Year in review: 2019

Year in review: 2019

Everybody started sharing their 2019 reviews. This made me think about my 2019 and my goals for 2020. As always a bit late to the party. Anyway, here we go.


As you may know, I work at Enrise in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. We are a self-steering company which means we don't have bosses or managers. Instead, we make decisions based on facts and together with the other development teams. Each team has its own budget, human resources, clients, business plan, and so on. This year I decided to start my team with some colleagues from other teams. The new team was born called Team Artisans. Where did we get that inspiration... 🤔

Team Artisans

The new team is focused mostly on developing near-native mobile apps using React Native. These apps mostly need backends as well and we build them in Laravel. The focus for this year was getting a stable development team. Next year we focus on growing the team a bit more so we can do two simultaneous projects. This way we can rotate between projects. To start of the new team we went to an amusement park in the Netherlands called "De Efteling" and had a ton of fun. If you're ever in the Netherlands, you should visit that amusement park ;)


This year was also my learning year for Docker. At Enrise we started migrating all new projects to Kubernetes. This is a container orchestration platform. This way we can easily deploy new containers to different environments. We automated everything from scaling the number of servers (nodes) and deploying using GitLab pipelines. Our in house GitLab cluster also runs on Kubernetes which helps us discover even more cool stuff around Kubernetes.

Laravel Training

Next to the awesome development projects, I did this year with Docker and Laravel, I also got the opportunity to share my knowledge with other developers. A big fast-food delivery company in the Netherlands asked me to create special Laravel trainings focus on their current application structure and the Laravel Certificate.

I gave a training in Enschede in the Netherlands and also in Berlin in Germany for their other development teams. It was an amazing experience for me as a teacher and from the feedback, I believe the developers learned a ton. Not just from me but also each other.

Public Speaking

This year was a year full of flying around the world. 2018 was already an amazing year with speaking, but 2019 was even better. I got to speak at the conference of my dreams with a personal invite from Taylor Otwell. Nothing can top that for sure. Here is the chronological order of conferences and meetups of 2019

Ode aan de code (January)

This was the first meetup of the year for me. Lucky for me the meetup was in my hometown. I spoke about browser testing with Laravel Dusk and alternatives like Cypress. A browser test is a test that runs against a real browser, where your JS is rendered as well. These kinds of tests might take a long time, but they can be very useful.

PHPDay Verona (May)

I was very excited about Verona. It was my first time in Italy and also the first time I had to travel completely alone to a conference. It was not a big deal, because I had a lot of fun at the conference meeting new people there. I spoke again about Browser Testing. This time mostly focused on Laravel Dusk.

I met a lot of cool developers and speakers there. I had a long conversation with Rasmus Lerdorf, creator of PHP, about the future of PHP. I went to the gym with Nikola Posa and had a long walk to the speaker dinner with Dave Liddament up the steep road. All amazing and inspiring people.

The link to the video of my talk was posted on Twitter by the PHPDay organization: The talks of all the other speakers can be found on that Twitter account as well.

Laravel Live UK (June)

This year I also got invited for Laravel Live UK. This was for me the perfect opportunity to try out my Laravel Design Patterns 2.0 talk. This time I didn't go alone to the conference since my buddy John Braun joined me. It was really fun meeting all my friends from Laracon EU there again.

I was especially nervous about this talk since this was the first time for me speaking at a conference where almost everything is speaking English as their first language. I'm not bad in English, but for them, it might sound bad. After all, I had nothing to worry about and got great feedback from the audience.

Laracon US NYC (July)

It all started with a personal message from Taylor inviting me for the conference back in January. When I got this message I was completely in shock. Was my biggest dream going to happen? Was this all real? My biggest dream was speaking at Laracon US, it was going to happen. After this, I was officially announced on Twitter which was very cool. The number of new followers was not countable on 10 hands for sure :P

I always like being in America. t's hard to explain, but I just love the rush and possibilities you have there. Visiting New York is never a punishment. At the conference, I spoke on the second day about Laravel Design Patterns. This was the same talk I gave at Laravel Live UK with some improvements. With almost 900 attendees it was one of the biggest conferences I ever attended. It was cool to meet everyone from all over the world like Michael Dyrynda, Jake Bennett and Vishal Rajpurohit. One huge experience for sure. And damn that screen was bright!

Dutch Laravel Foundation (December)

Since I started working this year with Docker and Kubernetes I wanted to share some cool stuff about it. The best place is a meetup of course with like-minded developers. The Dutch Laravel Foundation organized their first meetup in December and they invited me to come and speak. It was really fun being there and getting to know the Dutch Laravel community. You will probably hear more about the foundation in 2020 ;)

Laravel Secrets

This year I decided to write a book called Laravel Secrets. I'm writing this book with my buddy Stefan Bauer. The idea for the book started with some discussions on Twitter around online courses for developers. We found the need to create something more advanced since most courses are focused on beginners.

You can already sign up on the website and get updates on when we will publish the book. Our goal is still to release the book in 2020. You can already read an example chapter here:


Laracasts has always been a huge part of my life. However, this year I did the impossible and received all badges. I keep putting in in hours every day to help others with their Laravel questions, which I still enjoy a lot. I'm also trying to keep up with all the content Jeffrey is creating. I still learn a ton from him, so I think it's important to keep that up. Laracasts will always be a part of my life, but receiving all badges is one of my biggest achievements so far.


December 2018 I started living together with my girlfriend in our new house. This year is a full year we've been living together. Our house feels pretty much finished, except for what missing pictures of us and the family.

This year we took a huge step in our relationship. We decided to tour through America before going to New York for Laracon US. We started in Boston, drove to Niagara Falls, went to Washington and ended our road trip in New York. It got even crazier because I asked my girlfriend to marry me in Central Parc and she said yes!. Another reason why I never will forget that vacation and conference. Right now we're planning our wedding for May in 2020. (and yes, this is the only picture I have of my proposal 🙈)


Looking back at the goals I set myself for 2019 I can say I achieved half of them. I wanted to do more sports and lose some weight. The sporting part when pretty good because I joined a few marathons and started doing CrossFit. However, the losing weight part didn't work out as planned. Another goal was doing more reading and blogging. I didn't put enough time into blogging, but I did a lot more reading. Mostly blogs about productivity, but also books like Red Rising and Atomic Habits. My final goal was speaking at two conferences, with 4 conferences I can check that off my list for sure 💪

For 2020 I want to focus on the following goals

  • Losing weight before the wedding
  • Finish the Laravel Secrets book
  • Give Laravel training
  • Read 5 sci-fi books
  • Have one SaaS up and running

Losing weight will be my top priority for 2020. It's going to be a long and tough challenge for sure. After that, finishing the book is most important. The other goals are nice to have done for now.

I'm working on a book called Laravel Secrets. You will learn everything about the undocumented secrets of the popular Laravel framework. You can sign up using the form below to get early updates!

Visit for more information.