been like, OK, well, “Why don’t I just create ProgrammingCasts?”

‘Cause, you know, how many layers up do we want to go? And the answer is, I don’t want to go up that many layers there there are. There are resources for every single layer of your learning, and it would be really nice to have one that’s very targeted at a single type of of user, which is why I created Laracasts. So the benefit to that is I’m sure it pointed a lot of people to Laravel or people who are already interested in Laravel. It was probably nice for them to see like, “Oh, there is this site with thousands of videos, so many, countless of which are just free to anyone.”

You don’t even have to sign up. It’s free that will get me up and running. That’s a that’s a nice little little bonus. I’ve said before, the documentation for Laravel is incredible and it is. But also documentation serves a specific purpose.

And once you read it, you still have to know how to build an application. And that is a much larger question that is beyond the scope of a framework documentation. So I think Laracasts was good at sort of filling in that gap of, “OK, we’re going to help you, you’re going to read the documentation, but I’m going to help you along the way.” Sort of like a teacher. And then I’m also going to show you how to combine all of this stuff and build things to actually solve problems, which is the whole point. We’re doing this anyways.

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